TKR and flying

Hello All,

I'm new to this site although I've been on various other 'Arthritis' sites over the years.

I hope someone on here can point me in the right direction or give me some advice. I had a TKR 12 weeks ago and all is well with it. The thing is I'm going to Tenerife for half term with 2 of my daughters, (one of whom is 12 and at the stage where I am an embarrassing Mother!) and it will be the first time I'll have flown with bits of metal in my knee. Does anyone know the 'procedure' to get through security without having a 'patdown' by staff. The young one would be horrified if that happened. Thanks in advance.


8 Replies

  • You could contact the airline your flying with beforehand and tell them that you have had an op and what is the procedure when you get to the airport. You could also get a letter from your drs telling the airline what you have had done and that your safe to fly.xxxx

  • It will be difficult to avoid being hand searched even with a doctor's note. After all, just because you have a knee replacement that doesn't stop you potentially putting dangerous products in your pockets. Might it not be better to prepare your daughter for this happening, maybe get her interested by telling her about the wand they use to wave over you to see what's inside and so on? If she saw it as something special rather than embarrassing that could help. And she'll see that loads and loads of people are hand searched, so not just her mum. Either that or get your husband to take your daughters through first, and follow on after once they're out of sight.

    Also, it's even more likely to happen on the way back as an English doctor's note won't have much sway with Spanish authorities.

    But do take a doctor's note with you anyway to show you're safe to fly.

  • Have you told them you are disabled, in which case you will be put in a wheel chair at arrival, all your family will then be taken through all the procedures quickly, and yes you will have "pat down" but from a sitting position and less frightening to your children. Plus they will ask you where on your body does it hurt and they are extra careful in those areas. If you explain it beforehand to them that it's because mummy cannot go through the scanner it should help as well. I am speaking from my the treatment I received at gatwick last year.

  • A letter from your doctor would probably be useful to wave at security staff.

    I wouldn't be embarrassed by pat downs though - its not just people who "beep" that get that treatment - security staff regularly do random extra checks and your daughter could even be the one they pick on. Its just part of flying these days. I used to be embarrassed by having to open up my suitcase in front of them, but am getting quite blase about it now - even if my dirty clothes are on top.

    A friend of mine always has fun with the scanners at airports - when they wave the wand over her she beeps at nipple level (you guessed it, piercings), beeps at belly button level (piercings again), and then when they go further south... beeps again (yes, another piercing!). She does have some pretty heavy duty metal ornaments on her though.

  • I have several sites where I have had metal replacements and because they are generally a mixture of plastics and Titanium they do not show up on security scanners. It is generally ferrous metals (iron) that they are looking for. The metals that are used for sharp objects and weapons. I have had some of mine for over thirty years and have never been troubled at airport security. However, I also went to Tenerife recently with my wife for a holiday and both going out and leaving Tenerife I was pulled out for a pat down and look through my bag. I didn't think I looked particularly suspicious but maybe I was just the random culprit! I do however have a letter that I carry with me that explains I have RD and a copy of the drugs I take. I don't think you will cause too much embarrassment to your daughters. Have a lovely holiday! Brian

  • This is a subject of frequent discussion on a FB hip replacement group! I can tell you two things with almost total certainty: (1) Different airports have their scanners set at different levels: at Heathrow they're very sensitive, at some less busy overseas airports they're less so. No airport will tell you how sensitive their scanners are, because then all the smugglers and terrorists would head their way! (2) If you are passing through an airport with a sensitive scanner, there is no way to avoid a pat-down. Airports pay NO attention to doctors' letters etc because they're easy to fake.

    I haven't flown since my THR, but my plan is to announce myself to security staff at the scanner before stepping through it. I did once set off the alarm (before I had any artificial parts!) and my kids were a bit embarrassed and worried, but they survived! I think you need to let your daughter know that this is very likely to happen. Sorry!

  • On letters, I usually draft what I want Drs to say this saves delays

  • I've flown several times with Ryanair from Stanstead,I've had 2 tkr in the last year,I always book as disabled,you pick a wheelchair up,go through security as a special passenger,you are scanned in wheelchair,they are very careful with any arm lifting etc.My knees always set bleeper off,and they just say metal knees,I say yes,and after a thorough scan with the wand,through you go.ive never been asked for a doctors note.If you can change your booking to special needs, it's well with it,saves all that queuing at security,especially if you need to sit,or get tired from standing for long periods.hope this helps, have a lovely holiday.x

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