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View Full Version : TSA and First Time Flyer - EVER!



Angela_Lawson
11-23-2010, 08:57 PM
Ok, several years ago I was able to attend Imaging in Tampa, but we drove, so that my husband and son could hang out with "Nana and Papa" while I attended the conference. And that was the last major trip that we have taken.

So, now we have been able to work it out to all fly to San Antonio, as I have a cousin in the military who is stationed there, that we are staying with. However, I am the only one of the 3 of us that has never flown anywhere, EVER! And to top it all off, I have some medical issues that I know will end up with me being pulled to the side for "the pat down" that we are all hearing about. I have a large metal cage in my back, and a metal plate in my foot, and have to wear a back brace. I am also diabetic and will have to carry my insulin and needles, as well as probably having an insulin pump at that point. I'm also going to have to take my c-pap machine as a carry-on, so it doesn't get lost in luggage. (We will have 1 layover). Oh, and what about medication? I'm on a handful of prescription medication, on of which is a narcotic that I have to keep with me, as I'm in the process of weening myself off of it. How do I handle carrying medication that I have to keep on my person?

My questions are to those of you who fly regularly, and/or have flown with medical issues such as these. How have you all been handling all the new TSA stuff going on? Do any of you have to travel with any these types of things, and how has it been handled? I can deal with the x-ray machine, since there is only one or two strangers who will be seeing the images. But since I will set off the metal detectors with my back hardware, I know that I will get a pat down as well. If I have a new insulin pump, will they make me detach it? And how do I handle having to travel with my insulin and needles on the plane? (I have to have them with me, as well as my glucogon in case of extremely low blood sugar). I guess I'm just worried that my husband and son will fly thru the stop point and I will be held up because of the health issues.

Also, since this is probably the only time I will ever make it to San Antonio, I really want to bring a camera with me (my d300, not the d3), and have a reasonable telephoto for it. I'm going to bring that as a carry on, as well, but should I keep it really simple (camera body, lens, and one SB600, batteries, and cards)? I've decided to leave the laptop home, as it's much to big to haul around (an older 17").

Basically, I would like as much help in preparing for this trip as possible. Anyone who has been there before...what is the weather typically like for this time of year? (My cousin just moved there this month, so she really isn't familiar enough with the weather yet). Should I be packing shorts and short sleeves, or pants and short sleeves, or will it be chilly? Remember, I'm coming from Michigan, so if it's in the 50's and 60's, that shorts weather to me. :D

Sorry about such a long post...just want to get my ducks in a row.

BTW, I haven't booked our flights yet...anyone know if there will be any upcoming discounts or should I do it now before prices go up again. (Should have done it last week, as the tickets went up $40 each). :mad:

Jack_Reznicki
11-23-2010, 09:15 PM
Angela,

Glad you're coming. Just quickly to reply, as I'm sure lots of folks will jump in.

Get a letter from your doctor. Make sure medicines are in original bottles.
Call your airline and talk to a representative before you go. Get their name and phone extension.
When you get to the airport, try and talk to a TSA person BEFORE you get in line and up to any machines.
Also, very important, bring a sense of humor rather than an attitude or apprehension.

My wife and I just flew Newark to Georgia on two different airlines (different days) and no scatter machines and no pat downs with way for either of us.
Personally, I think much has been overblown on both sides of these traveling issues. I've gone through scatter machines on other trips. I don't see the big deal on the privacy issue. Someone in a closed room sees something on a screen, they never see me. A tech looking at an MRI sees way more, LOL.

Keith_A_Howe
11-23-2010, 10:10 PM
Angela,

I fly with a C-Pap machine. It's never been a problem. Your husband and son may go through the check point quicker but they won't go off and leave you. they will be right within your eyesight all the time. If in doubt you just stand in front of them in line so you go through first. I have heard it doesn't hurt to have a letter from your doctor with the info on the metal plates in your back and foot. I don't know if that's true or not. I have also heard to carry copies of the perscriptions for all medications with you. Again, that may be a waste but if I was dependent on medications I would want to have a duplicate perscription in my billfold at all times anyway.

The last time we were in San Antonio there was a freak ice storm. Who knows what the weather will be this time around. Even when a place is warm it can be chilly inside the convention center. Bring layers. If you have a short sleeve shirt, a sweater and a jacket you can mix and match as needed.

Once you got through security for the first plane, you won't go through again as long as you stay in the secured area during your layover. There is really no reason to leave the gate area because there are always restrooms and food service in every concourse. So you won't get checked again during a layover.

Remember everything that you think makes you different is still something the TSA people see every day. Don't worry about it.

Keith

Joe_Galioto
11-23-2010, 10:16 PM
i'm leaving my c-pap home, just taking the ambien
joe

angela, since it's your first flight i think your untitled to one of those little wing shaped lapel pins
oh never mind there for the mile-high club, my mistake.

Joe_Campanellie
11-23-2010, 11:27 PM
If it wasn't for my wife...I would never fly. Spent many an hour hanging out of helicopters with the doors off photographing for my Dad. Just figured I had used all my nine lives up. Just started flying again a few years ago. Used to drive...everywhere. But once you fly you'll wonder why you didn't fly more often. Sure as heck is a lot faster.

Besides...I couldn't get to Alaska by car. Well...I could but it would have taken about a week. If we were lucky.

As Jack said...a sense of humor is a good thing to bring with you. Stuff happens when you fly and you just have to roll with it.

Cindi_K_McDaniel
11-24-2010, 02:53 AM
Good luck girl!!! I do hope to meet you there :-)

Angela_Lawson
11-24-2010, 03:21 AM
Thanks everyone. That puts my mind at ease a bit.

And I'm looking forward to seeing you all there.

ChontelleBrown
11-24-2010, 03:22 AM
I fly with my migraine medication which is a narcotic and haven't had problems. As mentioned, leave it in the original bottle.

Hope you see you there.

Chontelle

Cassandra_Sullivan
11-24-2010, 05:51 PM
Angela here's some info from TSA if you haven't seen it yet: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1374.shtm and http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/cpap.shtm

I hope to see you there!

Angela_Lawson
11-24-2010, 09:07 PM
Thanks Cassandra, that helps alot. Boy, do I have a bunch of stuff to have hand inspected. The people behind me are not going to be happy.

See you there!

Heather_L._Smith
11-24-2010, 09:36 PM
Boy, do I have a bunch of stuff to have hand inspected. The people behind me are not going to be happy.

They pull you to the side to do hand-inspected stuff, so don't worry about that part. Just knowing that it'll take extra time is good - you can plan for that.

On my honeymoon (let me preface this by saying I was 18 when I got married), we went to the Cayman Islands and there were signs posted saying you couldn't take anything from the beaches. Well, I really, really wanted to take some of that pretty sand home with me, so I decided I could sneak it in my bag by double-bagging it in a couple of ziplock bags, then sticking it way down in the bottom of my carry-on bag. Well, to the scanners at the airport, it looked like about a quart of powdery substance, so I got pulled aside and they did the full inspection - only to find out it was sand and I was young & stupid :)

Just don't do anything stupid and you'll be fine!

Jack_Reznicki
11-25-2010, 03:13 PM
My mother-in-law just flew up from Atlanta to NY the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. At 87 she's a very experienced flier, so she gave herself some extra time. She said it was one of the fastest security lines she's ever been in. Flew through security.

So be careful and give yourself time, but I think a lot of what we've been hearing in the news lately is stuff to make the news. If this stuff wasn't sensationalized, they wouldn't have anything for the news cycle. Like the guy in NY that stripped down to his skivvies to go through security. There was no lines, no hassles and he flew through while giving the TSA agents a good laugh. I think it was a publicity stunt, nothing more. HE has a blog and I'm sure he was hoping to get hassled so he could write something sensational.

Plus I've been reading some accounts that don't mention names or specific airports which I believe are made up and are now entrenched Urban Myths.

As said, go with a sense of humor rather than apprehension and you'll be more than fine.

Mark_Turner
11-25-2010, 03:50 PM
Angela, I hope it all goes well for you. It is never as bad as we expect it to be, and most times we always end up sayign "That wasn't bad!".

Now, I can't stand it. I have to post this here...

Joe_Campanellie
11-25-2010, 05:29 PM
They pull you to the side to do hand-inspected stuff, so don't worry about that part. Just knowing that it'll take extra time is good - you can plan for that.

On my honeymoon (let me preface this by saying I was 18 when I got married), we went to the Cayman Islands and there were signs posted saying you couldn't take anything from the beaches. Well, I really, really wanted to take some of that pretty sand home with me, so I decided I could sneak it in my bag by double-bagging it in a couple of ziplock bags, then sticking it way down in the bottom of my carry-on bag. Well, to the scanners at the airport, it looked like about a quart of powdery substance, so I got pulled aside and they did the full inspection - only to find out it was sand and I was young & stupid :)

Just don't do anything stupid and you'll be fine!

That's funny...On my first trip to Alaska to photograph bald eagles I found an eagle feather on the beach. Didn't think too much about it. On the flight home I put in our checked luggage. When I got home...it was gone. Found out that was a big NO NO. Seems the only ones who are allowed to posses eagle feathers and carcasses "legally" are the indian tribes for their ceremonies. And all of this is overseen by an agency of the government. Forget it's name right now.

George_Hawkins
11-27-2010, 12:26 PM
My lady friend has metal in her hips and always readily admits to TSA what she has and pleasantly goes through separate inspection off to the side.
Have no fear, if you follow the suggestions with your carry on gear.

Angela_Lawson
11-30-2010, 05:31 PM
Thanks everyone. I plan to be prepared and go with a sense of humor. So when I see you all, I'll either be able to say that it was a breeze, or I'll have some stories to tell. ;)

Jack_Reznicki
11-30-2010, 07:09 PM
"Vaya con dios" as they say in Texas :D
You'll have a great trip and a great time. See ya there.

Stan_Lawrence
11-30-2010, 07:37 PM
"Vaya con dios" as they say in Texas :D
You'll have a great trip and a great time. See ya there.

I thought it was "lave sus manos".... Texas is different, I guess.... ;)