Flying with a Tandem from Canada to USA

Im flying for the first time with my Tandem. Previously, I was on MDI.

Any tips/advice?

Is the body scan still a thing? I haven’t flown in 10 years. Do I need to stop delivery at all?

Thanks in advance!

I’m in the US, and this has been my experience.

Tandem instructions say to not do the body scan thing… But I still have in the past. :sweat_smile:

If you prefer not to do the body scan, you may have to verbally advocate for yourself a couple times. If you don’t do the body scan, they will do a manual pat down, using the back of their hands. They’ll explain what they’re doing and ask for consent first. Takes like 30 seconds.

No matter what, they will have to swab your pump. They will have you take it out of your pocket and touch it all over, then they will swab your hands with a dry paper strip. Takes maybe a minute, then they’ll let you pick up your things from the conveyor belt.

One time I removed my pump and the baggage security attendant carried it around and swabbed it so I could go through the rest like everyone else, so that might be an option too (but usually I think they like to not touch “risky” things themselves).

If you want to follow all Tandem recommendations exactly, Tandem has some guidelines, and you can even print out a note they have pre-written: Printable Note for Flying with Your Pump

I hope that helps! In my experience it’s still very efficient, you just have to expect that it will take a tiny bit of extra time.


@jo_jo , I agree with @RachelMaraii

Use the card provided by Tandem, but also recognize that T1D is a qualified disability in u.s., which gives you more options. Call a couple days ahead of time to let them know, your small bag of your supplies doesn’t count as luggage.

Here’s a brochure I bring with me

There’s a different security line for disability. I prefer to bring a clean plastic bag. I disconnect my pump and put it and tube in the bag to be swabbed, reminding them to use fresh gloves and don’t touch the insertion end!

I warn them of where my CGM is on my body, too.

Then the pat down.

I then sit, disinfect my hands, flush any air out of the tube, and hook back in. On my way! Good luck!


Leaving Canada, according to Diabetes Canada:

  • You are not required to remove your insulin pump for screening. Just inform the Screening Officer that you are wearing one.
  • Do not wear an insulin pump or CGM through the body scanner or place your insulin pump through the x-ray machine as they may affect the devices’ functioning. Instead, you can ask the screening officer to perform a physical search instead (in a private location, if you wish).
  • Handheld metal detectors do not affect the functioning of insulin pumps or CGMs.

Coming back to Canada you’ll go through US security, and you’ve got answers about that.


Thanks, all! <3

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One additional idea: if you’re going to be handing your pump to the security people, you might want to have your name and phone number somewhere on the pump.

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I’m not using the tandem (yet)…… but I fly numerous times every month and have never so much as had an eye batted at my pump…. In the rare occasions where the scanner even sees it I just say “insulin pump” they just say ok and have me touch it with my own hands and then do the swab thing on my hands… total non issue… no worries

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@Sam Funny, in EVERY U.S. airport I’ve been through, it’s always a security issue UNLESS I call it out first, before they notice it. I’ll be stopped, pulled aside, questioned. Even in the TSA pre-check line. I now call it out ASAP out of habit, and it’s a much smoother process.

Other countries? Far more understanding, easier to navigate. I do tend to speak the language, which also helps. I’ll print signs/cards in those languages for all my supplies, too.

I came with copies of my prescriptions and a Doctor’s note, just in case I needed it, but did not bring it up. I put my one bag in the cart for the scanner, and that I have Type 1 Diabetes, and have medical equipment in my backpack and on my body, that cannot go through the scanners. He made me empty the backpack including taking individual items out of their clear containers (annoying) and into a cart. Then, he asked me to walk through the scanner. I said I cannot have a body scan, he said “it’s fine”. I said it again, and he said “it’s not a scanner”. Finally, I just walked through (didn’t know what else to do). I am hoping it was turned off or something. I then got the handheld metal detector, pat down and swabbed pump and hands. I didn’t get to watch my tray of supplies, so I cannot even be sure they didn’t go through the scanner. However, when I was done with the body check, I went to the other side of the scanner and they guy was examining each item by hand, so I’m hopeful it didn’t go through. I hate how they manhandled every item. I had them intentionally in clear containers so they can be seen easily.

Anyhow, about 30 mins later, my sensor had an error, but it lasted about 30 mins, then resolved. My pump, which I’m still wearing the same set with, seems fine. No issues in the air either.

I’m less concerned with flying home, as I’ll be home after to deal with whatever, so the hard part (ie the unknown) is over with.

Thanks for everyone’s tips!


I go through the body scanner every time…

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The US can be extreme unfortunately. :sweat_smile: I think that’s why I’ve also done the body scanner, against Tandem’s advice. Just a lil easier… Though I’ve never had too hard of a time, and never had a problem with my supplies, just my pump. Sometimes it feels like they have a quota of people to grill. :person_facepalming:

@jojo Sounds like you had a semi-successful trip, other than the annoyance of a close inspection. I hope you don’t mean they had you remove the sensors, CGMs from their bubble packaging; if so, you need to file a formal complaint with TSA about the lack of training…that is strictly not allowed UNLESS a test patch for explosives comes back positive (multiple reasons this could happen).

If you fly thru multiple TSA manned/controlled airports, you’ll find multiple variations…from just walk thru the magnetometer (standard rectangle, no doors, empty your pockets of all metal thing), to TSA folk that insist the millimeter wave scanner (a round cylinder, stand inside, raise your arms like for a pat down, it whirls around you) wont harm anything. The truth is TSA doesn’t know! It’s also your right to refuse the mm wave scanner (at least in the US). But, you also live with the consequence of either a well-trained TSA person that understands the tech and processes OR is not well-trained, has no idea of med tech, and is a letter of the law type or power tripping type. As I recall, Dexcom and Insulet websites both say the magnetometer and x-ray scanners are fine for their gear (not sure about other med tech manufacturers, you’ll have to look them up); I believe both caution against the millimeter wave scanner because they haven’t tested them due to the costs of doing so. Several of us here on FUD have gone thru all of them and allowed our gear to go thru them, including the mm wave scanner, with no impacts; others (myself included) are cautious and request a pat down if the mm wave is in our future. So, that’s the decision point for you. Look up the manufacturer testing/advice; I’v betting they’ll say x-ray and magnetometers are fine, if they have not tested the mm wave systems, are you willing to risk the gear you currently have on? May you always run into a kind, well-trained TSA agent/equivalent, but be prepared for indignity and don’t be afraid to ask for a TSA supervisor if needed.