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Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

Damascus, Maryland
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101 posts
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Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

I've got a bunch of pro camera gear - a body, 4 pro lenses, a handful of accessories - that I'm taking with me to Machu Picchu.

I'm reading about the carry on limits for Star Peru and LAN, and I'm not sure what to do. Star seems to be the most restrictive, with only 8 pounds carry on, while LAN seems to allow up to 35 pounds carry on, but only for premium tickets which never seem available.

My Pelican case with my camera gear in it weighs about 32 pounds. This is the one thing I really need to carry on. It's sized for international carry on, so it's small enough from a dimension perspective.

I also have a camera backpack that weighs 3 pounds empty. I'd be fine checking it empty if needed. And a large sized piece of luggage that I will check.

But I really am not comfortable checking the camera gear. It's just too much money and too fragile, even in the pelican case.

Any advice, especially from people who have travelled with camera gear before? I'm happy to pay more if needed.

Thanks in advance for any help!

california
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1. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

If you are that concerned why not just take LAN?

Damascus, Maryland
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101 posts
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2. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

LAN only has the 35 pound limit for non-economy and nothing says it's available for non-economy. So their weight limit is about the same as Star I think otherwise.

NYC
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3. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

Just got back. Flew StarPeru. My camera bag had to weigh at least 25 pounds. No one batted an eye and no one ever weighed it. I wouldn't worry at all.

Yorktown, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Machu Picchu
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4. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

Note that Machu Picchu might has certain stipulations for professional photographers - like extra fees - or those who "appear" to be professionals due to the amount & type of equipment. Telephoto lenses & tripods seem to tip them off. There are some old posts on TA about photography equipment at Machu Picchu, so it might be good to check them out.

BTW, checked the LAN regs - it's 8kg (17lb) for economy carryon - so you would be nearer than on StarPeru. Maybe you can figure out how to lighten the load?

New Jersey
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5. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

I flew on LAN about 3 weeks ago from Lima to Cusco (and back) and no one ever weighed our carryons, or anyone else's as far as I could see. I don't think I've ever had an airline weigh my carry on, only checked bags. I think if the bag is small enough you should be fine.

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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6. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

Not to worry, should have no problems whatsoever

San Diego...
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7. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

We flew LAN... on the flight from Lima to Cusco, no employees even looked twice at our carry-on bags. I had a roller bag and backpack, my husband had two back packs. There was plenty of overhead space for my suitcase.

On the way from Cusco to Lima, the LAN agent was much more interested in my carryon roller bag and insisted it be weighed. I was over by a couple kg and she required it to be checked. My suggestion is to have a back up in case they do weigh you bag. If you can split up the weight you would be ok, but there is no guarantee that you'll be able to carry it on.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

The short answer is if you're over the official weight or size limits, they can force you to check the bag. No matter how many people here tell you they had no problem, there's still a chance if the plane is full or you get an agent who is a stickler for the rules. In general, airlines all over are getting pickier about luggage size restrictions and weight limits.

Falls Church...
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9. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

You can invest in something like a Scotti Vest, which you wear on you. It has mutliple large internal pockets that you can stuff a few of your lenses in it if you're worried about the load of your camera backpack.

Damascus, Maryland
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10. Re: Camera gear - I'm starting to get worried

Just as a follow-up - everything was fine.

On Star Peru on the way in, the plane was a lot smaller, but all I said (in Lima while I was checking my main bag) was that this bag had all my camera gear in it. She asked someone else, and they ended up saying it was fine. The flight was semi-full, so I just needed to make sure I was towards the front when boarding (they board after taking a bus and going on the tarmac). No one cared after I checked in. Had I been in the back of the group though, there likely wouldn't have been any space. And about half the people had multiple bags, including giant heavy backpacks, so it seems like Star Peru just doesn't enforce the limits.

On LAN, they did what other have said here and elsewhere - prior to boarding, they wandered the boarding area scoping out people's bags. Weirdly, she walked right by me and started picking on about half of the other passengers, pointing and lifting their bags, and making them check them prior to boarding. I stealthily got up and wandered away, but kept my eye on the gate so I could come back during boarding. I got back on the front of the line and was fine after that. What's weird is their planes are a lot larger (than Star Peru) with a lot more overhead space.

Bottom line - pro camera gear (even if you're not a pro) is very expensive, and heavy. I really didn't want to check it, and as it turns out you probably don't have to.

FWIW, I used a Pelican case (1520 I think) that is sized for international travel. But the local Peru flights have much smaller, lighter limits which is why I started this thread. And any camera vest (Scotti Vests are way too light weight but there are camera specific ones) are only good when in the field and for a couple lenses, not for transporting multiple pro lenses and other camera gear.