"Hey guys. Just got back from a shooting trip down in LA. At the Seattle end they did what they always do-- swab my boxes of sheet film and let me on through. On my return, however, I had a box of exposed film that the security people at LAX insisted on opening. They that said because the factory seal was broken, I could have a plastic knife in the box, and they couldn't let me through without either x-raying the box or opening it for visual inspection. Only after summoning the supervisor of the supervisor and getting into quite a shouting match, did they finally let me pass with my film... etc"
Maybe they were going by these apparent new regulations (forwarded from another list):
"My wife, flew today (4-28-04) from Anchorage to Nashville. Going through security she identified herself as a professional photographer and politely requested a hand inspection of her medium format camera and forty plus rolls of 120 format film. She stopped the inspection when she saw the TSA employee ripping open her foil-sealed rolls of Fujifilm prior to wanding them for trace chemical sniffing. She was told that this was now standard operating procedure as per a new bulky TSA manual that was just delivered yesterday to Anchorage International Airport. The inspector stated that all film that was not 35mm in see-through plastic containers had to be opened. Randi explained that the manufacturer's foil packaging protecting the individual rolls keeps the film clean, light tight and dry over a long trip. By working through TSA supervisors and having a full hour and a half prior to her flight leaving, she was able to convince them to let her through without opening each roll of film.
For those of us with travel and assignments that require us to shoot medium and large format film, this sounds like a real problem flying with your film. I shoot mostly 4x5 and TSA inspectors opening sealed boxes of 4x5 inch sheet film will ruin the film through fogging. Up until now, the inspectors have been content with wand sniffing the outside my light tight film boxes and sheet film holders, but it sounds like this policy has changed."