1. Perhaps don't wear the pump while flying and hand carry it?: Not an option. Taking basal insulin just for a flight would be a disaster. I would be more dangerous in that state because my BGs would be all over the place.
2. Put the pump thru the scanner or not? Absolutely NOT! I use a Minimed pump and they are very explicit in saying that while the pump can go through traditional metal detectors, it CANNOT be x-rayed or put through full-body scanners. I refuse to disconnect my pump. It is a medical device that is needed for keeping me alive and healthy.
3. Avoid a TSA issue and drive if possible? Yes, I sometimes do this. TSA and airline travel in general is a pain. If I have the time and I'm staying in the continental US, I will opt to drive sometimes.
4. Other related information.
Most airline travel with a pump is fine. When I get to the security line and see there is a scanner, I let the TSA agent know that I'm wearing an insulin pump and need a patdown. Some will try to argue with you, saying that it's OK to go through the scanner with a pump. I refuse. I keep my Medtronic card in my pocket and show that to them if they keep pushing me. I also remind them that they are not physicians or medical device manufacturers and should not be advising people what to do with regard to medical devices. I am pleasant, but firm and I don't hesitate to ask for a supervisor if it gets to that.
During international travel, I carry a loaner pump with me and that too must be hand-carried and inspected. I simply explain to the security agent the situation and they do a hand-check of the spare device (NEVER put your loaner pump through the x-ray machine in your carry-on). I keep copies of necessary documents such as my physician's travel letter and the Medtronic card with both the loaner pump and me.
I would advise people to NEVER remove your pump when going through security. Pumps are medical devices and should remain connected to you at all times. If you were to disconnect from your pump and then pulled for additional screening, there's a good chance that the TSA agents would not let you reconnect. Or, the pump could get stolen or tampered with when it is not on you. Yes, the risk here is small but it's a risk not work taking if you're insulin-dependent.
Most of the time, TSA agents are fine. But I have run into a few that have hassled me about the juice I had in my bag (juice in sealed juice boxes, mind you). Most are perfectly pleasant, but some can be downright nasty and hostile.