TSA Cares for Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
Traveling with a medical condition can be a unique challenge. It’s important to plan ahead and take steps to ensure a safe and comfortable trip.
TSA Cares is a helpline provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that can assist travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, and other special needs. For travelers with Type 1 Diabetes, TSA Cares can provide assistance with the security screening process, making it a bit easier to navigate. Here’s what you need to know:
- Call in advance: Call the TSA Cares helpline at least 72 hours prior to your flight at 1-855-787-2227 to inform TSA of your needs and to get assistance with the security screening process.
- Be prepared: When calling TSA Cares, be prepared to provide your name, flight itinerary, and a description of your medical condition.
- Pack properly: Make sure to pack your supplies, such as insulin, syringes, glucose meters, and test strips, or pump supplies in your carry-on bag and never in checked luggage. Store your supplies properly in a cool, insulated bag or cooler with ice packs to protect them from extreme temperatures. A Frio insulin cooling case might be very helpful in keeping your insulin at the right temperature.
- Plan ahead: Allow extra time for the security screening process and be prepared to explain your medical condition and the need for your supplies.
- Know your rights: Travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, including Type 1 Diabetes, are entitled to special accommodations during the security screening process. If you feel uncomfortable with the screening process, ask to speak to a TSA supervisor.
So far, we have been fortunate enough not to run into any issues while traveling. We always ask for a wand pat down for my son rather than going through the metal detector (to avoid possible impact to CGM or pump). I have heard different accounts from different travelers with Type 1 on the level of service from TSA Cares. Some had no trouble requesting accommodations while others had a bit of a hard time at the airport. It is good to be prepared with the steps above just in case things do not go according to plan.
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