At the airport


The Naked Spammer
Staff member
May 11, 2005
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Houston, TX
I know you can have film inspected by hand, but what if it's inside your camera at that point in time? Can they hand inspect the entire camera, or does it have to go through the X-Ray, film and all?
You can always ask...but that might arouse suspicion...and you might end up having to open the camera.

I've read that most airport x-ray machines (for people & carry on stuff) won't really damage or fog most film.
I went trough that last year on my vacations.

Let them know that you have film on the camera, that way they won't open it. If you can avoid it, keep your camera with no roll until you arrive.

They will pass it trough the bomb sniffer by rubbing it with a cotton ball and then they put it on the bomb detecting machine. You may be requested to remove the lense and take a pic in bulb so they can see there's film inside. They will do the same to all your film canisters, if you can, get a X-Ray pouch from B&H, that way you can put your film on your carry on bag, it's much faster that way. The whole process can take up to 10-15 minutes, so keep that in mind.

They were very nice, just don't look anxious about anything and you'll do fine. I looked like that and I got searched the first time... bleh.:confused:
One tip I've read, is to take all the film out of the canisters and put it into a ziplock bag. That way they can plainly see that it's film and you won't have to open all the canisters.
Just give yourself PLENTY of time at security. I took 20 rolls with me to Mexico for a trip and they had to individually swab each one and test it so ended up taking a good 30min.
Well, I went from DFW to Miami to Jamaica, then repeated the process on the way back. I went through customes twice, once going once coming. I had my 35mm slr in my backpack allong with my digital camcorder. They told me to put it in a tray, the carried it to the other side bypassing the machine. When I got to the other side they asked that I step to the sid with them. they opened all film canisters. The took the swabs (bomb) and rubed on the straps, sides of lenses, and the shutter button. then I was free to go. Don't act shocked if they ask you to do any of this or any further steps. That will make them want to check more. Going with no film loaded is always best, but if you do have film loaded ask them if you can go ahead and rewind the film and take it out for them. We got through the inspection in about 3 minutes, and I had 10 rolls of film. If they see a traveler with that many items they ussually through 2-3 guys on inspecting yout o make it faster.
I went to Rome in April 04, and went through about 4 different airports each way, and I never had to send my camera through the machine. They just looked in my camera bag and that was it. I went through Dulles airport, Franfrurt Germany, one in Naples, and one in Rome.

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