Why Camera Gear May be Safest in a Four-Wheeled Suitcase When Flying

You probably already know that it’s not a good idea to include your expensive camera gear with check in luggage, but what if you have no choice? If you must, then putting your gear inside a hard-sided “spinner” suitcase with four wheels is your best bet. The Huffington Post has published an interesting interview with an anonymous baggage handler, who gives the following advice:

Hard-sided suitcases will get less damage, but also look for well-designed handles that are attached with rivets and some sort of protection around the wheels. Speaking of wheels, the best bags to get are the “spinners” with four wheels on the bottom. We like these because we don’t have to throw them when loading. We just roll them down the belly of the plane so your bag and its contents will suffer much less damage.

The handler reveals that bags are commonly subjected to all kinds of abuse due to the strict schedules the handlers must abide by.

Confessions of An Airline Baggage ‘Thrower’ (via Lifehacker)

Image credit: airplane by shyb

  • Kaitanium

    but of course the huffington fails to see that baggage handlers can be thieves too.

  • Kaitanium

    oh nevermind the dude mentions it haha. carry on FTW

  • Ryan Siemers

    Unless the TSA happens to remove and fail to replace the foam padding your custom cut foam insert on your Pelican case… then all bets are off. 

  • guest

    Sir, this is a 400 f/2.8, not a rocket launcher, believe my word, now step aside.

  • Kirk

    I’m not going to trust my $8,000 worth of gear to someone who gets $7/hour and must be able to open the case to “inspect” it. Screw that.

  • Kirk

    I’m not going to trust my $8,000 worth of gear to someone who gets $7/hour and must be able to open the case to “inspect” it. Screw that.

  • Damien

    That’s why you pack all your camera-gear into carry-on (in a clear, zip-lock bag with a pouch of desiccant gel).

    Even if that means “rationing” how many lenses you take, or doing deals with friends/family to overflow into their carry-on, it’s worth it.

  • will hall

    …before i shoot you with it

  • Matt

    IMO, more often it is that the bags come open and they are not able to get all your stuff back. But, yes some theft occurs, but very little IMO. These are secure areas, and the workers are long term workers (I.e. career). They get payed pretty well.

    I worked as a baggage handler for a couple of summers and have some respect for them.

  • Matt

    Having been in the belly of a plane a few times, the guy is pretty accurate. I would point out that soft sided bags are seen as kind of a wild card, and will get stuffed in to any space that looks big enough LOL. So, pack them accordingly.

    Good hard sided luggage is hard to find, and expensive. So, I just take care in what I pack to be checked. And carry on my cameras and electronics.

  • Kirk

    I’ve heard that it’s better to just FedEx your gear to the location, because it can’t be opened an inspected (other than at the FedEx center when you’re loading/shipping it I guess).  What do people do for shipping out of the country? FedEx it or is it better to just rent the gear in that country?

  • dnguyen

    It’s the intense x-ray scans associated with check-in luggage that scares me.

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha! Nice! I like your choice of topic! =D

    tile reglazing nyc

    NJ pools

  • Kyoshinikon

    Or get a Nikon :P

  • photoal

    FedEx and UPS are notorious about mishandling their packaging. Check out some youtube videos on that matter, it’s kind of scary.

  • Ken Elliott

    Ha! I so relate to that. I flew with my 500/4, and when I opened the case, the TSA agent freaked and asked me to step away.