Saturday 19 August 2023

Taking A Diabetic On A Plane & A Spot Of Trouble...

 I'm writing this post purely as I wish I'd read something that would have put my mind at ease before we flew to Norway.

Both my wife and I were a little worried about taking our eldest through airport security, and all the other bits that go with going to a foreign country where you're not sure where you'd get replacements for anything you need. It had been 12 years since either of us had been on a plane so we were a little rusty anyway. 

We were told to take double what we needed, plus a bit. So we had extra insulin, both sorts, enough needles to last her a month and four Libre 2 sensors, she was due a change the day after we got there anyway. As well as sugar tablets and sugary drinks and spare Nova pens should they break (we've had one break since we've started on this diabetes journey so although they're said to be reliable, it's worth having). 

None of this should go in the hold and the Libre sensors can't go through the scanners which your bags normally go through. 

We spoke to the hospital a couple of months before the trip and they sent us through a letter to show airport security and talked us through everything we would need. 

I have to admit that I was worrying about the whole thing, not having stuff scanned at the airport seemed like a bit step. But when we got there they were as friendly as anything. the lady dealing with us looked at the yellow boxes the sensors come in and says "Ah a Libre 2 sensor," and then took them from me "My friend over there wears one!" She pointed to her colleague who waved back to us. 

I mentioned that I was worried about all this and she reassured me that they deal with it hundreds of times a day and to them it's perfectly routine. The only thing they questioned was the little carton of apple juice my daughter favours to control her lows, but they scanned this, said it was on the letter so was fine. 

I had worried about nothing! 

Then, breathing a sigh of relief, I was just about to collect my stuff and the airport security guard put his hand up for me to stop. 

He then pulled out a folding knife from a side pocket of my bag. My heart sunk and I realised that I had chucked one in there for the scout camp a few weeks back. Now I did panic. Had I wrecked the holiday before we'd even stepped on a plane?

I had a nervous wait for the police to come and speak to me. I sent my wife and very worried looking children away to get some breakfast, while I paced about. 

Luckily the police were very understanding once I spoke to them. I had to watch a short video about knife crime and was then let go on my way once they had taken my details. Apparently it happens about 5 times a day, making Gatwick the knife crime capital of the UK. 

I felt like such a fool, I'd been concentrating so much a about the diabetes that I hadn't checked my own bag properly! What an idiot! 

So don't worry about taking a diabetic on a plane - but make sure you check your bag properly! 

Anyone else had any experiences like this? Don't tell me I'm the only one! 


  1. I sympathise with the worry. I have a letter from our hospital explaining the need for needles, pens etc. Never had a problem except an official at Palermo airport who couldn't read English, somehow that was my fault! I have had tweezers removed and confiscated several times and a new unopened bottle of water confiscated!

    1. You can do a lot of trouble with a set of tweezers!
      I think Norway is particularly easy as everyone and I mean everyone speaks english so it was dead easy to speak to them about it on the way home.

  2. I haven’t but as someone who used to carry a pocket knife religiously for years, I can understand. I have broken that habit since 9/11 and increased airport security just in fear of this very scenario.

  3. Kev, it never hurts to check and prepare - in my experience (US mostly), the security is pretty cool as along as you are cooperative and are not "that person". The letter was a great idea that I might never have thought of.

    1. They told us early days they'd provide a letter for us. Just helps make it easy when we got there.


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