Airplane Travel with Insulin Pens and/or Syringes

By Anne56 Latest Reply 2017-02-10 09:17:25 -0600
Started 2010-03-24 15:12:50 -0500

I will flying soon for the first time since having been diagnosed with diabetes. Any advice, information, or experiences to share regarding carrying pens and syringes will be most appreciated! Anne

10 replies

salmanda 2010-03-26 10:35:01 -0500 Report

I fly a few times a year, and I have never had any major problems. I take a shot for another condition, and since it was not insulin, it was inspected more closely. There was no problem once they knew what it was and I showed them a letter from my doctor. On cruise ships, most cabins have refrigerators like hotel rooms have, and they will also supply you with a mini sharps container that you don't need to take with you.

It is always an excellent idea to have the prescriptions with you. That usually does it now. I have a couple mini coolers with ice packs that fit into my carry on luggage.

One other thought…since airlines are now charging for luggage, most folks really are pushing the limit with carry on luggage. I have seen bags so full that they have to be crammed into the overhead compartment! I always wonder how they are going to get them out! Anyway, I strongly recommend that you NOT pack your meds in your carry on because I have had to gate check my carry on due to the overhead compartments being full. As mentioned, the temps are not regulated in the cargo area so that could be a problem. I would pack them in my purse or small bag that fits under the seat. If you do want to pack them in your larger carry on, put them in something on top that can be grabbed quickly before your luggage goes down to the luggage compartment. When bags are gate checked, they do not charge you to stow your bag in the luggage compartment, and you pick it up on the airway right where you get off the plane.

Good luck and have a great trip!
Sal :)

GabbyPA 2010-03-24 17:21:59 -0500 Report

My mom just flew out today from Orlando with her insulin and pens in her carry on. They did not seem to give her any grief about it. She had everything in the original package and with her testing case, so it went pretty smooth. Her new knee gave them more trouble than her meds.

There is a lot of talk about checking everything and if you are in the TSA limits, they should allow you through with little trouble....unless of course you are looking suspicious. LOL Have a great trip!

Anne56 2010-03-25 11:24:04 -0500 Report

Thanks, Gabby. I very much appreciate hearing of a no-grief, recent experience. I'll probably get hassled, though, for looking suspicious!!! LOL

MAYS 2010-03-24 15:57:07 -0500 Report

Here is some general information and links to websites that can provide information about Diabetes, Diabetics and Air Travel.

Bring your doctor's name and phone number and keep it with you at all times.

Bring a list of current medicines and keep it with you at all times.

Always carry and wear medical identification that states that you have diabetes.

Keep medicines, syringes, and blood sugar testing supplies in your carry-on luggage. Do not check these supplies with your luggage in case it is lost. Also, the cargo hold is not heated or insulated well, so medicine and supplies can be damaged.

Take enough medicines and medical supplies to last an extra week in case you get stranded or stay longer than you planned.

Have a traveling companion carry some of your medical supplies, if possible.

Always carry some type of sugar source in case you develop hypoglycemia.

Inform the airlines, cruise ships, and tour guides in advance that you have diabetes. Most airlines and cruise ships will provide special meals.

Test your blood sugar more often than usual.

Be prepared with a prescription from your doctor for every diabetes supply you may be carrying.

Again, make sure that the prescription name matches the one on your ticket.

The same applies for any continuous glucose monitoring device you may be wearing because these devices are relatively new, TSA
personnel are likely to be unfamiliar with them bring your prescription to avoid problems.

Make sure you bring syringes and vials of insulin in their original packaging and with a prescription.

Even if you use an insulin pump, be sure to bring back-up insulin and syringes.

Don’t panic if your insulin cannot be refrigerated for the flight, it will last in room temperature for up to several weeks.

Know what is and isn’t allowed by the TSA guidelines: Prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; up to 8 oz. of liquid (insulin) or low blood sugar treatment gel and up to 4 oz. of non-prescription liquid medications are permitted.

Links to information :

I hope that this information has been helpful.


Anne56 2010-03-25 11:26:25 -0500 Report

YIKES! I have never bothered with carrying prescriptions for other medications, but I will now. The potential hassles are not worth my lazy ways. Thanks so much, MAYS, for your usual helpful responses.

Harlen 2010-03-24 15:39:00 -0500 Report

Well I never had any prob with them
If your taking more then 25 days worth you know you got to keep them cool as well as what your taking needs to be kepped out of the sun Dont leve them in a hot car lol Like I did I had to replace them I will never do it again lol
When your travling test often My blood sugar would go up every time I travel
Best wishes

Anne56 2010-03-25 11:28:39 -0500 Report

Good advice, Harlen; thank you very much.
Do you have any idea why blood sugar levels
go up in travel? Stress? New diet? Nothing

figment84 2010-03-26 09:59:35 -0500 Report


I am a 25 year old type1 diabetic and I travel, well at least once a month. I have never in my 6 years of diabetes been stopped and asked about my insulin pens (and though i do not think this is a great idea) I have never brought my prescriptions with me, a lot of times because I forget! The only problem I ever had was when I was using an insulin pump and I was traveling to Israel, whos security measures are always one step ahead on my opinion. You have nothing to worry about!

As for travel, my blood sugars usually spike on a plane due to the fact that I am sitting for quite some time and not very active at all. I am not sure if you have heard about the Dexcom CGM, but it truly helped me keep my blood sugars under control since I would hate whipping out my blood monitor in front of people on a plane that I did not know.

I hope this helps and good luck!


The Payne's House
The Payne's House 2017-02-10 09:17:25 -0600 Report

Did you have any issues with your Dexcom CGM at security? My son will be flying with me for the first time since he started wearing him monitor.

berdman 2016-05-12 13:56:05 -0500 Report

Oh, yes, I am going to run out and get a $600 device? I'll stick to letting them all watch as I test my blood sugar, if they wish. My meter is already paid for.