Going through airport security with the pump

I’m going to be flying this Monday and it will be my first time going through airport security with my insulin pump.

Is there anything I should know or prepare for? I am not using the CGM at the moment but I am still wondering if going through the body scan will somehow mess up my pump.

thanks,
david

Hi David,

I have been thru several times and have experienced the following:

  1. As you go thru the TSA check , you will go thru the scanner and I usually tell them I have an insulin pump on me and after you walk thru the scanner , they will swipe both hands for prints and place in a machine which takes all of 3 minutes before they clear you send you on your way. You can try to avoid telling them as you walk thru the scanner but can detect it and ask you so I end of telling them I have one to begin with.

I have never had a problem with my pump after going thru the scanner but you should call the Medtronic support line before you go to ask them if there would be any damage to your pump as my pump is an older version.

Good Luck…I do find the TSA staff very understanding with the whole situation,

I’ve worn my pump through the metal detectors and the full body scanners without issue. Tell the TSA attendant you have a pump, they will direct you to the side and rub you hands and the pump with a swab. And that should be it.

Also…one more thing…make sure to bring extra sets and batteries with your traveling as your set might occlude during your vacation or travel days! If traveling internationally, Medtronic offers you the option to carry an extra pump but need to ask them about a month ahead of your travel for a mall fee.

I remove my pump in the restroom and put it in my carry on before going through the scanners. Security has never given me a problem doing this.

I have had problems when I notify security about my pump. Then I have to do the extra scan and I’ve even had to do a pat down and had my luggage checked. Huge pain so I usually don’t disclose. If they ask I’ll go through the extra screening.

It won’t hurt your pump or insulin.

Hi David,
I think you should look at what your pump says to do. I do know that all pumps and devices are okay in the metal detector - there is no way around going through there so no worries. As for the rest I know that my own pump can’t go through the scanner, x-ray, or any kind of magnetic technology (the manual says this). So I keep it on and ask for a pat down which has never been any trouble at all.

Though you did not ask I want to recommend that you put all of your supplies and certainly your insulin in your carry on, not in your checked luggage. May you have safe and happy travels!

I will be travelling for the first time with a pump in a few months so had asked my diabetes specialist who also works for Metronic, this question. She said it was safe to take the pump through the metal detector, but it should not go through the body or the carry-on x-ray machines as this may damage the pump. She has also advised me to carry a prescription from my doctor for the insulin and supplies along with a airport medical card that you can download from Metronic’s site explaining that you have diabetes and need these supplies for medical reasons. International travel maybe different. It’s best to check with the carrier. I hope my first time will go smoothly.

My understanding is that, at least officially, taking a pump or CGM through the full-body scanner, or putting it through the carry-on xray, voids the warranty. Metal detectors should be ok, if you can get in a line that has one of those–they’re getting rarer :(.

I’ve decided not to take any risks. So I always say “I’m wearing medical devices and have to request a pat-down.” Usually this doesn’t mean very much extra delay, and you don’t have to go through scanners of any kind. Just tell them where your devices are and they’ll pat everything and run the explosive-checking machine.

even though minimed says DO NOT put your pump through the x-ray machine, I have done so over 100 times with zero effects. I travel way too much (I fly 2x a week) for the extra pat down waste of time and the additional scrutiny or TSA who have not been trained or happen to be in a bad mood that day.

you can not wear the pump through the body scanner - they will see it and then you get the special treatment and yelled at for not listening. once in a while the body scan tech sees the tiny infusion site on me (yes that thing can see pretty much everything) and they pat me down but it is only a moment’s delay and no big deal.

my vote is either declare the pump and get the special treatment, or put it with carry-on and speed your way thru. the choice is yours. happy flying.

Whenever my family travels and needs to go on an airplane my sister always tells them that she has a pump and that she has diabetes and they so okay and normally just check her to make sure that she actually has a pump on and is not lying!

The official word from Medtronic is that you should not subject your pump to x-ray or backscatter. That is what you will be told if you call for assistance and this has been repeated by their local reps. I have taken that to heart as the last thing that I need is my pump malfunctioning while on a trip. For the longest time, I would just tell the TSA agent that I wanted to opt-out from the scanner and wanted a pat down. About 80% of the time they would tell me that it was safe. But, I would insist on a pat down and they always oblige. It got to the point where I would always have my Medtronic airport card in the same hand as my boarding pass.

I have found that enrolling in TSA PreCheck and getting a Known Traveler Number is well worth it for a pump wearer. Every airport in the US that I have been through uses only walk-through metal detectors for the TSA PreCheck lines. According to Medtronic, these are safe for the pump. TSA PreCheck is $85 for five years, that’s $17 per year. A small price to pay for the convenience of avoiding a pat down and not needing to remove shoes & belt or taking my laptop out of my backpack.

Medtronic link on traveling
https://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/traveling-with-an-insulin-pump-or-device

Very informative for a first time traveler like me. I’ve just started on the minimed pump therapy. =)