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Author Topic: Airline Carry-On Bag Restrictions  (Read 9234 times)
Fred Ragland
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« on: May 25, 2006, 01:45:03 PM »
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I'll be flying from the USA to Copenhagen by Continental and return by SAS (United).  Airlines appear to be tightening up restrictions on carry-on baggage which limits the gear that can be carried on-board in a camera bag.  These two airlines list their carry-on limits as

Continental - 1 bag plus 1 personal item.  Max combined linear measurement of bag (L+W+H) is 51 inches.  Max weight is 40 lbs.

SAS - 1 bag plus 1 personal item.  Bag not bigger than 9x14x22 or 45 linear inches. No specified weight limit.

I know that many short hops in Europe are more restrictive.  Has anyone had problems on intercontinental flights with camera bags that meet these criteria?
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 03:41:31 PM »
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Airlines are completely inconsistant. It depends on the flight load, the mood of the check in clerk, and the phases of the moon.

If you stick to the airlines rules (especially size), you won't go wrong. You can often get away with more, but if not you need a back-up plan.

What I do is keep a shooting vest with big pockets at the top of my checked clothing bag. If I encounter a problem with my carryon I take the vest out, load the pockets with lenses, and take the heaviest camera body and lens and hang it over my shoulder. This always gets the bag under the weight limit.

Then, when I leave the counter I simply put everything back.

If the rules wern't so inconsistantly enforced, and bags wern't so easily damaged and lost when checked, I would be less cavalier about breaking the rules. But survival comes first.

Michael
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2006, 07:28:55 PM »
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Having read Michael's suggestion about this method earlier, I bought my first photo vest just before a recent six-week trip to Tuscany and Umbria. Although I never really had to pack it, it gave me great peace of mind knowing I had a backup plan in case the weight of my camera bag was questioned (it wasn't -- but it was heavy).

As an added benefit, I could put all the metal objects from my pockets (coins, keys, etc.) into a zippered pocket of the vest before going through the security check, and then take the vest off and send it through the xray machine while I walked through the metal detector. The only minor downside was that I still had to take off my big hiking boots (with metal grommets), which wouldn't fit in any pocket of the vest.  

Eric
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Hank
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2006, 12:12:23 PM »
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My only variation on Michael's technique is to keep the vest in my carry-ons.  Problems can arise with plane changes mid-route.  Even if your carry-ons meet the criteria for the first flight they might not meet the next, and the airlines don't screen you with that in mind on your first leg.

Notable in this regard are the Boeing 737-200 series jets used by Alaska Airlines to access smaller communities from their Anchorage hub.  Size restrictions on the 737-600 series used for flying into Anchorage are much more liberal, due to their much bigger overhead compartments compared to those on the 737-200 series.  The latter has very restrictive limits.  It's all based around FAA carry-on restrictions, and the airlines is quite rigid in enforcing it.  It's bad enough to have a hard-sided bag full of gear checked at the gate, but try it with a conventional bag or backpack!
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r42ogn
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2006, 01:40:55 PM »
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Quote
I'll be flying from the USA to Copenhagen by Continental and return by SAS (United).  Airlines appear to be tightening up restrictions on carry-on baggage which limits the gear that can be carried on-board in a camera bag.  These two airlines list their carry-on limits as

Continental - 1 bag plus 1 personal item.  Max combined linear measurement of bag (L+W+H) is 51 inches.  Max weight is 40 lbs.

SAS - 1 bag plus 1 personal item.  Bag not bigger than 9x14x22 or 45 linear inches. No specified weight limit.

I know that many short hops in Europe are more restrictive.  Has anyone had problems on intercontinental flights with camera bags that meet these criteria?
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I agree with Michael's comments but take a different route, I carry my laptop and load power packs etc into pockets, I guess it depends on the relative weights of your lenses and laptop.  

Airlines are incredibly inconsistent for flights inside Europe (and I have made many hundreds of these over the past 20 years), notably strict are Air Lingus and BA, SAS and Air France seem generally more relaxed, although SAS do have a lot of older MD planes with relatively small bin space. Also on many of the less used routes even the largest airlines use planes (often small BAE149 and Bombadier jets)  that cannot handle even modest bags in their lockers and then they often load the bags from the foot of the boarding steps to the hold and hand deliver them back to you on the tarmac when you land, so whilst this is miles better than normal baggage handling you need to be sure things are well packed and not rely on looking after the bags yourself.

One trick is to exploit any frequent flyer benefits you have to get lounge access, often passengers from the lounges take a slightly different route to the plane and are treated differently (more like business class) and can slip more/bigger bags on board.  This works very well with One World and Star Allliance etc gold memership if you've got them and your travelling on a members flight.  I've found even out of date gold tags on my bags tend to help getting them through some of the more anal staff in London (Heathrow is the worst airport for bossy ground staff).

It's also key that you board as early as possible, once the bins are full the crew will force you to put anything that won't fit under the seat into the hold and I've found them far less easy to sweet talk than US flight crews.  I always look ahead and if the bins look pretty full already I put my bags in the first space I find (usually in Business class) regardless of where I'm sitting (to do this more safely my bags are not obvious camera bags, just scruffy back packs or wheelie bags), of course if they unload from the back of the plane you're going to be last off ......

I'm sure you know most of this if you travel much but hope there's something here of help.
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Fred Ragland
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 03:59:19 PM »
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Thank you all for your suggestions.
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