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?
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 I've found even out of date gold tags on my bags tend to help getting them through some of the more anal staff in London (Heathrow is the worst airport for bossy ground staff).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.