MF-in' CFLs on a MF-in' Plane!
November 27, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

CFLs in checked luggage. OK or Not OK?

I have to fly next week for work (video/photo)and have to bring one of my light kits with me.

The kit I usually bring and check has 3 tiny 600W halogen bulbs. I'd wrap them tight in foam and put them in my camera case in my carry on. All three bulbs together are the size of my fist. The rest of that kit (stands, umbrellas...) would go in the checked baggage.

With this trip, I have to take a different light kit that use 16 CFLs (4 per rig +4 spares). Each CFL has its own Styrofoam case and all of them together are about 2 cubic feet. I cant get them in my carry-on, and I dont know if I could either way because CFLs contain mercury.

So the only choice is checked baggage.

I cant find anything, anywhere forbidding putting CFLs in checked baggage. I fully expect some to break during the trip, hence the spares. But therein lies my concern:

Local ordinances almost require a hazmat team to be called when you break one in your house.

Does anyone have any experience with bringing CFLs on a plane in checked baggage? I'm kinda freakin' out about this :-)

#1 No, I can not send them ahead of me, we are flying into a remote location with no place for me to send them and really no way to pick them up. If I'm not carrying it, it aint coming.

#2 No, there is no place for me to buy new ones while I'm at the location.

Thanks in advance!
posted by sandra_s to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
They aren't on the TSA prohibited items list. If you're checking them, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by grouse at 9:56 AM on November 27, 2012

Most crew I know check their gear including bulbs. Do you have a special hard-sided case for your lighting kit? I'd trust that before I'd trust the heavy-handed TSA types.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:00 AM on November 27, 2012

Anecdata: I flew from Beirut to London two years ago with a bunch of cfls in both checked and hand luggage. I notified the crew at the airport, but it basically was fine. All bulbs survived the trip intact.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 11:34 AM on November 27, 2012

Best answer: I check gear all the time, including light kits - I've never had an issue, make sure that you ask the airline to put "Fragile" stickers on the kit and you'll be fine. Also, depending on the airline, you might get a discounted rate for gear, ask if they have a Media rate.
posted by banannafish at 1:41 PM on November 27, 2012

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