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Old November 11th, 2004, 09:57 AM   #1
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Airline travel case

I have been rebuilding my road kits to meet the new airline requirements. What hard cases do you travel with? The Pelican 1650 looks like it is perfect for my audio gear, the problem I have with it is the empty case weighs 30 lb. That only leaves 20 lbs. for gear. Can someone suggest a better option?

I am spending money to replace stuff I already own. A $50.00 to $75.00 penalty for over weight or over count adds up fast. I must travel more efficiently than ever, and I thought I was already a minimalist.

Old airline rules 3 checked pieces up to 70lb. each now it is 2 pieces at 50 lb. max.

Steve
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Old November 11th, 2004, 11:43 AM   #2
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There are "gotchas"....

United Airlines recently nailed my daughter for being over 40 lbs for one bag. Check ahead.....
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Old November 11th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #3
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Look into the "media rate" for excess baggage. You get a higher weight allotment and pay less per excess piece. Generally they will ask for a media pass, but I have always used my business card and they accept it.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #4
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Thank you Charles. I have been on the road for many years and did not know about that tip. Along those lines, each airline has their own restrictions and weight limits. The FAA now mandates a carry on exemption for photographers. A photographer can exceed the carry on limit by 1 bag if it contains his cameras.

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Old November 11th, 2004, 04:10 PM   #5
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Really informative thread, thanks guys! I didn't know the photographer rule about the extra carry on, nor the rule for a discount on excess baggage.

In my personal experience, I've probably taken 20 flights over the last 3 or 4 years, and I know I've been over the excess weight limit for checked bags every single time. I only got dinged once for an extra fee and it was only $25.

I guess different airlines have different rules. Some cheapies I've been on lately allow only two checked bag with a max total of 72lbs. That's only 36lbs per bag! Like Steven, my freakin' bag is 30lbs! (well, it's probably only 20lbs, but it's a soft bag, not a hard case)

I'm of the mind that I'd rather carry one giant bag than three small ones, so I bought the biggest rolling bag I could find (I also needed one I could fit my tripod in). However, I didn't think about the weight limits when I bought it.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 04:38 PM   #6
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I used to arrive at the airport with my Steadicam, which travels in something like 6 large hard cases and two soft bags plus a rolling cart. I'd drive up to the ticket counter and they'd always ask "how many travelling" and when I responded "just me", the blood would drain from their face. Finally I learned to use a shipping company instead; they pick up right from my house and deliver to the location, much easier than dealing with the airport. That's not for everyone, but it is a good option to consider.
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Old November 15th, 2004, 06:07 AM   #7
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Charles: I've been wondering a bit about that. Do you send it
to yourself on set (and do you need to be there before the
package arrives) or can you send it to someone else on set?

Always wondered how such logistics work in the "real world" <g>
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Old November 15th, 2004, 09:46 AM   #8
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Rob:

It gets sent to the production office. The great thing about a "real" show is that there is a very functional administrative setup that is created from scratch for each show. The office will coordinate the shipping details, and the transportation department will make sure that it gets delivered to the camera truck.

For me, it's pretty great--a van arrives at my house, we load up my cases (including suitcases & personal stuff--one of the advantages of travelling with gearis that I can bundle this all together), and then a few days later I fly to the job with a carry-on. Once there I head over to the camera truck, and there's all my goodies, loaded onto the shelves by the camera assistants and ready to go. In theory, they could even have the rig built and balanced so I just slip on the harness--that one hasn't happened yet!

Once I visited the shipping company to drop off in person and watched them "palletize" my cases--they were all placed on a single pallet, wrapped in clear plastic to keep them together as a unit, and fork-lifted onto a truck. Much less likely to incur damage or have a single case disappear in transit (which happened once on when I checked the Steadicam as baggage; we had to rent a replacement rig locally for a few days).
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Old November 15th, 2004, 09:57 AM   #9
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Charles,

I was writing this post when you just posted details of your shipping method. I will post it anyway so Rob can learn from my bad experience. I wish I had a system as good as yours to I could count on!

I too, would like to know whom you use to ship something as important as your steady cam. You obviously trust them. I need a good shipper. It would thrill me to have some one that was not destroying my gear. Are you talking about the usual overnight companies or freight companies?

I could fill this page with horror stories about shipping anvil cases full of gear motor freight. I had 3 anvils with huge holes punched through them by forklift blades. I have cases that will hardly close because the aluminum frames are bent from the cases being dropped, probably from trailer tailgate height, to many times, yes more than once. I will stop there and not go into what happened to the decks and monitors inside, its obvious. Filing claims was a ridiculous and almost fruitless procedure. I am on my third company now and all I will ship is 2 LCD projectors, I rent the AV gear now because of all of my shipping disasters. Last month I replaced the shipping case for one of the projectors, it made it 2 trips and came back with the hinge smashed in so badly we had to pry it open to get the projector out, it is a throwaway item now, they are replacing it.

In fact, the funny thing is I started this thread because of my need to travel lighter and to be able to check a complete system in with me (camera, support, lighting, and audio), while avoiding shippers or airline penalties, if possible.

Steve
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