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Old 02-15-2010, 09:27 PM
Location: Wyoming
9,421 posts, read 17,405,113 times
Reputation: 14099


It's been a long time since I've had to fly on commercial airlines -- not since 9/11. But now I've got a wedding to shoot in Mexico this fall.

In the past I could carry one bag on the plane, and if I had too much photo gear for the bag, I could slip lenses and whatnot into coat pockets. I have a feeling it won't be that easy now. But I'll have probably $15,000 in camera gear, and I don't want to just run it through with the regular suitcases, not to Mexico, not to anywhere. If it got lifted, I'd not only be out the gear but also the wedding photos.

Does anyone know what I'll be allowed to carry on? My wife will be accompanying me, so we'll be able to get all the equipment in two small bags easily, if not just one.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:33 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
39,552 posts, read 47,768,430 times
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This may be of help. Though you may want to call your airline for the latest up date.
January 2010 - Despite the recent attempt to detonate explosives on a flight into Detroit on Christmas day 2009, there have been no changes in general rules relating to carry-on baggage and photographic gear. Passenger screening may be somewhat stricter, especially for flights into the US from overseas, but they currently seem to be mainly more intensive inspection of luggage and passengers rather than additional restrictions on what can be carried onto the plane. Of course this can change at a moments notice, but as of early January 2010 there seem to have been no significant changes. The TSA's list of prohibited items can be downloaded from the TSA website at
http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/prohibited_items_brochure.pdf (broken link). Note that this document is currently dated March 2009.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:52 AM
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,420,830 times
Reputation: 4849
You should really look into a Tamrac backpack for your gear. I wouldn't recommend putting expensive lenses in pockets. We travel with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment all the time and have no problem carrying on. These backpacks are the greatest thing ever, I wish we discovered them sooner!

The Official Tamrac Homepage - The leading manufacturer and distributor of camera, photography and camcorder bags
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:36 AM
Location: Wyoming
9,421 posts, read 17,405,113 times
Reputation: 14099
Thanks Nitram. I read the link over closely and it looks like I shouldn't have a problem.

And thank you too, MAK802, but I have a couple LowePro backpacks and a couple Tamrac bags as well. The gear into coat pockets was simply a way of getting around airline rules on a flight back from a shoot in Alaska.

I had two bags full of gear and film, but they'd only allow one carry-on bag. I didn't want to give one over to the baggage handlers and hope it arrived in one piece. I asked if I could put stuff in my coat pockets. No problem there, as long as I could wear it. So I filled all the pockets of my mountain parka -- 30 or 40 pounds of gear -- and walked on with one bag. (To say I looked like the Michelin Man and Pillsbury Doughboy rolled into one would be an understatement!)

Oh yeah. I was able to scrunch the empty Tamrac bag into my LowePro, so as soon as we were airborne and I had an empty seat next to me, I took out the Tamrac bag, then filled it with all the gear from my pockets. It was okay to walk OFF the plane with two bags.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:13 PM
Location: Big Island- Hawaii, AK, WA where the whales are!
1,492 posts, read 3,659,483 times
Reputation: 785
Check with your airline also to see if they have a lbs limit for your carry on. Hawaiian now is 25lbs - 26lbs had to take out a sweatshirt and wear it. I also flew with a camera bag as my purse. So carrry on and small pack with camera equipment. I did take computer out of the bag but left all the camera gear in pack for scanner rather than unload it all. They didn't mind.

Have a great trip.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:00 PM
26,590 posts, read 54,613,838 times
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I just carried about 17 pounds of gear on my flights a few weeks ago. I had a Nikon D300 with battery grip, a Nikon D70, an 80-200 f/2.8, a 50mm prime, a 28-70 f/2.8, an 18-55 f/3.5, an SB 600, a teleconvertor, and a card wallet all packed into a Lowepro Micro Trekker 20.

I had no problem at all going through security, they didn't even oen it--only questioned the empty lens padded lens case hanging off the front.

What I didn't have with me that you might is a tripod or monopod. I would definitely pack those in the checked bags--a fairly inexpensive replacement (all things considered) can be purchased when you land if for some reason your luggage doesn't arrive with you.
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