Monday, 16 April 2007

how to handle airport security with an insulin pump

Well, even after having been through many European airport security checks I can tell you with some authority that I still get really nervous until I am through. Not that there is any chance that one could be stopped, it is a medical device after all and they have to let you through.

Before you even set off from your home, make sure that you have a signed doctors note with you. This will get you out of any problems you may get stuck in.

At the security desk the thing to remember is to make sure you do the following two things:

- 1. State which bags have got needles in to the person putting your bags through the scanner, this should then no longer be a problem.

- 2. Make sure that same person knows that the thing on your hip is in fact not a mobile phone, it is an Insulin Pump, be really clear about that. I was at an airport in the south of France recently and I said "Its an insulin pump" several times and still wasn't heard.

It may be a good idea to have with you a small piece of paper with the translations of important words you might need, especially if you don't speak the language at all, that way you can get past the confusion. Although most airports will have come across insulin pumps or diabetics before, that certainly does not mean that every person/security guard has, so be prepared.

Another thing to always remember is never to panic. This will only increase the amount of security guards around you. Along with this, remember that every airport has a different way of checking security, so don't be worried if they do something different. Here are how some different airports sort out security:

- In an airport in Austria I had to be escorted to the gate by a senior guard, who then had to notify the pilot that I had an insulin pump and needles in my bag, and ask if it was ok that I come on board (thank goodness it was!). At the same airport I had all my bags checked, opened and searched. I had to identify everything in the bag that looked suspicious.

- At an airport in northern Italy, they didn't ask me anything at all or question the needles or insulin pump.

- At an airport in London, they swabbed my insulin pump, which I found out afterwards was checking for traces of dynamite.

- At an airport in the south of France I had to go into a 'booth' with a security guard whilst she checked every single part of me for something suspicious. This was because they did not want to send me through the gate as it may have damaged the insulin pump. Most places won't do this, but this is also why it is important to make sure that someone knows before you walk through in case it is potentially damaging to your insulin pump.

Any questions you want to ask about this article, feel free to ask.

How to Handle Airport Security with an Insulin Pump by Alissa Evelyn