Airport and film

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OK, I know this has been here a million times but the security is always changing. I'll be flying out of Logan (Major air port in Boston Mass) to Ireland in late April. I just purchased a lot of film for the trip. The film is all black and white (OK, a roll of color slide film too) with ISO ranging from 50-3200. This is a big trip for me and I don't want the film to get ruined. I'll be shooting 35 mm and 120. What would be the best way to present the film at the airport? Shipping it in advance would be difficult because I will be staying some where different every night. I have 50-100 rolls of film. If they insist on it being X-rayed should I still use the 400-3200 film? I'll be traveling with a lot of equipment will this make me seem of less of a threat (opposed to some random person with a lot of random film)? Any advice?
 

Les McLean

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I frequently travel to the US carrying up to 200 rolls of film, 100 Delta, TriX 400 and 3200 Delta and have always allowed it to be x-rayed, sometimes up to 10 times depending on how long I'm in the states and where I travel too. I carry it in the smallest bag that I can manage to get it in to as well as a rucksack with a 35mm outfit and a 645 outfit. To date I have had no problems in getting into the aircraft with that little lot. Sometimes I have to politely explain why I have so much kit and have found that a quiet polite approach always works. I have been told by a number of airline staff that this approach will always pay off. The last time I visited the States was September 2002 when I did expect some resistance but had no problems.

I have never had problems with film fogging even though it may have passed through the x-ray machines a number of times. Don't load any cameras with film for they will probably ask you to open them and take off the lens. The only airport that I will not use is Amsterdam where I did have a rather unpleasant experience when I was accused of smuggling camera equipment when travelling back from America. The customs people there told me that I should carry receipts for my equipment. When I spoke to the British customs people they said that the Amsterdam customs had a terrible reputation for this sort of accusation.

Don't worry about you film provided you carry it on board with you and enjoy Ireland, it's a magic place. Have a pint of the black stuff for me.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I haven't had trouble putting film through the X-ray either, and I fly fairly frequently, though I rarely shoot more than 400 speed film. If I'm going to a civilized place, I sometimes try to buy most of my film when I get there to save one trip through the X-ray.
 

David Hall

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In the US, the new rule is they will automatically hand check anything 800 ISO and over. And it is my experience (and I fly all the time to airports big and small) that you can ask them to hand check at any time. They are remarkably knowledgeable.

I just few to Mexico and back with some D3200 and forgot to ask for the hand inspection when leaving Mexico. But the film did not fog. Of course that could mean that the machine was off.

dgh
 

LFGuy

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I flew international out of Logan (Boston) last year. My film (fastest was 400) was left in my carry on bag, and gotted zapped there and overseas several times with no noticeable affects.

I've never had a problem leaving film in my carry on bags since 9/11, even in several foreign countries (but then again, I never shoot anything over 400). I accidentally left some Velvia and APX 100 in checked in baggage recently for some domestic flights, without problems either.

But, from experiences from people I know, the TSA people have been very friendly and accomidating when it comes to asking for hand expections... just be nice, and realize it may take longer to get through security.
 

docholliday

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Since I fly a lot for my work in the computer industry, I've been placing a roll of Portra 800 and Provia 400F in my carry on bag just to see what happens, of course, my real film is being hand checked. I usually shoot a MacBeth and drop it into the bag the night before I leave.

I had no problems at Logan in December. However, the Portra showed effects after flying back from SeaTac. Both films showed effects after coming back from LAX and Las Vegas.

The films were nuked once in Indianapolis and then once when coming back at the destination airport. Of course, this is 120 film, so with SF, I'm not sure. A friend of mine does the same thing and recently went to Paris. On the way there, he had to get his film x-rayed at JFK and then at DeGall. It was fine. His rolls from when he left Heathrow to JFK, got nuked like hell.

The usual contrast reduction, wavy lines were seen in all the nuked film. In the US, the TSA has rules about hand inspections and you'll always get one (if not, ask for a supervisor and plan on quoting their own rules). Outside the US, you have no rights to hand inspection. If you present yourself as a professional, and don't look like a potential terrorist, you'll probably get one, but don't count on it. The brits are still paranoid of the IRA, it seems.

BTW, if you are planning on taking any flash units, pack the strobes, don't leave them in your carry-on. Even though the TSA people are more knowledgable, they still freak out when they see a Metz through the x-ray machine. Pack your favourite brand of peanuts instead...
 

docholliday

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Oh, and BTW, anytime you travel out of the US, it's a damn good idea to carry a receipt listing all your equipment, photo and electronic. Even if you go to Canada, customs will hold your equipment if they feel like it claiming that you "purchased it outside of the US and are bringing it back" which will get you a nice tariff tacked on. It is usually good to have a receipt and a photo of all your gear, then get it all notarized in your home town. When customs sees this, they will 99.9% of the time, not hassle you about it. Just fold it up and put it in your passport wallet for easy access.

Plus, be careful what type of pack you are carrying your gear in. Outside the US, if you carry your gear in an obvious case that screams "CAMERA GEAR IN HERE...PLEASE RIP-ME-OFF!" it will get ripped off.

I travel with a Tamrac backpack that I've attached every kind of patch and sticker to, just to make it look like a poor-broke-college student's backpack. They'll not want to steal it as much, but to be careful, I'd still hook the strap around my leg when I sit down to eat, etc.
 

bmac

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Good info Doc. Also, when I travel, I put stickers on my Nikon gear that says "Minolta" never had a problem
biggrin.gif
JK.
 

Eric Rose

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I travel all over the world and have never had any film fogged. Mind you I make sure it goes on as carry on. Just remember you are allowed 1 carry on PLUS a camera bag.
 

David Hall

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Also, don't forget those spiked tripod feet. They make you go get back in line at check in if you try to carry on a compact tripod with spikees.

dgh
 

Ed Sukach

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</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 11 2003, 01:50 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> It is usually good to have a receipt and a photo of all your gear, then get it all notarized in your home town. When customs sees this, they will 99.9% of the time, not hassle you about it. Just fold it up and put it in your passport wallet for easy access.
</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
There is a Customs Declaration Form for this, availble from U.S. Customs. I would strongly suggest that you visit your local Customs Office a few days before departure to obtain one. I would NOT wait until the day you depart and struggle at the Airport.
It will list descriptions, serial numbers, etc., be signed by U.S. Customs, and should serve to get you through return Customs without a hassle.

The last time I flew overseas, I left Dulles in Washington D.C. with a lot of Hasselblad (Swedish) and Zeiss - Gossen (German) gear. About an hour out over the Atlantic I realized that I had not done the Customs form. I expected a king-size hassel - seizure and holding - on my return, until I could get bills of sales, etc.

Coming back into Logan in Boston, Customs scrutinized my ordinary-looking luggage -X-Rays, opening etc.
I pointed to the "Tropicana" (shiny aluminum) case with all the camera gear and asked, "Do you want to check this one, too?" To my GREAT surprize and even greater relief, the answer was, "No .. forget it."

Sometimes, the moon and stars are in the right position and one does luck out.

The next time, I will get the Customs declaration and avoid a whole lot of sweat.
.
 

lee

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i went to the airport and talked to the customs people and they issued me a piece of paper that had the serial numbers of the Leica equipment and when I returned I just breezed thru w\o any problems. with the exception that the rest of the luggage was missing. Took 15 or so days to get it back.

lee\c
 

rjs003

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What is the status of the requirement of Americans having to have a passport to enter Canada? Has this taken effect as of yet? I have out of town guess who want to visit Canada and we need to know the status.
 

Dave Parker

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I just corssed the canadian border on last Sunday and I had a state issued Drivers lic and my certified copy of my birth certificate and had no problems going or comming back, as far as I know the administration has backed off the passport requirement for now.

Dave
 

david b

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I wanted to add a bit about this.

I recently travelled out of the USA and had my film x-ray'd four times (twice out and twice in) and I have not had any fogging. I had 25/50/100 ISO film with me and all is still good. Just an FYI.
 
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