Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by digitalandfilm, Oct 8, 2012.
Ex-TSA Agent Had Numerous Cameras for Sale on eBay When He Was Arrested
And that is why you don't check-in your valuables. Though I know that's impossible for CNN-crews or folks wanting to bring along their entire B&H or Adorama collection.
I am apalled at how easily we as Americans have so easily given up our freedoms in the interest of "safety".
I travel often for work, and TSA is more than an inconvenience.
Most of their policies defy common sense.
To me it's amazing that people will actually put expensive items in checked bags. My family and I travel several times a year and there's no way in the world I would ever let my camera gear out of my sight.
If you care about it, carry it with you. I would never check in anything but clothes and toiletries..well maybe cheap accesorries like chargers with little resale value.
Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
Hard issue to deal with. I always bring my most valuable stuff on-board. Small electronics are far too easy to swipe. Unfortunately I have to check my pocket knife and safety razor and I'm always a bit worried about those. I'm on my 43rd flight of the year right now and I usually check a bag with no issues (other than my luggage taking a beating).
I always carry a pelican 1510 that is pad locked with a chain inside just incase I need to lock it to something solid. This insures that the case remains closed until I am there in person to open it for the TSA to examine.
You may already know this, but if it's a non TSA-approved lock (in other words one they have master keys for), they have the authority to simply cut off your padlock anyway should they determine it's necessary to search your bag for screening. That's why the TSA-approved locks exist to begin with.
The only exception to this is when traveling with a firearm, in which event by federal law you are allowed to lock & secure the firearm case with *any* lock, and my understanding is you are not obligated to provide the TSA with the keys - they stay with you and you would unlock the case yourself for screening. Some people even fly with a firearm in each checked bag (bear in mind that simple flare guns and starter pistols count as firearms also) for the sole purpose of being able to adequately secure their luggage. It sounds crazy and possibly excessive to many I'm sure, but I don't think it'd take more than one bad theft experience to have me seriously considering it. Generally I just skip checking any luggage unless I have no choice, but if you're traveling with Pelican cases of gear or prohibited items it's pretty tough to avoid.
I have heard that TSA will reimburse for stolen property (TSA Took Your Stuff? File a Claim - SmarterTravel.com. I always lock my carry-on or camera bag so if they want to search it, I will have to open the bag and watch them. I have put tripod legs in checked luggage, but the ball head in my carry-on. So far, no problems.
I'm from the UK. I need some new travel luggage and have been looking at various offers in stores and online. The "TSA locks" are everywhere now and are strongly recommended for trips to and from the USA.
Even before reading this thread, my question was "How secure are they?"
What is to stop criminals acquiring TSA master keys?
Answers: "not very" and "nothing". Especially if the criminals ARE the TSA agents as in the case outlined in the OP.
Your luggage is likely very insecure to begin with. If you're using any kind of bag with a zipper, it can probably be opened with a simple ballpoint pen (search youtube for it if you've never seen it done, it's an eye-opener). Even if you have a hard-sided case, most luggage locks are poor quality and easily defeated by someone with a modicum of skill or knowledge. I've dabbled a tiny bit in lock-picking just for fun and educational purposes and I learned exactly enough to realize what an illusion almost all security really is against someone determined to defeat it.
A hard-sided case with quality hardened locks is an improvement over most, but as noted for U.S. travel you're stuck with TSA approved locks, or the possibility they'll cut or destroy your locks otherwise.
I agree Jay, most locks are pretty simple to get off if someone really wants in. I'm wondering in this case if renters insurance would cover your property when traveling? I know people have had things stolen or damaged outside of the home and had them covered by renters insurance.. I'm going to look into this more. Still not going to check a camera but would like to cover other possessions that I can't carry-on. I've actually thought about checking a firearm myself for that purpose, the problem is I travel to CA often and the laws here aren't friendly towards them. Not ideal to leave it in a car/hotel during the day..
For renter's insurance you'd have to talk to your specific policy holder; they often require an add-on "marine" coverage for items beyond a certain price point. You'd also need proof of ownership/purchase and possibly other documentation. I looked into it before our Alaska trip because I wanted to insure my cameras against damage. Unfortunately, I didn't end up doing it and my G3 took a fatal fall on the trip.
A lot of people don't know it, but the airline actually covers up to $3,300 per bag in case of loss or damage already. However, that's assuming you can prove the value of your lost items, and they don't find a way to refuse your claim. The baggage "insurance" you've probably never heard about - Airfarewatchdog
As far as traveling with a "firearm", if you want the travel benefits without the other concerns you could always buy a cheap flare gun and travel with that. You'd want to check local laws of course, but I imagine you'd have a pretty low chance of problem keeping an unloaded flare gun in your hotel room :tongue: As far as I know, even in CA a flare gun isn't considered a firearm. Just FYI though, traveling with a firearm can be a bit of a hassle and slow you down at check-in... especially if flying out of a gun-unfriendly state like CA or NJ.
My wife and I rarely check anything even on international trips. Most hotels will happily receive boxes so we ship spare clothes and what not before leaving the country
I also learned a bit of lock picking a few years ago (for the fun of it also:tongue. The simple locks used in luggage are astoundingly easy to pick. I never, ever put anything of value in my checked bags.
Also, for many years, I have had all risk, full replacement value insurance on my cameras and accessories. It's not expensive (especially for non-professionals), and, for the peace of mind when traveling, it's priceless.
And, it came in handy last year when I had to replace a damaged lcd screen on my E-P3.
At the risk of derailing the thread a bit, where do you get your insurance from? I'd still like to sort out insurance on my camera equipment while traveling.
I have all of my insurance with USAA. USAA insurance is available to military only (former, current, family members), but I would guess that most insurance carriers would have some kind of similar "personal property insurance". Or at least a rider for home or renters insurance. My basic home insurance has limited personal property coverage, so I got separate insurance specifically for each of my cameras and accessories that covers them world-wide, at full-replacement value for any kind of loss. It's very reasonably priced, mainly because it's for non-commercial/non-professional use of the cameras. I think that's the key to getting reasonable rates.
Yes I know that... The TSA approved locks are mainly a concern for checked in luggage when the owner is not present to gain permission to inspect. I dont padlock checked luggage. Then again there is nothing valuable in them either... maybe a tripod.
The is only for my hand carry pelican. It is for two purposes. Theft while to and from the airport and to make it difficult for the TSA personel from opening the case immediately. Its easier for them to ask me since I am right there with the case. Its mainly for the chance that the case goes through xray while I am held up at the metal detector. Its pretty effective thus far. My family expects me to be held up by the TSA to open the case and let them inspect the contents.
I also use it as a portable lock box for any valuables that maybe left back at the hotel. I hide the pelican padlocked to something that makes it even more of a hassel to open or steal.
nothing is completely secure. Its a matter of how much you are going to make them work for it.
I prefer to use non-TSA locks. I don't care if they can be cut off - at least I would be certain my luggage has been tampered with and that is important when collecting bags before presenting at customs. Theft is not a big problem in most locations and insurance will cover that. Having something added to your baggage without your knowledge could prove to be a big problem.
Anything not easily replaced, carry in hand luggage.
Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
One vote FOR the TSA agents: a few years ago my wife was traveling from Cleveland to NJ and after going through security x-ray, picked up the wrong laptop. The person who got hers discovered the switch in the airport. My wife didn't realize this until AFTER she arrived at her office in NJ. She was, naturally, really upset. I happened to be traveling in Utah when all this went down. I contacted TSA in Cleveland and they arranged for me to pick up her laptop when I arrived back in Cleveland two days later. I then flew to NJ and picked up the other laptop, returning it to TSA in Cleveland. They then arranged to get it to the other person. TSA was extremely helpful and friendly, especially in allowing me to handle/carry two laptops that were not mine, etc. All ended well thanks to TSA.
Separate names with a comma.