Traveling by Plane

Hey Everyone

I am Planning on travelling from Canada to Flordia WDW and i am trying to think of what to take for my diabetes supplies and how much for 10 day and also way to keep my insulin cool or not getting damaged from the heat and while on the plane. Also i am worried about getting thought the checkpoint and custom at the airport. Also what I may need on the plane in my carry on for my diabetes.

If anyone has any stories about going thought the checkpoints at airports or anything else to help a diabetic while traveling please post.



Hi Matthew,

This year I've traveled from the U.S. to South Africa, Zambia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and China, always with my insulin, syringes, meter, and other supplies without any issues at all. Never even been questioned.

I always keep my primary diabetes supplies in my laptop bag (carry on bag). If I do check luggage, I put another kit in that luggage just to divide up the risk.

As for keeping the insulin cool, I use the Frio products.

I also keep copies of all my prescriptions just in case, but never been asked for these.

Good luck,


give yourself enough time at the airport. When you put your bags on the belt for screening just let them know there are diabetes supplies in your bag.  security can not restrict any of your medical supplies that includes juices for low bs. I bring enough supplies for 3 days in our carryon bag and pack the rest in luggage, just to lighten our load ( you never know if there will be a baggage delay so that covers us for 3 days and delayed bags usually show up at your door within 24 hrs)  I count out what we need for 10 days at home and double it. they have insulated cases to transport insulin they usually hold 2 bottles. dont forget your dr phone numbers and rx info and insurance info.  the more preplanning you do, the less hassle you will encounter.

happy traveling   

I flew from Illinois to Washington D.C. at the begining of the summer and the security didn' have a problem with needles or my meter or anything in my bag...but I didn't take my pump off when I went through the metal detector. Bad idea. This was my first time traveling with a new kind of pump and although my minimed pump didn't set off the metal detectors...apparently the deltec pumps do. I set it off once and calmly showed him my pump and explained that it had probably caused the alarm, and said that I would take it off and go through again. He wasn't having that. He told me to go back and step through again without taking my pump off. Obviously it alarmed again. Now the people in line behind me are starting to get annoyed so he pulls me to the side and has me wait untill he can find a female guard to pat me down. In front of the whole airport. Of course she didn't find anything metal other than my pump and I was free to go but it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. I don't know if you have a pump or not but if you do I would suggest taking it off just to avoid the hassle.

Hope you have a good time!

I've never had a problem going through security or customs either, even right after 9/11. I do brings LOTS of extra supplies though, esp when traveling internationally. Once, going down to the Dom. Republic, I was randomly pulled over for extra screening. The screener laughed at how many supplies I had, but she didn't have a problem with them. She was just impressed that it was 1/2 my carry-on. (:

I just went from Canada down to the States a month ago.  I was gone for 10 days and basically just took a ton of stuff.  You really don't want to deal with the healtcare system in the states if you can avoid it.  I had to go get stitches while I was there and it cost me $700, I just about died in shock. 

I took all of my diabetic supplies in a carry on.  I kept them all together in a backpack.  My insulin was in a really small soft cooler with one of those ice packs that go in the freezer.  Just pull it right out of your bag and put it on the belt and tell the security standing there that it's insulin.  I put my prescriptions with all of my stuff.  I also had a letter from my doctor basically saying I was T1 and needed to travel with all the supplies I had.  They never bothered to look at it though.

I stressed out about it too because it was my first time travelling out of country with T1.  But it honestly was way easier and laid back than I thought it was going to be, so don't stress out too much!

Yeah, the airports are typically trained fairly well.  I used to travel extensively for work and always took my supplies with my carry on.  So of course it would be scanned, but never once did they stop and ask to see anything.  Also, I dont even bother carrying my old note from my NP. 

I have never traveled internationally, but then again Canada and the US really isnt to much of an international concern.  I am sure if someone traveled overseas it would be a totally different situation.

I know someone, also T1, that just went to Europe.  They had no troubles what so ever.  With getting through customs and security checks that is....

I've traveled to Europe 4 times and lot in the states. Never had a problem with the insulin/syringes etc.  I just put in my carry on and don't say anything.  Juice has been hit or miss for me.  Most airports are cool if you tell them up front.  They're supposed to let you have it, but I 've had a couple of airports confiscate based on size or some other BS.  Keeping a copy of the prescriptions or at least the box with the prescription tag is probably a really good idea though.

The insulin is not going to get too hot at the airport of the hotel or the airplane.  I just carry it in my carry on.  I don't worry about keeping it cool.  Unless you're going to be going to Zimbabwe or something you should be OK.

[quote user="Heather Cole"]

You really don't want to deal with the healtcare system in the states if you can avoid it. 


OMG, that's priceless!  Those fighting to kill healthcare reform here keep telling us we don't want a system like Canada's!



Haha.  Stitches in the states = $700.  Stitches in Canada = $0.  My hospital stay when I was diagnosed = $0.  I don't even want to know how much it costs you guys down there.  The only thing that isn't so great about our system is waiting time for things like MRIs.  Since they don't cost anything everyone can afford to get one so people actually go get them when they need them, so they take a little bit longer to go get.  Unless it's a really critical one.  There are some places up here you can still pay to have them privately done if you want.  I love our healthcare system up here!

I'm with you on that one, Heather!  I would never be able to afford being a T1D (+ complications) if we didn't have our coverage.  It just wouldn't fit into my budget; I'd have to leave it aside (Boo-hoo...  ;( )


those frio products really work, they stay cool for like a week or so. its awesome. by the way, do u happen to go low on plane rides? i was 27 on a plane from florida to illinois. it was prob cuz i had ihop then overestimated but just wondering if i'm alone.

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


Kristin Davis
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




Hi Matthew-

I've traveled a lot, I always pack double the supples I would need at home for the same time period, always in my carry-on, with plenty of snacks. The last flight I was on a man collapsed in the isle, I found out from talking to him that he was a Diabetic (newly diagnosed type 2) and put EVERYTHING in his checked bag. I told him to please never do that again!

I’ve never had any problems with them questioning my supplies. It helps if you pack things in single layers inside zip lock baggies. Once I put my supplies (all mixed together) in a zipper cloth make up bag which was hard for them to see through on the x-ray so I had to show them everything.  I always have a letter from my doctor but have never had to show it to anyone. I usually try and let them know that I’m a diabetic with an insulin pump, seem to make things smother. I have a tiny cooler that I just put a freezer pack in for my insulin that I got from the dollar store.

[quote user="Heather Cole"]

Haha.  Stitches in the states = $700.  Stitches in Canada = $0.  My hospital stay when I was diagnosed = $0.  I don't even want to know how much it costs you guys down there. 


FYI our son's onset hospitalization cost $12,000.  And, that was JUST the hospital, not including the doctors, labs, ambulance, etc. that are billed separately, or the initial purchase of supplies and prescriptions.  I figure another $1,000 for those.  A pump will be running about $6,000, plus all of the "consumables" related to the pump.

Aren't there companies that specialize in short-term medical insurance for travelers?  It might be worth looking into for folks traveling to non-socialist countries, especially if you've got T1 or any other chronic condition.



[quote user="Monique H"]FYI our son's onset hospitalization cost $12,000[/quote]


Ah that just about gave me a heart attack! 

I have only traveled once since i have been diagnosed with diabetes. but i would suggest bringing much more supplies than you would actually need, just in case something goes wrong [not that it will, i hope!] i didn't have any trouble with bringing my things through security, but went i brought a doctors note with me just to have it if i needed it! i have a medtronic minimed pump and it can go through security with no problems, but i don't know anything about how other pumps and stuff like that work. GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN on your trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

<3 <3 abby d-_-b


You can go to your local pharmacy and get insulin cooling packs to hold your insulin in for travelling and then when you get to your hotel just put it in the fridge. That is what I do. I just got back from Florida myself. Just to let you know, Insulin can be at room temp up to a month. Of course if you don't use an insulin pump and need to carry it on you the frio packs work really well. I just got back from a mastering your diabetes course and was told that when you live in hotter climates that Novolog does well in the heat. So maybe just for this trip you can ask your doc if he will give you a bottle of Novolog just to travel with unless you  use it already then you are all set.

Are you on a pump or shots that would help to know? If you are on a pump I suggest that you take a set for every three days you change your pump and then add an extra 5 or 6 just in case they fall out or you need to change more often. If you use syringes I would just throw in a whole bag and a full vial of insulin for both the pump and shots.

Make sure you bring fast acting carbs like glucose tabs, snacks too. I bring cheese and crackers which are good for when you go on excursions. Skittles, hard candies etc. are good to bring too just in case. Bring extra supplies, batteries if you are on a pump, extra meter, alchohol swabs, glucagon shot.

As far as security in airports you should have no problem going through. Have your doctor write you a note though just in case you get stopped. You just show them and tell them you have type 1 diabetes. I have gotten stopped twice in my 9 yrs of having diabetes. Its fine really. Don't stress about it.

If you need to know anything feel free to ask! I have flown like 4 times this summer and haven't had a problem.


I know when we went to NY we got a letter from our diabetes educator saying that my brother is a diabetic and he has to have these certain supplies. We had to give it to the airport security when they checked his bags.

I put all my diabetes supplies in clear plastic ziplock bags and go ahead and take them out of my carry-on and place them in the bins so that the airport personnel can see immediately what's in them. I take off my pump and put it in the bin. (I do that w/ my shoes too. Just better to go ahead, instead of waiting to be asked to do it.) The airport folks usually tell me I don't have to take off the pump, but I'd rather do that than possibly set off the metal detector!!

I use glucose tablets when flying, rather than liquids, so that they cannot be taken away from me. My insulin can stay at room temp for a while, so I don't pack it in a cooler or anything. I just put it in the fridge when I get to my destination.

When I fly, I take a prescription note from my endo. That suffices as notification.

I don't think I've had problems flying as a diabetic after 9/11. Most personnel have been very friendly. (Of course, I'm from the South. We're friendly folks!)


I hate it for those who have been through hassles, especially little kids. That really stinks!