If you read my blog because we belong to some of the same T1 groups then you have probably seen me posting about flying for the first time since Ang’s T1 diagnosis last year. Or, my paranoia about being strip searched by the TSA for putting juice boxes in our carry on bags. I am here to tell you that it was all for naught!
I have been so stressed out about what to pack for our trip as far as diabetes supplies and worried about “Is this going to get us in trouble?” “Is this going to have to be thrown away at the security checkpoint?” I now have the answers to those questions! NO! Just no!
We left Los Angeles Monday evening after a quick curbside good-bye as my husband dropped Angelina and I off at the airport. I was a little disappointed because apparently the terminal we were dropped at didn’t have a skycap so I had to attempt to maneuver our giant suitcase (which I miraculously managed to get to weigh just under the 50 lb limit. It weighed in at 48.6) while also carrying a giant purse, a giant backpack full of electronics, a carry on suitcase full of medical supplies, and corral Angelina! We waited in line at the airline desk for what seemed like forever, but finally we were on our way to security.
I made a point to tell every TSA worker that we came in contact with that my daughter had T1D and that I was carrying medical supplies. Of course, I didn’t need to and I kept being told “Tell them at the front”. We finally made it through the (very narrow and anxiety inducing) line up to the conveyor belt. Fortunately we got cleared into the TSA pre-check line which means I didn’t need to take anything out of any of our bags and we both got to keep our shoes on! I told the gentleman that my daughter was T1 and that this suitcase was filled with medical supplies, including liquids. He talked to the person running the scanner and let him know then directed us to the line for the metal detector. I will stop here for a minute.
This was a big source of my anxiety. We fly out of LAX and I sort of figured that if any airport had the AIT (imaging) machines, that it would be there. TSA rules say that if you refuse the AIT you have to get a patdown. You can’t choose the metal detector if you are supposed to go through the AIT unless you are physically incapable of standing with your arms above your head for the 7 seconds it takes them to scan you. So, I had given Angelina an early heads up that she might have to get a pat down. LAX does have the AIT machines, but apparently they only do them for some people and most people still just go through the metal detectors. Woo! Was I happy to see that we didn’t have to go through the AIT. However, when we got up to the metal detector Angelina was in front of me and the guy stops her and says “What’s that under your shirt?” So she lifts up her shirt and starts explaining about how she has diabetes and it’s a machine for her insulin, yada yada yada. Angelina tends to be long-winded (wonder where she gets it from? *wink*) so I was just like, it’s an insulin pump and braced myself. The guy says, okay, go on through and then stand right here and points to a spot to the side after the metal detector.
She walks through, no beeps. I walk through, no beeps. We stand to the side for a minute and a lady comes with a little piece of padded cloth, swipes it over Ang’s hand and sticks it in the machine then says we can go. We walk over to the conveyor belt, grab our stuff and we are on our way. No questions, no bag inspection, nothing. All of my worrying was for nothing. The whole experience was actually LESS stressful and intrusive than the last 3 or 4 times that we have flown since I didn’t have to separate out my bag of liquids and take off my shoes, etc.
The hardest part of the whole experience for me was waiting in the chute. I am a big girl, and I am also prone to claustrophobia, so to be stuck in a partitioned line that is just wide enough to accommodate our rolling carryon suitcase, while wearing a big backpack, a big purse and said suitcase and trying to keep Angelina from knocking into things/people with her backpack was very uncomfortable. But, we made it!
The flight is a different story. Overnight flight with a very excited 10 y/o makes for a very exhausted mom who got zero sleep in over 24 hours. Add in a 3 hour time loss and I am just very glad that I know what to expect for our return flight. It should be easier. David will be with us to help and it’s a daytime flight where we gain time instead of lose it.