Getting Through Airport Security With an Ostomy – Is It Really That Difficult?
We see it time and time again: the airport security are ignorant to what a stoma is. They thought I was attempting to smuggle contraband through within the appliance.
I admit when I have been told a few stories that as well as being mortified I have had to laugh. For those of us with an ileostomy I can guarantee that there is no way we would try and hide things within the bag due to the outputs nature.
I had a harder time getting through security with a fistula than I have had with Bertha. I got drug swabbed en route to Dublin but that was my fault for being funny and packing ostomy gelling agents in a baggie rather than the actual packing.
The bag has never set off the scanning machine; all in all my experiences have always been a positive one.
I got questioned about scissors in my hand luggage but lifted my top and got waived on through.
Southend Airport has to be one of the most relaxed airports I have ever been through. Security was so quiet, no issues; I collected my blue band for hidden disabilities. It was so easy and such a pleasurable experience.
Flying back from La Palma was also a breeze. Straight through security and yet again no issues, pat downs or questions. I also loved this airport due to the smoking areas once you got through security.
The only issue I have found is the fact that airplane toilet facilities are rather cramped and confined so moving about to empty the bag can be a slight hindrance.
I normally pack my supplies in the suitcase but being frugal this year, one 20kg case between three of us and there was no way I was fitting in two weeks worth of supplies and losing clothing. I tried numerous times to get the medical waiver with Ryan Air customer services to no avail. Turns out I had to speak with the special assistance line and five minutes later I received 5kg medical baggage waiver for each way. Showed this at the boarding gate and off I went.
Luck of the draw?
Personally I think that it is a bit like Russian roulette as to how we get treated going through airport security. As times are changing and people are being educated then fingers crossed the horror stories we hear are less likely to re-occur.
Charities such as Colostomy UK are now working hard with all UK airports to help educate airport staff and security as to what stomas are.
Many thanks for reading
For our #BeTheChange campaign, our aim is to create more understanding for those living with stomas and invisible illnesses, to help make situations such as going through airport security a much easier and less daunting experience. Find out more here.
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