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Author Topic: flying with a tripod  (Read 17387 times)
Khurram
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« on: May 02, 2007, 08:59:42 PM »
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I just wanted to know if anyone has experience flying with a tripod as a carry-on.

I'll be flying to San francisco and wanted to know if i can fly with a tripod (Gitzo 3540LS with a RRS BH-55 head).

Can a tripod by caried on without a case (i.e. not in a bag)??

I checked with air canada and they really werent able to give much guidance.
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mahleu
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2007, 04:07:04 AM »
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Here in SA you can fly domestically with a tripod as carry on, over there i'm not sure.

Alternately you can put the head in your carry on and send the legs as fragile in the hold.
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michael
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2007, 04:33:04 AM »
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Why would you want to carry it onboard? Wouldn't it make more sense to use your carry-on allowance for your more delicate camera gear?

I simply remove the head, wrap it in a sweater, and then place the tripod and head in my duffle bag or suitcase. Just pad the tripod between a layer or two of clothes and it'll be fine. I've done this literally hundreds of times without incident.

Michael
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feppe
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2007, 07:28:02 AM »
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I've flown lugging a tripod as carry-on for years, and I was forced to put it in cargo twice. These days I put it in cargo, as post-9/11 flying has become even more of a PITA than before.
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hcubell
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2007, 08:47:52 AM »
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Why would you want to carry it onboard? Wouldn't it make more sense to use your carry-on allowance for your more delicate camera gear?

I simply remove the head, wrap it in a sweater, and then place the tripod and head in my duffle bag or suitcase. Just pad the tripod between a layer or two of clothes and it'll be fine. I've done this literally hundreds of times without incident.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115474\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I used to pack my tripod that way, but after my luggage and/or my tripod case failed to show up on several occasions, I stopped. Lost or delayed luggage has become an epidemic.  I now only travel by carrying all of my camera equipment and my tripod (in a separate, soft case)with me on board. I have done this all over Europe and the US without difficulty. I can do without my clothes, but not my tripod. I never photograph off a tripod.
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DonWeston
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2007, 09:26:51 AM »
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I used to pack my tripod that way, but after my luggage and/or my tripod case failed to show up on several occasions, I stopped. Lost or delayed luggage has become an epidemic.  I now only travel by carrying all of my camera equipment and my tripod (in a separate, soft case)with me on board. I have done this all over Europe and the US without difficulty. I can do without my clothes, but not my tripod. I never photograph off a tripod.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115496\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Flying within the continental USA, carrying on the tripod as a second carryon, assuming your main camera bag is first, should not be too big a problem, as most recognise what it is. This does not mean that one TSA agent won't have a specific issue. My only advice if that happens, is whatever you do, do it quietly and politely. There is a no tolerance level at some airports for "harassing" a TSA agent, and signs abound in some airports. If it is NO go, then be prepared to have another option ready.

Just flew back a couple of weeks ago from a trip to Spain via British Airways. Great carrier, and service, but they were very strict on their international flights to and from JFK, to allow one, and only one carryon. I had planned accordingly, but my family, assumed it still meant the women's purses were OK in addition. They found out the hard way, and had to reorganize their stuff and put one of each of their second bags in the checked cargo area. It all worked out OK but cost a few minutes of anguish. Luckily this was caught at ticketing and not at the gate. On a previous trip in the year to Tetons, my airplane was substituted the last minute for an RJ, regional jet, which if you do are not aware as I was, has its own very small carryon rules. I had my full Nikon D2x kit at the time and my Pelican rollon bag now became too small. I found this out going to the plane, as a agent decided to grab it from me. I wasn't about to put $10K in the cargo area. It too all worked out thanks to a great flight staff and a kind passenger who let me switch seat assignments with her, and they let me keep the case between my legs in a row that had extra room. I was very lucky, and appreciative, but it might have not turned out so well otherwise. It was then that I decided not to go through this again and plan better on the Spain trip. Happy ending had by all...
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gehle
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2007, 07:04:14 PM »
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I just wanted to know if anyone has experience flying with a tripod as a carry-on.

I'll be flying to San francisco and wanted to know if i can fly with a tripod (Gitzo 3540LS with a RRS BH-55 head).

Can a tripod by caried on without a case (i.e. not in a bag)??

I checked with air canada and they really werent able to give much guidance.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115439\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I just did a trip to Newfoundland from Atlanta on Air Canada. I took a large stand bag, which we used for the tripod (no head attached, wrapped in bubble wrap - (cheap padding  ) our coats, boots, few other items. The tripod head found a place (tightly) in my camera bag. Worked just fine other than bag got a little wet coming off the plane in St. Johns. The trip home I did the same except I packed the head (Acra Swiss ball head) in my dirty clothes bag - well that set off the x-ray machine - What is this solid object??? Once they dug to the middle of my dirty clothes they were fine.

I will say that the Canadians have real big issues with the cameras! I never get pulled over in the US by my camera bag but in Canada every time the camera bag had to be swipped for bomb residue. Not complaining but I just found it funny, in a serious sort of way.

Ken Gehle
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 08:56:00 PM »
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I fly for a living and you are in a bit of a dilemma. The carry on length is basically the diagonal of the grey bins that you put your stuff in to be x-rayed.  So by removing the head from a travel sized tripod you usually meet the limit but it is up to the discretion of the individual TSA inspector. I have been in uniform and have been told to check the tripod. (doesnít make sense since  Iím in command of the aircraft and have a crash axe in the cockpit??? I guess the tripod is a better weapon than the axe?). On the other hand if you check it, since TSA has instituted 100% x-raying of passenger baggage the theft rate has increased by an order of magnitude, honesty is not a requirement for the job. Iíve heard many stories of  headsets and electronics  disappearing from crewmembers checked luggage. I would carry on your camera and lenses and if questioned about the tripod check it at security. Just ask TSA to call an airline employee to bring a checked bag ticket to security. Take the receipt and write tripod on it in front of the airline employee.  Happens to me about 1 in 10 times.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 09:25:52 PM »
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I fly for a living and you are in a bit of a dilemma. The carry on length is basically the diagonal of the grey bins that you put your stuff in to be x-rayed.  So by removing the head from a travel sized tripod you usually meet the limit but it is up to the discretion of the individual TSA inspector. I have been in uniform and have been told to check the tripod. (doesnít make sense since  Iím in command of the aircraft and have a crash axe in the cockpit??? I guess the tripod is a better weapon than the axe?). On the other hand if you check it, since TSA has instituted 100% x-raying of passenger baggage the theft rate has increased by an order of magnitude, honesty is not a requirement for the job. Iíve heard many stories of  headsets and electronics  disappearing from crewmembers checked luggage. I would carry on your camera and lenses and if questioned about the tripod check it at security. Just ask TSA to call an airline employee to bring a checked bag ticket to security. Take the receipt and write tripod on it in front of the airline employee.  Happens to me about 1 in 10 times.
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115622\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Could you please explain the difference between checking the tripod bag at security versus checking it in at the ticket counter?
Thanks.
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Khurram
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2007, 11:19:30 PM »
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Why would you want to carry it onboard? Wouldn't it make more sense to use your carry-on allowance for your more delicate camera gear?

I simply remove the head, wrap it in a sweater, and then place the tripod and head in my duffle bag or suitcase. Just pad the tripod between a layer or two of clothes and it'll be fine. I've done this literally hundreds of times without incident.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115474\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

actually, i'll be carrying my camera bag and a bag with my laptop.  the wife will have one carry-on and the tripod.

I'm kind of leary on checking it in, as the last trip we were on, we didn't get the suitcase until we returned.
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Khurram
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2007, 11:21:44 PM »
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I used to pack my tripod that way, but after my luggage and/or my tripod case failed to show up on several occasions, I stopped. Lost or delayed luggage has become an epidemic.  I now only travel by carrying all of my camera equipment and my tripod (in a separate, soft case)with me on board. I have done this all over Europe and the US without difficulty. I can do without my clothes, but not my tripod. I never photograph off a tripod.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115496\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
i had the same experience, which is why i don't want to risk being without a tripd after spending weeks planning what i'm going to be shooting.
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Khurram
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2007, 11:24:08 PM »
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Could you please explain the difference between checking the tripod bag at security versus checking it in at the ticket counter?
Thanks.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115627\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
i was going to ask the same question
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2007, 12:44:48 PM »
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The implication is you want to carry on the tripod if possible to prevent it's theft. So carry it on, but if security has an issue with it, ask for an airline representative to bring you a checked bag ticket/receipt and have them check it for you. If you return to the ticket counter as TSA tells you it will cost you another long wait in line.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2007, 03:12:08 AM »
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I check the tripod, as security won't allow it in the cabin anyway. A generic-looking cardboard box with padding inside (so it looks innocuous) or a lockable trunk are the best ways to go. Unless you have a very small tripod, the odds are very good security will not let you onboard with it.
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Alexis Alvarez
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2007, 01:48:46 AM »
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In the last four years, I have flown so many times I cannot count and have always taken my tri-pod on board in addition to the two alloted carry-on items, with no problems EVER!

aa
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2007, 01:59:21 AM »
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Two comments:

1. The size of the tripod makes a difference. I have a big Manfrotto that is larger that a typical baseball bat even when folded up completely, and security has NEVER allowed it as a carry-on, for the same reason baseball bats are not allowed. But I have seen small table-top tripods carried on.

2. Rules vary from country to country, and even from one airline to another. What is allowed in Japan on a JAL flight has little bearing on what is allowed in the USA on a United flight, and vice versa.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2007, 02:37:56 AM »
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Two comments:

1. The size of the tripod makes a difference. I have a big Manfrotto that is larger that a typical baseball bat even when folded up completely, and security has NEVER allowed it as a carry-on, for the same reason baseball bats are not allowed. But I have seen small table-top tripods carried on.

2. Rules vary from country to country, and even from one airline to another. What is allowed in Japan on a JAL flight has little bearing on what is allowed in the USA on a United flight, and vice versa.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=116093\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is actually more variation from individual inspector to inspector than from country to country from what I've experianced. Most countries mimic the same rules (kind of). I still try to carry on my travel tripod and if rejected have an airline official come to security with a bag tag.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2007, 10:51:50 AM »
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I still try to carry on my travel tripod and if rejected have an airline official come to security with a bag tag.

Have you tried doing this when you weren't flying as uniformed crew, in the normal security lines?  I would imagine that the security line for crew is substantially more customer-service-oriented than the one for us normal peasants.  I haven't tried it, but I find it difficult to imagine that the TSA official and the airline official would bother to spend their all-too-little time on one person's tripod issues, and would insist that the passenger do whatever is most convenient for the officials, not the passenger, which is likely sending them back to the airline counter line.  Do you have much experience trying this without a crew uniform?

Lisa
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ngophotographer
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2007, 05:03:31 PM »
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Unfortunately, I never have room for my tripod, so I put it in my checked bag.  I break it down as necessary.  Put it in plastic trash bags to protect the clothes.  Wrap it all in a fleece or sweatshirt surrounded by clothes.  The bag doesn't look out of the ordinary.

However, I always put my ballhead in my carry-on.  I can always use a different tripod, but I really would miss my ballhead.

Most places I fly into have photo stores that rent, if it gets misplaced.  Since you're coming to San Francisco, you have Calumet, Gasser's or Keeble & Shuchat (Palo Alto) to rent a tripod from if there is a mishap.

I was even able to rent a tripod in Yosemite.  I drove to Yosemite one morning to shoot Dogwoods for the weekend.  Went to setup for my first shot--Dayam    Went to the Ansel Adams gallery and was able to rent a tripod for the weekend.  

Depending on how long you're here, you may just buy a Bogen 3021/3221 in SF and the afternoon before leaving, put it on Craigslist.org for a good price and it will be gone before you go to the airport    

Hope this helps with your planning.

Best regards,

Rich
NGOphotographer
« Last Edit: May 07, 2007, 05:04:30 PM by ngophotographer » Logged
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2007, 01:19:30 PM »
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Have you tried doing this when you weren't flying as uniformed crew, in the normal security lines?  I would imagine that the security line for crew is substantially more customer-service-oriented than the one for us normal peasants.  I haven't tried it, but I find it difficult to imagine that the TSA official and the airline official would bother to spend their all-too-little time on one person's tripod issues, and would insist that the passenger do whatever is most convenient for the officials, not the passenger, which is likely sending them back to the airline counter line.  Do you have much experience trying this without a crew uniform?

Lisa
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I think we are more of a target in uniform than out. Seems the less mature security officers enjoy pushing their weight around and the uniform makes it worse.
Generally crew can cut to the front of the line (we are trying to make an on time departure) but are screened in the same place as passengers. I have traveled in civies but less frequently, with similar results one out of ten times someone want's to make an issue. I did look into the length limit for carry on and it is approx 26 inches (USA) 66cm (Japan)  which equals the diagnal measurement of a 22" wheeled suitcase, the limit for carry on luggage. Probably the best bet is an inexpensive tripod with your checked baggage.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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