View Full Version : Attaching note for TSA inside shipping case

Frank Petronio
15-Jan-2005, 20:09
I'm travelling with a monorail camera plus lots of gadgets packed into a Lightware View Camera Case. I've been checking it on US airlines, and I know the TSA inspects the contents. So far, I've been lucky, but I have noticed that things don't always get put back into the case in the ideal way. I try to over pad everything, and keep smaller parts in small cases, so that everything is padded over and over, and if something gets put in upside or sideways it won't matter.

Have any of you had any luck by attaching a packing diagram or note to the TSA inside the lid of the case? I would like to explain how they should remove the camera (the retaining straps are hard to see - black on black) and how it should be packed ideally.

Or should I just put a $20 on top so they get the message when they open it up?

Unlike a hard case, the Lightware cases have a woven nylon fabric interior. Any ideas how to attach a note to such a surface? Taping a sheet of paper isn't going to work to well - tape doesn't stick to the fabric very well.

Finally, any other TSA packing advice is welcome - does anyone use those TSA-only keyed padlocks?

David A. Goldfarb
15-Jan-2005, 20:13
Safety pin for the note?

Robert Musgjerd
15-Jan-2005, 20:26
The last time I took a trip the TSA broke the ground glass on my 8x10. They put a film holder on the glass and closed the case
on it.Good luck with your note.My hunch is they really don't give a s..t

15-Jan-2005, 20:46
Robert's hunch is on the mark. Furthermore, they don't even know how to read. If it's that valuable, FedEx it to your destination.

Ben Hopson
15-Jan-2005, 21:29
Frank, I have not attempted leaving a note for the inspectors, but have on three occasions had my Ries tripod checked and not returned to the Lightware case as it had been prior to inspection.

I have lined the inside of my case with rigid foam insulation for a little added protection and always use the case straps to secure the tripod to keep it from sliding around.

The folks doing the inspecting have yet to strap the tripod back in and the padding (socks, tee shirts and such) that I placed in the ends of the case to protect the head were thrown back in wherever they landed.

I also pad the leg sections with foam pipe insulation and so far no damage has occurred.

Maybe I will try leaving a note inside although I don't think they much care how things are returned to bags and cases.

Jim Rice
15-Jan-2005, 23:03
Frankly I think the twenty is your best bet.

Donald Hutton
15-Jan-2005, 23:09

I have to agree with the Fedex option - in my exoerience, it is the way to go: I stow my gear in a big Pelican roll-on, which used to cost $50-$100 as excess oversize baggage every time. Now, I just plan a little better and send it Fedex or Fedex ground ahead of time, depending on time constraints, and it has never exceeded $100. Also, they have never "lost" a $1500 lens (yes, my Mamiya 7 150mm lens was "lost"....) and when I pack the case properly, they don't see fit to repack it in the most illogical configuration possible (stuff the camera body into what is obviously a lens cut-out).

Jim Rice
15-Jan-2005, 23:45
Reflecting on Don's post, maybe a fifty.

Ted Harris
16-Jan-2005, 07:48
I have gone to the FedEx or DHL option for film most of the time and work to be sure I can get my gear down to where I can carry it on.

One thing that helps is, when you have the option, try using a smaller less hectic airport. I fly out of Manchester, NH and find the TSA folk there much much easier to deal with than those at <shudder> Logan in Boston. I frequently fly into the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle. It is a toss up in terms of airports between the DC and Baltimore airports and tiny Hagerstown, MD. When I have a lot of fear (which is most of the time) Hagerstown wins hands down. In fact a couple of months ago when ny stuff was going through security one of the TSA guys even looked up after the bag went through and said "you left the 8x10 home this time!"

Even if you don;t get a TSA guy who knows camera gear, which is definitely rare, you will always do better at the tiny airports. The added travel time is worth the reduced hassle.