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Thread: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

  1. #1
    JK6065's Avatar
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    Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Next I'll be flying from Dusseldorf (Germany) to Londen Heathrow by plane. I'm planning to do some shots at Dusseldorf aiport after I checked in and than take my gear with me on the plane.
    Since I've never travelled by plane before, and certainly not with photo gear, I'm wondering if there would be any problems I might stumble into. Can I just take my photo gear with me in my hand luggage? And what about a tripod? Are these allowed?

  2. #2

    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Jeroen

    I would only take camera gear in hand-luggage. If you put it in the hold it could easily go missing. Scanning machines are OK these days, and should cause no problems for your sensor. There may be size/weight restrictions for hand-luggage. Check first.

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    I've never flown to European international airports, but from what I've read - legal or not - photography around (especially inside) airports (especially with SLR cameras and extra-especially with SLR cameras AND tripods) seems to make a LOT of people nervous (including security staff). Many have suggested that it just wasn't worth the hassle, with consequences including threats, actual assult, temporary confiscation of equipment, and detainment. At a minimum I suspect you might like to clear it with security at both ends before shooting.

    Transporting gear is a different story - so long as it's under the max size / weight restrictions I haven't heard of any issues.

    Hopefully others will chip in with more specific details.

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Jeroen,
    If you plan on taking a tripod,put it in your checked baggage(I wouldn't attempt to use it in an airport).Take your camera,lenses,etc as carry on.As far as photos taken in the airport,I've not had any problems,but was only taking pictures of the people I was traveling with.
    If you plan on doing some interior shots of the terminal and such,it might be a good idea to talk to security first.

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    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Jeroen, I do a lot of flying over here across the Pond from you. Not so much anymore overseas or in Europe. So this may be academic.

    But so far you are getting good advice from my experience. You could probably get away with a few quick "snaps" if you were travelling with a group of kids all wearing the same T-shirts from a church group, and you were shooting them with your P&S, but if you start shooting photos of the structure of the airports, or if they think you are, you are going to raise some eyebrows. If it were me, I'd leave the camera gear bagged at the airports and just be happy shooting elsewhere. Here, after 9/11, they changed the laws dramatically, especially for air travel, and they can do pretty much whatever they want with you if they even suspect you blew your nose wrong. Thank you Patriot Act. Not the kind of hassle I'd want to go through, especially in a foreign country.

    Your gear should be good in your carry-on bag with one exception. You will probably need to check your tripod. Here they would view that as a potential weapon with which you could take over the world and would not allow that on board the plane. Some tripods have spikes on the feet and they would also consider it an instrument with which to bludgeon your flight attendant silly so you could hijack the drinks cart and have all the Coca-Colas for yourself. You would then have to check it anyway only with the hassle of having to go back out of security to the ticket counter to do so. Then, since it wasn't in your checked bag from the start, they would probably lose it for you.

    I would make sure my shooting gear is wrapped up all snugly in some clothes or towels, or even some bubble wrap, too. Just in case. And if I even thought it was going to do any raining, which I understand it never does in London, I would also plastic bag it inside my carry-on!

    If you are carrying film, don't have any in your camera. They say that today's scanners are okay for film, but I wouldn't believe it. A lot of places here admit they are not and will allow you to hand them cannisters of exposed/unexposed film for hand examination. I have even done this with Mini DV tape just to be sure.

    If you are carrying a laptop, here you will have to take it out and send it through by itself. I carry mine in a separate small backpack so I don't have to dig through my roll-aboard, which is already jammed. I also carry in there a P&S, an external hard drive, and all the associated cables. Having it separate can be very convenient when travelling.

    Here we have the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) which has a website you can get all this information needed as to what you can carry on and what you can't. Probably have something like that where you are to reference.

    Happy Trails, Jeroen!

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    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Oops!

    Sorry Jim!

    We must have been posting at the same time!

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Tripods are a no no on almost all airlines. The biggest concern you should worry about is batteries. AA and lithium in their original packaging shouldn't be a problem. But any loose AA batteries usually get tossed, depending on the airline. I know Air India will not allow any loose batteries on their planes, ironically enough the batteries in your camera are overlooked. Check with the airlines of each country you will be visiting prior to flying to see what types of batteries and accessories are allowed. Things change when security alerts are raised.

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by JK6065 View Post
    Next I'll be flying from Dusseldorf (Germany) to Londen Heathrow by plane. I'm planning to do some shots at Dusseldorf aiport after I checked in and than take my gear with me on the plane.
    Since I've never travelled by plane before, and certainly not with photo gear, I'm wondering if there would be any problems I might stumble into. Can I just take my photo gear with me in my hand luggage? And what about a tripod? Are these allowed?

    Photography inside Heathrow is forbidden.

  9. #9
    JK6065's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Thank all of you for the replies.
    It points me even more to a case I didn't worry that much about in the first place (but I should).

    To quote Heathrow's site:

    About filming, photography and recording permits

    Generally, a request for a permit must be made at least two working days before the required date. Security will remove anyone filming, photographing or recording without this permission.

    Commercial filming, photography and recording requests are charged a service fee unless they are related to a current news issue or involve a BAA business partner – view location fees (21KB PDF).

    The fee schedule takes into account the number of people involved in the shoot and the time required on our property.

    Permission can only be granted if the applicant can demonstrate that they have at least 5 million in public liability insurance.

    All permits issued are location- and time-specific.

    Applicants wishing to film, photograph or record airline property or staff must first obtain the airline's permission.

    Unfortunately, it is not usually possible to allow student filming and photography at Heathrow, although we will consider all requests.
    I couldn't find much on Dusseldorf's site, only some methods to download photo and film material for press but no prohibition. I'll search some more but I think I wouldn't risk my memory card being taken, or even my gear or me being hold by security. Whether shooting or not will depend on the abilities over there.
    Too bad, Airports are quite beautiful from architectural point of view.

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Hi, Jeroen;

    I had no problems with photography when I connected in Frankfurt last year while traveling to India. I took some photos in the terminal area. Of course, it could just be that no one noticed. But I've never seen any signs saying no photography, except around security, customs, and similar specific areas of airports.

    I certainly wouldn't try to take a full-sized tripod as carry-on, as others have said.

    The information about Heathrow is almost certainly about doing fixed filming and photography setup, not taking snapshots. Unfortunately, I can't find anything on their site that clarifies this, so any security personnel are likely to quote this kind of thing if they decide to stop you from taking a picture, and I'm pretty certain that isn't the intent.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    I recently travelled to Hong Kong. My son and I took heaps of photos of planes on the apron. We used a 50D with a 70 to 200 lens at times and on a small tripod. No problems at all, although I did wonder about issues with security. My son is a plane fanatic and we managed to spend 2 hours having a great time. I must have walked about 5km though.

    Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 2nd August 2010 at 01:52 AM.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by Markvetnz View Post
    I recently travelled to Hong Kong. My son and I took heaps of photos of planes on the apron. We used a 50D with a 70 to 200 lens at times and on a small tripod. No problems at all, although I did wonder about issues with security. My son is a plane fanatic and we managed to spend 2 hours having a great time. I must have walked about 5km though.

    Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes
    Nice photo!
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 2nd August 2010 at 01:52 AM.

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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by Markvetnz View Post
    I recently travelled to Hong Kong. My son and I took heaps of photos of planes on the apron. We used a 50D with a 70 to 200 lens at times and on a small tripod. No problems at all, although I did wonder about issues with security. My son is a plane fanatic and we managed to spend 2 hours having a great time. I must have walked about 5km though.
    Hi Mark,

    I'm reminded of my Air Force days (1978 - 1985) ... I spent about 18 months in Christchurch where I'd often cycle out from the Air Force base in Sockburn to Christchurch international airport. On several occasions I asked if it would be possible to have a look at the cockpits of some of the bigger planes (747, DC10 etc) - and it was never a problem; sure, they had to check with airport security, airline management, & the flight crew - and I was always escorted - but they never once said no. Sadly, I suspect that those days are well and truely gone.

    PS: In the airport my nickname was "Cockpit Colin" ... could never figure that one out!

  14. #14

    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    In the airport my nickname was "Cockpit Colin" ... could never figure that one out!
    Colin

    There are several possibilities there. None of them are printable!

  15. #15
    timo2's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by Markvetnz View Post
    I recently travelled to Hong Kong. My son and I took heaps of photos of planes on the apron. We used a 50D with a 70 to 200 lens at times and on a small tripod. No problems at all, although I did wonder about issues with security. My son is a plane fanatic and we managed to spend 2 hours having a great time. I must have walked about 5km though.

    Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes
    Very nice!

  16. #16
    timo2's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Hi, Jeroen;

    I had no problems with photography when I connected in Frankfurt last year while traveling to India. I took some photos in the terminal area. Of course, it could just be that no one noticed. But I've never seen any signs saying no photography, except around security, customs, and similar specific areas of airports.

    I certainly wouldn't try to take a full-sized tripod as carry-on, as others have said.

    The information about Heathrow is almost certainly about doing fixed filming and photography setup, not taking snapshots. Unfortunately, I can't find anything on their site that clarifies this, so any security personnel are likely to quote this kind of thing if they decide to stop you from taking a picture, and I'm pretty certain that isn't the intent.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    There are signs at Heathrow saying no photography.

  17. #17

    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by timo2 View Post
    There are signs at Heathrow saying no photography.
    The law varies from country to country, but it's worth remembering that in the UK airports, train-stations, and most shopping malls are private spaces, not public. As such the owners have a right to take action if you photograph when you shouldn't.

  18. #18
    wilgk's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Colin

    There are several possibilities there. None of them are printable!
    Colin's the guy with the handcuffs, yeah?

  19. #19

    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Colin's the guy with the handcuffs, yeah?
    That, and a lot else...

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Photo Gear on Airports/Airplanes

    FWIW, when I went to Tenerife last year, I kept the DSLR camera + chunky 18-250mm lens in the hand baggage when passing both ways through the UK airport, but in Tenerife, awaiting the flight home, I sat snapping through the large panoramic windows in the departures terminal for about an hour as flights came and went. No one was bothered. I suspect it would have been different at this end though.

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