Traveling with your Steadicam Package

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The ability to travel with gear inexpensively can make or break your ability to get a job. Especially when people you typically work for have short out-of-town shoots and are on the fence about bringing you with. So here are some quick tips to getting your gear there safely and inexpensively.

The fastest, least expensive way to get your gear there is by traveling it on the plane with you as excess baggage. Its not necessarily the most convenient since you have to travel with several cases, sometime alone (cue SkyCaps). But it requires almost no paperwork, doesn’t require you to lose a day with the gear before and after the job, and gets the gear there the minute you arrive (hopefully).

When flying with gear, your best bet is to book a direct flight (if possible). This will improve your chances of seeing the gear on the baggage carousel when you arrive. In some cases (especially with Southwest) its almost impossible to get anywhere on a direct flight. However, Southwest does allow you to select flights that stop, but don’t change planes. Pick those if available!

The next important factor is the choice of airline. This is critical if your goal is to save some dough. A few airlines offer something called a “Media Rate.” They all have their own definitions for this, but basically it means that you are traveling on behalf of some media related company for work in TV, News, Film, Commercials, etc. In order to prove this you’ll need to show some sort of identifications that verifies this to the airline. This can be a company ID, credential, or even a memo on letterhead. Show this at the counter when you arrive at the airport. Be sure to go to the airlines website ahead of time and print out their media rate policy… not all ticketing agents are created equal, and some have no experience with such things. You might even plan to get there a little earlier than usual since their lack of familiarity might turn into some lost time!

So what does this “Media Rate” get you? Basically, they charge $50 for every excess item. Plus they increase the limits from 50lbs/bag to 100lbs/bag, and the size from 62″ (length+width+height) to 100″. Sometimes they limit the number of excess bags, but i think its something like 20 bags. You will need to check on that!

Finally, you need to know which airlines offer this service. You’ll go crazy trying to research the subject. So here’s what I know. American Airlines, Southwest, & Delta offer media rates. If you go to their website you should be able to find the details fairly easy. If you are curious about any other airlines, go to their webpage and do some quick searching. If the answer doesn’t pop out quickly… give up. Don’t call them either… if its not on the site they probably don’t offer it and you’ll waste hours on the phone.

Good luck and safe travels!

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