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10-30-2017, 01:35 PM   #1
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experiences traveling on airlines with cameras

I am not sure if this is in the right part of the forums or not but here goes.

I always carry on my cameras and equipment in a back pack

a forum member mentioned that he had heard horror stories about photographers being told by airport security to remove all photographic equipment and put them through security in separate bins

personally I don't fly a lot and when I have, I have had my equipment packed in a back pack and just sent the back pack through the scanner without a problem or being asked to remove any items. I usually mention that the bag contains camera equipment and batteries as it goes through.

the one time I was asked to open the bag and hold out individual cameras/lens/etc. was at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Yet, again, I was not asked to send the individual items in bins through the scanner. the inspection was after the back pack went through the scanner loaded.

does anyone have any experiences on what has happened when they fly with their camera equipment

10-30-2017, 01:50 PM   #2
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Having flown with a backpack of cameras and lenses many times, I've not every had any bad experiences. Most airports will allow the camera and lenses to remain in the camera bag, but some have requested visual inspection of the contents. It's becoming more and more common for airport security to ask for laptops to be removed from their bags, but in my experience it's rare with cameras and lenses. With laptop, camera, mobile phone, wallet, keys, etc it's not unusual for me to fill several of their inspection trays. Never had a problem.

I was once questioned because I had a '57 Ford water pump and a '75 Chevy alternator in my hand luggage. But, no issues with camera stuff!
10-30-2017, 01:58 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
I had a '57 Ford water pump and a '75 Chevy alternator in my hand luggage
One time I carried an exhaust system for a racing motorcycle to Santiago de Chile.
Going through customs I had the thing wrapped around me like a big snake.
Went straight through the green exit, the inspector must have been a motorcycle guy, he just laughed and let it go!
10-30-2017, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
a forum member mentioned that he had heard horror stories about photographers being told by airport security to remove all photographic equipment and put them through security in separate bins
Doesn't sound so "horror-story" to me. If they ask you to do so, how much trouble is that? Two minutes more?

10-30-2017, 02:15 PM   #5
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Only my laptop has had to be taken out of my backpack so far, so I pack it at at the top, ready to be slipped out of its case.
Camera gear tends to bump up the weight of a backpack and some airlines have weight limits for carry-on, but I haven't had a problem so far. We often hear an announcement that there won't be enough room in the cabin for all the carry-ons and that some will have to go into the hold (the horror!), but again no problem for me so far.
I pack my tripod in the checked luggage and that's probably why about half the time I get a notification to say the bag has been searched.
10-30-2017, 02:17 PM - 1 Like   #6
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No problems but I haven't traveled this last year. The new scrutiny on personal electronics may put a real damper on things. I can see the concern about individual bins - the risk for theft and damage goes up as well as the time required to disassemble the bag and then reassemble it.
10-30-2017, 02:24 PM   #7
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Sod the camera/laptop issues! Went through Gatwick (UK) security checks a few weeks ago, and they gave me the "3rd degree" (and more) because of the bank notes (!) in my waist money-belt (Under my shirt, so I almost had to remove my jeans to "satisfy" them). OTOH, the K-30 and lenses in my hand-luggage caused no problems at all!
10-30-2017, 02:26 PM   #8
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No horror stories - well, not involving any camera gear - but I have been asked to remove all system camera items from my bag for inspection (along with any laptops, tablets, and phones). They were then sent in a separate tray through the scanner (not each item in its own tray or any such thing, and no need to unmount the lens). A bit of a hassle the first time since I had packed the camera insert at the bottom of my backpack, but I was prepared the next time.

Come to think of it, I think this has happened to me only at Oslo Intl, and only the last couple of years. It has never happened at e.g. Heathrow, and they are among the more strict airports I've travelled through.

I have also been to airports where they are rather less strict. At one the metal detector beeped as I went through, so I stopped and waited... and nobody seemed to care. Same happened for the next guy, and the next...

10-30-2017, 02:28 PM   #9
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This year I obtained the TSA Precheck "KTN"
TSA Requires a Separate Screening of Cameras in Airports Now
"...Also, if you are enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck program, you won’t be required to remove cameras and other electronics from your bag...."
10-30-2017, 02:47 PM   #10
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I usually take my camera and 2-3 lenses ("minimum" currently is a K-1 + DFA 28-105 + Color Skopar 20mm) on all business trips with me, most inter-continental. Much more equipement of course on vacation. So from the fast security lane pilot in LA "everything stays in the bag", via the usual "camera can stay in" or "take it out if ti's as big as a DSLR" to a second run with:

S: "Please take out any photo equipment and we'll run it through another time!"
I: "The backpack will be empty then."
S: "Huh?"

Another time security caught me:

S: "I think you forgot your camera!"
I: "it should be in the compartment which opens from the side."
S; "'m afraid it isn't."

I ended up renting a K-3 to try on that 2-week business trip, because I brought several lenses while my K-5 was sitting next to the charger at home. I kept the K-5, btw., didn't like the K-3 too much.

The most annoying situation was a security officer, who had asked me to take out all electronics to run the bag through another time. I did. He complained I didn't. He meant I had to take out the smc M-135mm 3.5 as well - made of metal and glass, no silicon nor solder, no wires, He insisted that, as it got attached to an electronic camera, it's "electronics".

Everybody may have a bad day sometimes, but I was usually addressed politely, never held up for long, on far in excess of 100 security checks. Being slightly over 8kg (below) was neither a problem on the few weight checks for carry-on, when I explained what my bag contained.

PS: Back in the day. avoiding fogged fast film was a problem.
10-30-2017, 03:15 PM   #11
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
This year I obtained the TSA Precheck "KTN"
TSA Requires a Separate Screening of Cameras in Airports Now
"...Also, if you are enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck program, you won’t be required to remove cameras and other electronics from your bag...."
Thanks

I think you may have found the source of the rumor that the other member was talking about

my last flight with cameras was in September but I am in the precheck program so that must be why I didn't have a problems

the people behind me in the line won't like it if I do have to unload and then load the back pack

we will see

I'm going to print out the article you linked to and put it with my travel kit.



---------- Post added 10-30-17 at 17:16 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
I usually take my camera and 2-3 lenses ("minimum" currently is a K-1 + DFA 28-105 + Color Skopar 20mm) on all business trips with me, most inter-continental. Much more equipement of course on vacation. So from the fast security lane pilot in LA "everything stays in the bag", via the usual "camera can stay in" or "take it out if ti's as big as a DSLR" to a second run with:

S: "Please take out any photo equipment and we'll run it through another time!"
I: "The backpack will be empty then."
S: "Huh?"

Another time security caught me:

S: "I think you forgot your camera!"
I: "it should be in the compartment which opens from the side."
S; "'m afraid it isn't."

I ended up renting a K-3 to try on that 2-week business trip, because I brought several lenses while my K-5 was sitting next to the charger at home. I kept the K-5, btw., didn't like the K-3 too much.

The most annoying situation was a security officer, who had asked me to take out all electronics to run the bag through another time. I did. He complained I didn't. He meant I had to take out the smc M-135mm 3.5 as well - made of metal and glass, no silicon nor solder, no wires, He insisted that, as it got attached to an electronic camera, it's "electronics".

Everybody may have a bad day sometimes, but I was usually addressed politely, never held up for long, on far in excess of 100 security checks. Being slightly over 8kg (below) was neither a problem on the few weight checks for carry-on, when I explained what my bag contained.

PS: Back in the day. avoiding fogged fast film was a problem.
I remember the " special " bags for film
10-30-2017, 03:20 PM   #12
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Obviously they have to check for concealed electronics as part of a bomb. The Lockerbie guys used a large Toshiba radio in a suitcase. I would hope that a laptop got way more scrutiny than a camera!
10-30-2017, 03:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
Doesn't sound so "horror-story" to me. If they ask you to do so, how much trouble is that? Two minutes more?
you must not carry the same amount of gear that I do

2 minutes, no a lot longer than that
10-30-2017, 03:41 PM   #14
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I was on holidays in August/September and took 10 separate flights. No security screening issues with my camera gear (two film bodies & four lenses) and this included flights into/out of the USA. Everything was left in my carry-on camera bag for the pass through the x-ray machine.

My x-ray proof pouch containing my film was another story.

Phil.
10-30-2017, 03:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
One time I carried an exhaust system for a racing motorcycle to Santiago de Chile.
Going through customs I had the thing wrapped around me like a big snake.
Went straight through the green exit, the inspector must have been a motorcycle guy, he just laughed and let it go!


Must have been a fellow motorcyclist!
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