I just received word from American Airlines that I have been denied flying with my PDM. Since it's considered a wireless device it must be turned off below 10,000 feet. It is not an approved medical device according to their Medical Clearance staff. I mentioned that I can't run this device off since it has no on/off switch.

I am at the mercy of this department to get approval on a 'rush' basis in order to fly on Friday. If not, I will be denied onboard entry to the airplane.


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May I ask why you needed to contact AA? I've flown all over the US with my new PDM with no problems. Besides, TSA is in charge of security, not AA. Just wondering...

I had a flight on AA about 2 weeks ago and I had alarm for low insulin readings before 10,000 feet. Since it was in my pocket I instinctly was looking at to satifsy the alarm and a flight attendant came by at the same moment. I had checked with TSA before my flight just to make sure.

I explained what it was highlighting it was a medical device and so. He indicated that since it was wireless it had to be powered off until landing. I stated I couldn't and I refused to do so and it was quite heated. I later send a complaint to AA about the treatment I received.

Their reaction was to state I was in the wrong and should have notified their Special Medical Assistance line beforehand.

Today I got a call from them since they knew I was flying this coming Friday and to remind me I was required to power-off the device below 10,000 feet. They don't have approval for an Onmipod device on file. I stated I would not since it's required medical device. At that point I was flagged until they get approval from their medical device staff. They claim it will interfere with navigation instruments since it's wireless.

In hindsight I should have kept my mouth shut. I just got off the phone with Insulet and they have never heard of this before either. The rep is forwarding it to mgmt as I expect AA to call them about it.
Wow, I take back my previous post. This is amazing. Please keep us informed on what happens.
You may want to also contact the ADA regarding this issue. Their legal group is quite handy at resolving complicated issues like this one. I don't know if Insulet has the capability to help. So sorry for the troubles. As much as I've been on planes this year, my PDM alarm went off only once during a flight. I was fortunate that it didn't cause a commotion.

I believe you can go into settings and adjust it so that your pump doesnt notify you with an alram for anything...maybe you could do that

This Page lists the items that you can take through security on the plane. Insulin pumps are one of the acceptable items. I doubt you'll have any problems at all getting on the plane.
Why could you not power off the PDM after checking the alarm? You had to be very close to landing at that point. At any rate, the range of the PDM is very low. You can't get a signal more than about three feet from the pod, so I'm sure it's not a problem to aviation equipment. If it were me, I would just keep it low key. It sounds to me like, by making a fuss, you were your own worst enemy. There's almost no reason why you could not agree to power off the device below 10,000 feet.
I flown 4 other times before this with the PDM. It was just bad timing regarding the insulin level and alarm. If the flight attendant didn't happen to walk by I would have been alright. It was an instrinct reaction on my part to look at the alarm.

At that point, I did not feel comfortable disabling the PDM for any length of time as I didn't know the end result since I only had it for a few months. Even Insulet rep recommends not powering off the PDM. I will have to work thru AA.

The FAA says it up to each airline to make rthe final determination on what wireles devices that allow outside pacemakers & hearing aids.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Isn't your PDM powered off almost all of the time? I usually only turn mine on for boluses and checking blood glucose levels. If I had an alarm in your situation, I would turn on the PDM, check the alarm to make the pod stop beeping and then deal with the problem on the ground. I would think that scenario would satisfy any flight attendant.
I think you are misunderstanding the PDM. As along as you have batteries in your PDM it's on. In order to save battery power the screen is turned off. after 20 or 30 seconds depending upon your setting. You simply hold the home key to resume the display. Regardless the PDM is still fully functional and powered on.

If your batteries run out data in the memory is at risk. The longer the batteries are removed, the more the memory is at risk. I take this to mean I would have to re-enter all confiiguration settings upon restart to satifsy AA's request to turn the device off.
Well, that really is a gray area and depends on what you mean by "off." For the purposes of satisfying a flight attendant, I'd bet having the screen off is just fine (they don't know any better).
I happen to disagree that the PDM is not OFF and not communicating, anyway - the PDM only wakes up on its own for BG check or expiration reminders, neither of which involve communication with the pod; the pod will alarm by itself without waking up the PDM; so I don't think it is "on" in the sense that would matter to an airplane.
I agree what they see and know are two different things and trust me if these things interfered with the flight so bad then every plane I have been on would have hit the ground after take off because I never turn my cell phone off nor my PDM. www.thediabeticcamper.blogspot.com




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