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Thread: beware of "checking-in" your camera

  1. #61

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    I think in general, if you are going to bring expensive equipment to a 2nd to 3rd World country, you are just plain asking for trouble.

    Or if it's a First World Country notorious for pickpockets, or if you wander into the ghetto area looking like a tourist etc. etc. etc. etc.

    It really boils down to the fact that Singapore is in general an anomaly in terms of safety.
    Last edited by NazgulKing; 7th March 2010 at 12:39 PM.

  2. #62
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Stuff some of us do when travelling in less than safe regions.

    - Never check in valuables. camera laptop etc all goes with me wherever I go.
    - Leave heavy stuff like chargers and batteries in the check in (keep some with you)
    - If tripod can fit in check-in, it will go into checked luggage.
    - Never let handcarry stuff leave my sight.
    - Handcarry bag always look low-profile/dirty/old
    - Backpacks can be good sometime, especially if we look like poor backpackers.
    - Always wear clothing that is low profile. Try to blend in. No expensive jewelry. No bright colors, simple, non-branded, darker colors.
    - I never flash anything of value in public. No exp mobile phones, no psp, no ipod, no nothing. I use a cheapo nokia handphone when travelling (no camera, no nothing). If I have a singapore line, it stays permanently in my pocket.
    - Don't talk loud, keep conversations very quiet or just stay quiet. Our accents give us away.
    - Always be mindful of what is going on. Be on the defense. keep a distance, or take an alternate route, if you see a potential threat. Always assessing the situation.
    - When on the street, I always have something ready to use as a weapon in case I have to defend myself. (Usually my tripod)
    - I never take out my DSLR unless I am 100% sure this is the place I want to shoot. I never bring it out in the airport, railway station, bus station, etc... I only browse pictures when I am in the hotel or back at home.
    - If you do get into some trouble, esp with customs officers, remember everything is negotiable. They rather make a little less and get on to the next fish. A little money can solve a lot of problems.
    - know when it is in your favor to show anger or temper, when to draw back.
    - always pick up a little of the language along the way, phrases, and use it often. Sometimes the perps will get a little taken a back, and think maybe you are a frequent visitior and may have good contacts in their region.
    - Remember to do this in order: Prepare, Avoid, Calling Contacts (if you have), Mental game, Negotiation, Pay off. Usually 99% of problems will go away if you prepare and avoid.
    - Money can make back. Safety first.
    - One last thing, be mindful of culture. And not piss people off unknowingly. Always stay humble, keep your hands to yourself, keep a distance, bow/smile when not sure.

    You can still travel safely if you make preparations and do the right things. Just learn from the brothers and sisters here who are well traveled off the beaten path.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 7th March 2010 at 12:59 PM.

  3. #63

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Well said my friend couldnt be more true!!

    It may all seem like common sense but not alot of pple hve it, suprisingly.


    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Stuff some of us do when travelling in less than safe regions.

    - Never check in valuables. camera laptop etc all goes with me wherever I go.
    - Leave heavy stuff like chargers and batteries in the check in (keep some with you)
    - If tripod can fit in check-in, it will go into checked luggage.
    - Never let handcarry stuff leave my sight.
    - Handcarry bag always look low-profile/dirty/old
    - Backpacks can be good sometime, especially if we look like poor backpackers.
    - Always wear clothing that is low profile. Try to blend in. No expensive jewelry. No bright colors, simple, non-branded, darker colors.
    - I never flash anything of value in public. No exp mobile phones, no psp, no ipod, no nothing. I use a cheapo nokia handphone when travelling (no camera, no nothing). If I have a singapore line, it stays permanently in my pocket.
    - Don't talk loud, keep conversations very quiet or just stay quiet. Our accents give us away.
    - Always be mindful of what is going on. Be on the defense. keep a distance, or take an alternate route, if you see a potential threat. Always assessing the situation.
    - When on the street, I always have something ready to use as a weapon in case I have to defend myself. (Usually my tripod)
    - I never take out my DSLR unless I am 100% sure this is the place I want to shoot. I never bring it out in the airport, railway station, bus station, etc... I only browse pictures when I am in the hotel or back at home.
    - If you do get into some trouble, esp with customs officers, remember everything is negotiable. They rather make a little less and get on to the next fish. A little money can solve a lot of problems.
    - know when it is in your favor to show anger or temper, when to draw back.
    - always pick up a little of the language along the way, phrases, and use it often. Sometimes the perps will get a little taken a back, and think maybe you are a frequent visitior and may have good contacts in their region.
    - Remember to do this in order: Prepare, Avoid, Calling Contacts (if you have), Mental game, Negotiation, Pay off. Usually 99% of problems will go away if you prepare and avoid.
    - Money can make back. Safety first.
    - One last thing, be mindful of culture. And not piss people off unknowingly. Always stay humble, keep your hands to yourself, keep a distance, bow/smile when not sure.

    You can still travel safely if you make preparations and do the right things. Just learn from the brothers and sisters here who are well traveled off the beaten path.

  4. #64
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Kopiko79 View Post
    Well said my friend couldnt be more true!!

    It may all seem like common sense but not alot of pple hve it, suprisingly.
    I often see Singaporeans behaving loudly and carelessly in China, that's why. I've come to a stage where when I fly back to Singapore and grab a taxi, the cab driver will ask me if I am touring in SG and when I am flying back to China...

    I have to face it, I have become a China man.

  5. #65

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    This is interesting. I just came back from HCM last month and brought 2 bodies and a number of lenses plus a 15 in. laptop. Good thing I didn't experience what the TS mentioned.

    I guess if it did happen to me, I would ask for clarification from the ground crew manager and if need be wait until things get settled (since you're late anyway for the flight). And if finally needs to be checked in..tell them that they should provide assurance that it will not get lost. Would also get the names of the people (as suggested earlier) so as you can pinpoint who to blame later.

    Just out of curiosity, what airline did the guy take because I am not so sure Singapore Airlines is that strict about such expensive and delicate items (I may be wrong, but this is based on my travels).
    Last edited by amc717; 7th March 2010 at 05:26 PM.

  6. #66

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    If you intepret the IATA rules, you're allowed to bring one bag up to 7kg.. So if they do insist you check in whatever, repack your bag such that only your camera and whatever electronics is in your bag, just dump the papers and whatever little bits that aren't fragile into your luggage. IATA allows a laptop and camera, plus a lady's purse and a coat. If the customs guy say can't bring onboard, demand an explanation, and if the doesn't allow you to board, then don't board. Claim insurance for having your flight delayed.
    Meow!

  7. #67

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by teoelisha View Post
    hi all,

    DISCLAIMER: this is so far a once off incident. i am not generalizing and such an occurrence does not mean it will always happen. this information is provided for the purpose of general travellers' caution and is not intended to pinpoint a certain country nor its officers.

    would like to share an experience with all. i'm in the insurance business and there was a client whose travel insurance claim was processed today. he had a wonderful trip in HCMC, vietnam, and was catching his flight back to singapore. he was a little late in reaching the airport and was one of the last few to check-in for his flight. after checking-in his luggage, he proceeded to enter the boarding gate but was stopped at the x-ray machines. he was ordered at the boarding gate, to check-in his canon 500D and his PSP. he tried to ask not to check-in these 'fragile items' but was given no chance. not wanting to miss his flight, he complied with the customs officer at HCMC airport and was escorted to a "privilege check-in" counter. put his camera & PSP in his bag, he padlocked it and checked it in. after he padlocked the bag, the customs officer did something out of the ordinary. the customs officer pasted a blue sticker on top of the padlock (do note that all other checked-in bags had no blue sticker on it).

    upon arriving back here in singapore, the client found the padlock loop on the zipper to be broken, no padlock & no blue sticker left, and his camera and PSP stolen (which explains why we had to process a travel insurance claim today). he shared that apparently, he wasn't the only one. after he checked-in at HCMC, there were a few ang mohs who had also checked-in late. they also had blue stickers pasted on their bags and all their electronics that were checked-in have all been stolen. though there was travel insurance, do note that most travel insurance only pays up to a maximum of S$1,000.00 for a lost camera/laptop.

    once again, i would like to highlight that this is the first time i have come across such a case. and there is no reason to discriminate or to assume that this happens on a regular basis. however, i would like to share this experience with CS members as we tend to travel with equipment that sometimes costs between $5k to $10k. do remember to take care of your belongings. and remember while travel insurance does provide some form of protection, most only provide for a value of S$1k. prevention and the knowledge of one's rights is better than seeking remedies & compensation later.
    Hi, may I ask... the payout is per item or per baggage? If I have a big bag with a camera body plus a few lens lost, the claim is xx for a bag or xx for an item declare? I usually bring a few lens out for serious leisure shooting... Thanks.

  8. #68

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by GavinTing View Post
    If you intepret the IATA rules, you're allowed to bring one bag up to 7kg.. So if they do insist you check in whatever, repack your bag such that only your camera and whatever electronics is in your bag, just dump the papers and whatever little bits that aren't fragile into your luggage. IATA allows a laptop and camera, plus a lady's purse and a coat. If the customs guy say can't bring onboard, demand an explanation, and if the doesn't allow you to board, then don't board. Claim insurance for having your flight delayed.
    Understand hand carry item is 7kg limits. If I carry a big cam plus some lens over 7kg and was stopped by custom. How huh?

    I'm a canon 1D user and using L lens. All these are heavy and I believe the weight easily over 7kg with my Pelican case.

    thank you.

  9. #69

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by stingrray View Post
    Understand hand carry item is 7kg limits. If I carry a big cam plus some lens over 7kg and was stopped by custom. How huh?

    I'm a canon 1D user and using L lens. All these are heavy and I believe the weight easily over 7kg with my Pelican case.

    thank you.
    Custom probably won't be enforcing carry-on weight limit, it's airline staff that would. When I was in SFO waiting to board a Cathay Pacific flight to HKG, I saw a CX employee walking around the boarding area, visually scanning the area for potential overweight bags. She caught two passengers going over the limit. How did she know? She just looked at them - one of them had a big bulge on one side, the other one, the owner had trouble carrying it herself! The CX employee asked both of them to go to the counter to get their bags weighed. Sure enough, both were over the limit.

  10. #70

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    - Don't talk loud, keep conversations very quiet or just stay quiet. Our accents give us away.
    Oh yeah, that's how I recognize Singaporeans before I even see them - one of a kind accent

  11. #71

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by NazgulKing View Post
    I think in general, if you are going to bring expensive equipment to a 2nd to 3rd World country, you are just plain asking for trouble.

    Or if it's a First World Country notorious for pickpockets, or if you wander into the ghetto area looking like a tourist etc. etc. etc. etc.

    It really boils down to the fact that Singapore is in general an anomaly in terms of safety.
    What's your definition of 1st, 2nd and 3rd World countries? I searched the web but it seems there is little agreement on which country is in which category.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by GavinTing View Post
    IATA allows a laptop and camera, plus a lady's purse and a coat.
    That's what they recommend, the airlines don't have to follow that recommendation, and sometimes do not.

  13. #73

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Wow, thanks TS and the rest for the informative encounters and tips. I sure learnt a lot!! I was lucky that I did not meet such encounters, well maybe partly because I don't have the chance to travel much. But I think I flashing my DSLR pretty much when I went to Taiwan last June and now to think back, I am very glad that nothing happened!! Maybe we were travelling in a tour group which was quite big so was safer in that sense. But now I will take note and exercise extra care next time we go backpacking. Maybe Singaporeans are too used to a safe environment to realize that dangers might appear where they don't expect. And to bring a 'lok kok' bag for travelling might not be a bad idea after all!

  14. #74

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by neech7 View Post
    Custom probably won't be enforcing carry-on weight limit, it's airline staff that would. When I was in SFO waiting to board a Cathay Pacific flight to HKG, I saw a CX employee walking around the boarding area, visually scanning the area for potential overweight bags. She caught two passengers going over the limit. How did she know? She just looked at them - one of them had a big bulge on one side, the other one, the owner had trouble carrying it herself! The CX employee asked both of them to go to the counter to get their bags weighed. Sure enough, both were over the limit.
    If the airline staff say your hand luggage is overweight and ask to check in then how huh? Thanks.

  15. #75
    Member teoelisha's Avatar
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by stingrray View Post
    Hi, may I ask... the payout is per item or per baggage? If I have a big bag with a camera body plus a few lens lost, the claim is xx for a bag or xx for an item declare? I usually bring a few lens out for serious leisure shooting... Thanks.
    this answer is provided in principle and you should refer to your own policy's terms & conditions.

    your travel policies usually have a limit on total claim. but laptop, camera can usually be claimed separately. usually you can claim $1k for laptop & another $500 - $1k per item lost (depends on insurer). note: some insurers have claim limits of $1k for cameras. good for us photographers (though $1k won't be enough to cover your mid-high range bodies + f2.8 lenses). lenses are usually considered to be part of the camera unit (regardless of number of lenses + all camera accessories). be sure to keep your receipts for your laptops & cameras so that you can provide the "value of your assets" as this is usually required in the event of a claim.

    hope this helps. cheers!
    JustOneSmile.that's all i need..

  16. #76
    Member teoelisha's Avatar
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    That's what they recommend, the airlines don't have to follow that recommendation, and sometimes do not.
    this is right.. airlines need not follow IATA's guidelines strictly, but most will in principle accept IATA's guidelines with minor modifications to it. you should not have problems with most full service carriers/airlines, especially our beloved Singapore Airlines (they're the best, at least to me they are). when I travel, I always have details of our Singapore Mission (embassy/consulate) with me, and it is also most useful to have the phone number of the airline you're travelling with (ie.: Singapore Airline's local office) as most airlines will have a station manager stationed in the country that you're visiting and these station managers often become the defacto person you can contact with regards to your air travel issues, like in this case, you could call the station manager to work out the details of such "checking-in requirements". station managers usually have good relationships with the local airport authorities and will be able to advise you accordingly.

    in order to do whatever calling & negotiation, you have to check-in early. so at the end of the day, please check-in early. (just realized that the emphasis of checking-in early is starting to make this thread sound like some promotional message by airports to encourage checking-in early.. lol..)
    JustOneSmile.that's all i need..

  17. #77
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by hongsien View Post
    I assume your friend handcarried the cash, and it went through the X-ray, was it ever opened while at customs? I don't think there is someone inside the X-ray machine? Was her handbag with cash always in her hands, or she had to surrender at some point?

    HS
    my friend cash was left in the baggage. someone ransacked her luggage. it was not opened at the customs or immigration. hence only when she opened her luggage in hotel then she realised the lost

  18. #78

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by stingrray View Post
    If the airline staff say your hand luggage is overweight and ask to check in then how huh? Thanks.
    If suay suay like that, then have to think quick.

    A few things can be done. If traveling with others, move some things over to their luggage to reduce the weight (maybe temporarily, once the airline staff not looking, move the things back), throw away some cheap things, if you have food, eat on the spot , if you have a jacket, take it out and wear it. It is not just about possible theft, I have seen how luggage handlers work and I die die won't check in any electronics.

  19. #79
    Member teoelisha's Avatar
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    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Quote Originally Posted by neech7 View Post
    If suay suay like that, then have to think quick.

    A few things can be done. If traveling with others, move some things over to their luggage to reduce the weight (maybe temporarily, once the airline staff not looking, move the things back), throw away some cheap things, if you have food, eat on the spot , if you have a jacket, take it out and wear it. It is not just about possible theft, I have seen how luggage handlers work and I die die won't check in any electronics.
    i've gone on assignment in sydney with our beloved Singapore Airlines. I had with me in my handcarry, my Laptop, my MacBook, 2 bodies (D300 with MB-D10 & D70), 5 huge tubes, 2 speedlights, 5 nikon batterries with 2 chargers, 16 rechargeable AAs with 2 chargers, my noise cancellation headphones & a book. thinking back, that was a huge bag. but there was no problem at all when i brought such a massive bag onboard. all the counter crew did was ask me what was in my bag, and i showed them. i showed them again at the boarding gate. i showed them again when i boarded the plane. as long as it was laptops & cameras, they didn't give me any problem. with the way they often throw check-in bags around, no decent airline would ask you to check in cameras & laptops.

    i must admit that i pushed it a little when i brought on all the batteries & chargers (which i could have checked-in) coz i was a little overweight (both me and my check-in luggage).
    JustOneSmile.that's all i need..

  20. #80

    Default Re: beware of "checking-in" your camera

    Hi guys.
    Last month i had a tour to europe and i got my checkin from online service provider for check in, There service is really good. Earlier i faced many problems like standing for long time in queues and not getting my preferred seat.

    Check in online

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