Tips for taking your film through airports

Tips for taking your film through airports

You're heading off on holiday and you can't wait to take a whole heap of film photos of your travels, but you've heard that the x-ray machine at airports can ruin your film and you're not sure what to do? Fear not, to make sure you get the best holiday snaps, we've put together a few tips to remember when taking your film camera through an airport.  

Keep your film in your carry on

The first rule of taking film through an airport is keeping it in your hand luggage. Never pack it in a suitcase that is going into the hold.  Any luggage that you check in will go through powerful X-ray equipment that can cause damage to your film and effect your photos. This may look like light leaks or fogging on the images.

Below are examples of photos from our customers who've accidentally left their film in their checked-in luggage. 


Chris Cooper  X-rayed film


Toby Meisner Photo - film scanned at airport

Ask for your film to be hand-checked 

When you're about to go through security, pop your rolls of film in a clear plastic ziplock bag (like the ones you put your liquids in) and keep it separate to the rest of your hand luggage. Instead of putting it into one of the grey trays for scanning, ask for your film to be hand-checked. The airport staff might assure you that film under a certain ISO is fine to go through the scanners however, stick to your guns and they should be kind enough to hand check it for you. You might feel like 'that person' but it's the only way to guarantee your film won't be affected. 

 Don't waste your money on x-ray proof bags

You might find some lead-lined x-ray proof bags for sale online that are designed to stop the x-rays from damaging your film. These are a great idea but unfortunately when the airport staff can't see through your bag, they will just crank up the x-rays until they can, or worse, take them out and scan them again out of the bag. 

If you've got any other questions about taking your film away, drop one of our team a message on our socials or via email and they'll be happy to help. Don't forget to check out the rest of our blog for more tips, interviews and photo blogs.