Air Travel Just Got Worse for Photographers


I wound up getting stuck overnight in Minneapolis/St. Paul due to a late flight that caused me to miss my connection back to Tampa (thanks Northwest Airlines, which not only made me miss my connection, but then wouldn’t release my own luggage to me, or provide me with a room, or wellâ¦pretty much anything. It just reminded me once again why I love United, but that’s another story).

Anyway, while passing through security the TSA Agent at the X-ray belt, said: “That’s a LowePro camera bag; do you have a DSLR in there?” I said yes, and he said I had to remove it and put it on the belt. I told him it wasn’t a video camera, and he told me DSLR’s now have to be removed and put on the belt separately because of their size. So I started screaming at him, and pointing my fingers in his face (you know I’m joking, right?). So, I just shook my head, took out my DSLR out of my bag (pictured above in a photo taken with my iPhone), put it in a gray bin (I sent it though last so I’d be there to make sure I’m the one that winds up with it), and went on.

Then they wanted to search my bag, and that’s perfectly fine with me, and they dusted it for explosives. While he and I were chatting, I asked him about having to remove my DSLR, and was this just an overzealous TSA agent, or a new rule? He said as of August 4, 2007 that all DSLR are supposed to be removed, but not all airports have instituted this new policy yet, but he felt certain most would. Just what I was hoping for, as I usually travel with two bodies, that now I have to worry about getting swiped as they pass through the x-ray machine.

Anyway, I haven’t had a chance to go to the TSA site and research this, but even if I find that it’s not accurate, what recourse do I have with a TSA agent that asks me to remove it. I’ve heard of the success rate of getting into an argument with a TSA agent. They generally win, since they can simply delay you long enough for you to miss your flight (this happened to a photographer friend of mine). Anyway, just a heads up that air travel with your DSLR may have gotten just a little bit more fun. ;-)

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