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Thread: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    When I saw this article, one of the first thoughts i had was… if this new way to charge for airline tickets becomes widespread, how will this impact traveling with camera gear? No more loading up your camera vest so your luggage comes below the weight limit. Because many people do that to get around the luggage weight limits, it does make sense that the airlines are getting smarter and dealing with the real issue- total weight on a plane.

    Would this push us further into also having smaller cameras for traveling by air or prompt more shipping of equipment (or luggage and just carry camera gear) to a destination when going on trips?

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    Would this push us further into also having smaller cameras for traveling by air or prompt more shipping of equipment (or luggage and just carry camera gear) to a destination when going on trips?
    Nope - It just means I really have to start that diet!

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    That depends on how they calculate now. The average weight of a standard man is 75 kg, if the companies take that + baggage allowance, that's about 110 kg average per passenger. (There is already a weight limit on cabin luggage, at least for Air France.)

    The main reason not to have camera gear in checked-in luggage is theft prevention afaik.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    All of the airlines are slowly getting smarter, now they are charging for carry on bags, which everyone started using when they limited the number of checked baggage without paying an additional fee. I can usually get most of my gear within the allocated bag limits, its the clothes that bog me down during traveling. I used to take more than I needed, after having my bags lost a few times I streamlined my take alongs and save so much time getting to my destination when my flight lands.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    We'll probably be in trouble one of these days. Just means photogs will have to come up with a new dastardly scheme. I've been on several trips where my relatively small carry-on is significantly heavier than my bulky checked bag. Equipment-intensive hobbies sometimes mean traveling heavy on gear and light on personals. But if you pack like a hiker, it's surprising how little you need.

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    Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    What I usually do is have two carry on bags. One I stow on the overhead cabin, while my camera bag underneath the seat in front of me. Sure it does eat up leg room, but I can just place the bag on my lap if ever (or when the seatbelt light is no longer on).

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    We'll probably be in trouble one of these days. Just means photogs will have to come up with a new dastardly scheme. ...
    Sealing and filling your camera bags with helium

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    ... But if you pack like a hiker, it's surprising how little you need.
    Weight isn't really my problem, volume is. - I travel with a backpack and the hiking boots on my feet. Boarding luggage comprises a smaller backpack + a camera bag with camera and all the electronics stuff I don't entrust to checked luggage. So far, in my experience, airlines have been lenient with weight/volume of carry on bags.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    We'll probably be in trouble one of these days. Just means photogs will have to come up with a new dastardly scheme. I've been on several trips where my relatively small carry-on is significantly heavier than my bulky checked bag. Equipment-intensive hobbies sometimes mean traveling heavy on gear and light on personals. But if you pack like a hiker, it's surprising how little you need.
    The expert.

    http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/pack-light.htm

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    We'll probably be in trouble one of these days. Just means photogs will have to come up with a new dastardly scheme. I've been on several trips where my relatively small carry-on is significantly heavier than my bulky checked bag. Equipment-intensive hobbies sometimes mean traveling heavy on gear and light on personals. But if you pack like a hiker, it's surprising how little you need.
    The expert.

    http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/pack-light.htm

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    I travel for my work quite a lot and have learned to pack economically, so that I only have carry-on luggage. I even do my holidays like that (and wash if needed).

    When I saw Samoa in the article my first thought was obese. We Europeans won't be affected by these measures, but travelling will become much more expensive for our North American forum members.

    It reminds me of a small trip I made from Boston to Nantucket. We flew small planes, for up to 6 or 8 people and passengers had to be weighed in. There was a very obese guy in front of me who answered the weight question by saying he was around 90 kilos or 14 stones.
    WHAT???
    The lady behind the counter didn't really question him about that answer, which was clearly not true. And I was going to be on that same plane! Can you imagine flying in a small plane over water if it drags to the left or right very strongly?

    When she asked me (80 kilos or 12.5 stones) about my weight I was inclined to lie about it and say that I was around 150 kilos or 23.5 stones just to compensate a bit.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Having been across the Pacific a few times in recent years to mid-USA and UK I am continually disgusted at the way people cheat all of us with their carry-on bags and junk and hope the Samoan idea catches on universally for safety and convienience reasons. [ I am around 95kg so likely I will pay more but have MFT and one zoom lens so maybe not Last time I used half of my checked baggage limit so maybe a discount? Except my wife used it to come out just under for both of us ]

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    Having been across the Pacific a few times in recent years to mid-USA and UK I am continually disgusted at the way people cheat all of us with their carry-on bags and junk and hope the Samoan idea catches on universally for safety and convienience reasons. [ I am around 95kg so likely I will pay more but have MFT and one zoom lens so maybe not Last time I used half of my checked baggage limit so maybe a discount? Except my wife used it to come out just under for both of us ]
    The problem with "the way people cheat all of us"is the airline confuses them by stating "one bag plus a carryon", and they do carry the extra bags on. And the airlines never use those nifty little bag measuring sketches or frames, they just eyeball your bag and give it a yay or nay.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post

    It reminds me of a small trip I made from Boston to Nantucket. We flew small planes, for up to 6 or 8 people and passengers had to be weighed in. There was a very obese guy in front of me who answered the weight question by saying he was around 90 kilos or 14 stones.
    WHAT???
    I used to fly some of those types of plane

    If it's only 1 person lying about it then it actually doesn't make a heck of a difference to a normal flight, but does have a bigger effect on single-engine ceiling. I remember hearing of one "close call" when a military plane assessed I think it was something like 80 soldiers at the standard weight of 175 pounds ... problem is, with all their gear, they weighed something like 250 - so 75 extra pounds x 80 people ...

    Not sure of the exact numbers, but it was something like that.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    It reminds me of a small trip I made from Boston to Nantucket. We flew small planes, for up to 6 or 8 people and passengers had to be weighed in. There was a very obese guy in front of me who answered the weight question by saying he was around 90 kilos or 14 stones.
    No - weighing is too good for them. I've spent more than one long plane journey with my fellow passenger overflowing into my seat (one of the few advantages of being 5'6" and 140lbs).

    My fantasy is that they have a seat alongside that little frame that your carry-on has to fit in, and if you can't fit in the seat, you don't get on the plane. Or a row of differently sized and priced seats, or a portable liposuction set up, or maybe I'm getting carried away

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I used to fly some of those types of plane

    If it's only 1 person lying about it then it actually doesn't make a heck of a difference to a normal flight,
    Sorry, but I have to diverge and tell you about my Orkney Islands inter-island trip.

    Don't know if it's still the case (few years since I've done it), but everyone and everything had to be weighed going onto the small inter-islands planes. That was fine in the terminal at Kirkwall (the main town on the main island), as there was a proper scales that you sat on. But in a windy field on Papa Westray, from which the sheep had been cleared, a bathroom weigh-scales was brought out of the little wooden shed and, in order, the 8 or so passengers had to step on and have their weight called out to the pilot, who was doing the sums.

    On our flight back to Kirkwall it was either a person or a box of frozen fish (presumably destined for some lucrative European market) that had to stay behind. The fish was off-loaded. Should add that Sheila (the dearly beloved) was terrified by all this and was about to start swimming.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Sorry, but I have to diverge and tell you about my Orkney Islands inter-island trip.

    Don't know if it's still the case (few years since I've done it), but everyone and everything had to be weighed going onto the small inter-islands planes. That was fine in the terminal at Kirkwall (the main town on the main island), as there was a proper scales that you sat on. But in a windy field on Papa Westray, from which the sheep had been cleared, a bathroom weigh-scales was brought out of the little wooden shed and, in order, the 8 or so passengers had to step on and have their weight called out to the pilot, who was doing the sums.

    On our flight back to Kirkwall it was either a person or a box of frozen fish (presumably destined for some lucrative European market) that had to stay behind. The fish was off-loaded. Should add that Sheila (the dearly beloved) was terrified by all this and was about to start swimming.
    In reality, there are two limits -- one set by the manufacturer of the aircraft, taking into account empty weight, fuel weight, passenger & luggage weight, temperature, pressure, runway surface type, length, wind speed and direction, and the legal type of flight (yep - we have graphs to follow ALL of that through!); that limit a commercial pilot doesn't dare go over for legal reasons. The other one is the limit where - all safety margins aside - it really does have a real-world effect on aircraft performance - that one you don't want to go anywhere near.

    Case in point - when I used to fly the family to my Mum's place in a 4-seater light twin-engine aircraft (about 1 hour flight), I legally only needed 1.5 hours fuel - we were also pretty close to MAUW (maximum all up weight) (family would always load the kitchen sink) - so my very real decision was to respect the MAUW or go slightly over it and be able to carry around 3.5 hours fuel (enough to get there - and turn-around and come back the long way if there was a problem) (eg undercarriage stuck down (higher fuel burn) or damn sheep on the runway -- millions of them here!) or if I had to divert due to weather. In reality the plane carries it just fine - even on a single engine (although it reduced the single-engine max altitude from about 4250 to probably around 3000 feet (assuming you had the engine failure whilst you were above MAUW) (which would also mean you were probably still close to the airport of departure).

    So I always erred on the side of a little extra fuel and a little over the (legal) limit.

    More of an issue with what you describe is aircraft balance (although I too used to weigh everything too) - I was talking to a float plane pilot one day - who once had a problem with a very large lady who sat at the back of the small plane. He said that - basically - there's just no polite way of saying "madam, you're going to have to move because you're so fat the plane will crash if we try to take off with you sitting there)

    I really don't miss those days

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Another diversion. Waiting to board a smallish plane in Maun in Botswana to be told it was too hot to take off (thought: this is bloody Africa mate, what did you expect). No passengers would stay behind, so a "compromise" was reached that we could fly but ALL luggage must stay behind. Since our bags were already ticketed Joburg/Dubai/Manchester and were now going to be taken to Gabarone, I was already mentally compiling the insurance claim. But no, they caught us up only twenty four hours later. Full marks to Air Botswana and that girl on the ground in Maun.

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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    In reality, there are two limits -- one set by the manufacturer of the aircraft, taking into account empty weight, fuel weight, passenger & luggage weight, temperature, pressure, runway surface type, length, wind speed and direction, and the legal type of flight (yep - we have graphs to follow ALL of that through!); that limit a commercial pilot doesn't dare go over for legal reasons. The other one is the limit where - all safety margins aside - it really does have a real-world effect on aircraft performance - that one you don't want to go anywhere near.

    Case in point - when I used to fly the family to my Mum's place in a 4-seater light twin-engine aircraft (about 1 hour flight), I legally only needed 1.5 hours fuel - we were also pretty close to MAUW (maximum all up weight) (family would always load the kitchen sink) - so my very real decision was to respect the MAUW or go slightly over it and be able to carry around 3.5 hours fuel (enough to get there - and turn-around and come back the long way if there was a problem) (eg undercarriage stuck down (higher fuel burn) or damn sheep on the runway -- millions of them here!) or if I had to divert due to weather. In reality the plane carries it just fine - even on a single engine (although it reduced the single-engine max altitude from about 4250 to probably around 3000 feet (assuming you had the engine failure whilst you were above MAUW) (which would also mean you were probably still close to the airport of departure).

    So I always erred on the side of a little extra fuel and a little over the (legal) limit.

    More of an issue with what you describe is aircraft balance (although I too used to weigh everything too) - I was talking to a float plane pilot one day - who once had a problem with a very large lady who sat at the back of the small plane. He said that - basically - there's just no polite way of saying "madam, you're going to have to move because you're so fat the plane will crash if we try to take off with you sitting there)

    I really don't miss those days
    Yep... it's all about weight and balance. I remember reading somewhere that a 707 had a CG range of 36 inches... not much considering the size of the aircraft. There is also the saying that a nose heavy aircraft will fly poorly, but it will fly. A tail heavy aircraft will fly poorly once. Just one of the reasons the Flight Eng. used to say (in my former job) during the pre-start checklist, "Weight and balance calculations complete..."

    I've also been aboard a flight that was having trouble steering while taxiing due to ice... the call on the intercom was, "Aft CG, all hands forward"... we all moved forward so there was more weight on the nose gear.

    As for the too hot to take off issue... the three H's will kill you... Heavy, High, Hot. High altitude and/or hot temps at take-off drastically reduce engine power... well piston engines at least.

  19. #19
    Wayland's Avatar
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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    You should try flying and travelling with this lot...

    Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Over 50kg of luggage each and pockets stuffed as well.

    Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Two weeks in Arctic Sweden, camera kit and all.

  20. #20
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    Re: Flying with photo gearů charging by weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    You should try flying and travelling with this lot...

    Over 50kg of luggage each and pockets stuffed as well.


    Two weeks in Arctic Sweden, camera kit and all.
    I don't envy you at all, but it's all about wanting to compromise or not.

    Being a hobby photographer at best I recently made the choice of taking the Nikon 1V1 to Rome instead of the Nikon D600 + 70-200 and 18-35.
    Didn't picture myself walking around for days with all those extra kilos, wouldn't look cool enough.

    Never regretted it, but you can see the difference in photo quality of course.

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