Film check at O'hare

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mikepry

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I am now in Florida for work now but wanted to say when I left O'hare field in Chicago I asked for a hand check on my 120 film(6 rolls) and I was VERY cheerfully oblidged by the security agents there! What's up with that? I always heard of horror stories when people requested that. What a pleasant surprise.
 

Eric Rose

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I think they have been told to lay off photographers. I just returned from Nicaragua via Houston and was not hassled in either direction. Usually I get everything but a strip search! The group I was leading (17 people) expected some entertainment at the security gate given past antics, but they were disappointed. Thankfully!

I think they are getting better training in how to interpret the x-ray images as well.

Things were so bad last year I paid extra just to avoid the US when I was travelling.
 

jss

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for thanksgiving week i travelled from california to ohio and back. on both legs i asked for hand inspection and got no resistance at all. very surprised and pleased.
 

VoidoidRamone

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you are all lucky. On my way back from Phoenix I asked for a hand inspection and the guard said if your film is under 1600 speed we don't need to hand inspect it. I replied, well I'd really prefer if you could, it's only 4 rolls (4 rolls of 35mm HP5+). He sighed and said "y'know, you're really slowing us down on this busy day" I felt that I didn't need to respond to that, since I was now getting a hand inspection. This was the worst experience I've had. On my way back from Boston (earlier this year) the guards didn't mind hand inspecting my 20-30 rolls of 120, who knows. I think the Phoenix guard was maybe overwhelmed due to the holidays.
-Grant
 

mikewhi

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I recall in Houston once that I had an un-sealed box of 4x5 with exposed negatives in it. The security guard had no problem with the sealed boxes (she just looked at them), and she even was willing to let me put the exposed negs in a changing bag where she opened the box and felt that there was just film in there. She closed everything up perfectly and I got them home and processed just fine. I was amazed that she did this. There will be a special place in heaven for her.

I know these folks are under-paid and have a tough job and I really appreciate the effort that they show.

-Mike
 

djklmnop

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Tell them you intend on pushing it to 3200 !!! So hand check it! NOW! :smile:
 

Max Power

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EricR said:
I think they have been told to lay off photographers. I just returned from Nicaragua via Houston and was not hassled in either direction.
I think they are getting better training in how to interpret the x-ray images as well.

Things were so bad last year I paid extra just to avoid the US when I was travelling.

Eric,
When you boarded in Calgary (I assume Calgary), did the inspectors allow hand inspection? I will be travelling to Regina from Mirabel in a couple of weeks and was wondering if I'll be hassled about hand inspection. Are there any precautions you can suggest?

Cheers,
Kent
 

ann

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i have been getting film hand check for years, no problems. I put the film in a zip lock bag so it was easy to see . Always wait until they are not busy and just ask and no one has been ugly or refused.
 

oriecat

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My last trip wasn't too bad. I put the film in two little zip lock bags, one for each side pocket of the camera bag. I asked for hand check and they asked me what the film speed was. I told him I had a roll of 3200 (which I did! Just for that purpose! :D) Only thing I didn't like was that he had to open every pouch of the 120s. Same thing on the way back, except one bag was used, one was unused. I also still had film in my Holga, so I had that hand checked also. Got lots of questions and weird looks on that one. :smile:
 

Eric Rose

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Max Power said:
Eric,
When you boarded in Calgary (I assume Calgary), did the inspectors allow hand inspection? I will be travelling to Regina from Mirabel in a couple of weeks and was wondering if I'll be hassled about hand inspection. Are there any precautions you can suggest?

Cheers,
Kent

Some asked for hand inspections and there was no hassle. I wear army pants with large pockets and just put my LF or MF film in my pockets. Since there is nothing to set off the detectors there is no inspection. On the odd occasion when they have objected to my drooping pockets I just run it thru the machine. The film I use is never over 400 asa and I have never had any fogged even after multiple x-ray inspections.

Naturally the pocket thing doesn't work with 35mm film due to the metal canisters. If you have cameras that require batteries to operate, just make sure you have a fresh set in the camera as they may ask you to turn it on.

In Canada I find the smaller airports are stickier than the big ones. Maybe due to the fact they don't get the same level of training or are just bored and your providing them with much needed entertainment.
 

Aggie

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EricR said:
In Canada I find the smaller airports are stickier than the big ones. Maybe due to the fact they don't get the same level of training or are just bored and your providing them with much needed entertainment.
Much needed entertainment was the last time I flew and they asked me to turn on my 4x5 camera.
 

Max Power

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Eric,
Thanks for the reply and the advice.
I appreciate it.

Kent
 

roteague

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mikewhi said:
I recall in Houston once that I had an un-sealed box of 4x5 with exposed negatives in it.

I had a similar issue once in Melbourne, Australia. I wound up having to have my exposed film run through the scanner. Since then, I only travel with Fuji Quick Loads.
 

Roger Krueger

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Yeah, I've encountered the open-every-foil-pouch routine too. It's a pain, but I grudgingly admit to its value.

I'm worried about what happens when airport security gets reprivatized. I really do like the TSA; they seem to have well-thought-out rules and follow them consistently, promoting both security and legally-protected rights. They've also been, in my limited experience, unfailingly professional. This is in stark contrast to what I've experienced at the hands of private security.

I particularly remember flying from San Diego to Portland once, post-911 but pre-TSA, where the hand check in San Diego consisted of a cheerful "Yup, looks like film, go ahead"--Anyone want to speculate on how much ammo you could get in twenty 120 boxes?

The return flight from Portland offered equal stupidity, but in the opposite direction. The security guard rudely refused hand inspection, her supervisor rudely refused hand inspection, and when I directed the supervisor to the sign by his machine guaranteeing the right to a hand inspection his response was "I don't care what the law is, it goes on the belt or it doesn't go through my checkpoint." Delusions of grandeur anyone?
 

BWGirl

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Ok...so in February we are going to Maui. I am taking a boatload of film (120 and 35mm). I have heard to unbox the 35 mm and put it in a clear ziplock bag. How about the 120? out of the box and the foil? just out of the box? I am tempted to run down to the airport and ask the people there. Do you think that would be best?

Also, what about exposed and undeveloped film? Thanks!
 

johnnywalker

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EricR said:
In Canada I find the smaller airports are stickier than the big ones. Maybe due to the fact they don't get the same level of training or are just bored and your providing them with much needed entertainment.

Too true. Kamloops and Kelowna are much stickier than Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary.
 

Aggie

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To tell you how much they are dialing up the sensors, I got a letter from my doc today saying he will supply me with documentation if I need to fly shortly after one of my annual thyroid radiation tests. They have been setting off the sensors in people who have taken the fluids, and then flown within days of the ingestion. Now for it to pick up that minute of an amount, It just may have been dialed up enough to fogg film of a lower ASA than 800. This just in the last few months.

Don't take the foil wrap off the 120 unless they ask you too. In fact if it is in a box that is sealed like the 35mm, it usually is easier to be passed through. It is the opened boxes and such that get the notice. Put it all in a big baggie, and go a bit earlier than you had planned. If you have trouble ask for the supervisor. If they give you trouble, ask for the airport head of security or the airport manager to come and inspect it. If you get beligerant, they will do like they did to my hubby and make you stand in a small squared off area while they nearly stip search you in public, (made him drop his pants in the airport in full view of all.) NEVER leave you film in checked luggage. It will be beyond rescue. A smile goes a long way.
 

25asa

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I took many 120 rolls of iso100 film in carry-on luggage on a trip to Singapore this last summer. Didn't bother with hand inspections. All the film and my cameras got x-rayed in Harrisburg, Detroit and Tokyo on the way over and got zapped in Singapore, Tokyo and Detroit on the way back. Not a trace of fog - even on an unshot roll.

I was only asked in one airport if I had a "camcorder" in the bag.
 

roteague

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BWGirl said:
Ok...so in February we are going to Maui. I am taking a boatload of film (120 and 35mm). I have heard to unbox the 35 mm and put it in a clear ziplock bag. How about the 120? out of the box and the foil? just out of the box? I am tempted to run down to the airport and ask the people there. Do you think that would be best?

Also, what about exposed and undeveloped film? Thanks!

Save yourself the headache and hassle. FedEx the film to your hotel and FedEx it home.

FWIW, I personally don't bother with hand inspections. It's not needed in the US/UK/Australia/New Zealand or anyplace else I have traveled. Of course, I only use 50 or 100 speed film.
 

FrankB

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I've been to Florida several times in the last few years and at Orlando, Sanford and Tampa airports requests for hand inspections of film have been met with cheerful compliance.

In the UK it's a different tale. A polite request got met with a bored and terse, "Put it through the scanner."
"Well, there's some high spee..."
"If it doesn't go through the scanner it doesn't go on the plane."

Ho hum...

The next time I wrote to the BAA in advance and got a polite letter back saying, "Certainly sir! Present this letter at the gate!"

I didn't have to; they were expecting me and (very reluctantly) did a hand inspection.

Live and learn, eh?
 
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