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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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Airline transportation

Leaving aside issues of potential theft, what are people's views on wrapping the lens, eyepiece, camera body, etc individually in tons of bubblewrap, burying them deep between jumpers, socks and underwear, then checking it as hold luggage on a transatlantic flight, adorned with 'Fragile' labels, of course?

I'm just a bit concerned that my Portabrace is about three inches bigger in every dimension than the carry on allowance for Virgin Atlantic passengers in any class.

Am I being a complete twat-head (as we so quaintly say over here) even thinking about it?

Guidance (and a stern talking to) welcomed.

Thanks,

Ian . . .
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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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As long as you don't mind going to Milan to collect it :-)

Seriously though, that's a big risk for the camera body and the lens. I've carried tripods and other accessories in hold baggage without incident, but have seen luggage quite badly damaged on a single trip.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #3
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I've not moved camera gear this way but have frequently moved other very valuable and fragile goods checked into the hold. I have had checked luggage lost no less than 6 times though (mostly in America, once in Holland, once in Brazil and once in China). However, I always, eventually, got it all back within about 2-4 days, totally intact. I've more luck than most I suspect!

The inconvenience of this is why most of the (literally) 1 million miles I've flown, mostly long haul, the last 7 years has been with hand baggage only.... whenever possible. That's what hotel laundry service is for.

If you're flying out to do a shoot and your camera arrives a few days after you it will not be much fun. I really think you need to find a carry on solution for the critical item(s).

PS. Against my advice, my wife took an expensive china dinner service to Canada last year packed the way you describe and, almost unbelieveably, it all arrived without a single chip! Like I said, we're lucky!
PPS. I remember in India I was on the plane waiting to disembark and watching the ground staff throw big heavy bags to each other, and drop a few on the concrete.....
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Old November 10th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #4
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Hmmm . . . food for thought.

Up until about seven years ago I was a very frequent flier (in the year 2000 I 'enjoyed' 223 flights, according to our business travel agents at the time. In the ten years I was travelling I had my baggage lost just once (and found within 24 hours) in the States and cut open once (and a load of dodgy CD's taken - serves me right) in Japan.

But this isn't the time to get cocky! Like you, mostly I travelled with carry on only.

I suppose what I could do is pack the PortaBrace in a large suitcase and carry the key camera components in a smaller bag in the cabin. At least that way I don't turn up at the client's offices with a camera in a Waitrose carrier bag!

Thanks for helping me think straight, gents.

Ian . . .
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #5
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I have carried my XL2 with most of my accessories in a Lowepro Lens Trekker as a carry on luggage. It’s a gamble… I almost got stuck in Melbourne ‘cause too much hand luggage.

But the good thing with XL2 it that you can split it up and carry it in a much smaller bag, if you pull the VF and lens of … you should be able to get this is a bag not much bigger then a ladies handbag. That’s what I’m gonna do on my next fight.
You can even unscrew the shoulder pad and make it even smaller… I don’t use my shoulder pad at al… mostly ‘cause it don’t fit in my UW housing, but I don’t screw it on for “on land film”.


Markus
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:03 AM   #6
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Good advice. I think that's what I'll be doing. Thanks for everyone's feedback and suggestions.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #7
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Pelican cases are how I roll. I've shipped/checked tons of stuff in pelican cases, from mac computers with 23" displays to multiple pack studio strobe setups for my photography business. You can actually find on carry-on compatible (size-wise) roller pelican cases. I can't remember the exact number right off the top of my head, but I bet if you go to B&H and search for "pelican carry-on" you'll find it. Get the ones with the foam inserts, take 10 minutes to customize the foam to your camera and accessories, and you're set.

I carry my XH-A1, Wide Converter, Charger, Extra Batteries and Headphones in a Pelican 1500 that I use purely for car transport. I wasted some space in the foam and I could have been a bit more efficient with that part, but it's protected well (with a couple of inches on each side for shock resistance) and won't get bumped, shattered, wet or dirty during transport.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:57 AM   #8
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Yep Trevor, I've got the Pelican 1510, is the largest legal carry-on they advertise.

But these days I'd check with your carrier and their weight limits. With the A1 plus accessories, mine totals 9kg. Written on the side is a good way to check the airline scales. But tread carefully if you find differences, some checkins don't like it. Look humble.

I've had some get me to power the cam up to make sure it's not a bombe, keep a battery handy. Look insulted.

The only con is, the gear inside locked Pelicans is not resistant to temperature variations. Found this out the hard way, sweltering day on a trip inside a car trunk. Let the temperature stable before turning the cam on. Look relieved.

Oh and position the cam at the hinges side so with the Pelican standing upright the weight is at the bottom. And you'll find some overstocked sellers will discount bright oranges ones. That says here I am thieves..look. Look foolish.

Cheers.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Why do people seem to always use the word, "literally" just before a phrase that is clearly hyperbole?
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker View Post
Why do people seem to always use the word, "literally" just before a phrase that is clearly hyperbole?
It's not an exaggeration, it's actually true. All I was doing was trying to help Ian out. That statement was simply to point out that I do have a lot of potentially relevant experience.....

So, Jack, have you actually got anything to add to this thread which might help Ian - rather than just trying to insult others that attempt to?
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Old November 11th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #11
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More to the point, unclear as to why it's hyperbole?

It's quite possible to fly a million miles in seven years.

For several years I spent one week in Columbus, OH or Stamford, CT, one week in the UK, one week in Europe, South America or Asia, then a week in the UK again before starting the cycle once more. While I was in the US I also travelled internally a fair bit. I very often flew >20,000 miles in a month. I did this for around three years but was a heavy traveller for around ten.

By that reckoning I have also (literally) flown at least a million miles.

Andy, your post was useful. Jack, sorry, not sure how yours helped.

Coming back to the topic in hand, I spoke to Virgin Atlantic today and told them that my PortaBrace was just slightly bigger than the carry on allowance. They said it was 'at the check-in clerks discretion'. I have managed to make it smaller by taking things out of the side pockets and pulling the eye-piece protector out (I will replace it before stowing!) and now I reckon it's only about an inch oversize in all directions. In fact, their stated policy (which gives H,W and D dimensions) appears to be different from the actual policy which gives a limit of 115cm when adding all dimensions together. That way I am only a couple of cm over budget.

I'm going to take a chance and practice looking humble/insulted/relieved etc as Allan suggests!
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #12
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Hi Ian. I've carried on an XL2 in a Lowepro Nature Trekker II bag. I think it's acceptable in most long-haul aircraft, but have to admit it's a tight squeeze to get the XL2 in safely. You need to remove the lens and viewfinder and pack everything carefully.

Richard
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Old November 14th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #13
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I fly quite a bit. As a matter of fact I head up to Milwaukee on Monday. I use a Tamrac rolling strongbox. I completely disassemble the Canon XL2 and pack it in there. It has lots of adjustable padding. I travel with the Canon XL2, 20x and 3x lens, wireless mics, all accessaries and a small still camera. Never had a problem taking it as carry on. Tripod, cloths etc all go cargo. I can always get new cloths or even a tripod if needed, replacing the Canon and lens would not be fun. I live in Atlanta and have seen to many bags get trashed coming up the baggage ramp.

Last edited by Bob Safay; November 15th, 2008 at 06:15 AM.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #14
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In the end I called Virgin who were non-committal ("depends on the person checking you in").

I decided to take the risk.

At the airport, no-one looked at my PortaBrace which was clearly a little larger than the allowance. At security no-one batted an eyelid. On the aircraft no-one gave me a second glance.

Now, all I have to do is repeat that on the return journey . . .
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Old November 25th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #15
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I know I'm coming in a bit late to the discussion for you, Ian, but here's my $.02:

I've traveled a few hundred thousand miles the last two years, all carrying my XL2 in a Portabrace CTC-3. It's the largest you can carry on and pack in the overhead. Best thing about it, is I don't have to break anything down (like you have to with the Pelican). I keep one battery attached to the camera (in case they want me to turn it on) and the others I put tape over the connectors and put them in Zip-Loc bags according to the rules. Then I put all my tapes, lav mics...everything I need for a shoot into the bag and i'm good to go. That way if my checked bags are lost, I can still do my work and get paid.

You can always buy clothes somewhere, but it's a hell of a time finding a camera to use.

BTW, there's other threads on this subject if you do a search. I'm to lazy to put a link in right now.

Jonathan
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