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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Traveling question....airports.
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12/13/2007 06:37:55 AM · #1
I'm going on a trip next week (Detroit to Vegas) and I want to have my camera with me as a carry-on. Not being a frequent flyer, I want to know if thats going to be a problem for security or x-ray etc....thnx.
12/13/2007 06:48:45 AM · #2
I haven't travelled anywhere near the states but the general rule goes that if you have anything fragile or of value, always take it on as hand luggage. Airlines generally can't disallow these items as carry on luggage. I haven't had any provlems with X-rays and that with my camera but if you have a large and heavy tripod they may make you check it in as it proper baggage as it can be used as a "weapon."
12/13/2007 06:56:35 AM · #3
So if I have a camera bag with batteries, lenses, chargers etc. that should be fine? OR should I pack accessories in luggage?
12/13/2007 07:01:09 AM · #4
Carrying a camera bag with all the assorted accesories (batteries, etc) has never been an issue for me. I have taken my D70, 4 lenses, 2 batteries, charger, etc on with carry on multiple times this year. I typically check my charger and other 'non-essentials' because all that stuff tends to weigh a lot and I don't want to lug it all around the terminal with me

I would recommend leaving your monopod and tripod in the checked luggage. But, it seems that security is only worried about bottled drinks these days...

Originally posted by tommy_t:

So if I have a camera bag with batteries, lenses, chargers etc. that should be fine? OR should I pack accessories in luggage?
12/13/2007 07:02:54 AM · #5
I just flew from Houston to Costa Rica. Your accessories should be fine as carry on. I just made sure that I removed my allen wrenches for my tripod. I carried a 40D, 70-200, 28-135, 18-55, 50, 550EX, cards, battery charges, filters and tripod head. I put my tripod in my suitcase and checked it in. I went straight through the security with no questions, the gentleman behind me had a DSLR in a backpack with other stuff and he had to pull his camera out.

Usually the most you will have to do is pull the camera and lenses out to show them that it works and they can see through them.
12/13/2007 07:06:17 AM · #6
Take everything carry on with you. I've never had a problem. And I believe TSA actually tells you to take batteries in your carry on and not to pack them in your checked luggage.
12/13/2007 07:27:50 AM · #7
It is not an issue at all. I carry a rather large kit with me on all my travels and TSA never gives it a second look.
12/13/2007 08:25:55 AM · #8
I live in Detroit and travel frequently for work ... I take my entire kit as carry-on luggage and have never had a problem ... accessories and all ... you shouldn't have any issues ... have fun and win lots of money!
12/13/2007 09:16:36 AM · #9
Never, ever, let anything fragile & valuable go underneath. The baggage handlers are animals, and the equipment is nasty too.

Here's what happened to my checked luggage last month. Delta / Skywest is supposedly sending me an "equivalent" replacement, as this particular Jeep model has been discontinued. No more matching luggage set for Slippy, not that I care about that.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/35357/120/622079.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/35357/120/622079.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
12/13/2007 02:44:49 PM · #10
Thanks for all the help :)
12/13/2007 04:09:20 PM · #11
I've traveled about 40 weeks (back and forth each week) this year so I can say with much authority that you should have no problems carrying the gear you mentioned.

Some tips (at least for U.S. domestic travel):

- Do not check your gear as baggage--make it part of your carry-on
- Be aware that you are only allowed one carry-on piece of luggage plus a smaller item such as a purse, backpack, laptop bag, camera bag, etc.
- Make sure that smaller item will fit under the seat in front of you. If not, you may be able to put it in the overhead bin along with your luggage.
- Airport X-Ray machines don't harm normal digital camera gear or accessories
- Many times I carry a tripod. I insert it partially in an outside pocket of my luggage, so it all "appears" to be one piece. It is in a carry bag with drawstring. When going through the x-ray machines, you'll have to put it on the conveyor belt separately. Once you get on the plane, remove it from the pocket and place it in the overhead bin next to your luggage.
- Make sure you have all your belongings before deplaning--all your bags and camera gear, especially if you've taken your camera out to take photos inside the plane or through the window, which is perfectly legal :-)

Have a great flight!



12/13/2007 04:19:11 PM · #12
No problems with taking it as carry on.

Just last week I had to take a trip, so here's what I learned. Pack your batteries in your checked bags. I lost $50 worth of rechargeable AA's because when my bag went through X-ray, they saw the batteries and went through my stuff (they were very careful with the gear after I asked them to be which was before they even opened it) and took them.
12/13/2007 05:52:09 PM · #13
I've carried on everything I own in my bag, including batteries (camera and AA for flash), and they haven't given it a 2nd look -- at airports from the east coast to the midwest to the west coast. I do pack my tripod in my checked luggage, mostly because I don't want to lug that around the terminal (but also because TSA rules say you can carry on one bag of photographic gear so I'm not sure if my tripod would count separately).
12/13/2007 08:32:30 PM · #14
Originally posted by Creature:

I do pack my tripod in my checked luggage, mostly because I don't want to lug that around the terminal (but also because TSA rules say you can carry on one bag of photographic gear so I'm not sure if my tripod would count separately).

That's why I put mine in the outside pocket of my roll-a-board. Even with it sticking out as much as it does, the mentality is that it is part of the roll-a-board (one piece).

Also, I've heard horror stories of tripods being checked under the plane. Stories from damage (it was on the bottom of the pile) to stolen. Granted, my "travel" tripod is relatively inexpensive (I don't travel on a plane with a carbon fiber one), so unless I buy a hard case for mine, it's staying with me in the cabin.

12/13/2007 08:56:59 PM · #15
I have had no trouble at all with my camera gear traveling by air. I carry my everyday bag which weighs about 25 lbs with a pro body, a flash, 11 lenses from 15 thru 300 mm, assorted filters, batteries ect.
Just make sure that you don't accidentally put or have anything in the bag that is on the list that you cannot have in carry on luggage and everything will be fine. They may ask if they can open the bag (they do that, you are not allowed to open it at the TSA counter. ) It's easy to check the TSA site on line to get the details about what's not ok for carry on luggage.
You cannot use the camera until the aircraft is in cruise mode, and will be told to shut down all electronics when the plane starts to descend. It's a bummer that you can't use your camera on the best parts of the flight.

Have a safe and happy trip.
12/14/2007 01:58:56 AM · #16
The photographic accessories you're most likely to have any troubles with are:
- Screwdrivers and similar (e.g. for tripods) - stabbing weapon.
- Electrical tape/gaffer tape/etc. - restraint device.
- Photographic film - can be damaged by cumulative exposure to X-rays, no matter what the airport people say. (Memory cards aren't a problem, not sure about hard drives.)

Put the tape and tools in your checked luggage. Insist on film being hand-inspected (US legislation still grants you that right, we don't have it as a right here in Australia but generally get it if you ask politely).

I was allowed to carry electrical tape on a flight from Sydney to Ayers Rock, but it was confiscated on the return trip. Fortunately, I managed to persuade them to delay confiscating it until AFTER they'd opened up all my taped-up my medium format film packages containing exposed film (and to inspect those by feel not visually, 120/220 film doesn't have a light-tight canister).
12/14/2007 02:14:07 AM · #17
Originally posted by paddles:

The photographic accessories you're most likely to have any troubles with are:
- Screwdrivers and similar (e.g. for tripods) - stabbing weapon.
- Electrical tape/gaffer tape/etc. - restraint device.
- Photographic film - can be damaged by cumulative exposure to X-rays, no matter what the airport people say. (Memory cards aren't a problem, not sure about hard drives.)
. . .

Screwdrivers are legal on board as long as they are 7 inches in length or less.

Hard drives are not a problem with security x-ray machines.

To be safe, check the TSA list of Permitted and Prohibited Items. By the way, nowhere in that list is tape mentioned.


12/14/2007 04:13:01 AM · #18
I'm on a trip right now with all my camera gear, and I've carried it on board three planes so far. In fact, my current challenge entry was taken at one of the airports I went through, where I spent 30 minutes shooting without so much as a curious look from anyone. I also take pictures in the air. No problem.
12/14/2007 04:13:42 AM · #19
The list mentioned is a great help, but not a guarantee that something will pass. I practically memorised it before we left for NZ and Aus.

At the airport here my tiny (1-inch blade) scissors were removed from my sewing kit. When I questioned, I was told that any scissors with a sharp blade weren't permitted, but rounded blades were fine.

(Quote from the site; "Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches", carry-on, yes, packed, yes)

In Vancouver we were required to put our lighters in plastic bags and in our pockets rather than carry-on bags, then in LA he looked puzzled when he saw the lighters and even more puzzled when we told him why they were in bags. They were never questioned again, and we carried 5 lighters home in pockets and carry-on without a word.

I was stopped for a random explosives test on my camera bag in LA by a VERY pleasant and friendly young man. This consists of running a swab around the inside of the case then running the swab through a detector.
The first time I had this done, in Edmonton, I was a tiny bit aprehensive, as I'd bought the case second-hand at a flea market, but all's good :)

So, 8 different flights on 3 different airlines on this last trip, and those were the only tiny glitches we met up with (other than horrendously long lines).
12/15/2007 12:51:39 AM · #20
Originally posted by AperturePriority:


Screwdrivers are legal on board as long as they are 7 inches in length or less.

Hard drives are not a problem with security x-ray machines.

To be safe, check the TSA list of Permitted and Prohibited Items. By the way, nowhere in that list is tape mentioned.


Good to know about the hard drives (didn't think they were a problem but wasn't totally sure), and thanks for posting the TSA list - it obviously applies to the OP travelling within the USA, but different rules will apply elsewhere.
12/15/2007 02:32:49 AM · #21
Security-wise, I think the US probably has the strictest regulations, so if you follow them you should be okay just about anywhere.

Other countries DO have different import regulations though, that it's important to be aware of. Australia's are very strict regarding anything that is, or was at one time, alive, for example.
12/15/2007 02:53:07 AM · #22
When I travel, I take a camera bag and a laptop bag. I put my fragile camera stuff in the camera bag (camera, lenses), and I put my chargers and non fragile stuff in my luggage. In my computer bag, I put my laptop, ipod, anything I want to read, headphones etc.

I have traveled a lot in the last 12 months, all over the world and it all works for me, never had a hassle.
12/15/2007 02:55:43 AM · #23
Originally posted by BeeCee:

Security-wise, I think the US probably has the strictest regulations, so if you follow them you should be okay just about anywhere.


I think you might find the UK is a bit stricter on security than the US. At least that is my experience. I lived in the US for 6 years and travelled back and forth to the UK (and other European countries) 6 or 7 times a year.

If you are travelling to or through a UK airport you can only have one bag. That includes purses. Unlike the US where you can have a carry-on plus a personal item. This is due to be reviewed in the not too distant future, but still applies today (at least as at December 1st).

Even if the airlines allow the extra carry on, UK security (TSA equivalent) will not permit more than one bag. I carry my camera equipment as carry on whenever I travel, but whenever I go through the UK they normally manually search the bag each and every time. Never had a problem though, but they are pretty thorough.
12/15/2007 03:03:18 AM · #24
Originally posted by AperturePriority:

- Make sure you have all your belongings before deplaning--all your bags and camera gear, especially if you've taken your camera out to take photos inside the plane or through the window, which is perfectly legal :-)


Just want to clarify that (at least as of the last time I flew) digital cameras are indeed "approved electronic devices" and can be used during flight, however like other approved electronic devices they must be stowed away during takeoff and landing (below 10,000 feet).

~Terry
12/15/2007 03:09:10 AM · #25


Just want to clarify that (at least as of the last time I flew) digital cameras are indeed "approved electronic devices" and can be used during flight, however like other approved electronic devices they must be stowed away during takeoff and landing (below 10,000 feet).

~Terry [/quote]

I usually use my point and shoot Panasonic LX2 in movie mode and film many take offs and landings...never had a problem. I have quite a collection of these now: Heathrow, Changi Singapore, Fiji, LA, Melbourne...
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