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Airport Travel with a Cochlear Implant

Posted Apr 25 2010 3:03pm
We recently return from our first family vacation that involved air travel! We went to Disney World to celebrate Drew's Sisters' 5th Birthday, and this meant that the kids flew on an airplane for the first time.

I did a little bit of research prior to the flight, mostly revolving around the security process as it related to Drew's cochlear implants. I was worried that Drew would beep going through security, and I was a little worried about taking all of Drew's spare equipment with me on the airplane (would TSA search my bags with such unfamiliar equipment stashed throughout my bags?). I found that many cochlear implant recipients walk right through the metal detectors, reporting a bit of a buzzing sound in their ears, but no other complications. I also learned that most travel with their back up accessories in their carry on luggage. And I certainly carried Drew's medical cards with me, which we were given at the time of his surgery.

As we approached the security check point on our outbound flight, TSA ushered Drew and I to a separate screening area. After I walked through the metal detector, as I have hundreds of times before, Drew and I were moved to a secure area where he was "patted down". He never walked through the metal detectors. I thought it was very cautionary on TSA's part, and I was very impressed by their professionalism. The screener said that he didn't want any damage to Drew's equipment, so they hand screen all cochlear implant travelers.

The exactly same thing happened on our flight home. Again, I was screened through the metal detector, and then Drew was brought to a secure location with me where he was again "patted down". The TSA agent was very professional again, explaining to Drew exactly what he was going to do. We loved our "special" screening in Orlando, as we were moved to a separate line and spared from a very long security line!

Overall, our security clearing process was a piece of cake, and just one additional little thing that is so normal in this little boys life.
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