If you’ve flown you know what I’m talking about, “The Tag.” When on the smaller commuter feeder line jets like the CRJ145, you will hear the gate announcement about the small bins. You’ll see the gate agent walk around with a fist of green tags, tagging carry-on that they feel won’t fit in the overhead bins. And there you are with your camera gear in a cold sweat with the fear that you might be required to put your babies in the belly of the plane. I just finished a trip that had not one or two but five flights on CRJ’s and on one saw a lady with her roller bag of gear come to tears as it was taken away from her to go in the belly. She looked at me as I with my gear board with no issue. My heart went out to her and when we disembarked she asked why my gear wasn’t taken away. I don’t think my answer which follows was any comfort.
There are a number of things I do when planning a trip and at the top of the list, the gear I’m taking and the planes I’ll be on. I avoid CRJ145 to the point I will spend more money and different routes if I can just to avoid them. If I have to go on one I plan my gear so I can use my photopack MP-3v2 which has never been bothered by gate agent or flight attendant. On one of my flights of the five I had a flight attendant who wanted to change jobs (the feeder line she works for is miserable) and she’s a photographer. After helping her with her questions (she took the empty seat next to me) I asked her about the carry-on and she was quite frank. The biggest factor as she saw it was the photographer’s attitude vs what day of the flight attendants work week it is (first day vs last). We have control over the first thing and know nothing of the last. She said your best bet is to one, figure your bag is going in the belly of the plane unless you have a non-wheeled bag that is SMALLER than your back and you smile profusely! The moral of the story, do your homework to avoid the stress. Your photography will thank you!