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Traveling with Camera Equipment - a different twist

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Schlitz, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Schlitz


    Apr 22, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    Dave Talboys
    I travel quite a bit in my job (part of the reason why I haven't been around here much lately) and about 5 months ago I had a total knee replacement. Knowing that my screening process was going to change, I quit taking my camera equipment with me, and so far I believe that has been a good thing safety-wise. The reason I say this, is that in each airport I go through (with the exception of one), I have been separated from my computer, bag, and shoes during the pat-down screening process I now must go through. While I do have my eyes on my things at all times, I am usually stuck in a Plexiglas enclosure and couldn't get to my things if I were to see someone attempting to walk away with it. All of my items sit at the end of the conveyor while I am going through the screening process, and usually 4 or 5 people pick up their things and go around mine

    Now I am a great believer in the kindness and honesty of people overall, but I am not naive either – I saw a guy lose his laptop at a checkpoint in Dallas a few years ago and have been a little paranoid about this ever since. I do use encryption on all the files on my laptop, and it has some call-home software on it if someone unauthorized should try to use it. A little long-winded to get my question, but I really want to take my camera with me when I travel so… does anyone know if I have the right to carry my camera equipment in a separate bag and take it with me through the metal detector and request a hand search of the camera and bag since I have to request the pat-down search anyway? The only thing I can find on the TSA website refers to film cameras and my rights for a pat-down search due to medical reasons.
  2. jaleel


    Apr 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    my experiences have been mixed in different airports.. at Heathrow London a couple of months ago they made everyone shove everything into one carry on even before getting to the screening line.. in Halifax, NS i saw someone carry a lowepro toploader through the metal detector and they searched it using the same 'brush' thing they use for laptops

    if security gives you a problem maybe you can request that you pick up the camera right after it get's sent through the xray and before you get searched?
  3. The joys of perceived airport security and the wonderful world of TSA.

    As far as I know, the FAA has not changed the rules on camera equipment, but can tell you from personal experience that insisteing on hand screening, even for film, will gain you additional screening.

    Think about the irony here, we can't protect people's personal belongings from theft, but we can protect an airport or airplane from a terrorist??!!!
  4. jaymc

    jaymc Guest

    I guess I'm lucky I don't have a job that requires aircraft travel. I haven't flown since 2002 and don't plan to do so in the future. I would rather plan ahead and drive across country than fly.

    - Jay
  5. Phil Lee

    Phil Lee

    Jan 17, 2007
    Sale, UK
    This has been the case in all UK airports since August 2006. You are only allowed 1 piece of hand luggage and it has to conform to the standard bag size. This has been rolled out to all the EU countries as well as a number of Asian and Australasian countries as well. It also applies when flying to and from the USA.
  6. The question is how to deal with transporting photographic equipment through airport security, not comments on governmental policies and procedures.

    I've taken my Lowepro Photo Trekker through airport security many many times on national and mostly international flights. We even traveled into and out of Heathrow during the prohibition from the foiled terrorist attack last September. The bag was stuffed with my D2X, D200 and loads of lenses. Truth be told it clearly exceeded the carry aboard weight limit. I've never had any difficulties or losses.

    I never asked for hand screening since I was accompanied by my wife each time but I do mention to the operator and the person at the detection device that there is photographic equipment in the bag. It serves two purposes: alerting them to what to expect on the xray screen and secondly that there is expensive equipment in the bag. It's worked so far.

    Your equipment clearly will be out of your sight, even if you are accompanied by someone. However, in the U.S. and U.K. Italy and Germany you can't get past the detection machines unless you have appropriate identification so the only people "on the other side" are security agents and already screened passengers who have a legitimate reason to be there. Your property is as very low risk during that time. I'd venture to state it is safer right there than when you're sitting at an airport restaurant table eating a meal with your bag somewhere near your feet. All it would take is a split-second noise or distraction and it would be gone in a second.

  7. jaymc

    jaymc Guest

    It's not just before boarding that I don't like, but the perils still exist even when settling in to your seat. When I flew last, I got a seat at the back of the plane but found the overhead bins full. I attempted to put my carryon under my seat but was told by the flight attendant that it didn't fit. She proceeded, in a not too nice tone, to take about $7K of my gear at store it in an overhead bin about 25 feet in front of me! :mad:  With the new rules of not getting up so many minutes prior to landing, I couldn't retrieve my gear before touch down. After landing I made a frantic attempt to get to my bag and was lucky no one grabbed it before me!

  8. Schlitz


    Apr 22, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    Dave Talboys
    As Rich says, this is not a commentary on TSA or governmental regulation, but rather a question on how best to enjoy two new things in my life while on a trip - my new knee (which is like a whole new lease on life!), and the great new D200 I picked up from GBRandy.

    The issue I have is not so much running the camera bag through the x-ray screening equipment, as I never let my stuff go through the until the person in front of me has cleared the metal detector, and I was always there on the other end to pick it up. The problem is that the new knee sets off the alarm, I show them a card stating that I had a replacement, and then am immediately escorted to a secure area with no opportunity to get my bags. When I have asked to have my bags with me, I have been told that they will be fine where they are, not to move from the spot I am directed to, and that will always have the items in my sight. It's just very uncomfortable then to have to watch several people (passengers not security folks) move my computer bag and trays to the end of the line so they can get their items. Guess I just need to buy a good P&S and take it along - it really bothers me to have time to myself in a different location and not to have a camera along to share my travels with my family. As unfortunate as it is, these days we all need to learn to adapt to change in order to ensure everyone's security and keep the "friendly skies" friendly.
  9. VoidRaven


    Jul 13, 2006
    Lagrange, OH
    I must admit, I am very interested in this thread. I will be flying with my camera gear for the first time this December and I am scared out of my mind! I don't have much, mind you, but I really can't replace any of it ($$$-wise). Fortunately I will be flying with others who will have similar stuff so I'm gonna follow their lead....but it still disturbs me none-the-less!

    Heck, as it is I need to buy a new bag for the gear for the plane ride.
  10. Schlitz


    Apr 22, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    Dave Talboys
    Don - Last year I never had any problems taking my camera gear along as I always waited (it doesn't slow things down a bit) to let my stuff go through the x-ray machine once the person in front of me cleared the metal detector. I also made sure that I didn't have anything metal on me so that I could make it through without a problem. Most of the time I was at the other end just as my things were making their way through the screening.
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