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Home > Knowledge & support > Living with type 1 diabetes > Everyday life > Travelling > Airport security and diabetes technology
Many UK airports are now following guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority to help people with type 1 get through airport security as quickly and easily as possible. The information below can help you make the process as smooth as possible.
Allow at least one hour to go through security in case your luggage or type 1 tech needs to be checked.
A Medical Device Awareness Card was launched in the UK in 2019, sponsored by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Airport Operators Association (AOA).
The card provides information about insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for airport Security Officers and passengers.
Simply print it off from the CAA website and take it to the airport with you.
Learn more about the MDA Card in this short video:
Even though it may not feel like a disability, type 1 diabetes is legally classed as a hidden disability. Many UK airports now provide lanyards for anyone with a hidden disability so that security staff are aware they may need extra help, understanding or knowledge.
Contact the airport you’re flying from to ask if they provide hidden disability lanyards and to find out how you can get one.
Don’t forget to get a letter from your GP or Diabetes Care Team before you travel so you can prove you have type 1 diabetes and provide details about the treatments and technology you are carrying.
You will need to take the equipment and supplies you need for the journey in your carry-on luggage, and anything that can’t be put in your hold luggage (like insulin, which can freeze in the hold, and pumps, which can be damaged by luggage scanners). This means you’ll have to take it through airport security.
Tell a security agent that you are carrying medical equipment before you put your bags through the scanner or walk through one yourself. Show them your MDA card, doctor’s letter and hidden disability lanyard (see above) if you have one.
Most CGMs can be taken through the walk-through metal detectors at airport security. However, they should not be exposed to x-rays so shouldn’t be exposed to hand luggage scanners, hold luggage scanners or full-body scanners. If you don’t want to remove your CGM when you go through a full-body scanner, you can ask for a pat down instead.
If you’re unsure, contact your CGM manufacturer.
Most insulin pumps can be taken through the walk-through metal detectors. They should not be exposed to x-rays so don’t put them through hand luggage scanners, hold luggage scanners or full body scanners. You can either remove your pump to go through the full body scanners or ask for a pat down instead.
If you’re unsure, contact your insulin pump manufacturer.
Flash glucose sensors, called the Freestyle Libre, can be taken through all airport security scanners, including x-ray, without it affecting its functions.
Make sure you are using a medically approved cool bag to take your insulin through security, otherwise security staff may not accept them.
You can take insulin pens through all the airport security scanners and detectors. Make sure you have your documents to hand in case you are asked about your insulin pen.
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