Rules to Remember Before Taking Your Camera on an Airplane

Yesterday I blogged about how a TSA agent spared me from destroying unused rolls of films I inadvertently packed in my checked in luggage during a recent trip. Today I thought it would be helpful to review the rules airlines have in place in regards to flying with photo equipment.

Here’s what you need to know before you take your camera on your next flight:

YES. You can take your camera on the airplane, though I would recommend packing it in your carry-on bag rather than in your checked suitcase given the number of bags the airlines’ loses each year.

Cameras that can safely make it through security checkpoints include:

· Traditional Cameras

· Digital Cameras

· Disposable Cameras

· Camera Phones

· Video Cameras

It’s a good idea to make sure your camera is well protected while traveling. Also, note that all video cameras must be taken out of your carry-on and placed in the same plastic bin as your shoes prior to going through the airport x-ray machine.

To speed up the process (and avoid being pierced by nasty looks from fellow passengers) it is a good idea to make sure your camera is out of your pockets or bag once you get in the security screening area. That way once you get to the area where the plastic bins are available you can simply place it down and continue to the x-ray machine.

Studies show all digital media can go through airport scanners without suffering damage. However, the accumulative effect of x-ray scans on digital media is still not out. But, for now, (according to the FAA anyway) x-ray machines used for carry-on bags don’t seem to harm Secure Digital Cards, CompactFlash Cards, Memory Sticks, Flash Disks, or other digital media storage.

Just remember NEVER to pack your unused rolls of film in your checked pieces. Having them go through the carry-on x-ray machine is fine, but you will destroy any unused film if you send it through the sophisticated, high intensity x-ray machine for checked luggage.

Related Articles:

Why You Should Never Pack Unused Film in Your Suitcase

Photo Challenges

Protecting Your Camera from the Elements

Should I Delete This Picture?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.