Over packed for Florida and the Bahamas
Overpacked for Florida & the Bahamas

Why it can be less expensive to fly First Class

I recently returned back home to Boston from a three-week trip to the Bahamas and Florida. It was great to get out of the Boston winter! I was teaching workshops and shooting videos with Vanelli, photographing models and scenics and taking a few days off. Most of my time off was spent shooting.

As always, I packed too much equipment with me. But, I need to make sure I have all of the gear I need for the shoots and the workshop!

A big problem for traveling photographers is the fifty-pound weight limit for a checked bag in coach. My personal suitcase, that held my Dynalite Baja battery powered strobes, Dynalite Octa softboxesRogue Flashbenders, Rogue 3-in-1 flash gridsInduro tripod assorted grip equipment, my Rosco Location Lighting Kit, along with my clothes, weighed close to seventy pounds. On top of having that suitcase, I needed a second bag that contained light stands, a large softbox, a medium Sunbounce reflector and a LitePanel LiteReach Kit for shooting on the beach, along with some additional grip equipment.

By the time I pay for the overweight bag, and a second checked bag, it is often less expensive to fly first class.

When you fly first class, you board the plane first so there is always room for your carry on luggage. For my carry on, I use the new Think Tank Airport Advantage Plus, which weighs less than the previous cases. On top of that, I also have a Think Tank Urban Disguise. The 2 carry-on bags contained all of my several Nikon cameras, lenses, and a number of Nissin speedlights along with my Pocket Wizards. Should my luggage get lost, I still have basic items to shoot my job.

"Taking a Break" by Seward Johnson with a ThinkTankPhoto Airporter
“Taking a Break” by Seward Johnson with a ThinkTankPhoto Airporter

With First Class, you get to check 2 seventy-pound bags, you board the plane first, your luggage comes off the plane first and you get food and drinks!

First Class is a great way to fly and it may save you and your client money. It makes your trip much more pleasant, you don’t wait in lines at the airport. You are relaxed when you reach the destination and ready to shoot.

If you have a lot more cases to check, some airlines have media rates. If I have to check some of my cameras and lens or additional strobes (which I hate doing) I use a Nanuk hard case. It is indestructible!

Safe travels, everyone!

Rick Friedman is an internationally published portrait and magazine photographer and teaches his Location Lighting Workshops around the globe.