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Thread: Weight restrictions on carry on luggage in USA!!

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    Weight restrictions on carry on luggage in USA!!

    Hi all, I am after some advice from people who have travelled OS with their camera gear if possible. I am heading over to the States next year and will be doing a couple of photographic tours, one for birds and one landscapes. My camera gear weighs around 10kg. In the past I have carried a backpack and no one has questioned it, but I find that I am getting older and carrying that much weight is a real strain! So I am looking at getting a roller bag, which will weigh a bit more than a backpack! I guess I am asking for information from others who have been to the US. How strict are they with cabin luggage weight? I really don't want to put expensive equipment in the checked luggage! Any information greatly appreciated!
    My Gear: 5D Mk III , 7D and various canon lenses.


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    Pretty strict these days. Ironically it's not the Americans so much as the Australians staffing their check in. They're all made very mindful of their OH&S obligations, moreso than the yanks I think. It's about how much weight can a person (cabin staff) lift in and out of an overhead, and what happens when it falls on someone.
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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    Never had my cabin luggage weighed leaving Brisbane but did OS last year. We have a roller bag and just took the heaviest lens and camera, put them over my shoulder, headed back to the check in, all sweet.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Dunno about the US. Took 7kg in a camera backpack w/o worries through Aus and Canadian check-ins. I (could be wrong but) I seem to remember 7Kg was the carry-on limit. They were all (mine) pretty loose with weights/carry on, though.
    (How are you for being finger-printed and photographed by US Imms?)*
    m.
    *PS: That happened to us when passing thru US immigration.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 06-09-2013 at 2:53pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    As far as I know, there are some domestic airlines in the US that are very strict on carry on luggage, I think Ryanair is one of them. I have never been checked in any of the places I have been to either in Australia, Europe, UK, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore or Fiji. I have had up to 10kg as my carry on with my camera gear and never even had anyone check the weight ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    As far as I know, there are some domestic airlines in the US that are very strict on carry on luggage, I think Ryanair is one of them. I have never been checked in any of the places I have been to either in Australia, Europe, UK, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore or Fiji. I have had up to 10kg as my carry on with my camera gear and never even had anyone check the weight ever.

    Ryanair is a UK/EU based airlines and does not operate in the US.

    Hello Kyliev, I am a frequent flyer for international flights for photography so I can tell you that carrying a camera backpack you have almost zero chance of it being weighed, but the moment you switch to a rolling backpack/rolling suitcase for cabin baggage - you get asked to weigh it 3 out of 4 times, in my experience.

    I always get away with having 15kg or more as cabin luggage because they simply dont weigh it, and it doesnt look too big or obscene on your back. Here is a run down of airlines below which I have brought lots of photography gear onboard in the last few months.

    QANTAS - did not check my Lowepro backpack

    SINGAPORE - as above

    AMERICAN AIRLINES - asked for my bag on scale to tag it, but it was over the limit but they didnt seem to say anything about it.

    UNITED AIRLINES - did not ask

    JETSTAR - I had a rolling suitcase for cabin and they weighed it, I was quite a few kg over so I had to pay $140 or so excess fee

    VIRGIN - will only weigh rolling stuff, wearing a backpack they did not ask

    MALAYSIA AIRLINES - will ask to weigh everything, I was pinged at 16kg leaving Vietnam and managed to sweet talk them into not fining me and only received a stern warning.

    AIR ASIA - did not ask.


    Hope that helps
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lplates View Post
    Never had my cabin luggage weighed leaving Brisbane but did OS last year. We have a roller bag and just took the heaviest lens and camera, put them over my shoulder, headed back to the check in, all sweet.
    There's an idea, get a roller bag with a shoulder strap. Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post

    Hello Kyliev, I am a frequent flyer for international flights for photography so I can tell you that carrying a camera backpack you have almost zero chance of it being weighed, but the moment you switch to a rolling backpack/rolling suitcase for cabin baggage - you get asked to weigh it 3 out of 4 times, in my experience.

    I always get away with having 15kg or more as cabin luggage because they simply dont weigh it, and it doesnt look too big or obscene on your back. Here is a run down of airlines below which I have brought lots of photography gear onboard in the last few months.
    Hope that helps
    Thank you JM Tran, that is very useful information. I do have a backpack/roller bag but it weighs 3kg without anything in it! I guess I can handle the weight on my back long enough to get through check-in. Last year I went to Thailand with a backpack and they didn't even look at it. I will most likely be flying United from Sydney and also throughout US, so fingers crossed!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    (How are you for being finger-printed and photographed by US Imms?)*
    Does that really happen? It must take forever to get through customs then.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    Ryanair is a UK/EU based airlines and does not operate in the US.
    I must have got my wires crossed as someone on another forum was complaining about Ryanair being overzealous with carry on restrictions and they were also mentioning US at the time.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Kyliev. Apparently so for the 1st time and it lasts/is valid for - so I understand, but you'd better check - 5 years.
    Aussies can get a visa waiver to enter the US - ie, no visa required - but you get it on-line and it costs $14.
    It lasts for 5 years or until passport expires if that happens earlier. Don't worry if you do not have an E-passport, as you can
    still get the visa waiver as long as your passport is "machine-readable". Any issued within the last 10 years would be, with later ones being also "E-passports".

    Lance. RyanAir is to be experienced to be believed!!! They fly around Europe - much to the detriment of Europeans, IM Ostentatious O!!! If you are travelling
    as a couple - WAIT FOR IT - you MUST have EQUAL baggage weights. Eg: it's no good having 12 and 18 Kg. No, they must be 15 and 15 Kg. !!
    I have heard equally woeful tales of RyanAir from other Europeans when I was in Europe in 2011. And, everything on board has to be paid for.

    Am(or not, depending on carrier).

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Lance. RyanAir is to be experienced to be believed!!! They fly around Europe - much to the detriment of Europeans, IM Ostentatious O!!! If you are travelling
    as a couple - WAIT FOR IT - you MUST have EQUAL baggage weights. Eg: it's no good having 12 and 18 Kg. No, they must be 15 and 15 Kg. !!
    I have heard equally woeful tales of RyanAir from other Europeans when I was in Europe in 2011. And, everything on board has to be paid for.

    Am(or not, depending on carrier).
    That is quite unbelieveable! Well, I know what airline I'm not flying with!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Kyliev. Apparently so for the 1st time and it lasts/is valid for - so I understand, but you'd better check - 5 years.
    Aussies can get a visa waiver to enter the US - ie, no visa required - but you get it on-line and it costs $14.
    It lasts for 5 years or until passport expires if that happens earlier. Don't worry if you do not have an E-passport, as you can
    still get the visa waiver as long as your passport is "machine-readable". Any issued within the last 10 years would be, with later ones being also "E-passports".
    Thanks Am - I have just renewed my passport, so all good with that one! Phew!

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    I have had a backpack bag checked twice, once in China, Singapore Air, and had to take out some weight, 1 lens was enough, and also flying Virgin into NZ I was 10 kg and had to take my camera out sling it around my neck re weigh, all good, wander off and put camera back in bag.
    It always pays to have a plan "B" just in case. If you carry a handbag you can distribute a little weight into that, if traveling with a partner/friend they could share the weight.

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