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Traveling by Air with Diabetes

Jun 21, 2015

When traveling, “nearby” may mean closer than you think.

A patient of mine, 35 years of age, with type 1 diabetes, boarded a plane. As recommended, she took her supplies, food, and treatment for a low with her in her carry-on bag. She had a window seat. She did not tell the airline or attendant she had diabetes. Sure enough, the plane was delayed on the tarmac. She had a low as the plane was taking off, the time when all are alerted to stay in their seats with seat belts on….

She was not able to get the attention of the attendant or move the others out of their seats so she could get what she needed to treat her low right away. Luckily, the take-off was pretty quick, she got an attendant’s attention, treated herself, and all went well.

Lesson Learned:

  • When teaching your patients about travel, be clear.
  • Teach that having food, supplies, and treatment nearby means easy to access, such as under the seat or the seat pocket in front of you.
  • Teach to let flight attendants know you have diabetes as you board the plane.


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