This Tip Will Get More Of Your Photography Bags On An Airplane


If you are a traveling photographer, like the back-shaped-like-an-airline-seat Benjamin Von Wong, you are probably constantly struggling in finding a way to get more of your gear on the plane. The two naive alternatives are to use less gear or pay for extra luggage. Ben Von Wong and Dustin Snipes share a tip that you can use if you are a professional photographer that will allow you to get more bags onto the plane.

Some airlines will allow media bags to be checked in at a significantly lower rate if you are a media professional.

Here are two snippets from American Airlines and Delta that explain it better:



Sadly, not all companies have this policy in place, so you’d better ask in advance.

But how do you prove that you are part of a media team? Sometimes a business card is enough, but sometimes, you’d need an ID that identifies you as eligible.

The solution is to print your own plastic tag that has the relevant details. The tag can basically have whatever design you want but it needs to include at least the following details:

  • Company name and logo
  • Your name
  • The word Media
  • Card number
  • Your photo
  • Expiry date

At the top is the one that Ben uses which also doubles as a luggage card


You can read the full detail + how to better pack about 5 tons of gear over on Ben’s blog.

P.S. Of course if this feel too soft for you, you could always use a gun.

  • pincherio

    But this means you have to check in your camera gear. Do you really want to do that?

  • belfastbiker

    It still seems to be $50 per bag?

    • udi tirosh

      it really depends on the airline…

  • susan petry

    the starter pistol in the checked bag is definitely the way to go. on the *rare* occasion that I have to gate check my bag, I put a large orange “fragile” sticker on it (says:”Fragile. Handle with Care. Thank You”) I keep a few of these in the bag along with my cards. and I always tip the loader and the unloader 5 bucks. oh. and never check a bag if you’re flying United.

  • Jimmy Kho

    Von Wong