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07-09-2019, 11:20 AM   #1
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Flying with film

I'm sure this has been discussed to death, but I'm flying to New York later today, plan on bringing some 35mm film. I think I'll just bring it in the carry on.... Is it worth having it hand inspected?

07-09-2019, 12:06 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I travel a lot and only shoot film, so I always try and get my film hand inspected. If there are long line-ups or language issues, then I leave my film in my carry-on camera bag inside a x-ray proof pouch. (Holds 15 rolls of 135)

50% of the time it just goes through, the rest I get pulled over for a quick check and when they see it's just film I get waved through.

Even though I'm constantly reassured by the security staff that slow speed film will not be damaged, I'll always error on the safe side.

Phil.

PS Never leave film in checked luggage, as those scanners are way more powerful and will fog your film.
07-09-2019, 12:19 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Even though I'm constantly reassured by the security staff that slow speed film will not be damaged, I'll always error on the safe side.
I've had films up to 400ASA go through the carry on scanners without a lead pouch with no trouble, though I try to keep them in a pouch when possible. Never risked anything higher.

The last time I traveled with CineStill, on the other hand, it didn't survive the journey even with the lead shielding. (I think that may have been a manufacturing issue, however.)
07-09-2019, 12:36 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
PS Never leave film in checked luggage, as those scanners are way more powerful and will fog your film.
Yes, good advice. Always carry it with you on board.

However, expecting to get your film hand inspected as you pass through, even if you are entitled to it, is iffy.

It doesn't matter if you can quote chapter and verse of what you are entitled to at luggage inspection, I find the security staff usually don't pay you any attention. I've pulled my film out, all neatly wrapped up in a clear zip baggie, and they've still demanded it go through the scanner, and scoffing at my objections ... usually with a "it won't affect it". Last time that happened, I got the distinct impression that if I protested too loudly, or demanded a supervisor step in, I'd be led to a small room, and miss my flight.

Once you go through the gate with your boarding pass, you are in no-man's land, and your rights and freedoms are null and void. You are subject to the whims and moods of the security staff. They can make your day miserable, just for the fun of it.

On the other hand, despite seeing my film go through the scanner on the flight out, and on the way back, nothing showed any signs of x-ray fogging. But that was slower slide film, or black and white max. 400 ISO.

07-09-2019, 12:36 PM   #5
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from 2017:

First, we'll start with recommendations from Kodak directly. You can find all of this information here,

Baggage X-ray Scanning Effects on Film


but the gist of it is:

Always carry your film onto the plane and never put your film in your checked luggage.
Ask for a hand check at security if you have high ISO film, cinema film, or if you will be going through multiple x-rays with the same batch of film.
Be patient because it will take you longer to go through security than normal.
Within the US, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will physically inspect your film by hand if you request them to do so. They will often have you submit your film to a swab test in order to bypass the x-ray machine. I have never been denied a hand check for my film within the US, but I have been denied by the TSA on the Canadian side while flying back into the US from Calgary. This was not Canadian airport security, this was US border patrol and TSA operating at this terminal and despite my request they have been the only agents to deny my hand check within the states.



Getting Through Airport Security with Film ? They Shoot Film

________________________


Film
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
We recommend that you put undeveloped film and cameras containing undeveloped film in your carry-on bags or take undeveloped film with you to the checkpoint and ask for a hand inspection.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/film
07-09-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Yes, good advice. Always carry it with you on board.

However, expecting to get your film hand inspected as you pass through, even if you are entitled to it, is iffy.

It doesn't matter if you can quote chapter and verse of what you are entitled to at luggage inspection, I find the security staff usually don't pay you any attention. I've pulled my film out, all neatly wrapped up in a clear zip baggie, and they've still demanded it go through the scanner, and scoffing at my objections ... usually with a "it won't affect it". Last time that happened, I got the distinct impression that if I protested too loudly, or demanded a supervisor step in, I'd be led to a small room, and miss my flight.

Once you go through the gate with your boarding pass, you are in no-man's land, and your rights and freedoms are null and void. You are subject to the whims and moods of the security staff. They can make your day miserable, just for the fun of it.

On the other hand, despite seeing my film go through the scanner on the flight out, and on the way back, nothing showed any signs of x-ray fogging. But that was slower slide film, or black and white max. 400 ISO.
Yeah, I got a whole lot of blank stare when I said that, decided to not press it so my film got scanned. Ah well. I'm heading to NYC, so I might buy some more rolls at B&H.
07-09-2019, 03:38 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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For those of you with long memories - back to the days of real lead foil over wine bottle corks and Kodachrome.

Turns out, the foil, which you could usually twist off the bottle intact, was a perfect fit for the inside of a plastic film canister (it needed trimmed in length), with room to then slide in the film spool. Voila, a lead-lined film canister. I probably had a dozen of them to go up against airport X-ray facilities. I never had any queries as to what was in my carry-on bag, nor did I ever have any film fogging (the film would have typically been Kodachrome 25 or 64, so pretty slow).

Haven't needed those since I went digital around 2007.
07-09-2019, 04:06 PM   #8
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I recently flew to Russia and back with film. In the US--El Paso Airport, JFK Airport, and Scranton Airport, I had no issues with the hand check. It was a little time consuming because they swabbed every box of film. Moscow (Sheremetyevo) plus the train stations didn't seem to have an idea about hand scanning, so I just ran them through. I figured with 2 train stations and an airport, I would do my best to keep the film out of the x-rays where I could. Everything survived fine, even the roll of Superia 1600 that I shot at night in St. Petersburg.

07-09-2019, 07:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
the film would have typically been Kodachrome 25 or 64, so pretty slow
I remember being overseas on vacation and just popping my freshly shot Kodachrome rolls into the prepaid mailers. All magically returned home without a scratch and some even landed back in Vancouver before I did.

Phil.
07-10-2019, 12:27 AM   #10
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I travel Aus - Malaysia a few times a year with 400 and 100 film (colour, b&w, 35mm and 120). Always in carry on, never bothered getting it hand checked (so xray’d 7-8 times per trip), never had any fogging issues.

I wouldn’t worry about it unless you’re shooting a high iso emulsion.
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