Skip to Content

Airport Security & Motion Picture Film

This document contains advice for motion picture customers who need to transport film by air or via the US Postal Service.


Security precautions at US Domestic & International airports have been significantly tightened in recent years. Among precautions that travelers can expect will be the increased use of new, high-intensity x-ray scanners for checked baggage and hand-carried baggage. Passengers should be aware that these high‐intensity scanners will fog and ruin unprocessed film of any speed, whether exposed or not. Kodak recommends that air travelers do not carry unexposed or unprocessed motion picture film. If it is unavoidable that film is carried, passengers should contact the airport in advance to request hand-inspection, allow additional check-in time for such procedures, and follow the advice given below.


Any checked baggage may be subject to high-intensity x-ray scanning in a machine that is out of sight of travelers. Airline check-in agents rarely, if ever, warn travelers of this. Never pack unprocessed film in baggage that will be checked.


New carry-on baggage scanning equipment is being employed throughout the world. These new CT (Computer Tomography) Scanners using higher intensity energy have been proven to fog all unprocessed film. Travelers should be wary of all scanners in domestic and foreign airports.

Travelers should politely insist on hand-inspection of their film. Carry all film in clear plastic re-sealable bags and carry a changing bag for use by the inspector. Demonstrate how it is used, with a can of fogged film as an example. However, there is no guarantee that your request will be granted by local inspectors, who may insist on x-ray inspection. Hand inspection may not be permitted in some airports outside the US.


We understand that express air package shipping services such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. that use their own aircraft, do not employ x-ray scanning of customers' packages on domestic routes. However, this should be verified with the carrier when sending film. The same carriers may employ passenger airlines for international routes. Goods shipped as freight on passenger airlines are subject to high-intensity x-ray scanning. It is recommended that film shipped as unaccompanied freight is labeled "DO NOT X-RAY. IF X-RAY IS MANDATORY, DO NOT SHIP / DO NOT X-RAY / CONTACT SENDER URGENTLY: (sender's contact information)".


To minimize the risks of shipping by air, Kodak recommends that motion picture film should be purchased locally through the nearest Kodak sales office. After exposure, the film should be processed at a local motion-picture laboratory. After processing, the film may be safely transported by air.


Motion-picture film and other photographic products manufactured by Eastman Kodak Company are distributed by means that avoid any risk of damage by x-rays, high-energy electron beams or any other harmful radiations.

As new information becomes available it will be published and placed here.

Last updated March 2020.