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Loopholes in the system - airline advice re the transit of photographic equipment
Old 10-10-2017   #1
Enoyarnam
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Loopholes in the system - airline advice re the transit of photographic equipment

Hi guys,

I recently travelled from London via Vienna to Cairo on vacation. On the way back the check-in staff remarked that I need not have used a hard case. This came as news to me as it ran contrary to all of the information that I had previously accessed online. They said that their airline had invoked the option to opt out of the more restrictive travel ban rulings.
Laptops and all photographic equipment need not be transported in the hold of the plane and could be taken on board as 'walk on luggage' .

I spent upward of 400-00 on a hard case plus locks and a new walk on case.

I also spent an age sending emails to the airline and to my insurance company seeking the most up to date guidance available.

The last thing I wanted was to turn up at Heathrow and be told that my Range finder equipment would be placed in the hold without full proof protection.

So the upshot of this is that I could have travelled exactly the same way this year as I did last year and with no added expense.

Before I left for Cairo I planned ahead and badgered the airline with my requests for updates. But they failed to get back to me and I decided to play it safe.

I am interested to know if anyone else has had a similar experience.

Best regards
Eugene
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Old 10-10-2017   #2
retinax
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Hi, on my recent trip from continental Europe to Iceland I just took photo equipment as carry-on. No issues. Only now, reading your post, do I remember having heard something about changed regulations earlier this year. The airline website didn't say anything about these items having to go into the cargo hold. Maybe these new regulations only apply to flights to or from the US?
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Old 10-10-2017   #3
RobinWinter
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I just flew from the US, through Canada and to Japan and had photo equipment in my carry-on with zero problems. Well, except that in Canada they decided to walk away while my camera was in the xray machine for about 5 minutes and fogged part of the roll that was in my Bessa R3a really bad...about 10 frames are toast.
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Old 10-10-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinWinter View Post
I just flew from the US, through Canada and to Japan and had photo equipment in my carry-on with zero problems. Well, except that in Canada they decided to walk away while my camera was in the xray machine for about 5 minutes and fogged part of the roll that was in my Bessa R3a really bad...about 10 frames are toast.
I'm glad you posted this. Almost everyone will tell you ISO 400 and slower won't be hurt. I had all of my 400 Neopan ruined in Paris when returning to the US from Italy. Security couldn't figure out what my F2 was and ran it back and forth for several minutes in the carry on X-ray machine.

I work with x-rays and each exposure is cumulative. Each does a little damage and each additional adds to that damage. Eventually you get enough to have visible damage.
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Old 10-10-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinWinter View Post
I just flew from the US, through Canada and to Japan and had photo equipment in my carry-on with zero problems. Well, except that in Canada they decided to walk away while my camera was in the xray machine for about 5 minutes and fogged part of the roll that was in my Bessa R3a really bad...about 10 frames are toast.
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Old 10-10-2017   #6
wes loder
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Flew from Newark to Seattle (Alaska Airlines) with a 50cm Fernobjektiv lens in my carry-on. It went into the machine and the operators near went nuts trying figure out what it was without cracking the case. Must have figured it out because no one asked to see my suitcase's contents and it passed on through. WES
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Old 10-10-2017   #7
MikeMGB
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I flew out of London Heathrow a couple of weeks ago with film and digital closely packed in my carry on, they couldn't figure out what it was so they just cracked it open and looked, they did put my M2 in a tray and run it back through but after that they were happy.
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Old 10-11-2017   #8
RobinWinter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'm glad you posted this. Almost everyone will tell you ISO 400 and slower won't be hurt. I had all of my 400 Neopan ruined in Paris when returning to the US from Italy. Security couldn't figure out what my F2 was and ran it back and forth for several minutes in the carry on X-ray machine.

I work with x-rays and each exposure is cumulative. Each does a little damage and each additional adds to that damage. Eventually you get enough to have visible damage.
Also glad you posted this. I had heard the same and was thinking the meter on my Bessa had started freaking out on that last roll from the trip instead of blaming the xray machine. Then I remembered that my camera sat in the xray machine for at least a solid 5 minutes, likely longer. Plus about 6 other scans from transfers throughout the trip (this was tri-x 400...but pushed to 3200 which is asking for even more trouble). If each scan is roughly 15 seconds, well, 5 min is a ton of scans. Its no wonder the frames got cooked. Very relieved its not the camera though!

Going to try to get all my film hand inspected when traveling from now on since I tend to push to 1600 or 3200 almost exclusively.
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Old 10-12-2017   #9
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Wondering if the OP is actually looking for feedback regarding travel to/from the countries/airports with the cabin electronics ban, rather than a general report about travel through countries not affected by the ban?

It's interesting to read that there may have been some easing about the types of electronics now permitted in the cabin when flying from the restricted countries/airports. In any case, you played it safe by being prepared for the worst case scenario. Nothing wrong with that IMO because the last thing you want is to arrive at the airport to discover the rules have changed further against you and you're not adequately prepared...
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Old 10-13-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'm glad you posted this. Almost everyone will tell you ISO 400 and slower won't be hurt. I had all of my 400 Neopan ruined in Paris when returning to the US from Italy. Security couldn't figure out what my F2 was and ran it back and forth for several minutes in the carry on X-ray machine.

I work with x-rays and each exposure is cumulative. Each does a little damage and each additional adds to that damage. Eventually you get enough to have visible damage.
I too have had x-ray damage from multiple scans. SO many people will tell you you can't have damage to 400 speed films, but I certainly have seen it as well. I didn't bring film this summer to Madagascar, and was very glad I didn't in Dubai where they made me take everything out of the bag and open up the cameras (M9 bodies) after rescanning the bag four times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinWinter View Post
Going to try to get all my film hand inspected when traveling from now on since I tend to push to 1600 or 3200 almost exclusively.
I almost always Fed-Ex film to my destination, and then Fed-Ex it back home. Fed-Ex is very good about keeping sensitive items separate during transport, just ask for the correct labeling. There are times it is prohibitively expensive (Madagascar) but for travel within the US and countries with big business dealings it is a great option. Saves a lot of hassle and worry.
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Old 10-13-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post

I work with x-rays and each exposure is cumulative. Each does a little damage and each additional adds to that damage. Eventually you get enough to have visible damage.
This is helpful. So it is not the case that, in a given exposure to x-ray, there is either some damage, or none at all. Rather, there will always be some damage, whether we can see it or not. I believe it follows from that, that there is no "safe" film, immune to x-rays; not even at ISO 100 or 40. So even though I have accidentally let them run Delta 3200 through twice (outbound and returning), with no visible effects, it still is a bad idea and there could be damage to any film of any ISO.

Thanks, X-ray. It is a good argument to travel by air with digital only!
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Old 10-13-2017   #12
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To the O.P.: I doubt if your purchase of the new case was wasted. Things change rapidly, and it probably won't be long before you will need it, whether for a trip or some other reason. The world isn't getting safer; it is getting riskier!
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Old 10-16-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
This is helpful. So it is not the case that, in a given exposure to x-ray, there is either some damage, or none at all. Rather, there will always be some damage, whether we can see it or not. I believe it follows from that, that there is no "safe" film, immune to x-rays; not even at ISO 100 or 40. So even though I have accidentally let them run Delta 3200 through twice (outbound and returning), with no visible effects, it still is a bad idea and there could be damage to any film of any ISO.

Thanks, X-ray. It is a good argument to travel by air with digital only!
I recently read somewhere from a guy who noticed increased sensitivity in his films after a couple of passes through X-ray. It appears to work the same as pre-flashing with visible light, why not anyway? As long as the exposure is reasonably homogeneous. In the same vein, there should be a threshold under which it's invisible or even beneficial. At the same time it is indeed cumulative even while under the threshold.
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Old 10-16-2017   #14
ChrisPlatt
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I never risk flying with film. There are too many knuckleheads in airport security to screw it up.

You can purchase film at your destination - it's good to "buy local" - or have it shipped there.

Before leaving mail it out for processing and have it returned to your home,
or simply ship the exposed and/or unused unexposed film home.

FWIW shippers typically do not X-ray packages.

Chris
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Old 11-02-2017   #15
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Just came back from a trip to Europe. (England, Austria, Germany).
No issues w/ camera gear as before. None of those rumours that it would need to go as checked luggage etc. Am anxious to see how the film is going to come out (all ISO 100 slide film) as at Heathrow they made repeated passes on it. It was in the x-ray machine for quite a while.
It seems that their advice that anything under 800 ISO is fine really also depends on how much time that film spends getting x-rayed. How did they determine that?
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Old 11-02-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'm glad you posted this. Almost everyone will tell you ISO 400 and slower won't be hurt. I had all of my 400 Neopan ruined in Paris when returning to the US from Italy. Security couldn't figure out what my F2 was and ran it back and forth for several minutes in the carry on X-ray machine.

I work with x-rays and each exposure is cumulative. Each does a little damage and each additional adds to that damage. Eventually you get enough to have visible damage.
I've always unloaded cameras and had all film, exposed and unexposed in separate bags for a hand check when possible. The security people figure all cameras are digital and that X-rays won't damage them.

Actually, I think X-rays in quantity, can damage ICs. Nikon has had some experience with this.
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