an airport to avoid

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by dwross, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I just returned from visiting family in Minnesota, with Duluth the last leg. Since the beginnings of "Homeland Security", the folks at the Duluth airport have always been a little over-enthusiastic, but on Sunday, October 22, 2006, they crossed the line. Security spent twenty minutes tearing through my small camera bag. Nothing escaped handling. My cable shutter release was played with for at least a minute and then wiped down for chemical traces. It was everything I could do to prevent them from unspooling my 120 film ("I've never seen this stuff. Are you SURE it's film?"). The woman ahead of me had her cell phone calls looked at and every file in her digital camera studied.

    Just thought you should know.
     
  2. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I fly out of Lincoln, NE occasionally, a smaller airport, probably about the size of Duluth, and yes, they always seem to spend more time with each person than at OMA where I usually fly from.

    However, they have never refused to do a hand inspection of film or ever been nasty or uncooperative.
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    The US government imposed security screening at airports in the mid-1970's to address the threat of hijacking. Shortly after this practice began, I had a business trip to International Falls, MN - just up the road from Duluth. There were two things about this trip that I will always remember.

    One was that it was in January, and the wait on the sidewalk or a taxi to the airport was the coldest I have every been.

    The other was that when I got to the airport, the security screener took several minutes to examine a note pad in my briefcase - looking at and between every sheet of paper in the pad. I still don't know what he was looking for - and you betcha he didn't either.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Cable releases seem suspicious to screeners. They look like syringes on the X-ray.

    What I've done is to keep a small case with all the things that seem to have gotten the screeners' attention--cable releases, screwdrivers, Linhof rangefinder cams, small tools and such--and I put that case in my checked luggage. More than half the time my bag goes through the X-ray with no further inspection now.
     
  5. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I would imagine that the inspectors at smaller airports suffer from extreme cases of boredom. If they spent twenty minutes looking at a cable shutter release at LaGuardia the entire air traffic system throughout North America would start to seize up!
     
  6. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Hmmm....another airport tale. Let's see in the past 6 months I have flown, with my big yellow Hasselblad, rolls of film, winder, 3 lenses, viewfinder, light meter, and other assorted goodies in my LowePro through Providence, La Guardia, Dallas, St Louis, Toronto, London UK, Boston, JFK, Newark, New Haven, Cinncinati, Philly, San Diego, LAX, Westchester County, Hartford, Willow Run, Gatwick UK, Charles de Gaule France, Montreal, Chicago, Peurto Vallarta Mexico and Raliegh and I don't have a sordid tale like it seems all you folks do. What am I missing?

    I always wonder why the UFOs seem to pick up the trailer folks in the countryside and never the folks that WANT to meet the aliens. Hmmm...

    Regards, Art.
     
  7. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The one place I never worry about TSA hassles is National Airport in Arlington, VA. As with many things, I believe the better people are moved to the most important locations. As National is probably as visible a target as one can find, they don't take a lot of chances with staffing. And any mistakes are as likely to make it into a Congressional hearing or a national newspaper as they are to get posted here, so supervisors are more attentive. I have had some very minor problems elsewhere, but none at National.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Dulles has been at the top of my Hated USA Airports List for years - the TSA is not the reason - stupid airport design and miserable ground transport system are the reasons.
     
  9. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Agree wholeheartedly - the fact that Dulles is often cited as an example of great architecture is a clear sign that the architecture community has lost sight of the fact that buildings are experienced at close range and mostly from the inside. It's most attractive when viewed at a scale of 1/500 or smaller.
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    They're working on fixing that... currently there's an underground tramway system being built which will eliminate the big buses on industrial dumptruck wheels.
     
  11. DBP

    DBP Member

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    That will make it slightly less inconvenient, but is just a patch for an airport that was not designed to be used by people or airplanes.
     
  12. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Art,

    C'mon it's obvious. Your great looks and charming personality so dazzles the TSA ladies that they wave you right through! :D
     
  13. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Like gr82bart I too have done extensive international travel with my 4x5 gear and Blad with no problems. No security hassles, no fogged film nothing.
     
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  15. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    gr82bart: perhaps you're missing Duluth.
     
  16. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I know that some TSA people act like Barney Fife, and the inconsistency of some airports refusing to hand check film bothers me, but you know what?The TSA people can look inside the brim of my hat, swab down my shoes, and play with my cable release all they want, and I'm going to thank them for it because some asshole is less likely to end my life at 30,000 feet.
     
  17. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    gr82bart: maybe you're missing Duluth.
     
  18. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Tom I agree unreservedly and for the same reasons as you. I flew through there once many years ago and have not been near the place since.
     
  19. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    I flew home from Phoenix with quite large backpack full of MF camera, equipment, cable release, lots of 120 film and fully expected to be stopped to have everything looked through but no, just through the x-ray and nothing. Maybe the more you have the easier it is to recognise. Maybe they were looking for liquids!
     
  20. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Could be a problem for the wet plate collodion guys, then.
     
  21. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    The mission of the TSA never bothered me at all. I do think that if you set regulations (such as hand checking film) you should follow them.
     
  22. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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  23. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Springfield-Branson Regional in Springfield, Missouri

    An airport to add: Springfield-Jurassic Park (er, I mean Branson) Regional.

    I was scheduled to fly Springfield-Memphis-MSP. Got there 2 hours early so they could hand-check my film (50+ rolls -- took an hour at MSP because the guard had never seen hand-rolled film nor 120). But TSA (Thousands Standing Around, aka overpaid underwear inspectors) didnt even open the security gate until 45 min before the flight.

    Like previous posters experienced, they dismanted my Domke down to disconnecting the straps that werent sewn on. They opened every back on every camera (I learned THAT lesson the hard way at MSP a couple years ago) and wanted me to open my hand-rolled film. They weren't at all fascinated by my cable releases, but gave me the 3d degree about the Pocket Wizards.

    TSA: "You mean this is some sort of remote control device?"
    Me: "Yup. Its so I can set my flashes off by remote."
    TSA: "Looks like you could use this to set off a bomb."
    Me: "No. I'd use a cellphone for that. Pocket Wizards are too expensive."
    TSA: ** Clearly not amused, calls for a peace officer **

    The upside is that the airport is so small that after the deputy sherrif decided I had no reason to be arrested, they literally just yelled out the jetway door to the pilot of the puddle-jumper to wait so I could get onboard.
     
  24. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Maybe you reflect a 'tude that gets you singled out. Politness, courtesy and a little understanding of the pressures that low-paid TSA employees face might go a long way to improving your travelling experience!

    These folks are literally the last line of defense for airline safety - treat them with respect and courtesy and they will respond in kind. Do the opposite, and so will they.
     
  25. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I know I've flown well over 50 times since 9/11 and in almost all of those I've asked for a hand inspection of film. I've always been polite, and I know that even casual use of the "b-word" in any context will raise eyebrows. I've never had a hand inspection refused.

    They have a job to do, and I've always found that if I am nice to others, they will be nice to me in return.

    The only things out of the ordinary have been one smart@$$ inspector at LAS who jokingly remarked that he was gonna have to turn my film over to the FBI as he handed it back to me. Ha-ha. Yeah, right.

    The most thorough inspection I ever received was shortly after 9/11 when my flight on Northwest out of San Jose was cancelled and they rebooked me on United with some kind of an "interline voucher" which was essentially a non-pre-booked one way ticket. As I walked toward the gate the agent immediately noticed some mark on the boarding pass and pointed for me to go over to the inspection station. They inspected EVERYTHING in my carry-on. Dirty laundry, (yes, unmentionables too), opened nail polish bottles, everything! They were polite and apologetic about it, however.

    I had to change planes in Denver and, you guessed it, again, everything. :sad:

    Oh well ...
     
  26. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I'd write your senator or something, because when you mentioned unspooling of film, or searching calls on a cellphone or examining files and such, the most they need to do is verify the items are what they really are and not a bomb, otherwise they are invading your privacy and thats flat out illegal. The cellphone for example they only need to verfy that it is a cellphone and that it turns on, seeing who you called and when crosses the line, just like demanding to see your journal before you board a plan, so they can examime all your thoughts.

    I'm all for cooperation, but that crosses the line.