Find out if you can fly with a camera, where to pack it and different airline rules surrounding camera and camera gear on a plane.
Cameras and all its gear and equipment are expensive and valuable things. Flying with them can be a nerve wracking time, as they are exposed to a greater risk of damage. Follow our tips for travelling with a camera to reduce risk to your valuables:
According to the TSA, digital cameras can be transported in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage. However, because cameras are fragile items, we recommend you always pack them in your carry-on luggage. This is because suitcases which go in the hold often get damaged and thrown around in transit, and any fragile cameras inside may get damaged or shattered. You’ll still want to ensure that your camera is packed tightly in protective wrapping. If possible, make sure that your camera bag is small enough to not be asked to be checked luggage as this puts your equipment more at risk you may get charged extra to check a bag at the airport.
Due to restrictions on taking liquids in hand luggage, we recommend putting any cleaning products in your checked luggage. Tripods should also go in here as they are large but not delicate, so won't take up space in your hand luggage.
To be able to use your camera at your destination, you’ll be wanting to bring extra camera batteries with you. However, airlines, airports and countries all have specific rules about batteries, so ensure you check with the relevant authorities to check that you adhere to regulations to avoid your camera and its batteries being confiscated. For example the TSA limit lithium batteries, and some airports, such as those in India, may require you to remove the battery from your camera when travelling, whereas other airports may ask you to keep the battery in to prove that it is a working camera. Therefore, it is best to check the rules and regulations of the airport and country that you are travelling to.
Also, make sure you pack the camera batteries securely and separately so that they do not come into contact with each other and short circuit and become a fire hazard. Lithium batteries are prohibited in checked baggage, so must be transported safely in your carry-on bags.
Only take what is necessary. The weight of lenses can easily add up and you may see yourself going over your bag limit. Try to find a lens that does everything, so you don’t require different lenses for different types of shots. Detach your lens from your camera to avoid damage from stress on the equipment, and pack it separately. You can purchase additional baggage if you plan to take more equipment with you.
If you are flying with a camera attached to a drone, you may be subject to further rules. You can read more about flying with a drone here.
If you are flying with camera film, you may be aware that x-ray machines in security can damage the film. However, the TSA state that film under 800 ISO will not be damaged by the x-rays in airport security. However, as checked baggage goes through higher energy X-rays, it is recommended your film is transported in your hand luggage. Alternatively, if you are still worried about passing your film through the x-ray machine, some airports will allow you to skip this step and be hand-inspected instead.
Okay, you can’t completely bypass security at the airport, but you can purchase a TSA Pre-check pass which allows you to fastback through it. If you are a frequent flier, you may benefit from this service, as the price pays off in the time you save. Read more about this service using the link above. In addition, you can purchase a Global Entry pass, which is more focused on customs when arriving at the airport, but also includes the TSA Precheck in the pass.
Yes, according to the TSA a selfie stick can be transported in both carry-on baggage and in checked baggage.
Yes, the TSA states that you can fly with a tripod in both your checked and carry-on bags as long as the tripod fits easily fits in the baggage. However, we recommend transporting it in your checked bags as they are not delicate and could take up precious room in your carry-on bag.
Yes, film can be transported in both hand and checked baggage according to the TSA. It is best, however, to transport it in hand luggage, where the security x-ray machine is not as strong and therefore not as damaging. In the best scenario, you will be able to skip the x-ray machine all together and be allowed to have your film hand inspected by security, but unfortunately, this is not always available at airports.
Yes, the TSA allow passengers to transport camera monopods in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage. The TSA ask you to check with the airline that the camera monopod will fit in the overhead bin if carrying it in hand baggage.
Yes, you will be able to fly with a DSLR camera in both your hand and checked luggage. However, if you are carrying it in your carry-on luggage, which we recommend, you should check with the airline that your camera will be able to fit in the overhead bin and not need to be gate-checked.
You are allowed to transport a camera in either your hand or checked luggage, as long as it follows airline rules and fits within the baggage size restrictions. You're allowed to carry 2 lithium batteries that are between 101 and 150WH and as many batteries as you want, providing that each battery is less than 100WH. Batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage, and you must adhere to individual airline rules.
Any type of camera is allowed to be packed in both carry-on baggage and in checked baggage. Your disposable camera should be carefully packed and covered to avoid any damage. Please note that the undeveloped film inside some disposable cameras could be damaged when going through airport security x-ray checks. Undeveloped film should be packed separately in your carry-on baggage.
Yes, you can bring your camera with you on a flight as long as it meets the airline's size and weight policy. If you have a collection of cameras and lenses, you most certainly won't be able to bring it all due to the weight limitations. Please consider which equipment will help you with your shoot.