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Author Topic: New Issues for Traveling Photogaphers  (Read 19411 times)
DiaAzul
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2006, 05:02:58 PM »
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David, Air France for the longest time has been offering their Business Class passengers leaving from Roissy-CDG a plastic wrap on their checked suitcases

But I don't think that addresses the real problem of checking gear, which is internal damage from the way baggage handlers throw around luggage and the way the luggage tumbles through those automated roller and conveyer systems.

Turning to Fed Ex, I think Fed-Exing this stuff would be a very expensive imposition on traveling professionals, and special arrangements would need to be made so the stuff meets the traveler at the destination airport, otherwise it could be a monumental bureaucratic hassle, as you point out. Too much logistical risk in all that.

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I lived in France three years, so yes I am familiar with the plastic wrap on the suitcase. Though when I mentioned wraps I was refering to wrapping the camera and lenses not the whole suitcase - as you then went on to suggest (Perhaps I need to improve my english a little).

The reason for mentioning fedex is that there was some discussion someplace somewhere on the internet indicating that several people did use this method as a way of shipping large and bulky items quite successfully and that shipping rates via fedex was cheaper than excess baggage in the hold of the aircraft. Just trying to find if anyone has any more recent experiences. I use couriers quite a lot to ship large documents and they are usually fast, accurate and reasonably priced.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
DiaAzul
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2006, 05:05:59 PM »
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I believe the solution is simple for travelling photographers, business people, and the like who carry gear with them.  Have a screening and/or security process that checks the background of individuals to ascertain risk.  Then provide a stamp in the passport or separate card that indicates this individual is allowed to carry specifical gear with them on the aircraft.  Should others complain then security can point to a policy and say "Your are welcome to apply!".

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73029\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

For this to work you would have to get the intelligence services to forget about Harold Adrian Russell (Kim) Philby. No matter how good your vetting process you will always be infiltrated if someone is persistant and clever enough.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2006, 06:46:51 PM »
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Not only that, but clever evil-doers will find ways of forging those passport stamps or cards, so it wouldn't be fool-proof and I really doubt any serious security agency would be comfortable with that. As well the administrative and security arrangements to set it up and have it respected in hundreds of airports world-wide would be a massive and tenuous undertaking.

Right now it is mainly UK airports where electronics is a problem. I don't like to think this, but nonetheless I can't help envisioning that the whole carry-on baggage situation is going to become increasingly and more generally difficult with each new perceived or actual threat that comes along.

The airline industry and the security authorities together are really going to have to rethink the whole issue of electronic equipment. Business people carry laptops on which they depend for perhaps millions of dollars worth of business they are transacting. Photographers, technical people etc. can be carrying very costly amounts of gear for professional or liesure assignments. There is simply too much at stake for these folks to depend on current arrangements other than carry-on.

So either the carry-on policy needs to be somehow better secured but permissive, or the airlines will need to institute and take full responsibility for arrangements whereby checked equipment gets handled safely and securely. Without that, they could lose alot of business going forward.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2006, 09:45:28 PM »
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First, let me say I think it's very admirable you are all more concerned with your camera equipment than your lives in this situation. That shows true dedication   .

(Sorry! It's no joking matter.) I agree with Mark. We shall all have to get used to the idea of continued and increased restrictions regarding carry-on luggage. What worries me, in fact it was the first thing that popped into my mind when listening to the recent reports from London of the foiled terrorist plans, is that the next stage could be no luggage at all.

In fact, I'd personally feel safer if that was the case. Let all the luggage fly on a separate aircraft, preferrably by remote control.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2006, 09:52:34 PM by Ray » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2006, 10:24:53 PM »
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In fact, this is such a serious issue, I think the authoriities are really pussy-footing around. About 9 months ago, as I was departing from Kathmandu on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok, I had unwittingly, at the last minute whilst packing my gear in the hotel, thrown a wine bottle opener into my hand luggage.

On screening at the airport, the x-ray picked up this bottle opener which had a small knife with a 1 1/2" blade. I was taken aside and had to wait half an hour whilst someone prepared the paper work for this item to be transported, separate from my person, and handed to me on arrival in Bangkok.

On the one hand, one might get some comfort from the thoroughness of such detection. On the other hand, one might also get the impression that the system might fail to see the forest for the trees.

Having passed through a number of international airports in the past few years, I'm struck by how inconsistent, cumbersome and inefficient the checking procedures are. Sometimes they are rigorous to the point of farce and sometimes completely slack.

On one occasion, departing from Brisbane airport in Australia, I was asked to remove my trouser braces, despite protestations that my trousers might fall down.

Let's go the whole hog for the sake of our own safety. All baggage without exception should be transported on a separate aircraft, period.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2006, 10:33:06 PM »
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I have just enough anecdotal evidence to be more concerned about theft by the security people than by the thought that they may drop it. I would be more than willing to buy and use Pelikan Cases and check my equipment and computer, if I was sure it would travel with me on the same plane AND I GOT TO BE THERE WHEN IT WAS INSPECTED!

The idea that I have to trust that they can just open and inspect my luggage out of my presence is what bothers me more than them dropping it. I doubt that theft by the inspectors rampant, but it happens and nobody seems to be responsible. The airlines blame the inspectors and the inspectors blame the handlers and neither is willing to take our word for what was in our baggage...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73069\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I am a very, very frequent traveller and the only place I have had items actually stolen from my luggage was from JFK, NY.  I have travelled from the poorest regions in Asia and Africa and had no problems apart from the occasional piece of luggage ending up in a different country or on the next flight. You quote the exact excuses they used, plus they claimed I was making the whole thing up.  If I can't hand carry my valuable equipment aboard a US-bound flight, I ain't going or I'm not taking it.  I won't trust it to be checked in where uncontrolled and unsupervised individuals can and will access it.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2006, 10:40:45 PM »
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Ray, on one flight from HK to Singapore I was pulled up at HK security as my maid had packed a fork in my hand luggage!  I was on the Atkins diet at the time and was taking my own in-flight food, and my maid 'thoughtfully' packed the fork for me!

The reason I love HK? The staff put the fork in an envelope and said I could collect it on my return to HK, and someone went to the Cathay lounge and brought me a plastic fork to use in its place!  I'm sure they would have done the same at Heathrow or LAX...
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2006, 11:08:56 PM »
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How about this for an idea! (It must be the Morris Pressings Style Dry Red; my thoughts are flowing.) As compensation for the banning of ALL luggage on the same flight, the Airline updates its in-flight services to include true hi fi stero headphones with the latest technology that cancels extraneous, external noise.

Updates its selection of music to cater for all tastes and, in addition to the usual crap movies, offers alternative sources of amusement and instruction, including in-depth, advanced courses on Photoshop from high definition video screens on the back of the seat in front.

All books, of course, should be allowed. I don't see any insurmountable problem in scanning books for explosives.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2006, 07:49:39 AM »
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Ray, getting back to serious, I take it for granted that we are all primarily concerned with human safety and survival. Beyond that there are these logistical problems - and commercial ones. Need I mention just for example, that in the narrow little world of high-end liesure photography, there is a burgeoning business of photographic workshops taking people all over the world. This nascient industry could be one of the early victims of these restrictions.

I heard on CBC last night that according to IATA data, in 2004 9 million people PER DAY are engaged in air travel. That is about 3.3 BILLION person-flights per year world wide. It is such a staggering number I wonder whether it could be correct, but that is what they said, and they flashed it on the screen, so I think I heard and saw right. All you need is a slip-up on one one of them and a plane could blow-up. That is what the security services are contending with. More spies, as one poster mentioned, is likely part of the growing battle against this kind of terrorism, but the security people will go after all possible sources of threat and seek to eliminate them. That is what we are caught-up in.

The concept of service in many parts of Asia is at a different level than it is here. Here all those knives and corkscrews are simply confiscated at security and you never see them again.

And yes, there have been enough incidents of theft in US airports to shake one's confidence checking expensive items. True the percentage of loss may be very low overall, but no-one who has paid thousands of dollars for a photo trip and multiple thousands more for the related gear will be comfortable with the thought that they could be one of X% who's stuff disappears into "thin air".

That is why under current conditions this whole carry-on and luggage security business needs to be re-conceptualized at a broad international level, so that at the end of the day the traveling public comes out ahead of the terrorists in respect to restoring and preserving a suitable way of life.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ray
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« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2006, 08:38:54 AM »
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I take it for granted that we are all primarily concerned with human safety and survival. Beyond that there are these logistical problems - and commercial ones. Need I mention just for example, that in the narrow little world of high-end liesure photography, there is a burgeoning business of photographic workshops taking people all over the world. This nascient industry could be one of the early victims of these restrictions.
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I hear what you're saying, Mark, but I don't see any major problems that can't be fixed. It'll just cost a bit. I'll be travelling overseas in about a month's time. My plan is to buy a Samsonite suitcase that doesn't crush easily and fit an aluminium camera case inside wrapped up in my clothes. Previously I've not bothered taking out insurance for my camera gear. Normal travel insurance doesn't cover the cost of my gear. I think the limit is around A$3,000 for a camera, so I expect additional insurance will be the major expense for me as a result of this latest terrorist scare.
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mikeseb
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« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2006, 10:20:50 AM »
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I like the idea best of submitting one's camera case (Pelican, etc) to hand-inspection under the eyes of the owner, then locking and sealing the case with shrink-wrap or some other similar means. It wouldn't prevent theft, but it would at least remove all doubt about who's liable for any theft that occurs while the bag is in the airline's charge.

I'd certainly be willing to arrive at the airport even earlier to allow this. Heck, I find commercial air travel so annoying and stressful that I get to the airport WAYYY early as it is just so I can remain calm (control freak.)

An additional side effect of this increased scrutiny: even further impetus for the new "air taxi" services expected to spring up like mushrooms. These will be point-to-point short-hop flights (most airline trips in the US at least are 500 mi or less, so I read) based on a new generation of "micro jets" soon to enter service, such as the Eclipse Jet (small, six passenger 500 kt. plus aircraft, short field capability) and its cousins. This will become the preferred mode of travel for business and well-heeled leisure travelers willing to pay business- or first-class fares to avoid the hassle of cattle-care mass air transport.

There may also be some promise in, as someone stated, putting all the baggage on a "baggage scow" unless it's been hand-inspected and sealed as above. Why bother to blow it up if all you'll do is kill the crew and a few hapless folk on the ground? Not much terrorist bang for the buck there.

After this latest foiled British plot, can anyone still doubt we are engaged in a death struggle with mortal enemies?
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michael sebastian
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pobrien3
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« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2006, 10:41:28 AM »
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The concept of service in many parts of Asia is at a different level than it is here...  ...And yes, there have been enough incidents of theft in US airports to shake one's confidence checking expensive items.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73131\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Add efficiency and courtesy on to the service, and you're dead right - there's no comparison.  Some of the smaller and poorer countries struggle with arcane systems and beurocracy, but I've never had that NYC-Immigration-guy snarl and surliness once in any Asian country.  Nor have I had anything stolen, and I rack up 250,000-350,000 air miles annually.

This isn't to say that in major Asian cities security is more lax.  The behind-the-scenes security in HK, Singapore and Beijing would put LHR, LAX and JFK to shame.  I just wish Sydney and Melbourne baggage handling would take some tips from HKG!

That said my camera gear is in the Lowepro trekker and inside a well-padded suitcase, and I'm in the air again tomorrow and will be travelling for 16 days.  Thankfully none of my trips will take me to Europe or the US.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2006, 03:28:44 PM »
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Well, this is sort of related.... and an attempt to lighten the mood a bit. There's been a lot of chatter on this list for some time about carrying on v.s. checking camera equipment as baggage...  On the nationalgeographic.com site there's an article about Tom Abercrombie, a NG photographer for many years who recently passed away.  If you go to: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/060...multimedia.html click on image #13 to see the equipment he brought along in 1965!!  One would need to purchase every seat on the plane...

Mike.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 03:29:08 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2006, 04:06:07 PM »
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At the risk of carying this thread further off topic I will just say that all of Mr. Abercrombie's photographs on that page are incredible.

Robert
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2006, 04:41:42 PM »
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Robert, agreed - photography at its very best - an inspiration - and for some of the places he visited probably a great deal more difficult these days even to have the opportunity.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2006, 05:49:06 PM »
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On the nationalgeographic.com site there's an article about Tom Abercrombie, a NG photographer for many years who recently passed away.  If you go to: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/060...multimedia.html click on image #13 to see the equipment he brought along in 1965!!  One would need to purchase every seat on the plane...

Mike.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73169\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It did seem an awful lot of carry on luggage, however...all of the back row are refrigiration containers stacked full of roll film, the front two cases are the largest flash guns that history every produced, and many of the other cases look as if they contain dark room equipment, etc...I suspect that you could get comparative functionality into two or three cases these days, such is the pace of technology progress.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
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« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2006, 06:36:56 AM »
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I've moved this post from another thread as this one is more apposite as weight limits as data loss are two more issues from these security issues

I just read the article on 'Getting digital files home safely'
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/home-safely.shtml
and wondered how one will cope with the no cabin luggage policy rules that are now in force? I have a similar strategy to the mention in article which is now messed up as all the data ends up in the hold.

To add to that, an airline I've used frequently in the past [Easy Jet] which had an "if it fits in this space you can take it on board" policy now says they've increased their hold allowance to 25KG from 20KG [these are short haul flights] as no cabin luggage is allowed. Now as my camera kit can weighs close to 16kg on it's own I have a problem.
A rival air line [Ryan Air] suggested this week than passengers only bring one bag. I just got back from a month in Sweden using RyanAir with 3 bags, (1)-clothes+ duplicate hard drives [18kg], (2)-mountain bike+heavy bits like shoes, power supplies, convertors...[unknown weight but unlimited amount allowed as it's sports goods at 15 extra each way] and (3)-my camera back pack as cabin luggage [16-8kg full] but I put camera and 24-70mm f2.8L over shoulder and fill my pockets with batteries and other small objects to make the 10Kg limit, though I've never actually been weighed with Ryan Air yet. Others have, a friend who weighs 45KGs when wet had to pay for being 1kg over.

Now I also have to consider more protective kit than the LowePro Stealth back pack I use. Great capacity and fits on plane but limited padding. Having said that I doubt much else other than a hard case by someone like Pelican will protect cameras and the even more fragile laptops than go along with them these days. And a hard case will weigh about 7-8kgs on it's own. Plus theft of gear is more likely esp as you are not allowed to lock cases on some flights.

Let's hope cabin luggage will be allowed back on. There are talks here in UK of making it permanent.

jjj
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« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2006, 08:39:49 AM »
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No carry-on would be a disaster long term. I never travel with checked luggage and fortunately, so far for me, Air Canada is allowing electronic equipment (cell phones, blackberry) and cameras as carry-on. I will have to check toothpaste and shampoo and lipsil or just buy them at my arrival destination.

Given how luggage is currently handled, who would agree to checking a computer or camera in anything other than a very heavy and well protected case which goes against the idea of travelling light. Train is looking better and better whenever possible.

Dave S
« Last Edit: August 13, 2006, 08:40:39 AM by DaveLon » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2006, 08:53:40 AM »
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It is not Air Canada that ultimately allows these things - it is the security authorities. Carriers and passengers are obligated to respect security arrangements decided by public authorities. Carriers may implement their own regulations of course, but they cannot be less stringent than regulations decided by the authorities in charge of security. The day our authorities do like the British are now doing it will be game-over for carry-on here too. Let us hope it doesn't happen.

But of course what's happening in London affects here too. If you are flying to or through the UK, it would be awakward to start here with a carry-on approach when it will be promptly disallowed at the other end.  Based on what I'm seeing broadcast by the BBC, and given the statement from British Airport Authority (BAA - the managers of UK airports) that the present regulations are "unsustainable", I've made-up my mind to avoid the UK for any travel until the dust settles.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2006, 10:55:04 AM »
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Anyone ever had to take a pushchair (buggy)  on board a plane? You take it to the door of the plane where it is taken from you and installed in the hold then you get it back at the door of the plane when you leave. Working from that...

I think that the most sensible thing after rigerous and strenuous checking of expensive hand luggage, is to book it into a 'locker' arangement on the plane as you enter the door. I would gladly pay for such an arrangement compared to having to put a few K of equipment into the hold!

Yes it will make things slower, but then if you are paying for the locker space, either board first, or even better, last to avoid hold ups of the rest of the passengers.
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