This blog post deals with problems that arise due to tighter security on airplanes.
Well, yesterday folks tried to blow up 9 or more planes, as I am sure you are aware. Immediately security was heightened. No hand carry at all from England out. No Liquids on US flights. This is said to be indefinite.
Two years ago I ordered a Canon 20D and had it “hand carried” over to meet me in England by a friend. My friend put it in their checked bag. The bag never showed up. She did not have insurance and all I got $100 from British Airways for the camera and $500 from American Express (buyers protection) that was it. So now it looks as if we are going to have to check our cameras and our computers involuntarily.
Halfway down in the comments, we find a way to game the system – not to get cameras and computers past security, but to make the airport track the bags more carefully:
Why not just have the TSA adopt the same check in rules for photographic and video equipment as they do for firearms?
All firearms must be in checked baggage, no carry on.
All firearms must be transported in a locked, hard sided case using a non-TSA approved lock. This is to prevent anyone from opening the case after its been screened.
After bringing the equipment to the airline counter and declaring and showing the contents to the airline representative, you take it over to the TSA screening area where it it checked by a screener, relocked in front of you, your key or keys returned to you (if it's not a combination lock) and put directly on the conveyor belt for loading onto the plane.
No markings, stickers or labels identifing what's inside are put on the outside of the case or, if packed inside something else, the bag.
Might this solve the problem? I've never lost a firearm when flying.
One note on using TSA rules to your advantage.
Weapons that travel MUST be in a hard case, must be declared upon check-in, and MUST BE LOCKED by a TSA official.
A "weapons" is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols - those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets - are considered weapons...and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.
I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare...I'm given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me.
That's the procedure. The case is extra-tracked...TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.
It's a great way to travel with camera gear...I've been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.
Hope it works for you...
Until the airlines have some way of making sure your expensive checked luggage is safe, despite the access everyone has to it under TSA rules, maybe you can pack something that forces TSA to use a higher level of security.