At the airport with pump & CGM

I found myself in this situation at MIA going through TSA pre check with my Medtronic insulin pump and wearing Dexcom. I asked to be padded down instead of going through the AIT which is a type of X-ray according to my paperwork from Minimed. A TSA employee gave a hard time saying she had customers walk through the AIT all the time and didn’t do anything to any equipment or that why couldn’t I disconnect etc.

There’s a form called ADA Grievance Form that you can fill out and submit online and the only thing that works since complains to TSA didn’t work. If I was a teenager or elderly confused person I could have been influenced and end up with malfunctioning pump and/or CGM.

1 Like

I’m glad you stood your ground and things worked out for you. I haven’t flown in ages so I’m wondering, did you ask for a supervisor or show documentation of your devices? For anyone who is interested here is a document provided by Tandem (dated 2018 - I don’t know if there are more recent versions):
I thoughtt tsa agents were supposed to respect a traveler’s request not to be scanned…Stating that “it’s a medical device” has always sufficed for me in other situations; as I said I haven’t traveled in a while so I defer to those who have.


Minimed has the same, but you don’t need to show anything. A TSA young lady in Boston Logan Airport told me that’s illegal for them to ask anyone to remove or disconnect a medical device. Frankly, it took Medtronic years to discover that MRI, X-RAY machines can damage the pump, so I go the safest route and don’t even go through metal detectors and didn’t have a problem in Italy, Pittsburgh, New York, Cuba, and in MIA before.

My daughter just arrived from England and insisted I pursue the complaint. She said, imagine mom if this lady does same to someone going overseas and their pump fails!

My husband has never had an issue with asking for a physical pat down. He has lifted his shirt and said that it could damage his sensor and TSlim if it went through the X-ray machines. Do not cave in to people who don’t know better. You do not have to disconnect anything. Even in Mexico, he got no hassle though it will take longer. For what it’s worth, we do have Global Entry and TSA precheck so maybe that’s why they are more willing to accommodate him?


Hi, I didn’t either until this trip. I have traveled to Italy, Cuba, multiple trips to Pittsburgh and most included MIA. However, I am sure that few were robbed by TSA as it happened a few months ago. I basically stated they should have training every year, or every 6 months to refresh the policies and specifically in dealing with diabetes and other disabilities. This lady kept repeating that she had done this many times.

My husband and I applied for pre check recently, but that should not be required.

1 Like

File a complaint with TSA because I have had that a few times also and they will coach the agent. The busy airports are the worse and for that reason I do everything possible to avoid Orlando. They are rude, disrespectful, and have do clue of our rights and THEIR rules.

I did file with TSA and nothing. Just a random email they received a message from me. However when I found that online form I actually got a call a customer service manager of TSA at Miami International Airport and actually asked me what happened and was reviewing the tapes. I insisted that the TSA personnel obviously needed recurring training as banks have their employees do no matter how long they have been in their position. I pointed out this lady who had dealt with insulin pumps many times obviously forgot the policies regarding diabetic customers. I recommended that every so often schedule training be administered to TSA personnel. Not sure if it will happen, but look for the form if you ever have another issue.

Hi Edith! You raise a good question. I’m pretty new to the insulin pump world, since I preferred using insulin pens until I was able to start the hybrid closed-loop system. I’ve been traveling every other month for the past few years and finally figured out what works best for me and maybe this will help you… For every trip I go on, I take a few Ziploc bags [some for the trip home] and take a permanent marker and write my name and the term “insulin pump” on it. Then I when I get into the security line, even if it’s TSA pre-check, I will get their attention and wave the baggie in which I put my disconnected pump and ask them to hand screen it. I also ask if they could change their gloves before they do that. This saves time for me so I don’t have to go through a full pat down. They just test the pump and I’m on my way.

1 Like

I have had 1 incident, at the Burbank Airport, that TSA didnt like my, and my sons, refusal to go through the scanners due to pumps. Told them it was ok to pat down or anything else they needed to, but cant make us and we wont risk our $10,000 life support devices because they think its ok.
They eventually got the right people in place and we were on our way.
Most of the time we’ve had no issues.

1 Like

I never had an issue before either, but obviously it all depends which group you get. We could loose a connecting flight etc. I think there must be a way to make this into an actual law instead of policy. The guy from the airport that contacted me was very polite and when I mentioned I was hesitant to take another flight, he said something like “Oh I wouldn’t fly or something of the sort” :face_holding_back_tears:

I have flown at least a dozen times since getting my pump in 1998. Before I was in multiple shots.

Hello. I have diabetic for 49 years and have had a Medtronic pump pretty much as soon as they were sold. Years ago TSA always asked me to put my pager in the basket to go thru the scanner or remove my phone. I always said it is attached to me and I can’t take it off. This is kind of a lie, as it is less time going thru that process than taking a shower. But, they have all then let me walk through. I travel several times a year, and learned a few years ago that pumps could be effected going thru TSA. I randomly asked to be patted down and it always happened with no trouble. but, usually I just go thru, as I have never had an issue. Granted, it could happen some day, and I know then I will blame myself and no one else. I have traveled to many parts of the work and have had replacement pumps sent to me when they died many days later in the trip. Usually while in the water with a waterproof pump. I am glad you stood your ground and did what you were comfortable with.

1 Like

The main issue is getting the CGM or pump replacement in time if it fails. Back in the late 90s I could get a pump overnighted or was offered temporary pump to take on long trip. Getting help now is not the same including having your dr call you back and fill a prescription for syringe and insulin if pump fails same day. Same with Dexcom. 5 years ago I had a bad Dexcom, then 4-5 weeks later an emergency operation and when I called to have sensor replaced the company said too many incidents. Eventually they sent me replacement but they NEVER overnight. Bit scary.

Regarding using MDI as backup, my doctor gave me an rx for pens for basal and meal insulin, and I keep them in my fridge just in case. Thankfully I’ve rarely had to use them but it’s good to know they’re there.
I’ve never had an issue with getting it along with my pump vials although some additional authorization may have been necessary. Since I rarely need to use it I believe the pens last me a year.

I use Dexcom and Omnipod. I have TSA hand check my xtra supplies. I was told I can walk through the metal detector. I just can’t go through the spin around scanner. They say metal detector is not X-ray. Dexcom can’t go through luggage X-ray so I send my omnipods with xtra Dexcom to be hand scanned by TSA and walk through metal detector. Never had a TSA issue or equipment failure

I never said metal detectors. The full body scanner is a type of X-ray. That’s the one thing you should avoid and the reason to be padded down.

This discussion is on someone’s personal experience with an un-informed TSA agent, but for those who are wondering about the official safety recommendations I took the liberty of looking them up and highlighting key points taken from the posted links. Disclaimer - these may be subject to change, I don’t know, so it might be best to call your device manufacturer or check online before you travel.

Dexcom G6: When wearing your G6, ask for hand-wanding or a full-body pat down and visual inspection instead of going through the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners (also called a milimeter wave scanner).

Dexcom G7: You can wear your Dexcom G7 sensor when going through walk-through metal detectors and Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners. Alternatively, you may ask for hand-wanding or a full-body pat-down and visual inspection.

Minimed: * Your pump should not go through the X-ray machine that is used for carry-on or checked luggage.

Omnipod5: Pod and PDMs can safely pass through airport X-ray machines. The Pod and PDM can tolerate common electromagnetic and electrostatic fields, including airport security and cellular phones.
The wording above is from the Omnipod5 link below: details may be different for other models.

Tandem: your Tandem Diabetes Care insulin pump should NOT be put through machines that use X-rays, including airline luggage X-ray machines and full-body scanners.

TSA Guidelines (check the website for comprehensive information, and updates You will not be required to remove portable infusion pumps attached to your body.

Disconnected devices may be screened by X-ray. Inform the TSA Officer if you do not want your device screened by X-ray. Alternative screening will be conducted.

If your insulin pump or glucose monitor is attached to your body, the device is subject to additional screening, including visual inspection, and you may be required to conduct a self pat-down of the actual device,

1 Like

@eroig13 You may know more than I do about the systems. However, I know when TSA started with full-body scanners, they were mili-meter wave systems, not x-ray. X-ray is particular part of the spectrum creating ionizing radiation. Per Wikipedia: “Millimeter wave scanners should not be confused with backscatter X-ray scanners [what many airports have/use], a completely different technology used for similar purposes at airports. X-rays are ionizing radiation, more energetic than millimeter waves by more than five orders of magnitude” I know, Wikipedia isn’t always accurate, but their description matches what I know was the original tech.

All of this said, Dexcom ( says metal detectors (AKA magnetometers, not mm wave or x-ray) are ok, but they haven’t tested “all” mm wave/walk-in scanners and don’t recommend them because of that (despite numerous T1’s saying they’ve never had problem). Omnipod states (Important Safety Information | Insulin Pump Therapy | Omnipod) both the PDM and pods can safely be sent thru x-ray and common airport security systems.

Personally, I’ve subjected both pods (admittedly only Dash, but I believe there’s enough similarity to relate to 5’s and Eros), PDMs (both Dex and Omni), and G6’s to both x-ray scan and mm wave full-body scans, as have numerous others I know and trust, with no impact what so ever. This doesn’t mean you won’t and different machines/countries may operate at different frequencies and methodologies (what makes it difficult for manufacturers/FDA), but anecdotally it boosts the perspective you’ll be fine. In the end, it comes down to a trust level: if high, go for it and walk/pass thru; if moderate, perhaps try it out as a test; if low, then go for the pat down and live with the inconveniences.

@wadawabbit Thanks for the more thorough review of official endorsements. We all need to appreciate (though take some umbrage) the difficulty experienced by manufacturer’s: they can’t afford to have to test every device against all the differing frequencies, methodologies used at various airports and other locations, neither should the FDA (or other certifiers) expect them to. At some point (I’m not sure what that point should be), we need to lump the similar technologies together and hold that meeting one is equivalent until shown (note: not proven) differently.

Hi Edith,

I know this response is coming a bit late, but I have had the same thing happen with TSA. I have a friend who worked for TSA and she told me that if it happens again to ask for a 'medically trained" agent. Not everyone at TSA is trained on medical equipment (it would be nice if they were!), but you can ask to speak with someone who is. These employees have the extra training to know what is/is not allowed for medical devices like our pumps/CGMs. You may have to wait for someone though. In one instance, the TSA agent looked at me like I was speaking a foreign tongue. I then asked for a supervisor. They knew exactly what I was saying!
I also carry a copy of the Tandem and Dexcom notes on xray equipment to show the TSA, if/when needed. This way, I don’t have to wait for the appropriate agent if I am running late or just don’t feel like waiting.

Pam K.

1 Like

My T1 husband and I just traveled and went through TSA checkpoints with no issues. He asked for a pat down instead of using the x-ray scanners, and even lifted his shirt to show his t-Slim and Dexcom. We do have TSA Pre-Check, but I doubt that matters. No one batted an eye…except for a rookie who wanted to know what the glucose tablet tube container was in his shirt pocket! Another agent barely glanced at it, and told him, “That’s nothing!” Oh the joys of getting scrutinized these days at the airport!

1 Like