5 Tips to Make Airplane Travel with Your Medical Supplies Easier
In a tragic, but unfortunately not uncommon instance reported here, a man was going through airport security wearing an adult incontinence diaper. He had prostate cancer, and while he survived, his bladder control did not. TSA did not understand that his diaper had been used and the softness of the diaper containing urine was just that, and not an explosive device. The fact that he was wearing an adult diaper was loudly announced to all in ear's reach at security. The man was humiliated and his trip was probably ruined. Yet, TSA was performing their job to keep everyone safe. How could this difficult situation have been avoided?
Aside from requiring sensitivity training among TSA workers, and we have no control over that, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for safe airplane travel while maintaining your dignity.
1. Arrive at the airport with plenty of extra time to make it through security should they do a body check on you. I suggest giving it an extra hour on top of the 1-3 hours you need to arrive early anyway. If you are not rushed, your temper might not flare as easily when dealing with a security agent who doesn't know what "incontinence" means.
2. If you wear your medical supply, in the form of an incontinence pad, an ostomy pouch, etc., speak to the entry TSA agent at the beginning of the check point. Inform them that you "wear a medical device and will probably need a body check but please, I'd rather not let the whole world know if possible." TSA agents are people too and they are used to getting the brunt of traveler's emotions. If you treat them with respect, chances are high that they will do the same in return.
3. Wear clothing that will make it easy for you to have a body check done. Easy on and easy off makes the check go more fluidly and quickly, especially if you have to change your medical product for the agent. So bring plenty of spares!
4. Accept that the TSA agents may have to lay hands on you and check your body. This is terribly uncomfortable for most of us and accepting that it's part of an agent's job makes it a little easier. You will also have to answer questions about your medical product. Why do you use it? What does it do? Again, it's probably not out of curiosity but out of their job description that they are asking.
5. Know your rights. If you feel you are being humiliated on purpose, taken advantage of, or are just generally uncomfortable with the agent checking you, it is your right to ask for another agent or for a supervisor. Again, try and stay polite but firm.
Do these tips seem helpful? Do you have any more tips to share? Please comment below.