Intra-tour flights and camera equipment

I am scheduled on the June tour "Spirit of the Desert" and have some questions/concerns regarding the two intra-tour flights on small aircraft. As a photographer, my camera bag is a bit larger than most. It is designed to meet all domestic and international requirements to fit in the overhead storage compartments so that I do not have to check it. However, Tauck's Journey document stipulates, "... only bags the size of purses or camera bags are allowed on the included intra-tour flights." The term "camera bags" in this sentence is vague and I'm wondering whether my bag meets this definition. My bag's external dimensions are 14"W x 22"H x 9"D, and weighs 30 lbs. with all my camera equipment.

Has anyone been on this tour with camera equipment, or experienced other travelers with camera equipment, who encountered size problems.

Thank you.

PS: Reading elsewhere in this Forum I gather that our luggage is stowed in the belly of the plane. Is this correct? This would imply that I can carry whatever camera bodies and lenses I might need during the flight and place the remainder of my equipment in the belly of the plane. Is this a correct assumption?


  • edited May 2014
    I've been thinking about this one. My recollection is that the planes were about 10 seaters …. but that being said, some were smaller. I could put my day pack under my feet, but I'm guessing your camera bag might be bigger. I wonder if I could suggest a compromise? The bus drives on, with all the luggage underneath, and meets you at the other end. I wonder if you could take with you on the flights just what gear you'd need … be brave … just 1 camera? You could leave your camera case with all the other stuff in it, inside the bus … on or under your seat … all ready for you when you get back on the bus at the other end of the flight. The flight into Vegas is a little different …. your regular bus and driver go straight to the hotel in Vegas after dropping you off at the airport. We had another, local driver, collect us at Boulder Airport and after lunch at a nearby golf club, took us to the hotel where our bus was waiting. I'm sure you could work something out with the TD and driver.

    How would that work for you? You could probably stretch it to your regular camera and a smaller one ….. Your camera case would be comfortable in the cabin. I do understand why you wouldn't want it in the luggage compartment … all alone with only ignorant suitcases for company…..


  • We took the Spirit of the Desert in August 2013 and I recall there being TWO plane rides -- with one plane being very tiny (but the actual camera bag went into the plane's belly while I photographed as much as I could). The views out the windows are astonishing -- so bring lots of media. The planes are small, so keep your camera with you (and media in your pocket) even when the pilot insists that the camera equipment go below.
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