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04-24-2017, 01:21 PM   #1
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Transporting camera equipment on commercial jet.

I've been able to avoid flying on a commercial jet for over 30 years as I experience wretched ear pain . However the time has come. We're visiting family members who live too far away to drive.

I have concerns about transporting my camera equipment. To begin with I'm taking my smallest DSLR...a Km, my smallest wide angle a 21mm Limited, my 55-300 and Takumar 2X extender. That's it.

I also plan to take the camera equipment on as carry on or personal luggage, hopefully personal luggage so I can put it under a seat on the plane. I'm concerned about vibration, etc. having a negative effect on my equipment. What do you think ?

Couple of options I've considered:
  • Use my small LowePro AW 170 and pack the camera stuff with foam in the bag.
  • Wrap each lens/extender and camera body in bubble wrap and carry in my soft bodied briefcase.

Any thoughts ? What do you do ?

Also what about memory cards ? I believe they run therm through different machines, etc, don't know if this has a negative effect on memory cards or other stuff.

My questions probably seem somewhat naive, but not having taken a commercial flight for many years...I need advice. Thanks.

Les

04-24-2017, 01:53 PM   #2
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I use a LowePro Flipside 400AW to transport equipment when I fly. It fits neatly under the seat in front of me so I can keep track of it the whole time I am on the aircraft, or if the baggage compartment above me seems like it is not going to be disturbed, I may place it in there. The pack is well padded and has convenient compartments for storage. The compartments are adjustable using velcro to secure themselves. I have taken my SD cards through the security check without experiencing loss of images or any obvious dysfunction of the SD card. My Pentax K-5IIs did not seem to suffer from any of the check(s) either. I was advised by others that it was safe to go through the checkpoints.

Last edited by C_Jones; 04-24-2017 at 02:01 PM.
04-24-2017, 02:54 PM   #3
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I have a small camera bag - I think it's called a Lowepro Nova AW1. In this I recently took a K-5, an 18-135 and a DA15 plus SD cards and a deglassed 2x T/C (for A-aperture-controllable macro work) from Newfoundland to Australia and back as carry-on without issue. The DA15 travelled on the camera; the 18-135 travelled stowed on the other side of the bag's divider with caps on and hood reversed, and the T/C dropped in on top of it. On top of all this I could, at a pinch, gently lay the charger and its cable.
04-24-2017, 02:54 PM   #4
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I just got back from a trip to central america. Also used a well padded Lowepro. Although it was too big to fit completely under the seat in front of me I was asked only once to put it in the overhead storage. That was on one leg of the trip on the smallest plane we were on. Probably depends on the carrier. We flew Delta. No problem with SD cards.

04-24-2017, 03:57 PM   #5
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A bag in which you'd feel your equipment was safe in any travel situation should suffice on a plane, especially if you're just carrying it on - it's no more tough on your stuff than most other transport. A bit of padding and sensible packing is all you need.
04-24-2017, 04:08 PM   #6
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04-24-2017, 04:18 PM   #7
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People in their millions carry cameras, computers, phones, even musical instruments and works of art, on planes all day every day without problem. Millions of crates electronics and far more sensitive kit are air-freighted around the world week in week out...most of the cameras we own have already been on a plane at least once. The vibrations on a modern plane are far less than in an average car or indeed in a bag on your back while you walk to the gate.

You and your camera are both much safer on the plane than on the drive to the terminal or anywhere else for that matter.
04-24-2017, 04:23 PM   #8
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Your camera gear was shipped from Vietnam or the Phillipenes to your retailer by container freight and truck, then to you by Postal or Common Carrier that likely included air freight. It has been bounced, bumped jostled and jiggled, sometimes quite sharply. It will be fine in any padded camera bag you carry in you car - or for that matter in a semi-padded bag like a classic Domke canvas bag with padded inserts. I've flown with a K10D, K-01, Q/Q7, K-3 and K-1 plus 3 or 4 lenses often and never had any problems. I use a LowePro AW sling bag, Domke F-5XB or Domke F-8 depending on the camera.


Last edited by monochrome; 04-24-2017 at 04:31 PM.
04-24-2017, 04:41 PM   #9
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I do not pack any gear in checked luggage. On last years trip out to Yellowstone National Park I put my DA 40 Limited and DA 21 Limiteds in my checked luggage nestled in mostly clothing. The DA 40 focus ring was bound up and it needed to be repaired. I do not know if it had a defect and this was pure coincidence or whether it was due to rough handling of my suitcase. The suitcase was slightly damaged on the outside.
I now carry on whatever gear I will be traveling with and I have two bags that I use. When I need to take a lot of gear I use my Domke Journalist Chronicle which is a big well padded bag which can trolley on my wheeled luggage. If I need less equipment I carry on a Domke F-803. No issues with carry on with either of these bags which fit under seat or in the overhead bin. I have no worries this way for cameras, lenses and memory cards. Just be aware, at least in the US, there are restrictions on traveling with lithium batteries. You cannot pack them in checked luggage. They must be in carry on.

Last edited by jddwoods; 04-24-2017 at 04:47 PM.
04-24-2017, 05:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I'm concerned about vibration, etc. having a negative effect on my equipment. What do you think ?
You are seriously over thinking this. Just put your gear in your bag the same way you would in your car. There is no difference.

I have checked gear in the past when I had to but I always carry on my camera and critical lenses. I have checked tripods, filters, flashes and such which I could stand to lose if the worst happened. For carry on gear I usually put my camera bag in my roll aboard with some clothes for padding. The camera and a single lens goes in my laptop bag just in case I want to shoot while flying.
04-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #11
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I use a tenba messenger bag with my computer and all the camera gear including batteries and chargers. Then I place that inside my rolling carry on bag because it's heavy. Works great and I have enough space for a few other carry on items.

On one flight they needed to check our carry on bags because the overhead bins were full. I didn't want to check my camera gear and extra batteries so I just took the tenba bag out and was able to take my camera gear inside and put it under the seat while my larger carry on bag got plane side checked.
04-24-2017, 06:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I've been able to avoid flying on a commercial jet for over 30 years as I experience wretched ear pain . However the time has come. We're visiting family members who live too far away to drive.

I have concerns about transporting my camera equipment. To begin with I'm taking my smallest DSLR...a Km, my smallest wide angle a 21mm Limited, my 55-300 and Takumar 2X extender. That's it.

I also plan to take the camera equipment on as carry on or personal luggage, hopefully personal luggage so I can put it under a seat on the plane. I'm concerned about vibration, etc. having a negative effect on my equipment. What do you think ?

Couple of options I've considered:
  • Use my small LowePro AW 170 and pack the camera stuff with foam in the bag.
  • Wrap each lens/extender and camera body in bubble wrap and carry in my soft bodied briefcase.

Any thoughts ? What do you do ?

Also what about memory cards ? I believe they run therm through different machines, etc, don't know if this has a negative effect on memory cards or other stuff.

My questions probably seem somewhat naive, but not having taken a commercial flight for many years...I need advice. Thanks.

Les
Les, I'll ditto what everyone else here said. I generally check my other luggage because too many people bring too much stuff on the plane and jam it inot the overheads. I have a typical photo backback with very thick dividers that fits under the seat. Regarding your ear pain I can relate. I do not tolerate pressure change very well and have had flights that took me days to recover from. Then I started using a product called Earplanes which regulate the air pressure. They work great for me. Here is a link to their site and you can get them online or at many drug stores. In-flight Cirrus Healthcare Products

Hope that helps
04-24-2017, 07:44 PM   #13
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When I emigrated to aus, I flew with a k-1, the 3 FA limiteds, a DA*300, a DFA100, and two laptops (thin ones luckily!). All of that was tightly packed into just a normal rucksack (power supplies, rocket blowers, etc were all in my main luggage). I would not suggest putting your kit under your seat - use the overhead lockers where they can't be kicked accidentally. My advice would be to get in queue for the plane early, and ensure it has a prime spot in the overhead bins where it won't be bashed by others. Always feel free to jump to your feet to help others reorganise the luggage if room is a bit tight.

Given that the amount of kit you're planning to take is somewhat smaller than what I took, I'd just wrap put the camera in a tiny top loader, and keep the lenses in their own cases (or wrapped in clothing/bubble wrap), and put all of that in a normal rucksack (I never understand why people take expensive camera bags for their kit on their travels - it's just a red rag to theives!). Vibration concerns aren't really an issue on a plane. Just make sure the kit isn't bashed about when loading into the storage bins above the seat. You'll be fine
04-24-2017, 07:50 PM   #14
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I carry on and use no special precautions beyond how I would transport my gear in my own car.
Good luck
04-24-2017, 09:54 PM   #15
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I just throw my camera and 2-3 lenses in a plastic grocery bag, and toss it in the overhead compartment. That's how tough Pentax is.

Actually, I don't hesitate to put my camera bag under my seat or nestled in the back of an overhead compartment, perhaps with my jacket to pad it. I've done it many times without problems.
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