I will be shuffling off to Italy next month with a pile of Kodak HEI and am wondering if Ineed to take any precautions (pre and post exposure) at the airport. Carry on? Lead bag stuffed into suitcase? Any suggestions etc. will be greatly appreciated.
I regularly travel to America and Ireland and ocasionally to North and South Africa and put my film through the airport Xray machines in my carry on baggage, sometimes as many as 10 times, and have not yet had a fogged film. I carry 100, 400 and 3200 ISO film. Don't put any film in to your baggage that goes into the hold, I've been told by helpful airport staff in both the UK and America that the Xray machines checking them is mush stronger that those checking carry on. I've never been succsessful in having my film checked by hand in the UK but the US airport staff are generally very helpful. Amsterdam is the worst airport for cooperation with camera equipment that I've ever used, I used to travel KLM from Edinburgh to the US at least twice a year and always had problems, finally I changed my airline and will not fly through Amsterdam ever again.
Never, ever use those useless, stupid lead bags for "x-ray protection". They just push the power on the gun up until they can see inside it...however, the best use for the lead bags is to keep high ISO film (Delta 3200) from accumulating atmospheric radiation fog.
In the US, HIE fits into the category of "specialized or professional films" and qualifies for hand inspection. See the TSA website for info.
However, once outside the US, plan on having things nuked. Constantly. Your best bet would be to buy your film there, but it's hard to say if you can get HIE anywhere near your destination.
I have actually gone through airports, passing my camera bag (minus film) through the x-ray without telling them, and put the film in a plastic bag on my person. Of course, this is all with rollfilm, which has no metal canister. With small format, I wouldn't try this.
You are right, docholliday, I always have my rollfilm on my person, which worked fine, till recently..........some airports have a new system now where you have to put your coat through the machine too (Glasgow Airport)!
I had the same experience with 35 mm rolls which I had in my pockets, the stupid machine blieped, but the security officer was very nice about handsearching my film.
In contrary to Les, I have quite good experiences in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. I flew to Scotland last month and, after a bit of persuasion on my side, the officers in Amsterdam were very willing to handsearch my rolls. I am not being patriotic here :o), but it probably helps that I speak the language.