I posted this on the parents of children with diabetes, but I will share it here too. We had some not so good experiences while traveling to WDW this year. We traveled from Chicago to Orlando and back. I had to argue with a flight attendant for my 5 year old son to be able to use the restroom on the plane and we had juice boxes and water confiscated by the TSA because she said that we only need 2 juice boxes and we had 4, and we were only allowed 1 water bottle and we had 2. So beware and know your rights! I hope you have a good experience! I wrote complaint letters to both the airline and the wonderful government TSA. I got an appology of sorts from the airline, but a canned response from the TSA. Here are both of the letters and responses if you'd like to read them:
My letter to United Airlines: Dear Mr. Mueller,****This letter is to inform you of an unpleasant incident that took place with regard to my family on your airline on May 17th, 2009. **On United Flight 0004, departed Chicago O*Hare @ 4:55pm, arrived in Orlando, Florida @ 8:31pm, I was traveling with my 5 year old son with Type 1 Diabetes, my 4 year old daughter and my husband. We were headed for Orlando, Florida for our first trip to Walt Disney World.
Since my son had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on April 6, 2009, after a 3 day hospital stay, I had read multiple Diabetes books preparing for our trip. After reading these books, I knew that the plane ride could cause blood glucose levels to decrease to unsafe levels due to anxiety or excitement. So, I had our juice boxes recommended by our endocrinologist to be used to treat low blood sugar) ready in our backpack. **After boarding our flight, approximately one hour into our flight (2 1/2 hour flight) my son's numbers were low , so I treated him with a juice box. Shortly thereafter, the captain had put on the fasten seat belt sign because we were into some turbulence and of course after drinking a juice box, my son needed to go to the bathroom. We still had an hour left in the flight, so I knew we needed to get to the bathroom.
So, we went to the back of the plane only to find the doors to the bathrooms were closed and marked as occupied. We were told by the flight attendant to go sit back down. I told the flight attendant that my son has diabetes and needed to use the restroom. He told me that the fasten
seat belt sign was on that I needed to get back to my seat. I explained to him again that my son has diabetes and had low blood sugar, was treated with juice and subsequently needed to use the restroom. He told me that it was not safe for us to be out of our seats, to please go back and be seated! I was getting angry at this time and I told the flight attendant that I understood the dan gers, but my son needed to use the restroom and that I had a doctor' s note explaining my son's condition and that I believe there is a law that permits anyone with a medical condition access to a bathroom. The flight attendant then looked at the other flight attendant, shrugged his shoulders and finally opened the door for us. **I certainly understand the importance of safety for myself and my son while flying in a plane. I am not sure what laws apply in the sky, but I am currently looking into the laws that pertain to flying, because this was outrageous that I had to argue with the flight
attendant to allow my son to use the restroom. Not to mention, as a 5 year old, my son didn't need to hear an altercation between his Mother and a flight attendant as to whether he could perform a bodily function or not! **Please let me know your company*s policy regarding the above
situation. I would like to know if the flight attendant followed the correct policy and how your company handles customers with medical conditions.
United's Response: Thank you for contacting us, I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
Please accept my apologies that we did not serve you better. We realize that at times we are not doing as well as we should be in serving our guests. You should be able to rely on us to provide you with an enjoyable flight that is correctly staffed, a comfortable cabin temperature, entertainment systems in good working condition, and
amenities such as pillows, reading materials and unlimited use of the lavatories.
Federal aviation regulations require that the crew members advise our passengers, anytime the seat belt light is on, to remain seated as a safety precaution. During take offs, landings and when experiencing severe turbulence, our flight attendants will lock the lavatory doors to prevent any possible injuries. We recognize urgent situations that
require use of the lavatories, but insist you may proceed at your own risk.
I apologize for any discomfort this may have caused your son, and any feelings of frustrations you received as a result of being denied the use of the lavatories.
Your candid feedback is appreciated as this allows us to monitor onboard products and services and share your comments with management responsible for our in-flight operations so they can understand how your onboard experience felt from your point of view.
Please give us an opportunity to provide you the service you expect from United Airlines.
United Airlines Customer Relations
My letter to TSA:
To Whom It May Concern,
This letter is to inform you of an unpleasant incident that took place with regard to my family in the Orlando, Florida airport on May 24th, 2009.
My family, my 5 year old son with Type 1 Diabetes, my 4 year old daughter and my husband were traveling home from Orlando to Chicago, O’Hare on United Flight 0449 departing at 2:16pm from our first trip to Walt Disney World. Since my son had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on April 6, 2009, after a 3 day hospital stay, I had read multiple Diabetes books preparing for our trip. After reading these books, I knew that the plane ride could cause blood glucose levels to decrease to unsafe levels due to anxiety or excitement. So, I had our juice boxes (recommended by our endocrinologist to be used to treat low blood sugar) ready in our backpack.
My son's endocrinologist (the diabetes doctor) suggested that we pack extra diabetes supplies in case of a flight delay or other unforeseen emergency that might put my son in a life threatening situation. Even with the letter from the doctor stating that we were allowed to have juice boxes with us due to diabetes, the security lady claimed that it is FAA regulations that each child with diabetes is limited to 2 juice boxes on a direct flight because the airline can supply appropriate means of food and drink should we need it. So she confiscated 2 of our 4 juice boxes and 1 of our 2 bottles of water.
We also had a gel cool pack that was packed to keep our insulin cool. The TSA attendant took the cool pack and claimed that it is illegal to travel with. My husband told her that it was for keeping the insulin cool and she said that since the insulin was not directly in the same backpack compartment as the insulin at that particular time, it was not meant for the insulin. We then asked for a supervisor, whom gave us the gel pack back and only gave us a card with an address that we could write a complaint letter to.
I certainly understand the importance of safety for myself and my family while traveling in the airport and on the airplane. While I am not sure what laws apply in this situation, I am currently looking into my legal rights for future traveling experiences, because I felt that this was outrageous since medically I had documentation that allowed my possession of such medical supplies, yet got hassled during security checkpoint. Not to mention, as a 5 year old, my son didn't need to witness his medical supplies being taking away. Type 1 Diabetes, as with any serious disease, is very scary to a child to begin with. It is hard for a child to understand why they developed the disease, but as a parent to explain to that child why a stranger is taking their medical supplies away (that they need for this disease), it is heartbreaking!
Please let me know the government’s policy regarding the above situation. I would like to know if the TSA followed the correct policy and how the government handles customers with medical conditions.
Please contact me if you need any additional information or have any questions about this horrifying experience at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
TSA Response: , Florida