(1) Extra carry-on. The Transportation Security Administration
(TSA), the folks in charge of airline passenger screening, will now allow
anyone to take a carry-on bag of camera gear through security in addition
to the normally allowed one carry-on plus one personal item. Just because
TSA allows it, however, doesn't mean that your airline will. You must check
with you carrier before showing up at the airport. TSA information can be
found online at www.tsa.gov/public.
This was on their website as of April 26, 2004:
Transporting Film and Photographic Equipment
You may carry one (1) bag of photographic equipment in addition to one
(1) carry-on and one (1) personal item through the screening checkpoint.
The additional bag must conform to your air carrier's carry-on restrictions
for size and weight. Please confirm your air carrier's restrictions prior
to arriving at the airport.
Air carriers may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their
aircraft. Please check with your air carrier prior to arriving at the airport.
(2) Carry-on X-ray. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title
49, governs airport security regulations. You can find the latest version
online at ecfr.gpoaccess.gov.
The text below, from section 1544.211 of CFR Title 49, was current as of
April 22, 2004 (i.e. long after 9/11). The law clearly states that in the
U.S., if you ask to have your film and camera gear hand-inspected without
going through an X-ray machine, the security personnel must do so.
CFR §1544.211(e) Use of X-ray systems.
(e) Signs and inspection of photographic equipment and film. (1) At
locations at which an aircraft operator uses an X-ray system to inspect
accessible property the aircraft operator must ensure that a sign is posted
in a conspicuous place at the screening checkpoint. At locations outside
the United States at which a foreign government uses an X-ray system to
inspect accessible property the aircraft operator must ensure that a sign
is posted in a conspicuous place at the screening checkpoint.
(2) At locations at which an aircraft operator or TSA uses an X-ray
system to inspect checked baggage the aircraft operator must ensure that
a sign is posted in a conspicuous place where the aircraft operator accepts
(3) The signs required under this paragraph (e) must notify individuals
that such items are being inspected by an X-ray and advise them to remove
all X-ray, scientific, and high-speed film from accessible property and
checked baggage before inspection. This sign must also advise individuals
that they may request that an inspection be made of their photographic
equipment and film packages without exposure to an X-ray system. If the
X-ray system exposes any accessible property or checked baggage to more
than one milliroentgen during the inspection, the sign must advise individuals
to remove film of all kinds from their articles before inspection.
(4) If requested by individuals, their photographic equipment and film
packages must be inspected without exposure to an X-ray system.
(3) Checked luggage. Under no circumstance should you put undeveloped
film in your checked luggage. Unexposed or exposed, it makes no difference,
it will be destroyed by the intense X-ray dosage these bags are subjected