Traveling by flight, today, is very different than it was 20 to 30 years ago. Instead of a calf holding cell, even those of a 6 foot persuasion would be able to sprawl with comfort; you could get a steak with sauce béarnaise instead of some mystery meat in glue. Each man, woman, and child would be given amenity bags with trinkets and toys, whereas now you get your trinkets stolen from you by TSA, and where used to be friendly smiles from the crew, are often grunts.
Bit of a different story today though. Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who are able to walk onto an airplane and turn left, your flight is likely to be the worst part of your trip. And scare stories abound now in regards to commercial flight.
It seems that each week someone is cooking up some news to bring about some new and exciting way to die in an airplane; you can’t fly on any flight longer than 6 hours before you’ll die of deep vein thrombosis, or the cancer caused by radiation in the upper atmosphere reacting with the metal airframe. So, it’s all rather bleak, and it just got a bit more miserable.
Numerous airports dotted around the globe are ramping up security checks and screenings, particularly pertaining to electronic devices. It’s in response to a perceived terrorist threat from Al Qaeda based in Yemen and other terrorists out of Syria, and primarily affects those returning to the United States. Major airports like LHR (London Heathrow) are to be affected. But what does this mean for photographers? Well as part of the newly administered measures, some travelers may be asked to power up their devices before boarding. If, however, the device will not turn on, due to defect or battery, it may not be permitted on board the aircraft and thus subject to being left behind, and you to additional checks.
Due to the seemingly broad application of the rule and lack of itemized specificity, this would seem to apply to anything that can be powered on, including laptops, tablets, cameras, and possibly even external drives. So, make sure if you’re traveling anywhere soon, that your devices are juiced up before returning/heading to the US. You could also expect, as happened to one of my fellow editors recently, to have all your lenses removed, caps on both ends taken off, and each run through the scanner. Give yourself some extra time, and factor this time in when scheduling connecting flights, and airport arrivals.
I detest going through airport security checks, because I love traveling and it just sort of spoils it for me. However, I’m entirely fine with this check, and wouldn’t be opposed to most types should it ensure safety. I don’t know if any of you have had this experience, but I’ve traveled so many times with large amounts of gear on my person, from camera bodies to large lens cases and haven’t had them given even a second look by TSA. I actually found this concerning, but I assume they know what to look for.
Source: BBC (Image is screen cap from linked BBC video)