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What Can I Bring With Me on the Plane?

Everyone always has a lot of questions when traveling, and it seems TSA rules change from airport to airport. And traveling as a person with Type 1 diabetes can be even more confusing. Below we answer some of the most asked questions.

Am I permitted to bring my diabetes supplies on the plane?

Absolutely. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows diabetes-related supplies, equipment, and medications, including liquids, to pass through the security checkpoint, provided they are properly screened by X-ray or hand inspection. It is recommended that passengers declare these items and keep them separate from other belongings before the screening process begins.

What are some helpful tips for preparing to travel?

  • Arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your flight.
  • Stay updated on travel information by reviewing the TSA's website.
  • Download the My TSA Mobile App for convenient access to critical information.
  • Although not required by the TSA, consider bringing prescription labels for your medication and medical devices, as it can expedite the security process.
  • You may also want to print and carry a TSA Disability Notification Card.
  • Pack your medications in a clear, sealable bag. Remember to remove and separate these bags from your other belongings during the screening.
  • Keep a readily available source of glucose to treat low blood sugar and carry a convenient snack like a nutrition bar.
  • Wear medical identification and have contact information for your physician readily available.
  • Pack extra supplies to ensure you have an adequate amount during your trip.
  • Patience is key during lines, delays, and new screening procedures.

Which items are allowed through airport security?

  • Insulin and insulin-loaded dispensing products (such as vials, jet injectors, biojectors, epipens, infusers, and preloaded syringes)
  • Unused syringes (with insulin or other injectable medication)
  • Lancets, blood glucose meters, blood glucose meter test strips, alcohol swabs, meter-testing solutions
  • Insulin pumps and supplies (including cleaning agents, batteries, plastic tubing, infusion kit, catheter, and needle) – insulin must accompany these items
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Urine ketone test strips
  • Used syringes (when transported in a sharps disposal container or similar hard-surface container)
  • Sharps disposal containers for storing used syringes and test strips
  • Liquids (including water, juice, or liquid nutrition) and gels
  • Continuous blood glucose monitors
  • All diabetes-related medication, equipment, and supplies

Do I need to carry my prescription with me?

Although not mandatory, having your prescription with you may expedite the security screening process if you undergo additional screening.

What if my insulin, liquids, or gels exceed the 3.4-ounce limit?

  • People with diabetes are exempt from the general rule prohibiting most liquids and gels from passing through security. You may carry your insulin, other medications like Smylin, Byetta, and Glucagon, and other liquids and gels (such as juice and cake gel) through TSA checkpoints, even if they exceed 3.4 ounces.
  • While TSA permits multiple containers of liquid or gel for treating hypoglycemia, it may be practical to consider alternative forms of carbohydrates like glucose tablets, hard candy, or raisins.
  • Medical liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be removed from your carry-on luggage and declared to TSA. They should not be placed in the quart-sized zip-top bag used for non-medical liquids.
  • Under normal conditions, insulin can safely pass through X-ray machines at airport terminals. If you have concerns about X-rays, you can request a hand inspection.
  • It is crucial never to place insulin in checked baggage as it can be affected by extreme changes in pressure and temperature. Always inspect your insulin before each dose and contact your doctor if you notice any abnormalities or changes in your insulin needs.

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