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If you’re anything like most photographers, you probably keep a pretty close eye on your camera gear when you’re travelling. Keeping it close and in your carry on luggage for flights, in many instances, is the preferred way to do that for a lot of photographers. That might all be coming to an end in the US.
Following on from the US ban on electronic devices larger than a smart phone in plane cabins from 8 Muslim countries, news has recently come out that the secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, is considering expanding the ban to all countries and all flights into or out of the US.
For many photographers who don’t want to check their camera gear in the notoriously roughly treated an insecure check in luggage systems of most airlines, this could pose quite a problem. So too, at least one airline group has raised concerns regarding putting a lot of lithium-ion batteries in the hold of an aircraft (where presumably fire without the ability to fight it could be an increased problem).
Now, most of the rhetoric seems to have more to do with banning laptops from the cabin of such flights, but the specific language regarding any electronic device larger than a cell phone also encompasses a lot of camera gear among other things such as iPads and MS Surfaces.
The initial ban was said, by the Whitehouse, to do with intelligence that suggested terrorist were attempting to develop explosives, the size of a laptop battery, that were capable of bringing down a plane.
For photographers, it seems a lot of discussions about small cameras and Pelikan cases might be happening in the near future if this goes through. Either solution would seem the obvious way to get around the inability to take larger camera gear into carry-on luggage with you.
You can read the full transcript of the interview with Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kelly at Fox News where we would note that Secretary Kelly used enough weasel words to back out of this, so it isn’t yet a given.