Polaroid 300 film and airports!?

I have some Polaroid film for the newer Polaroid cameras, it's called polaroid 300. I was wondering if one run through the X-rays at the airport will do any damage toy two packages of unopened film. I also have the camera with a case of opened film inside. Do you think it will become damaged if I send it through? I heard that check in baggage is a lot worse for it.

2 Answers

  • 6 years ago
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    Hi Brittany, I've flown all over the country with film. While folks, including myself, have had issues with security outside the United States, TSA staff within the States are very film friendly by and large.

    The absolute best thing to do is buy your instant film locally at your destination and then use it all there, before returning home. That way, you are never traveling with unexposed film. I order nearly ally my Instax from BHPhoto.com so you could have it shipped to your destination. If this is not an option below are my top tips for flying with Instax film which is an 800 ISO film and therefore CAN be affected by x-ray's, particularly multiple scans.

    --Take all your Instax out of the packaging and place all of it in one clear plastic Ziploc bag. As you should be keeping your camera with you for carry-on, keep this bag with you. The goal is to keep the contents of this bag easy for security to see and riffle through quickly.

    --Just as you're getting up to the security gate and have all your other carry-on items in the bin, hold up your bag of film and ask security for a hand check. Someone will take your bag around the scanners and meet you on the other side after you and your carry-on items have passed.

    --TSA will rub a bit of explosive-tracing material on the the film packs. If you bring a lot of film, like I do, this can take a while so arrive at the gate early! They may also simply visually examine it Taking the film out of the packaging speeds up this process and usually they will let you start bagging your film back up as they finish each pack. Most guys I've dealt with are very friendly and ask me where I'm going and what I'm shooting etc.

    --800 and slower ISO's are not supposed to be affected by X-rays but X-ray damage to film is cumulative so it's best to just get a hand check everything.

    --DO NOT put your film in checked baggage as it's sure to be X-rayed.

    --You can buy a lead bag to put your film in to protect it from X-rays but I've always heard that this will just cause suspicion so I've never tried it.

    The airline doesn't make any difference. The brand of film doesn't make any difference. The main thing is the ISO and how many times it gets hit. Supposedly, though I've never had to deal with it, 800 and faster films can be damaged by just one scan.

    Good luck, take some great photos and enjoy your trip!

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  • 6 years ago

    Most of the security X ray machines do not affect films these days.

    However, you can buy special X ray proof bags to keep the film in while you travel.

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