Airline Update

Airline Update
What About Cameras and Computers?

by George Schaub

The recent incidents in England have made for heightened awareness about airline travel and questions about what can and cannot be carried on. The restrictions are quite severe for travel to England and through trips connecting in Heathrow, for example. Photographers travel not only with camera gear these days, but also with computers, charges and all manner of electronic gear, including memory cards. We all want to work together to make our airline travel safe, and part of that is arriving early for flights, regardless of the destination. In addition, all carry-on gear should be apparent and accessible to inspectors, making rummaging and delays less likely.

To insure that photographers can travel with their equipment carried on, we checked the most recent update on the TSA web site ( and found that cameras, camcorders and laptops, etc. can still be carried on within the US. It is advised that if you travel with film that you do not put it in checked bags, as the screening technology will usually fog it. If you work with film speed over ISO 800 you should request hand inspection, as carry-on screening devices may also fog that high speed emulsion.

Our advice is to place memory cards in carry-on luggage and not leave them on your person when passing through the screening gates yourself. Other than that, all the devices that photographers carry on with them can be taken on board the aircraft. Again, do make extra time upon arrival at the airport as security remains vigilant.

As to overseas flights, we advise that you check with your carrier before leaving for the airport and assume nothing at this stage. These security measures change as events warrant, so please keep aware by making periodic checks at the TSA site before you go.