View Full Version : Donít ever let airline baggage handlers take your camera gear

03-04-2015, 10:51 PM
This may be obvious to most of you, but I wanted to share my story.

On a recent flight one of the planes was quite small and standard carryon roller bags would not fit in the overhead bins. All roller bags had to be gate checked. I had my camera gear in a Think Tank Airport Security bag, which is a very sturdy and well-padded bag. I thought about taking my Sony FS700 and the attached Sony 18-200mm lens out to carry on, but I didnít have another bag to put it in so it would have just been sitting on the floor under the seat in front of me. I figured it would be safer inside the big, sturdy, well-padded camera bag since Iím handing it off to the airline 10 feet away from the plane just before boarding and getting it back 10 feet away from the plane just after landing. Well I couldnít have been more wrong and Iím kicking myself for being dumb enough to let them touch my camera gear.

Since itís the middle of winter, I havenít used the camera much in the month since returning from my trip. The one time I did use it, I removed the lens to mount a different lens and didnít notice any problem. When I pulled it out today and tried to switch back to the 18-200mm lens, I couldnít get it to mount. When I looked at the mount on the lens I noticed it was severely bent! This is some pretty solid metal - I canít budge it by pushing on it as hard as I can. They must have somehow dropped my bag off a building on the trip from the jet bridge to the planeís cargo area.

Now Iím worried about the lens mount of the $7,500 Sony FS700 that the lens was mounted to. There is no obvious damage to it, but I know even subtle warping of the lens mount can cause focusing problems and soft images. They may not necessarily be obvious, but I may get blurrier images from here on out with this camera because of subtle damage to the lens mount.

Lessons learned:
- Never let airline baggage handlers touch your camera gear, no matter how well it is packaged, even for 10 feet.
- Donít travel with a lens attached to your camera. The lens mount is fragile.
- If an airline does damage your gear, youíre pretty much screwed. They wonít take responsibility.


03-05-2015, 02:06 AM
I wonder if it's possible that a really low temperature could have caused that. Probably not.

I've had problems with airlines, too. Whatever gets checked with them at any time must be something you're OK with losing.