Imagine coming to the gate at the airport and the staff forces you to check in your camera bag. There is thousands of dollars’ worth of gear, and checking it in means it can get lost or damaged. We recently covered the story Michelle Frankfurter shared, claiming that American Airlines lost her $13K worth of gear. Inspired by Frankfurter’s story, Matt Granger shares two ways you can avoid checking in your camera bag at the airport.
Matt explains that he has also had situations when the airport staff tried to force him to check in his gear bag. One time he was so stubborn not to check in his bag, that the plane even left without him. He caught the next flight, and while it is a pain in the neck – he was sure that his gear was safe.
Now, I’m sure you want to avoid waiting for another flight. Matt suggests two approaches that might help you avoid checking in your camera bag. But first, just know that you need to make sure that your bag fits the prescribed dimensions and weight for the carry-on luggage.
The first approach you can try is telling the staff how much worth of gear is packed in your check-in bag. Explain to them that it isn’t safe to check it in, as it can easily get damaged. If they still force you to gate check the bag, you should demand to speak to a supervisor to assure you that the airline will take the responsibility if any of the gear gets damaged or lost.
Matt says this will normally get you around. And of course, make sure to be calm and polite, don’t yell or be rude by any means. But if this doesn’t work, you can use a joker: batteries.
Bring plenty of batteries
The current TSA rules prohibit checking in any bags that contain loose batteries. In other words, if you’re traveling with Li-Ion batteries or power banks, you have to keep them in the carry-on. If the staff tries to force you to check in your bag, let them know that it’s full of batteries and that it can’t be checked because it would be a fire hazard.
Flying and traveling is fun, but flying with lots of camera gear, apparently, can be stressful. So, do your best to protect our gear and to keep it on you, and I believe Matt’s tips will help you with that. And of course, I think you should still have your gear insured to be completely safe.
[2 Tips to avoid CHECKING in your Camera Gear | Matt Granger]