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The Question
Tue Oct 23 13:02:26 EDT 2012

Airport security - backscatter or millimeter-wave?
Asked By: bjanbar  
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Background Info Hide
My last time through airport security, I mentioned my insulin pump and I was firmly instructed to go through the backscatter scanning booth, and was told it would not harm my pump. I had NO CHOICE! What do I do next time?
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Expert Answers (1)
2012-11-26 07:32:00.0

There are still many people who have no knowledge of insulin pumps and how they operate. This can be a problem at airports. I would have a doctor's note but also the company that makes your pump can supply you with a letter to airport security that can also be very helpful , explaining what damage can be done to a pump and how electromagnetic systems operate. I would defer to the help desk for the pump you use and they can help prepare you for your next trip. Usually a manuel pat down is what they would do.
Answered By: susan sloane
Accreditations: B.S.,Rph.,C.D.E.,Nutritionist
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Community Answers (5)
2016-07-15 20:52:46.0

I air travel 3x/yr, and been told the same thing. 6 yrs on Medtronic; 2 on Tslim. Called both manufacturers, and advised not to, but pushed thru anyhow. Manu's did say that the belt scanner is worse/stronger. Anyhow, no problems for all that time. Funny thing - I have 3 metal joints and go thru pat down anyhow, after the scanner! They always do a chem wipe of my pump/hands.
Answered By: rayuconn

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2016-07-15 15:24:52.0

I have gone through Airport security over a hundred times and never had then say "you have to go through". TSA rules are clear, you don't have too. Ask for a supervisor (never had to do that) and ask for a pat down. You can always call ahead. Unfortunately, the agents have been improperly trained and told that the back scatter is ok for pumps. I ask them (politely) if they are an engineer, because the manufacture of the pump says not to go through. The issue is usually that they do not have staff to do a pat down, so are just trying people not to ask. Ask, ask for a supervisor, put the ADA number on your phone, show up early if you are worried. For MiniMed, have them call the number on the back of the pump. Lastly, smile and be friendly-- it goes a long way.
Answered By: bikepunk

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2016-07-15 14:50:40.0

My pump has been swiped at airport security a number of times - both national and international airports. It seems that someone tried to take some dangerous liquid in a pump - ( an anecdoctoal reply from a TSA agent). One time in a German airport - my pump was swiped twice to ensure my legitmacy and was sat down to be interviewed to ensure I was safe. Doctors notes were irrelevant. Rosalind - pump user for 20 years, Type I for 50!
Answered By: rosalindkopfstein

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2016-07-15 12:45:33.0

Although I don't use an insulin pump, I do use a CGM, so it's a similar device. I asked my doctor and my diabetic educator to write me a note explaining what it is and that I need to wear it. I always tell the TSA agents that I'm am a diabetic and am wearing a device to help control my diabetes and they usually just call a female attendant and I go into a private area so they she may check it out. I don't many of the TSA people are familiar with our devices and so they have to learn about them and it should be part of their training. I seem to have more problems in smaller airports and in the larger ones. It usually only takes a few minutes for the screening and they are usually very nice about it.
Answered By: angelicajoan

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2016-07-15 12:43:54.0

I make a copy of the title page and the warnings page (that states NO SCANNER EXPOSURE) from my user manuals for my pump and CGM. I had those to the TSA agents. Of course I have to arrive extra early so they can find a female TSA agent for my patdown. I also have a global entry card so that should make things easier. I can recommend the Mpls/St Paul airport - they knew all about pumps and were professional and polite and even asked questions about getting one for their nephew!
Answered By: pugmommy

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