Written by Asha Sampath | 
Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Jun 20, 2014

Diabetes and Air Travel

People with diabetes have to take extra care during air travel. Those, especially with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, who travel long distances by air involving time zones, have to bear in mind.

  • Meal schedules
  • Meal type
  • Monitoring of glucose level and
  • Timing of medications

These passengers should carry all necessary medications with them during the flight. Additionally they should also have:

  • A supply of needles and syringes
  • Insulin vials
  • Blood glucose monitoring equipment and a glucagon emergency kit
  • Sugared snacks

Diabetic patients, on all air travels, should carry a medical card stating the condition and dosages of medicines required.

Insulin dosage may vary depending on the direction of travel. If one travels eastward, the days would be shorter which means lesser insulin, while westward travel is just the contrary.

Travel associated stress is another factor that must also be taken into consideration; it is wise for diabetic passengers to frequently monitor their blood glucose as well as urinary ketone levels during the period of travel.


  1. Medical Advice for Commercial Air Travelers - (http://www.aafp.org/afp/990901ap/801.html)
  2. Health and Travel Tips - (http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/onboard/healthtips.html)

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