What to expect at security checkpoints?
When you get to the security checkpoint, have your identification and your boarding information available for checking by security personnel. Remember that electronic gear, such as laptops, cell phones, and camera gear, will be screened by machines, and security personnel can request to screen items by hand as well. You will be required to put your computer laptop in a separate container to go through the carry-on scanner.
If your camera is hand-screened, security personnel may look through the camera lens. They may take a test picture or ask you to take one, and, in some cases, swab or use a wand to check the camera for trace materials such as explosives. They may also hand-inspect protective film bags. Be aware also that security personnel routinely select passengers, apparently at random, for more thorough checks. You may be pulled to the side, checked with a hand wand, and asked to remove your shoes and open bags.
You should never pack unprocessed film in checked luggage. Tests conducted on film using high-intensity x-ray scanners, like those used to screen checked luggage at many airports, resulted in streaks and film fogging of all speeds of film, according to the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A). So carry your film as part of your carry-on items. X-ray scanning at carry-on security checkpoints in the United States will also cause damage to unprocessed film.
Ask for a hand-screening of film or buy film at your destination. However, expect to wait in longer lines. To help make the inspection process more efficient, the I3A also recommends packing film and single-use cameras in clear plastic or mesh bags.
For international travelers, the I3A also recommends being wary of all scanners at airports outside the United States. When traveling internationally, the association suggests that travelers request hand inspection of film and single-use cameras.
Note Scanners affect only unprocessed film. They have no effect on processed prints or slides.