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Author Topic: Don't Put Your Equipment in checked baggage!  (Read 2375 times)

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« on: December 17, 2009, 16:25 »
It's always been something that bothered me, especially when I read that some airlines will force photographers to check big lenses. Buy lets assume that you are just going on holiday and have a laptop and a camera and maybe a couple of lenses?


Buried in the story:

A total of 330 TSA officers have been fired for theft since the agency's inception, a spokeswoman said.

This year, (airline removed) baggage handlers were caught rifling through suitcases in the belly of airplanes in Hartford, Conn., pocketing laptops, cameras, iPods, GPS units, jewelry, watches and earrings, according to Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.

In Phoenix, a couple was found with 1,000 pieces of stolen luggage and belongings piled floor-to-ceiling in their home. The pair had been lifting bags off carousels at the airport.

Don't put valuables in your suitcase!

« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 09:35 »
Since April, I passed 4 times by Bangkok, 4 times by Taipei, 4 times by Manila, 2 times by Amsterdam/Schiphol, 4 times by Brussels, 4 times by my local airport. This stuff gets worse every year. They make you check your luggage, since the 7kg carry on luggage is enforced strictly everywhere. Last October, I flew East with 2 light boxes and other gear. The heavy stuff fitted in the original carton box that was taped well. Exactly 20.5kg.

My hand luggage was in total 20kg when I weighed it at home, primarily because it contained 7 kg of flash heads (3.5kg each). (Imagine having 5 times to explain why those guns were for). In Brussels (a turboprop to Schiphol) there was no problem. They took the luggage into the cabin. The worst fight I had in Manila getting on my local flight. I had to yell to get my stuff on, but my bragging helped.

Here are the tricks.
- Cam (lens and accessories, batteries) was on my belt, sidebags well stuffed with heavy things. 2.3kg.
- I have cargo pants with 4 deep and wide extra pockets (2 per leg), so pocket #1 and #2 contained my 1TB USB disks 2kg.
- Pocket #3 contained all manuals (cam, lens, strobes) + passport/papers/cash. 700g.
- Pocket #4, side by side 2 strobes (a 580 and an equivalent sigma) with batteries. 1.2kg.
- Normal pocket #1: a heavy manfrotto ballhead plus handkerchief to cover the form. 600g.
- Normal pocket #2. Cam charger and cables. 300g.
- Wide coat to cover it all, pockets: battery charger, laptop charger, disks chargers. 600g but bulky.
- At my back sticking half out my pants but invisible for the check-in agent in front, hanging in underwear (have tight underwear!): laptop. 2.7kg.
- Look bored and ask window seats all the way. Go away sideways. Fake a handicap.

Gain: 10.4kg.
Left: carry on trolley (4.7kg - strobe guns 7kg) = 12kg.
They let me go with a big frown.

The moment you're behind the corner and the weight Gestapo is out of sight, enter a CR and put all back in place. Security doesn't check the weight.
C'est la vie. Rush in the plane before all bins are taken. Whistle and smile when you have to lift the 18kg heavy trolley over your head into the overhead bin because those peering flight attendants can smell when it's overweight. Sit down and pamper your dislodged shoulder.  ;D


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