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Author Topic: Cabin Baggage allowance.  (Read 5355 times)
jjj
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« on: July 21, 2010, 11:03:23 AM »
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I'm looking to travel to Shanghai and possibly elsewhere  Hong Kong/Tokyo from Shanghai  later in year [from UK] and I seem to be struggling with airlines and their paltry cabin allowances which tend to be 5-10kg.
So far only BA and oddly enough Easyjet have a weight allowance suitable for those carrying camera gear/laptop. And as Easyjet do not fly to China...that leaves just BA, who have had issues this year with Cabin staff and strike action.

Any suggestions/experiences with camera gear and international flights of late?

Last time I went to China in 2002, I was still shooting film and one body, two fast zoom lenses, 50 rolls of film and two spare batteries which was a lot lighter than all the electronic crap you need to carry these days. One battery lasted 40 rolls. We also had an IxusII [2.1MP] with storage for about maybe 300 pictures.

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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2010, 11:52:03 AM »
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I fly constantly and have found that most airlines have a written 5-10 kg (usually 10 kg) limit on hand-carry items and usually a limit of 1 item only.

However I hardly ever find this enforced and that's usually on short, regional trips, rather than longer international flights. Mostly it occurs because the overhead lockers just aren't large enough on regional flights to take larger bags, so I've had to check my cabin baggage at the plane and collect it again at the plane after landing (not a big deal).

Otheriwse, I haven't experienced any problems in the last 5 years and I usually travel with 2 carry-on bags, each weighing around 10-20 kg. One has my camera gear and the other has my laptop and other accessories.

I did have one problem in 2006 at Heathrow where my bags were weighed at the security check-point, but managed to talk my way through that.

However, I mostly fly out of Schipol and use a range of different airlines without problems.

In the last couple of years I've flown with KLM, BA, Singapore, Qantas, LAN, Iberia, Aeroflot, United, Czech, Swiss-Air, JAT, Alitalia, BMI (with problems), Sky Europe, China Airlines, Continental and American (and probably a couple of others I've missed), generally without any issues on longer flights (and no real major issues on the regional trips other than checking my bags at the plane).

If you are worried, the continent seems to be a bit easier on passengers than the staff at the airports in the UK. I've flown into and out of Heathrow, City, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and Birmingham in the past 6 months and these seem to be the most difficult in Europe.

It might be worth considering a tunnel ride across to the Continent and then getting something out of Charles de Gaulle and/or Schipol (the Thalys takes about 2.5 hours from Paris to Schipol).

Regards,

Peter

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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2010, 12:17:31 PM »
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I'll echo that the only airport where I've repeatedly been given trouble about carry-ons was Heathrow (I haven't used any other U.K. airports).  Regarding the previous poster's comment on going through Paris, however...I'd avoid CDG airport at all costs - it's an awful, thoroughly dysfunctional airport.  Things go badly wrong there.

If you're close to weight limits, you can try putting some of the smaller and heavier items (batteries, chargers, etc.) in your pockets while in the airport.  Those can go into the x-ray bin along with your other pocket items, and not contribute to the carry-on weight.

Lisa
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 12:20:23 PM by Lisa Nikodym » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2010, 12:28:17 PM »
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Quote from: Peter Stacey
If you are worried, the continent seems to be a bit easier on passengers than the staff at the airports in the UK. I've flown into and out of Heathrow, City, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and Birmingham in the past 6 months and these seem to be the most difficult in Europe.
No surprises there. UK airports tend to be staffed with idiot jobsworthies. Who even charge you for the stupid plastic bags that counties outside UK simply give away. Particularly annoying when you do not have any UK money to put in vending machine.
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2010, 12:28:57 PM »
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Quote from: Lisa Nikodym
I'll echo that the only airport where I've repeatedly been given trouble about carry-ons was Heathrow (I haven't used any other U.K. airports).  Regarding the previous poster's comment on going through Paris, however...I'd avoid CDG airport at all costs - it's an awful, thoroughly dysfunctional airport.  Things go badly wrong there.

Yeah, if you don't speak French, CdG can be tough (It can be hard to figure out where you are and where you have to go).

Schipol is much more functional.

Regards,

Peter
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 04:15:34 PM by Peter Stacey » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 12:39:55 PM »
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Quote from: Lisa Nikodym
I'll echo that the only airport where I've repeatedly been given trouble about carry-ons was Heathrow (I haven't used any other U.K. airports).  Regarding the previous poster's comment on going through Paris, however...I'd avoid CDG airport at all costs - it's an awful, thoroughly dysfunctional airport.  Things go badly wrong there.
Heathrow/Thiefrow, they also trash luggage, they seriously damaged a mountain bike frame on one occasion. And last time I was there there were hundreds of bags simply piled up against walls in baggage reclaim area and on way out I had serious hassle with my camera bag as it was fractionally too big for cage with straps on. I got cleared by one security guard and then had to argue my case again to another one who wandered past when repacking bag.

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If you're close to weight limits, you can try putting some of the smaller and heavier items (batteries, chargers, etc.) in your pockets while in the airport.  Those can go into the x-ray bin along with your other pocket items, and not contribute to the carry-on weight.
I'm usually about 6-8kg over for the 10kg limit and I have coats and jackets that are excellent for stuffing with bits, but the airlines may start checking up on that soon as well. The reason, a prime time TV programme on the BBC showed how to stuff a special travel vest with goodies to get past the ridiculous baggage charges in the UK, that some airlines charge.
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PeterCatchpole
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 04:12:03 PM »
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have you thought about Malaysian?  I use them quite a bit when travelling to Indonesia for underwater photogarphy work, haven't had any problems regarding carryon and hold luggage, maybe I've been lucky.

The suggestion of using a travel vest loaded with lenses etc is a good one, I've seen that done on a few occasions.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 05:05:16 PM »
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Yeah, if you don't speak French, CdG can be tough (It can be hard to figure out where you are and where you have to go).

I speak a bit of French, and it's not just that.  There are so many problems with the place that I don't know where to begin.

One great website with info on various airports is:
http://www.sleepinginairports.net/
It's geared towards info for people who want to spend the night in the airport (for budget reasons or early-morning flights), but it has excellent info for anyone traveling through an airport.  On their front page, their list of "world's worst airports" has CdG at #1.

Lisa
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 07:11:06 PM »
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Check in at home so the airline officials won't have the chance to eyeball your carry-on. If you're traveling with checked luggage have someone else hold on to the carry-on while you check in to avoid it getting weighed.

Many short haul flights require you to put your carry-on into the hold on the tarmac or while boarding, and you can pick it up after the flight on the tarmac. For these cases carry a separate laptop bag or small camera bag with the most expensive stuff in there - you can bring that to the plane.

Photographer's vest is great if you don't mind wearing one.
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jjj
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2010, 04:09:12 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Check in at home so the airline officials won't have the chance to eyeball your carry-on.
Yet when I've done that, I'm sure I've still have to go to a desk to hand over my luggage and show passport etc. I remember wondering why I checked on in advance as the palaver at airport seemed just the same with some carriers.

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If you're traveling with checked luggage have someone else hold on to the carry-on while you check in to avoid it getting weighed.
Unless someone is dropping you off at airport and willing to hang around for an hour or two that can be tricky. I've also seen weight checked at boarding gates and security, which sadly nixes that solution.

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Photographer's vest is great if you don't mind wearing one.
I usually have a many pocketed coat for when I'm travelling on airlines that have puny carry on allowances. But as time goes on, my kit gets heavier and heavier....
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2010, 05:14:54 PM »
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Have you tried actually writing to or going to see the security people in advance of the day? Admittedly a long time ago, I used to go to the consulates of the various places I wanted to visit and they would sign and stamp - lots of stamps, please - a declaration that I would make on my business letter paper about the purpose of trip etc. showing pasport number, VAT number and so forth. It saved a lot of hassle at customs. Used to carry a large leather case with two cameras and at least three or four lenses, and it would sit under the seat in front of me, and between my feet. Got it to Singapore from Heathrow like that. My wife would sit with the Kodak cooler bag filled with Kodachrome... But of course, that was before explosive shoes and flammable drinks.

I don't think that security people are supid at all; I believe they have a very real purpose and do the best they can in an almost impossible situation where the only real and final solution would be to ground everything and shoot the loudmouths. To avoid that fate, I do think treating them with some respect can be rewarding, and taking the time to make an appointment to discuss your plight would indicate your good faith. Unless the shock to them is too great and they refuse to see you ;-)

Worth a try. Seek co-operation and not confrontation?

Good luck, anyway.

Rob C
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Philmar
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 08:54:57 AM »
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I find that I can place a few smaller heavy items in pockets of my cargo pants, jacket and vest. This doesn't count towards the weight restriction if it is on your body. you can even board with a camera around your neck. Once inside the cabin I transfer everything to my onboard bag.
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jjj
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2010, 06:24:52 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Have you tried actually writing to or going to see the security people in advance of the day?
Weight allowances are nothing to do with security. Besides unless you know which person is on duty and on the gate you are going though, a pointless exercise. Also - I have gone through security and been cleared no problem, then have been stopped by a different security guard who then decided my bag was slightly too big.


Quote
I don't think that security people are supid at all; I believe they have a very real purpose and do the best they can in an almost impossible situation where the only real and final solution would be to ground everything and shoot the loudmouths. To avoid that fate, I do think treating them with some respect can be rewarding, and taking the time to make an appointment to discuss your plight would indicate your good faith. Unless the shock to them is too great and they refuse to see you ;-)

Worth a try. Seek co-operation and not confrontation?
It's security people that can be confrontational and when you try and be polite and reasonable, then you realise they are often very stupid jobwothies too.  Just like some of the idiot security rules, which exist so they can be seen to be doing something, rather than actually doing something useful. If you could trust airlines/airports not to damage or lose your bags, then checking in kit would not be an issue. The staff need to be trained in people skills and learn to screen passengers by talking to them. But as that would cost more to implement......
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jule
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 06:10:16 PM »
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I have recently flown to Melbourne and Qantas has dramatically changed their check in proceedures. All luggage is weighed in at the check in point. I had my camera gear in a bag which was (within dimensions for carry-on)(edit-add previous bracket) but overwheight so took my camera and put it in my hand - (only had a hand strap as I don't use a neck strap) and a lens in my pocket.

I checked in my main luggage and was walking off with my hand luggage - now within the 7kg weight limit, and was tapped on my shoulder and told that it must be checked in because he knew that as soon as I went through the security I would put my camera etc back in my carry on. (He was of course right). He explained that the weight was not negotiable for carry on now because of a safety issue and if it fell out of the overhead locker for some reason, anything more than 7kg falling on someone would kill them. I was given no room to move; I took my other lens out of the carry on,  and checked my carry on bag in as checked in luggage. I then boarded the plane with stuffed pockets and a camera in my hand, which I really didn't want to flash around.

When I came home I started looking for a dedicated carry on camera bag - preferrably rolling, like the Think Tank ones.. but with them about 5.2 kg to start with before I put anything in to them I've only got 1.8kg of gear I can pack into it. That just isn't going to work.

Looks like I'll need to wear a dedicated photo vest stuffed with camera and lenses, and have a less conspicuous carry on.

Any suggestions for the current best photo-vest; or even a really light yet protective carry on bag???

Any advice most welcome, because I am travelling to the US in November. ... Deserts here I come !!!!!!!!! :-) :-)

Julie
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 06:33:59 PM by jule » Logged

feppe
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 06:26:23 PM »
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On flights within Europe and to the US I practically never get my carry-on weighed, but might need to check it in at the gate if it's larger than the allowed dimensions, and the plane is small.
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jule
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2011, 06:36:17 PM »
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That's good to know. Qantas has done a whole re-vamp of their system from last mid-April, and now EVERYTHING gets weighed. There were people everywhere with their bags open stuffing things in their cargo pants, pockets...I even saw one man putting on 3 coats!!!

Julie
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feppe
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 07:05:48 PM »
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Cargo pants help and having a small camera bag inside the carry-on. Oh and moving to micro four thirds solved my air travel packing woes.

If you insist on a vest Scottevest seems to be what all the blogosphere geeks push these days.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 11:10:55 PM »
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The normal international practice, or if it is written in some international agreement:

One camera and notebook computer is exempt from carry on weight

If we speak of recent I have travelled across Asia (Hong Kong and China in particular) and Europe (not UK, over Paris and Germany to Sweden repeatedly). I carry well in excess of weight of carry on due camera gear and it is seldom weighed.

Last time I recall that someone checked the weight was by a young supervisior at Busan in Korea. I insisted he call his manager... and saw a very embarassing jaw+head drop of his face at the answer he received...

I carry all my camera gear on flights, which have meant at times up around 20kg camera backpack, including pro Gitzo at its sides. I would never check this in.

I can mention that I am global living overseas. My advise is to be friendly, corteous and insist (explain you understand they do their job, wish to help, but this is your property). If any issue request supervisior. Last time through Paris security picked the issue of my tripod, supervisor came and said she could call the police. I said yes, police came they inspected and agreed my tripod was not a weapon... Paris is alwasy issues to insist on, they always pick something. I wish they rather look for terrorists instead of photographers!

Above said I try avoid flying USA. Last time there they thought myself and three Korean engineers could be terrorists, we were given a detailed check. That time I thogh I did not carry much camera gear...

Regards
Anders
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toffer79
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 06:43:29 AM »
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My top tips are:

1. Get to check in as early as possible when the staff are fresh(er).
2. Use a backpack and wear it up to the check in desk - don't take it off and try not to show them the bag.
3. Get the laptop out as early as possible at the scanners to leave as little time as possible for someone to stop you.
4. Avoid hanging around the gate desks and the baggage limit signs.
5. Try to get on the plane as early as possible to grab that overhead locker space first. If you're on late then put it in the first available space you see - obviously have the key sections secured.
6. I usually have the camera in a shoulder bag that can be taken out and kept by my feet on the plane.

Always be as nice as pie.

Usually have around 15kg in a bag that doesn't meet the size criteria but not had an issue throughout Asia, Africa, Europe or Oz to date...

Funny how they never stop people with loads of duty free  Roll Eyes
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 10:14:29 AM »
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My top tips are:

1. Get to check in as early as possible when the staff are fresh(er).
2. Use a backpack and wear it up to the check in desk - don't take it off and try not to show them the bag.
3. Get the laptop out as early as possible at the scanners to leave as little time as possible for someone to stop you.
4. Avoid hanging around the gate desks and the baggage limit signs.
5. Try to get on the plane as early as possible to grab that overhead locker space first. If you're on late then put it in the first available space you see - obviously have the key sections secured.
6. I usually have the camera in a shoulder bag that can be taken out and kept by my feet on the plane.

Some differing thoughts...

1. The opposite can be advantage, since once you have got your boarding pass they are obliged to ensure that you get onboard, or... to simply unload your checked bags which cost time Smiley
2. Stand straight to not show what it weights!
3. If you take it out late, that can rather be what gets their attention Smiley
4. -
5. Absolutely.
6. My pack do not fit under...

Also, if you act like having done before, of routine... that helps, make simple for them when can Smiley
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