Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

First time flying with diabetes

Jeanie
New Arrival

Hi, everyone. I've flown Southwest several times in the last ten-plus years, but this is my first time flying with insulin-dependent diabetes, and I could really use your advice.

 

I'm flying with insulin pens, pen needles, a glucometer and strips, and a CPAP machine, as well as all the accoutrements of today's traveler. Obviously I don't (or can't) travel light.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

8 REPLIES 8

Re: First time flying with diabetes

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

What advice/information are you looking for? Definitely carry-on anything you need daily. Checked bags can get lost or flights get delayed and you can't access checked baggage so always keep vital things with you. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: First time flying with diabetes

Jeanie
New Arrival

I'm just looking for tips and tricks from my fellow pancreas-challenged travelers.

Re: First time flying with diabetes

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@Jeanie wrote:

I'm just looking for tips and tricks from my fellow pancreas-challenged travelers.


Stay away from the carb filled snacks.

Re: First time flying with diabetes

tappingmom1
Active Member

Be aware that you can pack all of your medical supplies in a separate carry-on bag and it won't count as your 1 personal item and 1 carry-on.  In other words, you are allowed a third carry-on of medical devices/supplies.

 

Delays and cancellations seem to be the unfortunate norm these days.  Be sure to bring a few emergency low carb snacks to keep your blood sugar steady since most snacks served on the plane are high carb.  Nuts are a great choice.  Also bring a high carb snack or honey sticks to counter an insulin high.  Pack your glucagon injector (and know how to use it) to treat an emergency low.  And if you're flying through different time zones, taper your eating/insulin schedule so it isn't altered too much.

 

Lastly, bring a hard-sided container to act as a sharps container for your used pen needles.  Label it to keep TSA safe.  Most restrooms in airports have sharp containers if you need to empty it before you fly home.

 

Have a safe flight!

Re: First time flying with diabetes

TPArampgirl
Active Member

Other tips that weren't mentioned: You're allowed to bring ice packs to chill your insulin if it needs it, but it needs to be frozen solid by the time it hits the xray machine at the security checkpoint. If it isnt frozen solid and it needs to be discarded, don't panic. Most restaurants are willing to help you out with a ziploc bag and ice. There isn't a limit to the amount of sharps and insulin you are allowed to bring. Just let TSA know you have sharps if they need to look inside the bag. Also, make sure your water tanks on your CPAP are empty. It depends on the airport, but your CPAP may need to be X-rayed on it's own. Other than that, you should be good to go! 

Here is the TSA website section that talks about medical stuff. 

 

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures 

Re: First time flying with diabetes

johnwhat
New Arrival

I have a 3 hour flight on Sunday and this will be my first time flying alone AND with diabetes. I use a pen and was wondering how to go about telling/handling security. I will have my pen, needles, meter, strips and glucose tabs with me..Should I just tell them beforehand?? I'm freaking out about it.

Re: First time flying with diabetes

bwallet
Active Member

@johnwhat Put them in a zip lock bag, and take this bag out when you go through security (place it in a tray). If they have any questions, they will ask, but they won't. Your first time. TSA sees it many times every day.

Re: First time flying with diabetes

TPArampgirl
Active Member

You really will be okay. They wont ask about it. All that stuff is perfectly fine to bring through the checkpoint. Prescription meds are almost always good to go. The only time you run into any kind of issue is if you need ice packs. Other than that, you'll be fine. Don't worry. 😊