The last time you were traveling, how did you pack your camera? Was it in your carry-on so you wouldn’t miss a great photo opp? Or were you forced to place your precious lens(es) into checked baggage? Even though it’s not the safest option, sometimes airline restrictions are so specific, flying photographers have no choice but to pack their expensive gear into a large suitcase. For such occasions, an anonymous baggage handler has some tips wroth listening to.
George Hobica has written an article interviewing a bagge handler which provides some valuable insight on why and how bags (and what’s inside) gets damaged.
One agent puts the bags on the belt loader, which carries it up to an agent inside the cargo hold who throws it 50 feet to the back where another agent stacks all the bags as if it were a game of Tetris. Wheels and handles oftentimes break or crack on impact, and anything fragile inside that is not packed well doesn’t stand much of a chance. Don’t put red wine or alcohol in your suitcase ever. I would never check any fragile items in a soft sided suitcase, unless it was professionally packaged. Those fragile stickers don’t get noticed very often in the rush of loading bags unless it is an obvious shape, such as a musical instrument. I am a musician so I take special care of those, but not everyone is a musician.
.. and the best bags to use to avoid damage
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.
Check out the full article for an interesting read then start shopping for a spinner 🙂
Photo courtesy of Paul Lowry.