Flying with a medical device:
tips and testimonials



How can you manage air travel with a medical device? What can you do to make sure security is a breeze? Covering diabetes, prosthetics, colostomies and pacemakers, we collected testimonials and tips from four seasoned travellers.



Alexandre, Nolwenn, Gérard and Jean-Luc each live with unique conditions. However, one thing is common to all their experiences: the need to anticipate, adapt and communicate with their doctor, airport and airline in order to travel with ease.




Travelling with an insulin pump


Attached to the body by a catheter and connected to a wireless sensor, insulin pumps regulate the blood sugar of people with diabetes throughout the day. This relatively unobtrusive medical device may require inspection at security checkpoints and portals.


Alexandre, insulin pump wearer, always plans ahead



Alexandre, 30, is a sales manager and travels two or three times a year to Europe on long-haul flights: « when I travel, I plan ahead and I always pack 20% extra equipment, just in case ».

He also adapts this amount to suit the destination: in hot countries, where his catheter may come undone more often, he brings extra patches.



Alexandre’s tips:


  • Relax

    Travelling is always a little stressful. But a lot of people fly with an insulin pump, so with a little planning, anything is possible.

  • Remember to consider the time change

    Adapt your pump rate if necessary.

  • Have a good time!

Relax

Travelling is always a little stressful. But a lot of people fly with an insulin pump, so with a little planning, anything is possible.

Remember to consider the time change

Adapt your pump rate if necessary.

Have a good time!






Travelling with a prosthetic


When travelling with a prosthetic, good planning and preparation are pre-requisites for a successful trip. If this is a new situation for you, keep in mind that our staff encounter prosthetics on a regular basis and know how to provide assistance.


Gérard, prosthesis wearer, always asks for help


Gérard, 68, is a retired realtor. In 2009, a car accident took his left leg. Ever since, he has worn an electronic prosthesis.


His trick for not forgetting anything before a trip? An Excel spreadsheet! « I note down all the equipment I need to bring with me. For example, if I forget my charger, my leg will become rigid after 4 days, so I better remember it », he laughs. He also makes sure not to forget any equipment needed for his vacation plans, which may be harder to find abroad. For example, specific bandages for adequate coverage during sports activities.

 

At the airport, Gérard doesn’t hesitate to let staff know that he is a passenger with reduced mobility (PMR): « At some airports, you have to walk a long way to reach the exit! So I make a habit of asking for assistance ». In our airports, our teams can accompany you and help you get around the terminals, proceed to check-in, reach your gate and board the plane.




Gérard’s tips


  • Use an organised list of what to bring so you don’t forget anything.

     

  • Remember the most important items: the charger and remote control for your prosthetic.

  • Once on board the plane use canes to move around, but also remember to book an aisle seat so you can stretch your leg.

     

Use an organised list of what to bring so you don’t forget anything.

 

Remember the most important items: the charger and remote control for your prosthetic.

Once on board the plane use canes to move around, but also remember to book an aisle seat so you can stretch your leg.

 






Travelling abroad with a colostomy bag


A colostomy is the result of a surgery: colostomy patients wear a receptacle bag at all times around their abdomen. While there are no contraindications regarding travelling with these devices, they do pose several logistics questions.


Nolwenn and Myriam, colostomy bag wearers, adapt as needed


Nolwenn, 31, diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, regularly travels on domestic flights and has even travelled abroad several times in recent years. « Whenever I leave, I always make sure I have my prescriptions with me, including my colostomy bag prescription so I can always justify every item I have with me ».

In addition to her equipment, she also has a medical device ID card and a Flight Pass provided by her medical lab: its content is translated into six languages.


As you know, hand baggage is subject to certain restrictions. Myriam, president of the Union of Colostomy Patients of Southern France, adjusts her hand baggage to meet the regulations: pre-cutting her replacement bags to avoid carrying scissors or bringing scented diapers instead of a deodorant spray, for example.





Nolwenn’s tips:


  • Plan ahead: airlines offer an additional checked baggage item for cumbersome medical equipment.

     

  • Pack at least 3 days of equipment in your hand baggage to avoid any last-minute surprises if your checked baggage is lost or stolen.

     

  • Relax and enjoy your vacation!

Plan ahead: airlines offer an additional checked baggage item for cumbersome medical equipment.

 

Pack at least 3 days of equipment in your hand baggage to avoid any last-minute surprises if your checked baggage is lost or stolen.

 

Relax and enjoy your vacation!






Boarding a plane with a pacemaker


Flying with an electric cardiac prosthetic is safe and easy. A few simple tips should help you enjoy your trip with total confidence.


Jean-Luc, cardioverter-defibrillator wearer, relies on planning

 


Jean-Luc, 58, travels up to six times a year with a cardioverter-defibrillator implanted under his skin. For him, there is just one essential that he can’t forget: his medical device ID card! Hospitals typically give out defibrillator passbooks, a kind of passport listing all the details of the device. He co-founded the Association for Wearers of Electric Cardiac Prosthetics (APODEC), which also delivers medical device ID cards if needed.


This card helps make it easier to get through security checkpoints. « With a pacemaker or defibrillator, even though it’s not dangerous, it is still better to avoid walking through security portals. All you have to do is show your card and ask for a hand search ».




Jean-Luc’s tips:


  • Remember to take your pacemaker card.

     

  • Get to the airport early:

    since you need a hand search, you should allow extra time for security.

  • Bring

    a list of all places where you can get your defibrillator repaired or ask for assistance during your trip if necessary.

    .

Remember to take your pacemaker card.

 

Get to the airport early:

since you need a hand search, you should allow extra time for security.

Bring

a list of all places where you can get your defibrillator repaired or ask for assistance during your trip if necessary.

.





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