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Travel Warning: Don't Pack a Pelican


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#101 eskasi

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:04 AM

I am getting a Seahorse Carry on case....it's a bit bigger than the Pelican 1510 but weighs the same. I am traveling through the US and am a little concerned. I love the toughness of the case how it's watertight.

Hopefully, I won't have my gear bag weighed. I am going to attempt to carry ALL my camera gear (Fisheye Focus light, strobes and all). If I do get stopped and told to check it, I will remove the housing, camera, Lenses, TTL convertor and Fisheye focus light, place it in a canvas fold up bag and hand carry it! I use 1.85lb UMPC as my laptop when I travel so no issues there.

As an added precaution, I plan to have a second fold up bag to place the hardcase in and have prepared a little note with a ziploc containing zipties and a kind request to TSA agents to please ziptie the case up IF they have to bust my TSA lock.

I figure that 2nd hand strobes/arms are not worth the effort to a thief. DON"T give the ba$tards a chance to get a complete set of gear! IF they manage to sniff out my disguised hard case first.... Oh yeah...my Atomics T2 Reg comes with me too. I wear my dive computer as a watch when I travel. thats what the D9 is for.

Turkish airlines is how I have been flying internationally. Their business class is great and really cheap. I get TWO handcarry and 1 personal item on ALL flights and if anywhere outside of the US, due to my frequent flyer status, I get 110lbs (50kg) as my check in allowance. Oh....when I travel with a partner on business class, the partner's ticket is 50% off!

To get to Elite status, I think it only took two long haul business class flights. Status stays the same for two years. Worth every penny....

Now I just gotta get back to the gym so I can make my Seahorse case look as if I have filled it with Styrofoam.... Good tip here about those allen keys too. I will pack them with the rest of my dive gear and not in the carry on!

#102 rtrski

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 02:44 PM

I've got my Lowepro Vertex 300 AW all packed and ready to go thru San Juan in a week or so as my carryon. Weight restriction is 40lbs and it comes out around 33 or so with all I can get in it, and is still about an inch or more thin of the typical 9" max thickness in the 45-linear-inch US standard. 8" dome assembly, and dual arm tray have to go with the scuba gear though...ulp. I think I'm more worried about the dome getting scratched, even with the neoprene cover and wrapping a 3/2 shorty around it, than I am it getting lifted. I've got the 6" dome for the macro fitting in the carryon, so if my luggage disappears I can hopefully cobble or borrow a tray handle and otherwise be good to go with rental scuba gear. Double-ulp.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#103 pdksca

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 04:44 AM

I like to combine business trips and diving trips ...which means something (the work and laptop, or the photo dive gear) has to get checked. Guess I'll be napping instead of working next flight!
Phil


#104 certainlyscuba

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:29 AM

Mike,

Just wanted to say sorry for all the crap you had to go through. I am new to wetpixel and read your post right before I left for Micronesia a few weeks ago (four plane changes and 32 hours of travel), because of it I completely changed the way I packed for the trip. Two backpacks, one with all my camera gear, and one with all my housing gear, both were carried on person with me the entire trip. I felt so much better while traveling and have to say thanks for sharing your experience.

Amanda
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#105 mborosch

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 05:46 PM

Sorry to hear about your loss one idea might to fedex your gear ahead of time and have it shipped to the hotel or someone on the other end.


Mark
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Mark Borosch
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#106 simoncarolan

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 09:26 AM

That's a really terrible experience.

When I graduated from compact camera setups that went into carry on bags to SLR systems that have to be checked in I bought a rigid plastic Samsonite suitcase which has a rubber gasket. Not as waterproof as a Pelican but then I don't expect it to be immersed in water. I then bought ordinary upholstery foam and cut it to fit the Samsonite case and my kit in several layers.

The result is a "stealth" camera case that weighs less than the equivalent size Pelican item so your baggage allowance doesn't get used up by the case itself. Most importantly it doesn't look like it has anything particularly important inside while Pelican cases or aluminium flight cases scream "expensive gear in here".

So far so good with this approach, no damage or theft of equipment but the TSA guys open the case every time I bring it through Newark airport.

#107 Haley

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 03:24 PM

Obviously those sob's knew what they were looking for. I also recommend a lowpro pack. I check my dive gear but carry the camera.

#108 captainbruce3

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:01 AM

I sympathize with you. I had my uw photo equipment stolen in PR also. I did the exact same thing you did. Packed a pelican case with TSA locks. We had an 8 hour layover before our hop to Bonaire. When we arrived, I noticed the locks were missing. Upon picking up the case it was clear what had happened. The case was quite light. Upon opening the case was empty. I was carring an Olympus 8080, Ikelite housing and 2 Ikelite strobes. I made notification to someone in Bonaire, which was to no use. When we arrived back in Newark, I spoke to the lost luggage personnel. I was told that it was not their problem. Luckily I had Dive Assure travel insurance. After filling out the mountain of paperwork, I was compensated by both Dive Assure and the TSA. The moral of the story is CARRY ON ANY ELECTRONICS OR PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT.

#109 fireted

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 03:34 PM

[/quote]
It's the San Juan Airport ! We had the same problem, 2 times the last 3 trips to bonaire ! Cherry picked gear and cut locks. I finially decided to secure everything that travels using a 1/8" stainless steel cable 15' long and eyelets on each end. Run the cable thru absolutly everything and then padlock the whole thing together. Anything loose, goes in one of those stainless steel mesh bags and is secured the same way. This way, if they want 1 thing, they have to take the whole lot, or at least it will slow them down somewhat !!!!

#110 jungjohann

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:01 PM

As anyone who has read posts here, you can't expect to go through San Juan on AA without expecting gear to be stolen. It's been going on for years and no one has been able to stop it.
Shame on the airlines, shame on the TSA, and shame on us for flying through San Juan or Miami.


I just returned from Bonaire. It was a mixed week of diving with a story I wanted to share.

In the last year, I assembled two DSLR rigs. One Aquatica S2 and the other a Sea and Sea DX-70. Both had dual Inon storbes and the works. Following the lead of many posters here on the board and that of the agent who sold me the Aquatica rig, I packed them carefully in Pelican 1610 cases. I put no camera or scuba related stickers on the cases and I secured them with TSA approved locks.

We departed last Saturday for Bonaire on American Airlines. We laid over in San Jaun and then flew via Turbo prop the next day. This overnight was the usual unexpected delay. Our bags did not make it to Bonaire until the following evening. All four bags made it, but one Pelican case had its lock cut and had been cherry picked for the housing, gears, and ports. OK, so we still had one rig to use in Bonaire and had a pretty good time.

We left for Austin the following Sunday and our bags did not make the connection in Dallas. When they were delivered today, guess what? Both Pelican cases made it home, but the Aquatica rig was no longer in the case nor were the ports, gears, or strobes.

This has made me very sad to say the least. Most of it was insured, but that still does not make it OK. I wanted you all to hear this story because I feel certain that the "expensive nature" of things enclosed in Pelican cases made these high value targets in the San Juan airport. Be warned if you are traveling with your rigs in one of these cases. They must scream "TAKE ME, I can be sold on eBay".

For future flights, once we have recovered from this theft and reassembled our kits, we will not be packing in Pelicans. I will be carrying my housing on the flight along with my lenses and computer. What else can you do?

I hope this helps some of you not experience the loss that I did in the last week. Sherri and I are devastated at the total lack of security and regard the airlines have for their passengers that pay thousands of dollars to fly with them.

Best regards all,
Mike



#111 jungjohann

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:08 PM

I hate to say this, but anyone who has read the posts here knows that traveling through San Juan is a big risk. Dive and camera equipment get stolen here on a regular basis.
Shame on AA, shame on the TSA, and shame on us for continuing to fly through either Miami or San Juan with anything of value checked.
If I visit Bonaire, and I love it, Continental is the only flight I'd take. Problem is, they don't fly full time.
If divers stopped going, I'll bet someone might do something about the problem. It's a heck of a lot bigger than anyone admits, and it's been going on for YEARS.

#112 marcw

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 11:50 AM

With all the people on this forum that does magazine work, can anybody write an article about this so maybe something will happen. (Other than the writer being blacklisted on the plane.)

#113 nickjonesgb

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 04:13 PM

I really feel for you in losing your kit, as insurance might pay for replacements, but it doesn't get close to compensate for a dive trip ruined by having no kit. I have travelled through San Juan on AA for the last 3 years on my way to BVI, and been fortunate not lose any diving gear, but I havent checked any camera gear. However, I changed to an SLR and housing this year, and use a peli case with a think tank inside. I am now very concerned by your experience, as I travel to BVI this summer, and I carry not only my underwater gear, but also my land gear, and hand carrying both will be difficult.

I wonder it is worth investing in the new GPS tracked luggage tags, they are baout 130 each, anyone got any experience with these ???

#114 diver dave1

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:17 PM

I wonder it is worth investing in the new GPS tracked luggage tags, they are baout 130 each, anyone got any experience with these ???

I did not think the issue was missing luggage...but missing equipment from the luggage. Or am I ...umm.. missing the point?

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#115 Aussiebyron

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:41 PM

Sorry to hear about the bad experiences in relation to using Pelican cases. I use a Pelican 1620 (big box with wheels which weights 24kg packed). I have travelled around most of the South Pacific, PNG, Indonesia with this big box without any problems other than excess baggage. On all international trips I insure my kit so If it did go missing that I be able to replace it with the latest and greatest kit.

I like Matt's idea about plastic case with custom foam inserts and also the old Burgen over the pelican to make it less conspicuous. I love my pelican for when I get off the regional gateways and have to either get on a small island hopping plane or open boat to get to those remote locations. Knowing that my kit is well packed and waterproof. This has happened on several trips where there be a tropical downpour in an open boat. See the people that packed there kits in normal backpack style cases go into panic while I am sitting on my pelican get soaked to the bone with a big smile on my face.

I am going to keep my Pelican 1620. Get the whole lot insured for some amount that easierly replaces it and maybe invest in an old burgen with betelnut spit all over it.

Regards Mark
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#116 gee_cee

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:43 AM

Seen this topic come up before on other forums.

Apologies if this has already been suggested- just skim-read the post- but my solution was to buy the cheapest looking holdall I could find & put the Peli case inside that. Like the idea of stealth case though- gap in the market??

Graham