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Thread: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Collinsville, CT USA
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    1,894

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    From a friends experience, never store film in a lead bag. He forgot to mention that there was film inside the lead bag that he had with him. In the end each factory sealed box of sheet film was opened and intern ruined. I was told by a TSA Employee that factory seals are sometimes are actually perceived by the TSA as being suspicious. Another friend included an invoice from B&H Photo for the film that he was carrying. Once again this was at first perceived as being suspicious. Fortunately another TSA employee there was a photographer and after asking my friend a question or two about the film, let the boxes go through unharmed. Personally I always carry my "EMERITUS" shield with me and once seen, I am let through without any hassle. Sometimes in state and federal buildings even escorted past checks!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    172

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Yup. Not every airport has them at this point. Checked baggage has been no-go for some time, but carry-on was ok, until they started using CT machines.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minnesota and Massachusetts, USA
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    577

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Don't forget that you can mail a package to a US Post office addressed to you and "Hold for Pickup". But I would verify with the PO as to how long they keep the package before returning.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    now in Tucson, AZ
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    3,112

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Last month I traveled Tucson-Boston and back. I shipped my 4x5 b/w film (loaded holders) by UPS outbound and USPS returning. No fogging issues and no hassles in the airports. Relatively expensive, but worth the peace of mind.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Hampton, VA
    Posts
    338

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Definitely Do Not put your film in checked baggage.

    I am traveling right now with film, and have used most of the suggestions above at one point or another. I shipped some film ahead of time to a hotel - most will accept a package if you have a reservation, but call first to verify. I shipped about 1/2 my film ahead.

    But I also hedged my bet and took the other half in my carry on. Many - maybe most? - now have the CT scanners like or similar to those used for checked bags. So you donít want film going through those. Last time I flew with film was pre-CT scanners so I always let my film go through the old X-ray machines without issue - so never had asked for a hand check before. This trip was the first time I asked for a hand check and was surprised how painless it was. Maybe I just have been lucky so far but it was pretty quick and no hassle. In Juneau they still had the old X-ray machine so I just let my film go through that without requesting a hand check. They must have had others with concerns because they had several signs saying their X-ray scanners were safe for film less than ISO 800.

    Bob

  6. #16

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    Jul 2006
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    Collinsville, CT USA
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    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Quote Originally Posted by biedron View Post
    They must have had others with concerns because they had several signs saying their X-ray scanners were safe for film less than ISO 800.

    Bob
    A bit of caution to be had here... X-ray scanner operators can turn up their scanner's power level at will negating that "ISO 800" threshold.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
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    332

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    OK so I have a dumb question here. For a small quantity of film not loaded in holders and still in the box or black bags could one not carry it on their person through the metal detectors?
    Ron McElroy
    Memphis

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    5,208

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McElroy View Post
    OK so I have a dumb question here. For a small quantity of film not loaded in holders and still in the box or black bags could one not carry it on their person through the metal detectors?
    Not in my experience has that ever been allowed. Nor is it a very wise thing to attempt. If the millimeter wave scanner (stand on the feet prints while the machine buzzes around your body) is used… you couldn’t even smuggle it through.

  9. #19

  10. #20

    Re: Film on a Plane: Check It or Carry-On?

    As previously noted, do not put film in checked luggage.

    As previously alluded to - older posts are no longer valid as the TSA has recently (end of 2019 I believe) started using new machines that have higher exposure. I have flown 3 times in as many months and actually prefer the new machines - they do not require you to take every last bit and bob out of your bag - in fact they they specifically instruct you to leave everything (even your laptop) IN the bag. This speeds things up significantly when traveling with a bunch of cameras, lenses, laptops, etc. I think it has also increased awareness of film hand check amongst the TSA agents I have been exposed to - mostly in Sacramento - and have not had a problem getting 120 film hand checked (haven't tried LF yet, sorry).

    The machines in question that I have seen at Sacramento and MSP use larger grey tubs instead of the smaller ones, though obviously your mileage may vary depending on airport.

    If in doubt, mail ahead.

    Best of luck,

    -AnalogAngler

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