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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Sun 21-Oct-12 08:57 PM
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"Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
Mon 22-Oct-12 01:24 AM by IvanG

Boca Raton, US
          

Not sure if this is the correct location to post this - if not please relocate it to the appropriate location.


I'm looking for some guidance on possible courses of action.

The scenario is as follows:
On a Delta Airlines flight from Jackson Wyoming to Fort Lauderdale, via Salt Lake City and JFK returning from summit photography workshop.The flight from Jackson to Salt Lake City arrived late. On the Salt Lake City /JFK flight “due to lack of space” I was forced to check my camera bag (Think Tank Airport V2.0), even though I indicated to the flight attendants on board that the bag contained in excess of $20,000 worth of camera gear (actually $22,800). I also asked whether it would be possible to store it in the closet on board. In both cases the answer was negative and the bag had to be checked - by the way the bag has a TSA compliant lock, which was closed and locked at this point . I asked to put a fragile sticker on it, as I now was told I had no choice, I was assured it would be handled carefully. The flight attendant returned with check ticket stub indicating the bag had been checked all the way through to Fort Lauderdale and that I could pick it up at Baggage claim. To cut a long story short the bag didn't make my flight to FLL.
As per procedure I then filed the appropriate missing bag scenario at FLL - with a request to ensure that it was on the next flight out of JFK. It didn't make the next flight that night. In fact it never made the following two flights either. After numerous calls to the lost baggage 1 800 number ( which by the way is absolutely bloody useless in cases like this), we finally managed to get the number of the Delta baggage office in JFK - where after much ado it was indicated that the bag would be put on a direct flight later that afternoon (Saturday 10/2012) and arrive in FLL that evening.
Apparently against standard operating procedure the bag came in on the usual baggage conveyor belt, rather than being hand carried into the baggage claim office. Immediately upon retrieving the bag, I knew something was not right - It was lighter than I recalled after carrying it so many miles over the past month. I took the bag to the Baggage claim office and proceeded to Unlock and open it in front of the same attendant that had taken my missing bag report the night before. Upon opening the bag - it was in a chaotic state. My 24- 70 mm lens was just lying loose in the bag, lens caps were strewn inside the bag, My Rugged LaCie hard drive (with my >10,000 images from the past Months expedition - had large dents in the casing, the flash card carrying case was buckled due to maltreatment of some kind. At that point I indicated to the attendant who was witnessing this real time that my Brand new (5 week old) Nikon D4 body was missing along with the Nikkor AFS 14-24mm F2.8 Lens and the SB 900 Flash. In addition my 200mm F4 Macro lens has the lens cap "rammed" into the lens barrel - until now I have not been able to determine whether or not the actual lens itself has been damaged as I cannot remove the cap and do not want to forcibly remove until I have some guidance on the next course of action. My 1.4 Teleconverter had both front and rear caps missing and nicely tucked back into its pouch.
Based on the way I presume my bag was mishandled - I gather I will have to send the remaining lenses into Nikon to evaluate any potential damage along with the associated costs
The damage claim(for missing equipment) has been filed with Delta (no response yet), they also indicated that in their view this could have only been perpetrated by TSA staff member(s) and as such I should also file a claim with TSA.
I'm not sure that as a lone voice in the wilderness that I'll get very far with this - does anyone know of a similar set of circumstances and what would be the appropriate course of action to recover the losses?
In addition is anyone aware of effective sites where stolen equipment serial numbers could be posted in order to try and track down the thief


Below is a list of the missing and known damaged equipment
Missing
1. Nikon D4 Camera Body – Serial number 2027800
a. Sony XQD 32 gigabyte memory card
b. SanDisk 32 gigabyte Flash Memory card
2. Nikon Flash SB-900 - Serial number 2233754
3 AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED - Serial number L202200

After inspection of the remaining lenses in the bag – the following were found to be damaged

Damaged

1. AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED –Lens cap has been pushed into the lens & cannot be removed - Serial number us300545 -
(We have not tried to forcibly remove the lens cap just in case we inflict further damage – lens is available for inspection – see photographs).

As indicated above this is the known damaged equipment – but there were additional lenses in the bag.
• Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
• Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
• Nikon PC-E Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED
• Nikon PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED
• Nikon AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
• Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX Fisheye Nikkor

These lenses do not appear to be damaged – they seem to focus and relay the metering info okay – but I have no way of knowing whether or not the lenses are as sharp as they used to be – any recommendations here.

Any advice / assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks

Ivan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Reply message RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment
Ferguson Silver Member
24th Oct 2012
1
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PAStime Silver Member
24th Oct 2012
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spiritualized67 Silver Member
24th Oct 2012
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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian.
24th Oct 2012
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25th Oct 2012
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Dallaspilot Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
26th Oct 2012
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Bump57 Silver Member Awarded for his high skill level in Landscape and Nature Photography and willingness to share his learning experiences to help others. Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
26th Oct 2012
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26th Oct 2012
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03rd Nov 2012
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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community
26th Oct 2012
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26th Oct 2012
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
27th Oct 2012
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27th Oct 2012
11
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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community
27th Oct 2012
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27th Oct 2012
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IvanG Gold Member
30th Oct 2012
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30th Oct 2012
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08th Nov 2012
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10th Nov 2012
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
27th Oct 2012
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
27th Oct 2012
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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community
28th Oct 2012
17
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
28th Oct 2012
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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography
30th Oct 2012
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30th Oct 2012
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IvanG Gold Member
03rd Nov 2012
24
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
04th Nov 2012
25
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IvanG Gold Member
13th Nov 2012
34
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14th Nov 2012
35
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archivue Gold Member
14th Nov 2012
36
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04th Nov 2012
26
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08th Nov 2012
29
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agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
04th Nov 2012
27
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
04th Nov 2012
28
     Reply message RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment
agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
08th Nov 2012
30
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
09th Nov 2012
32
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IvanG Gold Member
21st Mar 2013
37
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IvanG Gold Member
21st Mar 2013
38
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
21st Mar 2013
39
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IvanG Gold Member
21st Mar 2013
40
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography
21st Mar 2013
41
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IvanG Gold Member
21st Mar 2013
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21st Mar 2013
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Ferguson Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Aug 2004Wed 24-Oct-12 03:12 AM
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#1. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Cape Coral, US
          


I am so sorry, and I have no real advice to offer, but I do thank you for sharing the cautionary tale with others.

I dread the day when I want to take enough equipment I have to check it, and I have no idea how I will react, but this story will at least give me some pause.

I hope you were insured, I doubt you will get anything from the airlines or TSA. Do let us know how it comes out. If insured they might offer advice (they might require you take their advice); if not it might be worth an hour with an attorney to understand your options.


Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 24-Oct-12 01:01 PM
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#2. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Kingston, CA
          

Sorry to hear about this Ivan. It is a nightmare scenario for one's gear.

One thing I'd do is carefully read the airline's documentation to understand what limits the airline has in terms of lost or damaged luggage. I think you may have a case for pursuing damages above this limit but in any case it would be good to know this. It wouldn't surprise me if they try to impose their limit, claiming you accepted the loss and damage risks when you agreed to fly with them. Those risks include having to check luggage if there is insufficient room in the cabin.

This reminds me of that story of the musician who flew United and his guitar was damaged. I believe that one ended with compensation - perhaps because the negative PR became more expensive than ignoring the story.

I hope you had home insurance.

Peter

  

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spiritualized67 Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Mar 2007Wed 24-Oct-12 03:27 PM
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#3. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Western PA, US
          

That totally sucks. I've flown many times with my Airport Antidote and have never even received a passing glance. Of course, the Antidote is ideal for smaller CJ aircraft and can fit under the seat - so I would protest like a Mother if they tried checking my bag. I assume you had the larger Security, International or Acceleration versions?

I would continue to follow up with TSA and Delta - and would threaten to launch a massive Internet campaign if you don't get anywhere (Twitter, YouTube, etc.). I hope you had some sort of insurance on your equipment - if yes, you need to start the claims process on that end now.

I would check the Internet to see what recourse others in similar situations did and the resolution.

Don't expect to get your camera back - just maybe an apology and compensation at this point. Good luck and keep us posted.

~Dan
www.danielstainer.com

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Wed 24-Oct-12 04:07 PM
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#4. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


McAllen, US
          

Ivan,

I really sorry to read about this horrifying experience. You must be devastated. I travel by air on occasion and I have had to have my Lowepro Vertex 200 gate-checked on several occasions when flying in smaller commuter aircraft. Every time I have to do this I start to sweat. On a recent flight coming home from an overseas trip I was able to persuade the flight attendant to ask the pilot if my bag could go in the flight personnel's closet. Apparently this violates SOP but I repeatedly told the flight attendant in a very nice tone that I did not feel comfortable gate-checking $20,000 worth of camera equipment and wanted to know my rights if anything was lost or damaged in the process before I allowed them to check it. Since this usually happens during the chaos of boarding they might be persuaded to think outside the box. It works some of the time.

I really can't offer any advice but I can share my guidelines when I travel extensively by air. I start by selecting the equipment I want to take along on my trip. I try to do this at least thirty days prior to departure. As I start to prepare with setting aside the clothing and other personal items I plan to take I'll then re-assess my initial gear list. I do this several times before the departure date. I try to pack everything at least three day before leaving and test the weight and bulk of what I plan to take. This is where I start to make very hard decisions about what must be included and what must be left behind. At this time I also consider the location and the length of the trip. On a trip Asia a few years ago I had to make some really tough choices. On a recent trip to Europe I had a little more leeway. I guess my point is I go through all these gymnastics so that I feel like I am only taking stuff I will absolutely use but also not leaving out things I'll regret while on the trip. The end result for me is that I feel I have minimal exposure in case something goes terribly wrong.

Lastly, when I travel by plane I also make sure copies of all my images taken on the trip travel in two different bags. I carry my laptop with me which contain all the images of the trip and then I place my travel drive in my checked luggage protected in a small foam pouch wrapped in clothing. Even if I have to gate-check my camera bag I pull the laptop out of the bag and keep it with me on the flight.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Thu 25-Oct-12 11:30 PM
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#5. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Boca Raton, US
          

Correct it was a Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 Bag

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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Dallaspilot Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Oct 2010Fri 26-Oct-12 01:49 AM
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#6. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Plano, US
          

This is a sad story and I would hate to be in your position. As I understand, the bag left locked and arrived locked, but had TSA compliant locks that can be opened with a standard key. Also, the bag travelled through JFK!! Based on the publicity about that airport, you are far from the unique in this experience.
The takeaway for me was that I'll start packing for the contingency that a bag might be taken from me, and will thus keep flash drives where I can at least hold onto that.
Good luck with insurance and Delta.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Bump57 Silver Member Awarded for his high skill level in Landscape and Nature Photography and willingness to share his learning experiences to help others. Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 01st Apr 2007Fri 26-Oct-12 02:55 AM
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#7. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Greetings Ivan,

Indeed this is a very sad story. I'm sure all of us that fly have this story in the back of our minds, sorry it has come true for you. I have no advice to offer but wish you the best in recovering you gear one way or the other and that your are satisfied in the end.

.
.



Scott Martin Sternberg

Scotts Fine Art

  

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Fri 26-Oct-12 03:26 PM
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#10. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 7
Fri 26-Oct-12 03:28 PM by IvanG

Boca Raton, US
          

At this point - I've filed reports with Delta, Port Authority Police in JFK and TSA. In addition sent a letter and a Fedex package to the Delta CEO. I'm trying to touch bases with Congressman John Mica who apparently has jurisdiction over TSA under his Transportation and Infrastructure committee - but so far no luck.
Also notified KEH,Roberts,B&H and Adorama to be on the lookout for someone trying to sell the equipment

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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bikinchris Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Sep 2004Sat 03-Nov-12 07:11 PM
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#23. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 10


Broussard, US
          

>At this point - I've filed reports with Delta, Port Authority
>Police in JFK and TSA. In addition sent a letter and a Fedex
>package to the Delta CEO. I'm trying to touch bases with
>Congressman John Mica who apparently has jurisdiction over TSA
>under his Transportation and Infrastructure committee - but so
>far no luck.
>Also notified KEH,Roberts,B&H and Adorama to be on the
>lookout for someone trying to sell the equipment


You should also notify Nikon USA and all camera repair shops in the USA as well as the big used reseller shops and Ebay, craigs list etc. Nikon claims they won't work on stolen equipment and the other shops would love the internet fame of finding the gear.

BTW, I will never let my gear out of my reach. I will walk before that.

Chris
Broussard, LA
http://www.eaglewheel.us/Photo%20Index.htm
My Nikonians Gallery

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Fri 26-Oct-12 02:12 PM
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#8. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 26-Oct-12 02:15 PM by ericbowles

Atlanta, US
          

Ivan

So sorry to hear of your lost/stolen/damaged gear. It's inexcusable.

You might want to post in the travel forum and see if Ned has any advice for dealing with claims against Delta and TSA. My guess is you will need to file claims with both as they are both going to deny responsibility and point the finger at the other. With the history of proven theft at JFK, it's pretty obvious that they still have a problem.

I would also expect to need to go up the chain at Delta - possibly to the office of the CEO. While they may have a specified legal liability, they should try to do the tight thing.

One suggestion for future reference - you can take individual items out of a bag before it is gate checked. You can carry on a couple of camera bodies with lenses on your person as long as they fit under the seat, and you can fill your pockets and hands.

I hope your gear was insured with appropriate coverage. It sounds like a claim should be filed with your insurance company.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops - Smokies Oct 2012

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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RockyIII Gold Member Nikonian since 27th May 2006Fri 26-Oct-12 02:39 PM
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#9. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Raleigh, US
          

Ivan,

I am sorry to hear of your misfortune. From what I've read, there is a limit of $3,300 in compensation by the airline, but perhaps under special circumstances they will do more. Please let us know the outcome. Your experience reminds everybody who flies with a lot of camera equipment to have a plan if they are told they cannot carry it on.

Rocky

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 27-Oct-12 10:48 PM
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#15. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 9


Philadelphia, US
          

Hi Rocky. You're right about the $3,300 limit, for US domestic flights, but it's actually far more restrictive than that. Delta and the other US airlines, and every airline with which I'm familiar across the globe won't take liability for breakables and valuables, so they typically won't pay off on thefts and damage to photography equipment. Delta, in particular, specifically exempts photography gear from liability coverage. Plus if you get them to take on the liability, it's for depreciated value, not original cost or replacement value.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Sat 27-Oct-12 06:21 AM
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#11. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Alberta, CA
          

Ivan, very sorry to hear of this nightmare.

One question, and I realize too late now, but does anyone know if the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 fits into that "sizer thingy" that seems to be the arbiter of this increasingly difficult problem for us photographers.

I have a TTF International version 1, but I have never flown with it - would that fit into the sizer thingy?

I don't see how the airline could force you to check the bag if it did fit?

What irks me is that non-photogs are increasingly filling the cabin with their personal items simply because they don't want to pay for bag-check, while we with our highly valuable precision equipment are facing some really scary choices.

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
My Nikonians gallery
My Nikonians Blog

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 27-Oct-12 11:53 AM
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#12. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 11
Sat 27-Oct-12 11:57 AM by ericbowles

Atlanta, US
          

The Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 measures 14” W x 22” H x 9” D (35.6 x 55.9 x 22.9 cm). That means it fits the TSA guidelines and should have fit under a seat.

I do what it takes to board early if possible. I will pay a small fee for early boarding. I check in early even if it is by mobile device. And I get in line early if needed using the "need extra time" concept. But these steps don't always work. When a connecting flight is late or you have uncooperative airline personnel, you may have little choice.

One suggestion for future issues. The captain of an airplane is like a captain on a ship. They have ultimate authority. And some - like my cousin with United - are serious photographers.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops - Smokies Oct 2012

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 27-Oct-12 10:41 PM
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#14. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 12


Philadelphia, US
          

Hi Eric,

Unfortunately, there are many airplanes which don't accommodate the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 bag under the seat. It won't fit under the window seats on regional jets, and even under some regional jet aisle seats. Some A319's for example, have a support bar under the middle seat which makes it difficult to impossible to stow a photo equipment bag there. Some planes have obstructions under some seats which preclude stowing a photo equipment bag there. Some planes have life vests under the seat which reduces the space. I could go on, but won't.

Some jets, like the older Boeing 737's and regional jets won't accommodate a TTASV2 bag in the overhead bins either.

Hence, as I mentioned in my large post below, advanced planning, and planning for bringing a bag aboard the most restrictive plane is a must, and reserving the right seat on planes is essential too.

What I don't understand about this problem is that the problem flight was likely on a Boeing 737-800 or possibly on a Boeing 757. Both should have been able to accommodate the bag stowed under the seat in front of Ivan with a few exceptions, so he should have likely been able to taken the bag on the plane. If someone else was using the space they should have been ordered by the flight crew to remove their belongings from it. Of course, we don't know the whole story.

I too am willing to pay for early boarding, but fortunately I have status with several airlines and normally get early boarding anyway, but that's one thing to do, but that doesn't always work if you get to the gate late for whatever reason, as you mentioned.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Tue 30-Oct-12 01:37 PM
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#19. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 12
Tue 30-Oct-12 01:45 PM by IvanG

Boca Raton, US
          

Ned Your point is well taken (and thanks for the additional comments)- however in this case (as with all my flights)the adavanced planning you mention was done, specifically selecting flights where larger planes are indicated as the aircraft for that leg of the flight. But at the time of boarding, all three of these legs, - not one of the aircraft indicated during the booking process was actually the aircraft flying that leg - they were all switched out for smaller aircraft - thus there is no way to tell these days - we are completely at the mercy of the air carriers. We should also remember, though, that if the incoming flight is delayed and you now are one of the last to board on the next leg of the flight (as in this case)- the size of the aircraft becomes irrelevant - you are going to be forced to check the bag, unless the bag fits under the seat in economy or you are flying business or first class - where you will probably have some leeway,

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberTue 30-Oct-12 09:21 PM
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#21. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 19


Philadelphia, US
          

Changing aircraft does happen. My camera backpack is sized to fit under the seat of a regional jet aisle set. I never use a roller bag (If nothing else they appear too big and FA's too often are closed minded and stop you at the door.).

Okay, never is a strong word. The exception is if I'm flying from a big city to a big city where they aren't going to substitute a regional jet. They might go from an A320 to an A319, but that's it. I usually check to see how full the plane is too. That's a good indication if they can entertain changing aircraft.

One thing I didn't mention is that while "in-transit" I always (In this case I actually mean always.) wear a photographers vest. It's my 3rd (unofficial of course) carry-on. You'd be surprised how much can fit in it. In your case, I would have put the camera over my shoulder and put the lenses in my pockets. I carry a tote bag in my vest back pocket. On the plane I'd put the lenses into the tote, and all in the overhead bin.

There are lots of ways and methods to solve travel dilemmas which I've discovered over the years as a frequent traveler and travel writer. Many of the ideas come from my readers.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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espeto68 Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Aug 2010Thu 08-Nov-12 07:37 PM
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#31. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 12


Oeiras, PT
          

Hi Eric,

Like you said: "The captain of an airplane is like a captain on a ship. They have ultimate authority. And some - like my cousin with United - are serious photographers."
Well, actually i'm a captain working for TAP Portugal airline - definitly not a serious photographer, but doing my best to become one - and it happend to me several times, to authorize some passengers to bring onboard photographic equipment (big size bags).
Next time try to have the green light from the captain - it might work.

José

Nikonians!!! My best investment made after my camera!!!

D700, D90, F80, F Photomic FTn

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sat 10-Nov-12 01:43 AM
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#33. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 31


Kingston, CA
          


>Well, actually i'm a captain working for TAP Portugal airline
>- definitly not a serious photographer, but doing my best to
>become one - and it happend to me several times, to authorize
>some passengers to bring onboard photographic equipment (big
>size bags).

Hello José. Thanks for sharing this information. Very interesting. Peter

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 27-Oct-12 11:01 PM
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#16. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 11


Philadelphia, US
          

Steve, the TTASV2 meets the size requirements of every US domestic airline, to the best of my knowledge, however, it's not suitable for the overhead bins of regional jets, at this point, even the new ones. Some are getting new bins, so I don't know about them at this time.

Your TTIV2 fits the size standards of most international airlines.

Despite meeting the size rules, sometimes these bags won't fit in the overhead bins or under the seats of planes. All passengers must carefully plan to ensure their critical contents (photography equipment) will be able to be on board. If planning is done right, you should be able to get your equipment on board.

Ned
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 27-Oct-12 10:18 PM
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#13. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Philadelphia, US
          

Ivan, I'm very sorry this happened to you, but frankly, it's not a surprising story, or one which I haven't heard before from my readers, as a travel writer. (Eric, thanks for the vote of confidence. I do wish this was in the travel forum, as more members might see it there, as it's a travel question.)

With regard to TSA, I'd definitely put in a claim, but in this case, the odds of collecting on the claim is slim. It doesn't cost anything to make the claim, so get it in. The problem is the bag was in the possession of TSA for a very short time compared to the airline, and TSA has to believe it was at fault to accept the claim. You can download the TSA claim form here. With regard to TSA, they wouldn't have accepted the claim at all if your problem had started in Jackson Hole, WY, as TSA doesn't run security there.

In your case, there was substantial damage to your equipment. The odds that was caused by TSA is actually tiny, therefore it is highly likely TSA will say they didn't do this, and that it was the airline.

As to a claim with your airline, Delta, unfortunately, even if Delta accepts the claim, you're not going to get anything close to the cost of replacing the equipment.

Airlines and their passengers are bound by the airlines' "Contract of Carriage." (COC) This governs the entire relationship between the airline and their passengers. Part of the contract has to do with the airline's liability for lost, damaged, delayed, or missing luggage and its contents.

To start, Delta, like every other American and in fact International airline with which I'm familiar, doesn't accept liability for "cameras, lenses, flash bulbs, projectors, video cameras, and other photographic or cinematographic equipment" (the quote is right out of Delta's COC) unless they are specifically declared at check-in, and the airline agrees to accept liability for them. That didn't happen in your case as you didn't check in the bag at check-in.

Next, like every US Domestic airline, Delta has a limit of total liability for baggage and their contents of $3,300 per passenger, and everything is based on depreciated value, not cost or replacement value. This barely covers a little more than half your D4's original cost.

So, even if Delta gives you the max, all you're going to get is $3,300 from Delta, but it's better than nothing. (You can up the max a bit and get them to agree to liability for the equipment, and I discuss that later, below.)

For Delta, you need to stress the following:


  1. You explained to the flight crew the importance of keeping the bag in the cabin.
  2. If they wouldn't allow you to try to stow it under the seat in front of you, tell them that. Passengers should always be able to stow carry-on in the seat in front of them, unless it won't fit.
  3. Explain that the flight crew wouldn't try to find a space in the overhead bin, or ask those who put both their carry-on and personal item in the overhead bin, to remove their personal item to make room, assuming that's correct.
  4. Explain that you specifically told the flight crew what was in the bag and that Delta was therefore notified of its contents and therefore should accept liability for the equipment, to the extent of their liability limit. (They do have the out, which they will likely take, that this wasn't done at initial check-in.
  5. Explain that if the flight crew had properly informed you (Actually they had no responsibility to do so. Under FAA rules you are expected to know what's in the Contract of Carriage you're flying under.) that you could declare a higher value than $3,300 and pay for excess valuation up to the max limit of $5,000, for $50, you would have done so. Explain that they should therefore reimburse you minimally for $5,000 less the $50 fee, or $4,500, not just their $3,300 limit (depreciated value).
  6. Tell them that while they should reimburse you at least for $4,500, they really should cover the whole cost (You'll have to get a precise handle on this immediately.) because the crew should have made a reasonable effort to accommodate your bag which had contents the flight crew knew Delta would not accept liability for, and didn't inform you of that fact so you could make an informed decision of what to do.

I hope this helps.

Now for what you should have done.

  • Every airline passenger needs to understand their liability rights as a passenger. Whether the plane is flying domestically or internationally can affect the limit of the airline's liability. Where the plane originates can make a liability difference too. For US domestic flights the limit is generally $3,300. For US airlines flying internationally, it's about $1,800 as per the Montreal Convention. All value is depreciated value.
  • The airlines don't accept liability for valuables and breakables, which means they don't accept liability for cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment, unless you declare the equipment when you check in and pay extra for the privilege of having the airlines cover them during your flight, however, typically they only will cover to $5,000. They only cover depreciated costs, not original purchase or replacement costs. Therefore, my rule of thumb is all photographic equipment goes in my carry-on, plus I have purchased insurance for my gear.
  • You need to realize that the airlines don't guarantee you space in the overhead bins of your airplane. In fact, they don't even guarantee you space under the seat in front of you. Some seats don't have a seat directly in front of them, such as exit row and bulkhead seats. Some seats have obstructions under them which prevents there use to stow a carry-on bag of any reasonable size. Some seats have substantially restricted space underneath them, such as on regional jets. That being said, no one is permitted to put anything under the seat in front of you, if there is one, except you. Each passenger has the right to that space to use, if it exists.
  • Before leaving on your trip you should determine the type of plane you're flying on each leg of the flight. You need to do that because some planes have substantially reduced capacity for carry-on luggage both under seats and in the overhead bin. For example, most regional jets have very small spaces for carry-on luggage under the seats on the window, due to the curvature of the cabin walls, but the aisle seats (which aren't also windows seats) have more room, similar to larger narrow body jets, and wide body jets. Some seats have obstructions under some seats which prevents their use for a photographic equipment bag. The overhead bins on regional jets normally can't accommodate wheeled carry-ons in the overhead bins. Boeing 737 overhead bins are probably the least roomy of the narrow body jets in the overhead bins.
  • Once you know the planes on which you'll be flying, you need to plan for flying on the one which is the most restrictive with regard to your carry-on for your photographic equipment.
  • To be safe, unless you're flying in First Class, or are absolutely certain you'll have early boarding to ensure you'll have a space for your photographic equipment bag in the overhead bin, you need to assume you'll need to stow your photographic equipment bag under the seat in front of you, to be sure you'll be able to bring it on board the plane, in the cabin. Even if flying in First Class or have early boarding guaranteed, you must recognize that some planes, such as the regional jets, can't accommodate most camera equipment bags in their overhead bins, unless they are small briefcase size. They can't accommodate roller camera bags in their overhead bins, for example.

    • For regional jets, you need to reserve a seat in the 2 seat side if it's 2 on one side and 1 on the other, and reserve an aisle seat. If your regional jet has rows of 2 and 2, you still need to reserve an aisle seat. The aisle seats on the side of a regional jet with 2 seats on that side have almost the same amount of space under the seat in front of you as larger jets.
    • Don't reserve a seat which has an obstruction under the seat in front of you which could prevent you from stowing your photographic equipment bag under it.
    • Don't reserve a bulkhead or exit row seat as they normally have no seat in front of you to stow your photographic equipment bag, or have no space for the same.
    • Use a bag for your photographic equipment which can fit under the seat in front of you. That means you'll need to fit your equipment into a smaller bag than could likely fit into the overhead bin of non-regional jets.

  • If when you try to board, the flight crew says there is no room on the plane for your photographic gear, insist on putting it under the seat in front of you, since you have chosen a bag of equipment which will fit. If the seat in front of you is already stuffed with gear, have the flight crew remove it. That's your space.
  • If you're in First Class, or absolutely certain you'll have early boarding, you'll still need to make sure the plane will have overhead bins able to accommodate your photographic equipment bag, or you'll still have to make sure your bag will be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

I think that should do it. Let me know if you have any questions.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 28-Oct-12 12:02 AM
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#17. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 13


Atlanta, US
          

Ned

That's a great explanation of the issues and suggested actions. Thanks for posting.

One added suggestion - there are lots of light weight cloth bags that can be packed in a carry on or camera bag. If you have a problem, these light cloth bags can be a lifesaver. Even a plastic trash bag provides an option.

Eric Bowles
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSun 28-Oct-12 02:42 AM
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#18. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 17
Sun 28-Oct-12 02:44 AM by Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
          

Thanks. I agree that they can be a help, but you have to watch out for their use to carry things into a plane - too many bags.

I often use a "third carry-on" and it's in conjunction with a couple of those drawstring backpack bags that many teens use in lieu of real backpacks, when necessary. I use a photographer's vest. I always wear one when I'm in transit on a trip. It's amazing what you can load into photographer's vests, and the airlines never care about them.¹ Once on the plane, I put the equipment in a drawstring backpack and either fit it in the overhead bin, or under the seat, so I'm comfortable during the flight. I also carry one camera/lens separately over my shoulder in a neoprene cover.

¹This is my caveat about the airlines never caring about what you're carrying in a vest on to the plane. Sometimes, when you're in those really small planes, such flying to a safari location in Africa, or up the pipeline in Alaska from Fairbanks, or into the Denali area before backpacking in, or other remote locations, weight really matters, due to the size of the plane, and they do care what you're carrying in a vest.

Ned
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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Tue 30-Oct-12 08:30 PM
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#20. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 18


St Petersburg, RU
          

Thank you for the very detailed description of baggage issues airlines.

IvanG, I was sick reading your terrible experience. Unfortunately it is not at all rare.

I deal with this a lot on international flights and find the very worst odds of having something stolen is within the US where here are TSA inspections. I am running about 50% of flights into and out of the US ending up with something stolen, usually wrapped gifts or electronics. I never check my computer, camera bag or other things that need personal control by me.
That rule of mine has saved me many times when small items like most recently, a new still wrapped Champion Swiss Army knife. I only lost $100 this last time but it still angered me since I have been wanting to replace the last one stolen by TSA thieves. A few years ago, my GF had her New Years present stolen from checked baggage, a new full length Berger Christianson Mink coat that cost more than all my camera gear combined. The TRA locks were undamaged so either everyone has a key or it was TSA who took it. We never got any compensation after a year of frustrating battling for something.
In the 86 countries I have visited, the most risky is the US, particularly since the increased "security" which gives so many people access to the contents of our bags.
As a result of being told that I had to check my camera bag, I insisted to get off the plane, have my other bags removed so I could not fly that leg. I was told once that I had no choice, I could not get off the plane or I could be arrested. The head purser even claimed that I would be put on the terror watch list and never be able to fly again. I knew that was all false but it must work with most passengers. I insisted to be let off since they could not accommodate my personal items and I would file a request for a credit card charge back because I was never delivered the item I contracted to receive. They finally agreed to find a spot for my camera bag in the crew's rest cabin if I would go back to my seat.
Once, I had been told to check a smaller bag, with $8000 in camera gear, I did get off and took the 1000 mile leg by train.
After flying so many times myself, and watching customer treatment decline so drastically over the last 20 years, I HATE to fly now. Unless someone is prepared to spend $7000 for a seat in 1st class, at arrived just 40 feet soon than coach for $700, every trick is attempted to make your flight as uncomfortable and painful and risky as possible so you will upgrade. The airlines know passengers are the enemy and treat us as such. It was not always that way, in fact years ago it was a pleasure to fly.

The limits of claims the airlines will pay is quite low as Ned stated so I advise travelers to not put anything into the checked bags that totals more than $1000 or anything that is difficult to replace.
A common practice is buying two seats together, one for the camera bag and one for you. It still has to be able to fit under the seat or in the overhead at least during the approaches and departures.
All risk travel insurance is not so common, few insurance carriers will write that so it is easiest to get a rider on your homeowner's or renter's insurance. Do not rely on conventional travel insurance or airlines to cover what you assume they cover. They all have exceptions for high value items.
I have a LowePro Vertex 300 which when filled is too heavy now for many carrier's for carry-on so I select airlines based on whether the weigh the carry on bags.
My next international flight is in 5 days and another in a month going back to the US and this subject is the most important one in my pre-trip planning. I will probably bring just two lenses and one body to London next week. I am thinking of not risking entering US airspace with good camera gear at all when I return in early December.

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberTue 30-Oct-12 10:40 PM
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#22. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 20


Philadelphia, US
          

A lot of good stuff in your post Stan. I too have walked away from a flight. I was told I wouldn't be able to use my ticket on another flight (lie), that all the flights to Chicago were sold out for the rest of the day (lie), that I would be put on the "Do not fly list" (lie), that I'd be arrested (lie), that US Airways would not allow me to every fly again on their airline (lie), and the biggest nonsense of all, that all US airlines would blackball me (sure).

I had used points to upgrade my economy seat to first class. US Airways violated there own rules and sold the seat for cash, from under me. They didn't inform me prior to the time I got to the gate for boarding. When they finally gave me a boarding pass, it was for a seat in the middle of the last row and I was the 4th from the last one to board. I was told I had to check my carry-on and personal item. I said hold on, what about the seat in front of mine. They said that was full too. I told them that was a violation of their rules, to allow another passenger to use my space. They said they got their first. I refused to board and the yelled at me all those lies, above.

I had mid-level status at US Air at the time and went directly to their customer service rep at the airport. I don't know for sure if that status helped. I got a seat in First Class on the next flight out. I got all the upgrade points back, I used for the flight. I got a voucher, good for two years, for a first class round trip flight anywhere in the US, and two weeks later, after I was home, I got 50,000 miles added to my frequent flier account as an apology for US Airways violating their rules.

Not only am I not on the don't fly list and continue to fly constantly across the globe on every airline, including US Airways, I am an approved trusted traveler member of the US' Global Entry program.

The only thing of value that I ever put in my checked luggage is a tripod leg set. If I need a lot of gear for a shoot, I'll FedEx the gear in one of my Pelican cases. Otherwise, I use a backpack in which I can get a body, several lenses, a computer, other stuff, and it will still get under the seat in front of me, if necessary. If it's too heavy, and the airline wants to weigh it (rare except for tiny airlines, flying tiny planes), the heavy stuff goes in my photographer's vest I always wear "in-transit" then back into the bag later.

By hook and crook, my camera gear and other valuables and breakables, goes in the airplane's cabin with me.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Sat 03-Nov-12 11:16 PM
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#24. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 22


Boca Raton, US
          

Statement below from Delta CEO representative

"I am sorry to learn about the camera equipment you reported missing and damaged when you were asked to gate check your carryon bag on your October 19 Delta/Delta Connection trip. Delta’s CEO has requested that I respond on his behalf.

We do have established procedures to ensure the security of our customer’s property while in our care, and I regret that we were unsuccessful in this case. We appreciate your taking the time to share your experience as this is a helpful part of our overall evaluation.

The tariff rules and the ticket contract covering your travel exclude responsibility for jewelry, cash, camera equipment, electronic equipment, or computer equipment contained in checked or unchecked baggage. However, based on the circumstances, we feel an exception is warranted in this case for process of your claim. Accordingly, our check representing full reimbursement for your property as stated in your claim will be mailed under separate cover. Please allow 10-15 business days to receive payment.

In addition, to demonstrate our commitment to customer service and as a gesture of apology, I have issued an Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) in the amount of $350.00. Please note the voucher number and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email. I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher document is not misdirected to your spam folder."

So they're covering everything that was stolen - I'll have to take care of the suspected damaged equipment

Finally someone doing something right for a change _ I will be writing an appropriate letter of thanks to the CEO

Ivan

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSun 04-Nov-12 12:19 AM
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#25. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 24


Philadelphia, US
          

Ivan, please let us know when the check actually comes in and how much they actually did write it for. I would love to have a positive story like this (no names) about Delta. Mostly I write how badly the airlines fail us so often, in my columns and articles for news websites and print media.

It sounds like they've really stepped up to bat in your case.

Thanks.

If you're more comfortable putting the amount in writing privately, please email me. Thanks again.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Tue 13-Nov-12 10:19 PM
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#34. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 25


Boca Raton, US
          

Ned - just confirmed Delta came through. The actual amount is easy to work out - I used B&H pricing from their website.
I must say I really surprised and happy about this turn of events.

Thanks for all the support

Ivan

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 14-Nov-12 01:12 PM
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#35. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 34


Philadelphia, US
          

That's fabulous. Use the new equipment in good health.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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archivue Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Mar 2002Wed 14-Nov-12 03:03 PM
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#36. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 34


Paris, FR
          

Hurray...

Jacques

"Un photographe, finalement, c'est quelqu'un comme les autres, mais qui prend des photos." - Man Ray
My Gallery...
My Other Gallery...

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 04-Nov-12 01:08 AM
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#26. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 24


Kingston, CA
          


This is great news!

Peter

My gallery (a work in progress): http://peterstokes.net/Exhibit

  

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suzyk Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Dec 2011Thu 08-Nov-12 03:50 PM
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#29. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 24


near Hobart, AU
          

Ivan,

This is fantastic news after what must have been one of the worst 2 weeks of your life. It really is refreshing to hear. Sometimes calmly explaining what happened to the boss (I assume it was calm) works. Good on Delta. As I was reading through this thread just now I was thinking- we should organise a campaign against the airline, now they have done the right thing which is GREAT.

Again, congratulations, I'm really happy for you.

Cheers,
Suzy

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agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 04-Nov-12 05:29 PM
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#27. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 04-Nov-12 05:37 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

Security, security, security, security. Open your bag sir, empty the contents on the counter. Step into the security room lady, a female officer will be here shortly to do a body cavity search. Hey officer, that's a wallet you just took out of a zippered pocket on my vest - put it back right now, and where's your boss!?

Oh I'm sorry sir but we're overbooked. Would you mind giving up your seat to help that family over there because they're traveling with children and the grandmother is in a wheelchair. We'll give you a $500 voucher and put you in an upgraded economy seat first thing in the morning. So I ask about the fact that I'm traveling first class and if I accept such an offer, I'll have to spend half an hour making long distance phone calls to shift the hotel booking at my destination, cancel theatre tickets (or re-book if possible), etc., etc., etc., not too mention giving up an entire day of photography and so on, not to mention having to sit back in steerage (and since I'd be a last minute booking, likely have to check my carry-on). The rep looks at me blankly. So I ask about a hotel room for the night at the airport Sheraton and the rep says that the $500 is really kind of a lot of money and should cover that too. Needless to say, I passed on the 'offer'.

Air Canada - treating customers like morons. The problem of overbooking flights (aside from the obvious) is that accepting a late reservation for a family of five can sometimes mean that the airline ends up telling the family that one of the members has to take a later flight? The airline can be sure that at least one family member will end up in high dudgeon, and that raised voices, embarrassment, discomfort for unrelated passengers in the immediate vicinity and other problems will ensue on the spot. Yet, it happens all the time. Online ticket booking systems are still dumb beyond belief. Airport agents and reps are forced to follow policy and ask astoundingly dumb questions of experienced travelers. During the aforementioned incident, everybody who heard my quiet response to the AC employee went back to the boarding lineup secure in the knowledge that $500 is a tiny amount of compensation under the circumstances. Some young couple gave up their seats because they felt sorry for the upset family.

All of the hassle, security, overbooking, lost luggage (American Eagle - over 4 bags per thousand and Air Transat is close behind to name just two of many terrible handling and tracking systems; and many other airlines seem to be vying for title), outright manipulative lying too often on the part of too many airline employees, airports operated solely to top up passenger counts without even the slightest thought about passenger comfort or stress levels, and all while a certain number of baggage handlers are tossing checked bags like bowling balls, or rifling the contents sure in the knowledge that they're working the system to their thieving advantage.

When someone comes to me with a complaint about an employee, I note the name, the details and do what I can to reassure the complainer that I'll look into the matter if I feel it's appropriate to do so. Then again, self-entitled attitudes are pervasive these days and far too many people seem to believe and act as though discourteous and impolite demand is appropriate conduct. Such self-entitled attitudes often form the basis of perceived slights given by employees who are just trying to make it through the day. With reasonable complaints though - and considering the nature of my business - evidence is hard to come by. With an airline on the other hand - confronted by a customer whose luggage ended up a couple of thousand kilometers away from the baggage carousel he was attending, heart sinking rapidly as all the other bags get picked up and the growing mound by the unclaimed bag counter (mainly bags belonging to people who are a couple of thousand kilometers away and with no sane reason to be in the same city as our poor schmuck standing forlornly at the baggage carousel) - at least the evidence of a missing bag is plain for all to see. A pilfered piece of luggage is also plain to see when it finally shows up. Yet in such situations of obvious loss and/or theft, the airline employees are still being trained and ordered to react with only process and skepticism. We have little assurance that anything is being done by the airlines with respect to backroom security to weed out theives in their midst, or to make improvements in hiring and employment practices to weed out thieves. For sure the unions are doing even less to strip the thieves out of the rank & file membership, instead inadvertently sheltering bad members by surrounding them with the same protections afforded to good members.

CBS reported in March of this year about a theft rate of 200 per day at JFK. Many airports around the U.S., Canada, Europe and so on are much better; some are even worse. Accurate statistics are hard to find because airport operators bend over backwards to keep such stats out of the public eye. Operators are terrified of scaring away passengers.

Every year, very little changes. Experienced travelers (Ned, many other Nikonians, me, thousands of others) are yelled at, herded, manipulated and otherwise mistreated from time to time. Incident counts are increasing at some airlines and airports, going down at others. Hiring practices, training, security policies, ticket practices and customer relations seem far too often to be regarded by airlines and airports as afterthoughts or necessary evils.

My favorite airline incompetence complaint has to do with computers, programming, flight scheduling and passenger/traveler traffic management. The last time I arrived at Heathrow (in May of this year), there were something close to 2500 passengers lined up to get through customs. It took a little over 45 minutes for me to get to the counter and into the UK in the priority line. Such situations, repeated far too often over the past ten years or more, begs the question: How long will it take for airports and airlines to cooperate on the development of intelligent traffic management software and systems so that the customers they chase after aren't being regularly herded into couging, heaving, sweating, stressed, angry, delayed, insufficiently staffed lineups just to get into the city or country that the airline screamed they could get us to more efficiently than any of their competitors?

The majority of my flights are uneventful. They're never on time, but they're uneventful. The "majority" used to be 90%. About 15 years ago, the majority dropped to 80%. In 2011-2012, the majority for me has been 70% and included, among other tasty morsels, two bullying hoot & holler incidents similar to the ones described by Ned. I am left with the impression, borne out by a little research, that airline management has become the purview not of experienced pilots and flight attendants who've risen in the ranks, but of accountants, actuaries, lawyers and management 'specialists' who believe themselves to be responsible to airline stock shareholders first, operational budgets second (with all the attendant, cheap, poor quality food, inappropriate hiring, insufficient staff training, short turn-arounds, surcharges, etc., etc., to reduce costs), and passenger satisfaction a long way third.

You could carve a better airline out of a potato.

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Howard Carson

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSun 04-Nov-12 07:37 PM
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#28. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 27


Philadelphia, US
          

We're really getting off the main topic now Howard, although I'm going to be a bit complicit, but if we want to continue this worthwhile discussion, lets stop posting here and move to the travel forum please.

With regard to airport security, anywhere in the world, not just in the US or Canada, (I've found Germany and the France actually top everyone for being a pain in the you know what.) I don't trust them further than I can throw them, and that's not very far. I never leave anything loose in the trays because that's begging for a theft.

I also don't submit to full body scanners. There are far too many serious health issues and questions about them. I insist on the patdowns, and make sure all my belongings come with me, before I'm actually patted down.

Overbooking is a serious problem, and I don't think the reservation systems have any awareness of group bookings, to the extent to ensure people can travel together, especially families. I'm trying to set up a lengthy interview with upper level US Airways' personnel and intend to discuss this. I'll be writing a column about this, but I don't know when. Right now my schedule is crazy with travel for the remainder of the year.

Air Canada isn't the only airline who treats passengers as if they're morons. A couple of years ago, I was going to a conference. I was a member of a panel discussion the next morning. American was looking for someone to take the next flight, so a whole family of 6 could fly together. They needed 3 people to take their offer. I had a first class ticket on the flight in question. They said they were giving away a free flight voucher for a flight from and to anywhere in the US. Only three of us stepped up to inquire at the time. The deal was a ticket the next day at noon, in economy (middle seat no less) (no first class was available on the fight, and I didn't know they had already cancelled the afternoon flight due to mechanical problems. The ticket voucher was for an economy seat, and was good for 6 months only. They offered only $100 for a hotel room, dinner, and breakfast, and cab fare. This was Chicago. I explained I had to be at a conference in which I was on a panel the next morning and the gate agent got indignant. When the others heard the deal being offered me, they left the desk. They sweetened the deal to $500 in cash, but no further. They got no takers. The father and two kids were to miss the flight. American eventually offered to book the entire family the next day on the noon flight, and guarantee them seats, though spread across the cabin, but no compensation whatsoever, except for $50 per person. They took it.

Luggage problems are really out of hand these days considering the systems which could be employed by the airlines to track bags, and ensure they are on the plane with the correct passengers, on time.

Most of my flights are also uneventful, although we are always late when flying in and out of Frankfurt, but it's tough for me to avoid that airport completely. Fortunately, I have status and generally fly FC domestically, and BC internationally, and get treated better than most because of it. Two years ago 6 of us (3 couples who didn't know each other) were flying from Stockholm to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, to meet a Lufthansa flight to Newark. We end up arriving at the exact time our Newark flight was to leave. We all were flying BC and they held the plane for an hour while we made our way through the airport and immigration to the gate. The already boarded passengers had been told what was happening, and weren't very happy.

In the US I'm a trusted traveler. That really helps when I enter the US under the Global Entry Program. It used to take me as long as 45 minutes to get through immigration when returning to the US. Now it takes 5 minutes. I now beat the luggage to customs. It helps me get through customs faster too. In addition, I get to use TSA Precheck. That makes it far easier and faster to get through TSA security when flying domestically. The problem is that you don't get to go in the Precheck lines every time, actually only about 80% of the time, and most airport security areas in the US, for those flying domestically, don't have Precheck, even a year after the program was first instituted. On an upcoming trip I can use it on the way out, but the airport on the way back doesn't have it available for my airline. It's a bummer.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 08-Nov-12 05:20 PM
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#30. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 28


Toronto, CA
          

>We're really getting off the main topic now Howard, although
>I'm going to be a bit complicit, but if we want to continue
>this worthwhile discussion, lets stop posting here and move to
>the travel forum please.

Which forum Ned? I may simply be not seeing something that's obvious, but the existing travel forums don't include a General Travel Discussion sub of any kind. Considering the number of member inquiries and discussions which arise in the Cafe forums, I think a general photography travel discussion forum might be quite popular. Allowable topics could include train travel, air travel, travel in various countries, and so on.

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Howard Carson

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberFri 09-Nov-12 12:06 AM
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#32. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 30


Philadelphia, US
          

Hi Howard,

We've been using the "Travel" forum in the "Master your Vision" area for general travel talk, for a while, in addition to travel photography discussions. It's better than the Multilingual forums, as Nikonians are more likely to search for such topics there, when looking for that information.

That being said, I'll take your idea for a general travel forum to the other mods and JRP and Bo, and see what everyone thinks. General travel information for photographers is becoming more and more important as so many take to the road, sea and air in search of great experiences and great photographic opportunities.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Thu 21-Mar-13 02:27 PM
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#37. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 32


Boca Raton, US
          

I have an update on this topic.

I'm not going to give too many details as the investigation is ongoing.
Thanks to an observant Nikonian Member (who I'll keep anonymous for the moment)it turns out that my D4 has turned up for sale on eBay. State Police and JFK Port Authority Police have been following various leads. They asked me this morning to post a warning on Nikonians indicating that this seller has sold 3 stolen D4s already this week. It appears they are specializing in this camera. Unfortunately it's a "comprehensive Web" of false and stolen identities extending over 3 states so far and as such appears to be a very sophisticated "gang".
As mentioned I don't want to make too many details available at the moment,in case they're monitoring this site (hopefully not - but you never know)

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Thu 21-Mar-13 02:52 PM
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#38. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 37


Boca Raton, US
          

A further update from a few minutes ago. It turns out the seller has sold my particular camera 3 times. The purchaser has paid in each case - but the seller has apparently denied receiving the funds.
Secret Service is now also involved and following up

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 21-Mar-13 02:52 PM
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#39. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 37


Philadelphia, US
          

When you feel you can, please let us know who the seller is. A warning without knowing who the warning is about, unfortunately isn't going to stop anyone from purchasing stolen D4's from them.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Thu 21-Mar-13 02:54 PM
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#40. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 39


Boca Raton, US
          

Will do Ned - but I think you can appreciate my concern at the moment. My initial intention is just to make potential buyers aware of the situation with D4s.
The moment I can (see my last post) I will make more details available

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 21-Mar-13 03:09 PM
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#41. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 40


Philadelphia, US
          

Ivan, I completely understand and think you're going about this the right way. Heck, we want this guy caught and put away, plus if it is a gang, we want them all caught and put behind bars.

Thanks again for keeping us updated.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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IvanG Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2006Thu 21-Mar-13 03:28 PM
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#42. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 41


Boca Raton, US
          

Ned just sent you a private mail with additional details

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hro1957 Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Oct 2006Thu 21-Mar-13 03:40 PM
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#43. "RE: Stolen Nikon D4 and other equipment"
In response to Reply # 0


Visalia, US
          

Ivan - So sorry to read about your expensive mishap during your flight. I, too, do not know what my reaction would if my Nikon camera disappeared into "thin flight", let alone damage to your other expensive lens, etc. I dread the day I have to check in my camera bag on a long flight. I hope there is a sliver of positive outcome to this mess. Best wishes of possible repair to other Nikon equipment.

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