Yes, I know there have been multiple threads on this topic. But every time it comes up, I'm puzzled by the responses, so I figured I'd put my own thread!
On August 3rd I'll be flying from Sacramento CA to Tampa, FL so if anyone has specific experience flying into or out of those two airports I'd love to hear about it.
Here is my general confusion: I haven't flown since they instituted the new body scanners so I do get a bit vague about the whole "metal detector" (as in older detectors we walked through,) "full-body scanners" and pat-downs. So, are there now the three alternatives? And you are either instructed randomly to have one of them or you can request a different one? Also, are there still the old type of metal detectors and are those also seen as dangerous to pumps? I prefer to be conservative on this question, as I'd hate to hear I'd voided my warranty!
Ok, my real confusion is in other threads on this topic many people say, "I don't feel comfortable walking through the full body scanner with my pump" or "my pump manufacturer says never walk through the full body scanner with my pump". I don't see anything like that on the Animas website or in my Ping manual, but I haven't spoken to anyone there. Then people go on to say, "So I requested a pat down". I don't really care if the full body scanner shows a picture of my naked body, but I am very uncomfortable with someone rubbing their hands over my body! (even female, which I assume it always is). So in those threads I always say, "So why can't you just hand your pump to the agent to inspect manually and then just stroll on through?" I never seem to get a clear answer to that question, so that's what I'm hoping to learn. Thanks!
Okay, here's your first anecdotal evidence.
On June 7, I flew from Orlando International to Las Vegas (via LAX) and went through the scanner as I have always done, pointing out my pump to the TSA agent as I went through. No scanner beeps, no stopping, no pat down, etc.
For my return flight on June 16 (via Denver), it was the same deal.
Have a good trip.
Thanks, Mike. Dumb question (I told you this topic confuses me!) when you say "scanner" do you mean the new full body scanners? (Is that all there is now?)
Yes, I went through the basic metal detector type. This is still the most common type.
If I were going to be subjected to a full-body scanner based on what I have recently read, I would remove the pump and ask for a hand inspection.
I did go through a full-body scanner two years ago without thinking and had no problem, but I don't have an Animas. (There you have it, mostly worthless advice - you get what you pay for, lol!)
Not worthless at all!
Unless you have specific information on you pump/CGM, do not take your pump/CGM through a full body scanner. These scanners may well work with X-Rays or millimeter waves and can cause damage. Some airports still have a mixture of metal detectors and full body scanners and you may be directed to go through a metal detector. Going through a metal detector is safe. If you don't have the option for using the metal detector, then you will need to opt for a pat-down.
ps. Animas specifically recommends you not X-Ray your Ping.
Sorry to be dense, BSC, but "if you don't have the option for using the metal detector, then you will need to opt for a pat-down" Why can't I just hand the pump to the agent to examine and then walk through the full body scan myself?
Check my edit to the reply below...that's apparently what Animas suggests in their FAQ...disconnect and go through the scanner with just your infusion set.
Thank you, thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for. Though the quote just says "alternate methods" I'm assuming that would mean exactly what I've been wondering about: disconnect, hand your pump to the agent and walk through the scanner!
I'll go ahead and read the link. Somehow I was missing all that info on the Animas site because I had the products part of the site in my favorites box.
There are (3) types of detectors deployed now
1) The (now-old) metal detectors - the most common.
2) Millimeter wave ( a type of radio wave) full body imager (or nudie scanner). This one looks like a clear tube you step into and it rotates around you to make a picture that is sent to a remote operator
Wikipedia article for more info
3) Backscatter x-ray full body imager
Wikipedia article for more info:
By far most security lanes have just a metal detector. This is not harmful to almost anything. It only detects signficant amounts of metal. I don't know about your pump, but the Omnipod does not set it off.
If you see just a metal detector on a lane, pick that one as it is the least likely to cause hassels.
Sometimes you can't choose which lane you go in and sometimes they randomly pick people out of lanes to go through one of the other scanners (#2 or 3). You will need to check your pump manuals to see their recommendations for those.
For the Omnipod, Insulet's FAQ says
". The PDM and Pods can safely pass through airport x-ray machines. If the security detector goes off, tell the security screener that you have diabetes and wear an insulin pod."
I leave it on when I go through the scanner and it is picked up by the operator. They then ask me to touch the pump and then they swab my hands for explosives. Usually no big deal, just a slight delay versus the metal detector, which it passes right through.
Update: Here is the link to what Animas web page on travel:
Their FAQ says:
How do I get my pump through airport security?
While going through airport security, please keep these important things in mind. Your pump should not go through the X-ray screening that is used for carry-on or checked luggage. The new airport screening, Whole Body Imaging Technology, is also a form of X-ray. If you are chosen to go through this form of screening, you will need to disconnect from the pump at your skin site prior to the scan and request alternate methods of screening the pump other than using X-ray. Your infusion set may remain in place. For more information on traveling with pumps, in the United States, visit the American Diabetes Association website, www.diabetes.org. You can also call your local airport or airline for security guidelines that may apply.
Thanks for explaining all these options, HPN; it definitely sounds like looking for the old metal detectors is the way to go.
But you say, "I leave it on when I go through the scanner" do you mean the old metal detector?
For the Pod, as BSC said, we can't remove it no matter which scanner it is.
For a tubed pump, Animas suggests disconnecting if you have to go through the #2 or #3 scanners. see the edit I made to my post.
I have done a fair bit of traveling and since i where an omnipod it is not really an option to hand it over. a few things.... almost all the airports i have been at you have the standard metal detector that you go through first.... if you do not beep here then you are good to go. if you do beep which is usually the case with me (not from the pump though) then you are directed to the full body scanner if they have one or a pat down. I always indicate that i have a pump on before i go through the metal detector and also indicate that i an carrying liquids Insulin etc... i have refused the scanner on a few ocassions as omnipod does say it is not safe for the pump. and never had an issue with them doing a manual pat down... i do try and make sure that when i fly my pod is in a easily accesable place as i have been asked many times to see it as they want to swab it for explosives) so i now wear it on my arm when i travel and try to wear short sleaves
hope that this helps