Going through Airport Security with Insulin

Airport Security is the part of a holiday I dread the most. Not because I have anything to hide, and we all know just how important Airport Security is, but when you are travelling with lots of cartridges of insulin, needles, lancets, and all sorts of other diabetic paraphernalia it becomes even more stressful. 

In the UK it’s relatively unstressful, when I’m putting my bags Into the trays provided I inform someone that I’m carrying prescribed insulin (which I keep in the boxes with the prescription labels attached) I have my letter from Diabetes Specialist Team, everything is usually fine. 

The stressful part is when you go through airport security abroad. I try to translate the word diabetes into their language, sometimes they do understand, sometimes they don’t. Quite often I’ll be waiting for my bag to be scanned, and you will see the security person do a double take when my bags going through, then signal for someone to check it. I show them my letter and this usually proves fine, in a few countries they have taken down some of my details in some form of log book and then I can go on my way. 

Today I had a new one, whilst going through security in Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Vietnam they asked to scan my bag twice. Nothing unusual, I put my bag back in the scanner and waited for it again, the man checking the scanners signalled for a colleague to check it. I pulled out my boxes of insulin and said what it was, but unusually this wasn’t what he was interested in. I have a spare pen in my travel case, it wasn’t filled with any insulin and was just the shell of the pen. The guy opened the case, pointed to it and asked whether it was “smoke” and then asked if it was “marijuana”! I took the lid off and he could see it was empty, which he then said was fine and sent me on my way. I’ve never had anyone question the pens or the needles before, only the insulin cartridges. 

Today I had a small side bag tucked inside my bigger airport bag, inside was my purse and a few other things which I though would be better left in there. Somewhere between entering and leaving security, this small black bag managed to fall out and get lost (I’m pretty sure it had fallen out inside the conveyer belt as neither John or myself noticed it on the side when they were checking my bag). Thankfully a security guard approached me sometime later and asked if I had lost anything as he recognised me from earlier! He took me to get my bag back (after a lot of questions about what was in it, and how much money was in there – which it all seemed to be there when I got it back). I’m pretty sure everything is in there, maybe minus some glucose tablets but thankfully I have lots of spares. 

Today we’re flying to Da Nang, then heading straight down to Hoi An. We’re not sure how long we’re going to spend here yet as we have heard it is quite expensive, so we will see! 

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