Flying With Your Cameras On Your Shoulders : Save The Weight

Web: — E-Mail:

28/10/2009 – Flying With Your Cameras On Your Shoulders : Save The Weight

With many airlines seemingly clamping down on carry-on baggage weight there is a simple trick many photographer seem to miss that is effective on 99% of the airlines…when travelling, fly with your cameras out on your shoulders.

For years I have walked up to check-in counters, gone through security, boarded flights, gotten off flights, walked through immigrations, exited customs with two objects hanging off my shoulders…my cameras.

Let’s face it, cameras take up a lot of space and add considerable weight to your carry-on bag.  Airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa and Emirates are know to weight all carry-on bags.  Once a carry-on bag is weighed and determined to be overweight it generally must be checked under the flight.

While many airlines adhere to one carry-on and one ‘personal-item,’ and some only allow a single carry-on bag, virtually no airlines consider a camera hanging off your shoulder as a ‘personal-item’ (with the notable exception of Ryanair who counts a loose newspaper under your arm as a ‘personal item.’)

There are limits to how far you can go with hauling a camera on your shoulder, I did have to argue extensively to get a Canon 400f2.8 allowed on board, hanging from my shoulder, in addition to a carry-on & an a small briefcase, but common sense comes into place here.

I have traveled the world with a full-size DSLR with 16-35f2.8 on my right shoulder and a full-size DSLR with a 70-200f2.8 on my left shoulder, in addition to my backpack (personal item) and carry-on bag (which is often another backpack). I have never been stopped by an airline, even some of the strictest in the world.

The advantage to having your camera out on your shoulders? You’re sure to get the photos you want as you see them while in transit…just remember to stow your camera safely at your feet on the plane.

Below is a photo of my gear out on my shoulders while in transit.

Happy Flying!
a man with a backpack and camera


  1. I just sling my Leica M8.2 over my shoulder with the Blackrapid strap, stick my lenses in my cargo-short pockets or the pockets of my photo vests, along with my cleaning supplies, spare battery, and charger, and I’m set.

    The Leica M-system is great for traveling, as the lenses are so small and the camera itself is small and unobtrusive. Well worth the money for these attributes alone, if one can afford it.

  2. Just to add to your list…. Jetstar weighs carry on bags (7kg limit) on their international flights (New Zealand to Australia).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *