Anyone have problems at airports carrying insulin?

By diabetesfree Latest Reply 2015-12-02 05:07:05 -0600
Started 2011-08-06 16:19:06 -0500

I just posted a story to the news section about a pregnant, diabetic woman who had her insulin confiscated at an airport by the TSA. Has anyone else been given trouble by the TSA when carrying insulin, needles, diabetic test supplies, etc? I haven't flown in awhile. Am not sure I want to if this is something that happens regularly.

36 replies

mjhorgan 2014-02-28 15:58:35 -0600 Report

I travel a lot and I have never had problems with carrying insulin. I don't even take out of my bag before the x-ray. scan. I have had a pump a while and I found that the TSA agents are much better and most seem to know what the pump is. This was not the case 6 or 7 years ago. I also carry a bottle of orange juice with me through the security. Most TSA agents just have to check the bottle and let me go through. EVery so often an agent says that next time I just have to but a bottle in the store at the gate etc. I tried that once and the store did not have any OJ. Now I juts hold firm. I used to travel to Puerto Rico every other month, the TSA agents in PR have a much better understanding

Jesse's derby
Jesse's derby 2013-07-06 21:03:23 -0500 Report

WOW! So happy for this site! I never would have known that traveling by plane would be another problem…never, ever! I am contemplating simply an in country trip this summer. . Diabetes has limited my mobility. I am afraid to drive long distances. I thought I might fly. A friend will help me with the expenses. I do not want to feel trapped by this. This is another part of maintenance that I guess I will have to learn about and incorporate into my life. Sigh.

margokittycat 2011-08-08 19:23:55 -0500 Report

Been there. If I am going on a trip and have to fly I have my doctor type up a letter of my medical condition and my meds I have to carry. It is so much easier.

Auburn Bill
Auburn Bill 2011-08-08 19:02:01 -0500 Report

Get a prescription note from your doctor with oyur medical condition and list of meds you take on the note. I even took my insulated lunch bag with me having to note in its pocket flap! Put your full name, address, phone number on the bag with the airlines ticket! this will insure you have no problems, check in at the ticket counter too. Good luck from Syracuse, Grandpa Bill

Anonymous 2011-08-08 13:55:11 -0500 Report

No. What I did was write (e-Mail) TSA about my medicines, CPAP machine, bottled water etc. I took their reply with me (ready to whip it out) and I had no problems. Was kinda disappointed! TSA was in violation of their own guidelines. If I were traveling now, I would do the same thing. Sometimes the things at the top don't get down to the working inspectors. I may fly again just to get the free X-ray, body scan, and colon check!
For bottled water, I was able to take 1 bottle with me for each hour I was to be traveling. 3 hour plane, 2 hour layover 4 hour plane or 9 bottles. This seemed to be pushing the acceptable limit. The guy did question me about carrying that much and said I could buy it at the layover. I told him these bottles cost me .14 each, could I buy them at the layover for that? He smiled and said "Have a good flight"

Armourer 2011-08-08 03:42:24 -0500 Report

I flew to southern Brazil four years ago with a lot of inspections. In my suitcase was both packages of insulin in blue ice bags for the 18 hour flight, no problem. Carried with me both insulin pens and had no problem anywhere. Also had a letter from the Doc just in case.

diabetesfree 2011-08-08 04:32:04 -0500 Report

From what I can tell, other than Israel, the U.S. has the tightest airline security in the world right now. I've read that people from Europe are getting too freaked out by the TSA to want to travel here unless they have to anymore. So, once you get out of the U.S., it's probably all downhill. I imagine that insulin pens are probably more easily recognized these days than syringes and insulin vials. It would be pretty difficult to mistake them for anything else. Seems odd that security is so lax elsewhere, yet they don't seem too worried about being targeted for the most part. I guess we're just "lucky" like that.

damian676 2011-08-07 22:05:39 -0500 Report

I had no problems. I brought a note from my doctor stating I am diabetic and need to bring meds and supplies onboard.

MickyB 2011-08-07 19:15:36 -0500 Report

I flew in July 2011 and had not troubles with TSA. I simply declared to the agent that I am diabetic and my carry on had insulin,lancets and needles. I also had a current prescription from my Dr. TSA was actually polite about the whole thing.

purple1900 2011-08-07 15:19:24 -0500 Report

I just recently took a bus trip and no one bothered me once when I checked my sugar except a few people to ask if I was OK because I had gotten a little to low. I didn't take enough snacks on the 14 hour ride

diabetesfree 2011-08-07 15:50:33 -0500 Report

Is the TSA at bus stations now? That's kinda scary. Must have been a long trip!

purple1900 2011-08-07 21:17:30 -0500 Report

they have security in most bus stations and a few I stopped at had police. It was a really long trip because if it could go wrong it did My first bus left an hour late then the driver got lost in Cincinnati and then my last bus was an hour and a half late

diabetesfree 2011-08-07 21:58:11 -0500 Report

It's always been pretty common to have police stationed at large bus stations. They seem to attract a lot of crime. We even have cops hanging around our bus station, and we are a really small town. It might have something to do with the fact that it's next to a doughnut shop though. :-)

purple1900 2011-08-07 22:16:22 -0500 Report

LOL could be I transferred buses in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago so I was in pretty big towns. I have traveled Greyhound a lot and right after Sept 11 they did a random check and the police did it. That was in CA There are also signs everywhere that bags can be checked at anytime and not to leave bags unattended

diabetesfree 2011-08-07 22:24:48 -0500 Report

Unless you are in LA, local police are pretty well behaved compared to the TSA. Police actually have to obey obscure laws, like the fourth amendment to the constitution. Once you get to a TSA security checkpoint, you pretty much forefeit your rights as a U.S. citizen. Local and state laws don't apply, and federal laws are enforced selectively. It's kinda like being in Guantanamo Bay!

purple1900 2011-08-07 22:29:01 -0500 Report

they were all really nice when I checked but I made sure that I had everything with prescriptions on the box I took a whole box of lancets so I would have the prescription on the label and I took my prescription labeled strip box

realsis77 2011-08-06 18:47:02 -0500 Report

I haven't flew since I got put on insulin so I could not say. How ever now days God knows what kind of "tricks" the terriorest comes up with. They want to hurt us in ways we would not even think of so someone will have to come up with a system to clear medicine that comes through. Perhaps a call to the doctor , I don't know but with the high danger out there these days they are only trying to be safe. I believe properly labled insulin should NOT be a problem! This whole threat of terror is inconvient, but I believe they are doing their best to keep us safe. The world has changed so much.! It almost makes me afraid to travel!

MewElla 2011-08-06 18:21:19 -0500 Report

I just returned from three different trips. I had my Dr type me a letter stating I had to carry my diabetic testing supplies with me at all times. TSA looked at my bag and letter and said OK, no problem and I went on my way…

Type1Lou 2011-08-06 17:13:23 -0500 Report

So far, I've had no problems with TSA about my diabetes supplies. Last time we flew domestically was in January, 2011 and August 2010. Last international flight was May 2010 to Italy and Greece. Once, several years back, I was questioned about my glucose tablets because I had refilled the small cylindrical container and it had lost its label; I explained that I was a diabetic and what the tablets were and was allowed to keep them. I'll check the news article you posted for more particulars. Thanks for the heads-up!

jayabee52 2011-08-06 17:09:59 -0500 Report

The last time I went through airport security I wasn't using insulin, so I can't help you there. But all it takes is one knucklehead in the TSA screener corps to mess it up big time. I think it is an isolated incident, after all, how many insulin injecting people with diabetes go through airport security PER DAY? I would guess the number is quite sizable. And the TSA said that they're sorry about the problem.

granniesophie 2011-08-07 16:54:01 -0500 Report

And you believed them-why??? I wouldn't believe anything the TSA said if they had a judge standing right there next to the agent :)

diabetesfree 2011-08-07 20:17:38 -0500 Report

After some of the stories I have read and videos I have seen of the TSA in action, I'd feel safer having Al Queda handling airport security.

AuntieM234 2011-08-08 05:47:45 -0500 Report

Oh so you haven't seen the videos of Al Qeuda people chopping off heads? If you really believe what you've just said, I'm sorry for you and I will pray for you.

diabetesfree 2011-08-08 09:06:21 -0500 Report

Sorry for the tongue in cheek remark. Sarcasm doesn't always come across in print very well. I do know that there have been more Americans terrorized by the TSA this past year than by Al Queda. Complaints against them range from numerous incidents of sexual assault against both adults and children, unlawful detainment, false arrest, theft from baggage, theft of materials exempt from being "banned" on planes, etc. Honestly, the TSA itself seems to be more of a threat to our freedoms than Al Queda does at the moment.

jayabee52 2011-08-08 17:10:08 -0500 Report

I disagree with your last sentence William.

TSA doesn't dictate to us what our religous practice MUST be (or lose your life). The TSA doesn't dictate what style of clothes women must wear. TSA doesn't dictate what music to which we must listen — if at all. TSA is trying to prevent Al Queda from blowing us up in the air, and killing us other ways. Al Queda is determined, persistent and resourceful. TSA has to try to stay ahead of them. Not easy! TSA sometimes has to err on the side of stricter control. When the potential threat is more fully understood, often they relax or recind the new rules.

I can understand why you MIGHT say what you said, but Al Queda has not been successful recently. If they suceeded in an attack, you might not think so. Then people would be screaming that TSA weren't doing their jobs.

I have heard the saying that "those who give up their freedoms for security deserves neither". But it is also true "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance". It is difficult to get the mix of freedom and vigilance exactly right.

TSA is an organization composed of individuals. HUMAN individuals. As stringent as their screening process is (I applied for employment as a TSA screener in 2002, but didn't fit all the requirements) there can a few knuckleheads slip in. And any individual may make a boneheaded decision. I believe that this is what happened in this case. The other problems with TSA might be this, or may be explained any number of ways. But they have to be examined individually, and not all lumped together as some grand example of a governmental agency which is out of control.

If I have a choice between Al Queda and TSA, I'll choose the latter.


(PS it is a shame there is not a recognized font for Sarcasm — the best we can do is add LoL or something like that at the end.)

diabetesfree 2011-08-08 17:35:21 -0500 Report

I definitely agree on the sarcasm font. :-) I guess that the point I was trying to get across with that statement was that the TSA actually has LEGAL control over things that happen in our daily lives, and there is almost nothing we can do to legally stop them, even if they are breaking the law. On the other hand, Al Queda has no such legal powers and would be jailed as soon as it was known they were in an airport. When the people charged with upholding the law have no respect for it, the law itself becomes meaningless. The flood of documentary film footage showing the TSA's illegal and immoral actions add up to a much worse indictment than a single video of the Rodney King beating by the LAPD. How far out of hand do things have to get before Americans demand our laws and rights to be enforced?

jayabee52 2011-08-08 18:09:17 -0500 Report

I havent seen those videos to which you refer. And it may be that for some of those videos not everything leading up to or coming after is shown. Seen without context it may seem like a gross miscarriage of justice, shown in its proper context it may not be that. Some people in this nation are spoiled brats who want everything to go their way and so they post something out of context to pressure people to bow to their will. I can't speak to specific incidents. Again it would have to be taken incident by incident to determine if there is validity to what they say. And I am NOT claiming that there are no abuses by the TSA, and the problem of abuses goes far deeper than just one govt. agency. IMO people who have sworn to "defend and protect our constitution from all enemies and domestic" have trashed the constitution and the laws of this land. It's been happening for quite some time now.

Al Queda WANTS to be the legal power here and across the globe. They want us all under Sharia law and bow down to the east 5 times a day.

I still choose the current system.

I agree with Winston Churchill "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government ———— except all the others that have been tried."

Anonymous 2015-12-02 05:07:05 -0600 Report


diabetesfree 2011-08-09 13:28:50 -0500 Report

Well, seeing as we live in republic and not a democracy, I'm not sure that I agree with Churchill. I have seen and read accounts from TSA victims so often that I think they are way beyond the average government agency when it comes to complaints. A lot of these "complainers" are lawyers, doctors, at least one congressman, mothers, pregnant women and young children. The only selectively edited videos I have seen are ones produced by the TSA as evidence against them from security cameras. When forced to release these tapes they are often crudely edited, despite court orders that prohibit such editing.

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