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Old Jun 13, 2011, 11:44 AM   #11
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 516

Hi, TSA screener here. And here are the tips for such.

Tripods are no problem. If they have big dense and heavy tops to mount the camera on I would suggest you take them out of carry-on, if you have it in a bag, and leave it out. If it is a smaller one won't matter much. They still may check it if they can't see through some of the metal components.

As a photographer I know what camera equipment looks like, and doesn't look like. People were amazed when I would ask if they had a Hasselblad or what kind of photos they shot...etc. I also know film and some people come with huge amounts of unprocessed paper or film they want hand checked. Not a problem for me.
However, not ALL screeners know photography! Some are complete idiots about a lot of things due to inexperience...they haven't lived long enough to have experienced all the things I have. From 8 track tapes to digital cameras. So they check every 'little' thing they do not know.

The people at the ticket counter are the worst to ask what you can or cannot take along with you. They do not want to hassle with you, or break bad news so they leave it to us...even if they see a sword sticking out your backpack. And, trust me, there have been swords sticking out of backpacks coming to checkpoints. You cannot bring golf clubs either or baseball bats.

For people who do carry film or paper: DO BRING A DARKROOM BAG...one you can put the film/paper in, zip it up, and put you hands inside sleeves. That way a screener can open the package of paper up to make sure nothing else is in the boxes...etc. Anything bigger than a 35mm film case is suspect.

A lot of it goes to communication between screener supervisor and passenger. Politeness goes along way. Even when they aren't. Sometimes they are expecting the worse and it has been one of those kinds of days.
Trust me, I know.
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