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Airline electronics ban

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
I see two viable choices:

1. Insure the expensive stuff and ship it in advance to your hotel by FEDEX or DHL.

2. Fly out of the US with your stuff for carry on, then check it in your luggage on the way back and just be sure it is fully insured. If it's lost or stolen on the way back, it sucks, but it's not the disaster that it would be on the way to your destination.
My thoughts too. I'm off to South Africa at the end of August for a photographic trip and this will be my approach if I use an airline that is affected by these restrictions. It's definitely easier if you're based in the US versus visiting since it seems to be a concern about flights from source airports deemed 'less safe'. Carry on on the way out, Fedex with full insurance back afterwards.

However, the idiocy of many of these policies never ceases to amaze, actually disappoint, me. The first time there's a plane down due to lithium battery thermal runaway in the hold we'll see some other hair-brained knee jerk reaction as normal.

I travel weekly for business - the inconvenience factor of not having a work option on long flights isn't insignificant. Losing my work laptop would be annoying (thieving baggage handlers!) but not the end of the world as I can always get to my data one way or another and a new laptop would just be a business expense. Losing my photographic gear though would seriously piss me off, insured or not.
 

JohnBrew

Active member
I see two viable choices:

1. Insure the expensive stuff and ship it in advance to your hotel by FEDEX or DHL.

2. Fly out of the US with your stuff for carry on, then check it in your luggage on the way back and just be sure it is fully insured. If it's lost or stolen on the way back, it sucks, but it's not the disaster that it would be on the way to your destination.
Howard, this is all good advice. However, let's keep in mind NOTHING has happened yet as regards the travel Nazi's. Much is still to be decided. What is to prevent the EU from retaliating from an American ban of electronics from EU countries with a quid pro quo?
I guess what frightens me most is the TSA screeners, whom we know have no common sense and only react to what the "book" tells them is appropriate to a situation.
I could show them the empty battery container on my DSLR or MFDB, but could they not still confine my camera body to checked baggage or even worse, confiscate my photography equipment? Bureaucracy in these circumstances boggles the mind.
Hopefully common sense will prevail and we will all have nice voyages overseas with our precious equipment and return with equipment intact and great images :D.
 
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cerett

Member
Well, considering the rationality of all this, it wouldn't surprise me at all if everything that has electronics (lenses do) and are bigger than a cell phone would be banned.
And wasn't it that batteries had to be transported in the hand luggage, because of the risk of fire in the hold ? Go figure...

I can only imagine the pain of people traveling for business, who used to work with their laptops on the plane. Business class travel is going to take a major hit, if executives cannot work on their laptops during transcontinental flights...
Makes no sense to me - isn't this all about the risk of explosives. A lens is just a hollow tube with a number of glass elements combined into groups. Yes, there may be an electronic circuit here and there, but it is very easy to see what's inside with x-ray. Yes, go figure!
 

young'ee

New member
I'm off to South Africa at the end of August for a photographic trip
Graham,

Have you read up on the crime situation in RSA? Please do yourself a favour and read extensively about the crime that is out of control in RSA. It's a very very violent place these days - it comes out of nowhere and hits you when you least expect it. I expect you will be in the hands of local tour operators and such, so they are of course aware and take precautions.

I am 2 countries North of RSA and we just dont go down there anymore - way way too dangerous now. If you want some truly horrifying stories to read, just google RSA farm murders. Its spread into the cities now too.

South Africa has STUNNING scenery - it's a beautiful place, but it's become a no go zone.

I tell you all this because we need you here, so read up and be aware. That's the best way to protect yourself in any situation.

Re the airlines here - it's still fairly lax. I even flew from South Africa to Zambia with a destroyed passport - try that in the western world and see how far you go (or dont go)
 

MrSmith

Member
Just stop visiting the US. Trump xenophobia has already harmed tourism. There are lots of interesting places in the world.
My plans to visit the US have been dropped as there is just so much hassle with immigration now, they tried to trip up a colleague when taking his Nikon kit through a couple of weeks ago "gee these must cost a lot?" "No, they are quite old now". A conversation about a couple of beatup up d800's because if they think they are worth over $2.5k they put you back on the plane and make you do a carnet. This plus other stories and the current shift in thinking that we are not allowed to talk about mean no leisure trip to the states and a hire bill bigger than it needs to be if it's for work.

I travel a fair bit in Europe with camera and elinchrom ranger battery kit with no issues. Never in the hold though as this contravenes AITA rules on Li-ion batteries and kit is not insured in the hold. Hopefully this ridiculous ban will not spread to Europe.
 

miska

Member
My plans to visit the US have been dropped as there is just so much hassle with immigration now, they tried to trip up a colleague when taking his Nikon kit through a couple of weeks ago "gee these must cost a lot?" "No, they are quite old now". A conversation about a couple of beatup up d800's because if they think they are worth over $2.5k they put you back on the plane and make you do a carnet. This plus other stories and the current shift in thinking that we are not allowed to talk about mean no leisure trip to the states and a hire bill bigger than it needs to be if it's for work.
Is there a limit on the amount your equipment can cost to enter the US, as a tourist ? Is this because it may be considered an import ? I've never had problems entering, because I also have a ticket to leave (so the gear will also leave the country). Or am I missing something ?
 

MrSmith

Member
I'm talking going there to shoot professionally for non U.S. Clients (shooting for a U.S. client as a non native is a whole new can of worms)
The hoops you have to jump through has influenced my views on tourist travel too.
As an aside I will be getting an Irish passport and/or 'European citizenship' if it becomes available once the UK has finished shooting itself in the foot and cutting its nose off, no carnet hassle for me.
 

jerome_m

Member
I'd be perfectly happy checking electronic gear, including cameras, for carriage in the hold if I had an assurance the gear would appear at the other end. The big issue for me is the risk of loss/theft in the handling process. That risk is now thrown in to sharper focus (as it were) by proposed new rules. The airlines need to figure out a far better security option, even if it involves an additional payment, for flights.
Let me lay in out in plain terms for you and anyone interested.

You will have to check in everything electronic bigger than a cell phone, expensive or not. It will have to be put in unlocked luggage or luggage with TSA-approved locks, meaning anyone in luggage handling has the keys.

In addition, because everyone forgets about that part: you can be required to give out the password to any electronic device which crosses a border and hand it out to customs so that they can copy any information as they see fit. That includes all your saved passwords, bank data, medical data, GPS logs, etc... in clear (since the device is unlocked). If you refuse to comply customs can detain you as they see fit. This rule applies to foreigners and US citizens alike.
 

msstudio

Member
Checking photo equipment already happens on occasion.
No space in the overhead, etc. Just too much stuff...The point is simply to lock the cases, insure your equipment and spread things around a bit, so at least if something goes missing, you can still work. One is none as they say in some circles...
 

MrSmith

Member
Checking photo equipment already happens on occasion.
No space in the overhead, etc. Just too much stuff...The point is simply to lock the cases, insure your equipment and spread things around a bit, so at least if something goes missing, you can still work. One is none as they say in some circles...
I use specialist film/photo insurers and my equipment isn't covered in the hold, I just put tripods and misc bits of equipment that are lower in value and replaceable in checked baggage but laptop/cameras/flash in hand luggage. Never had the issue of having to put my cabin bag in the hold as I just tell them it's against their own rules as the large Li-ion batteries are prohibited (and I show them the airworthiness certificate and a print-out of their own guidelines/allowances)

Would you reall put 15-20k of uninsured equipment in the hold? I'm sorry but I just can't afford to lose that amount of gear.

I do know a DOP who puts his Alexa and set of rehoused Cooke primes along with a load of other gear in the hold but gets it insured by the production company for the shoot. I don't work on 100-250k productions though.
 

Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Well-known member
There is still one more choice, If you are traveling overseas from US.

Cross over to Canada and take your international flight. It is inconvenient but possible,

and all your gear remains with you.

R-----
Indeed!
I recently flew Air Canada with my MF gear. It was swabbed and handed back to me.
Bill
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Thanks,

Yes I'm well aware of some of the security concerns having visited many times, including driving both alone and with a group from Johannesburg to Pilanesburg & the Kruger. Last year I was there with three friends and visited a number of different lodges and there was some discussion by the guides/rangers of the more recent farm invasions/thefts/killings even around areas frequented by many travelers such as the Kruger.

When I'm there for work my customer locations are typically fenced off compounds with armed security. This isn't recent and also reflects other norms in places that I also visit such as Brazil & Argentina too.

I try to just get on with life wherever I travel. I think that you have to take that attitude and not get too concerned about what could happen ... heck I'm more concerned about running into a meth cook house or illegal weed grow in our beautiful forests here in the Pacific NW.

As regards flights, I suspect that I'll be using my Pelican cases more often again, even if just for the return flight or shipping.

Graham,

Have you read up on the crime situation in RSA? Please do yourself a favour and read extensively about the crime that is out of control in RSA. It's a very very violent place these days - it comes out of nowhere and hits you when you least expect it. I expect you will be in the hands of local tour operators and such, so they are of course aware and take precautions.

I am 2 countries North of RSA and we just dont go down there anymore - way way too dangerous now. If you want some truly horrifying stories to read, just google RSA farm murders. Its spread into the cities now too.

South Africa has STUNNING scenery - it's a beautiful place, but it's become a no go zone.

I tell you all this because we need you here, so read up and be aware. That's the best way to protect yourself in any situation.

Re the airlines here - it's still fairly lax. I even flew from South Africa to Zambia with a destroyed passport - try that in the western world and see how far you go (or dont go)
 

young'ee

New member
Deleted.

Wouldn't want to upset those who have never experienced the realities on the ground. Its always easy from the comfort of your arm chair from far away.
 
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D&A

Well-known member
Indeed!
I recently flew Air Canada with my MF gear. It was swabbed and handed back to me.
Bill
If this was any other thread topic, one would think you were referring to Air Canada swabbing ( cleaning) your MF digital back's sensor as a courtesy. :)

If all these airline security plans are inplemented, as said elsewheres, the use of Pelican type cases will be on the upswing, whether for checked lugguge for their equipment or for shipping back on their return leg of their trip.

Dave (D&A)
 

DBF

Member
I would never give my Gear out of my Hands. The Security-People always say something like "too big - too heavy - impossible" My Answer is: Yes You are right and show them, what is inside my Pack (Hassalblad H5D60 + 5 Lenses + MacBook + this and that = 15kg). I was then always allowed to take it with me in the Airplane.
Good to know, that it will not be allowed coming to USA - there are many other nice Places in the World.....
 

algrove

Well-known member
Kindly keep me informed if and when the TSA implements the rumors.
I am currently in North Africa and will return to US via Switzerland in 2 more weeks.

Thanks.
 
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