Recently we were fortunate enough to host one of my daughters BFFs from CA. Her sweet friend stayed with us for a week and it was wonderful watching my dear daughter laugh with her friend.
Sadly the visit had to come to an end. Although this friend is past the age of ‘unaccompanied minor’ according to airline regulations we still wanted to escort the friend to her departing gate.
My husband was not able to stay home with my two boys which meant me and all my kids accompanied the friend to the airport.
Traveling with diabetes can often be a real pain in the hindquarters and much of that pain can simply be getting though the security check points at the airport. Accompanying someone to the gate with gate passes means passing through the security check points.
The airline had no problem issuing the four guest passes we needed to escort the friend to the gate. The lines for security weren’t too terrible and we had plenty of time since her flight was delayed.
Sometimes the position of the insulin pump can effect the metal detectors. We never send the pumps through the X-ray machines – some do – we don’t.
I asked all the kids to move their pumps in the center of their bodies – in front of belly buttons. I don’t know why this makes a difference but it does.
I don’t let the kids go through the full body imaging thingy because of the pumps.
We lined up for the old-fashioned metal detector line.
I have always warned the TSA agents that my kids wear insulin pumps and will likely cause the metal detector to alarm. That way we don’t waste time with the TSA people asking kids if they emptied their pockets – blah blah blah.
In the past if the kids don’t alarm (they don’t always alarm) TSA waves us on.
My daughters pump always alarms and since she is over 13 that means a full body pat down. Its annoying but she’s normally a good sport.
This time my boys did not alarm. We should have been waved through. Nope.
The TSA agent had a bee in her bonnet. She insisted they had to swab the boys.
Me: “But they didn’t alarm”
TSA: “Its policy”
Me: “But they DIDNT alarm”
TSA: “They are wearing pumps”
ME: “You wouldn’t have known that had I not told you – you can’t see the pumps.”
TSA: “Its policy.”
Me: “Oh for the love of bubble gum”
It took nearly ten minutes for them to find a TSA agent to do a swab and pat down my daughter since it was shift change time.
FINALLY someone shows up to swab the boys. This meant they had to touch their pumps then get their hands swabbed.
Sugarboy was first. Touch pump, swab hands, insert swab strip into machine.
Oh Holy Hell.
The man with the cool mustache looked down at Sugarboy, looked at me, then looked at my other son.
Thankfully he said “its the machine. we will give it another go.”
Of course this meant waiting on a TSA supervisor to come resent the machine. Another 5 minutes. Machine reset – touch pump, swab hands, insert swab strip. All clear. Rinse repeat for Middles.
Meanwhile my daughter is waiting on a female to do a pat down. I look over and she is standing with her arms held out while the TSA agent recites a very long speal about what she is going to do during the pat down. My daughter is rolling her eyes and trying to just say “ok I’ve done this” but the lady just keeps talking.
Nearly 20 minutes after we stepped through the metal detector we were allowed to carry on.
Of all our air travels – this was by far the longest we have been detained by TSA. The worst part was we weren’t even boarding a plane.
The moral of this story –
If you have an Animas pump try placing it in front of the body just under the belly button and for the love of Pete don’t tell TSA first.
Also – plan for these possibilities when traveling by air – plan extra time because you will never know if someone peed in the TSA Cheerios earlier in the day causing some of them to be less than accommodating.
We have not used it but I have heard many in our club to have great luck with TSA Cares. If you have air travel coming up you may want to check into it.
For all my dear friends traveling to Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference this week – I wish you safe travels and easy check points.