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Airline media rate - ID solution


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#1 Charles Papert

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:21 PM

This relates to traveling in the US, so if this doesn't apply please disregard.

I'm sure most if not all of you know about the media rate excesses baggage discount that is more useful than ever these days considering how they whack "civilians" with extra bag charges. Not all airlines still offer this but many do (generally $50 per item, up to 100 lbs). I would have liked to think that my days of shlepping gear around in airports would have sailed into the distance along with my rig, but I seem to own more gear now than ever, just different stuff. Sigh. Anyway: one of the hangups I've had is that you are supposed to provide ID that shows you are in the media to be able to get the rate. It's supposed to be an "official" laminate, like a press badge; some counter agents are more lenient than others (some accept business cards, others don't). At different times I've had studio badges which made it easy, but other times I've had to work around it by having the production company clear it with the airline with a letter sent ahead of time, but that is a pain.

I recently found this site. You can design a card within the browser with a variety of graphics and options, or upload your own design from Photoshop or whatever. No minimum number of cards, $12 a pop and they look as legit as any standard issued card. I'm obviously not advocating anyone pretend to be part of an organization that they are not, but most here have their own DBA or LLC and there's nothing wrong with creating a company ID badge for their own company (that's what this site is for).

Just thought I'd pass it along. I'm personally relieved that this won't be an issue any more. Travel is hard enough as it is.

p.s. yes, obviously having production deal with shipping is best, but there are plenty of times when checking it in is unavoidable, like a quick turnaround to another job.
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#2 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:54 PM

Tnx brother... Cool site.

I've always had success with my SOC Active member card, even with the ones that are picky. But $12 bucks is money well spent if it saves you hundreds at the airport.
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#3 Alan Rencher

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:40 AM

That's some great information. Thanks, Charles.
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#4 James Leonzio

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:11 PM

I'm going through the same thing right now with airlines, as I'm traveling with my rig all the time. Some airlines don't even ask for credentials and charge me the $50 as long as the case is under 50#. Others claim that "media rate" is a policy that doesn't even exist.

I'm about to make my own pass and have it laminated somewhere local. I'm flying again on Tuesday and probably wont have time to do it through the site Charles mentioned.

Charles, what does your's look like? Just curious what works and how I should design mine.
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#5 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 11:57 AM

Thanks Charles,
Good Idea for all y'all traveling with gear.
I travel a lot with my gear and many of the agents at the counter don't even know how to access the code to get media rate for their company. When they do, they always ask for a media card and a few times I didn't have my NBC, CBS, ABC media badges and they wouldn't take the self laminated one's so this site is a great way to go. I would always include a network in small writing someplace on the badge just to make it go easier, but as Charles said I'm not encouraging anyone to pretend to be anyone they are not but it is a solution
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:13 PM

Hi James:

See design below. I did it with their on-site tools although it would probably have been quicker just to do in Photoshop when all was said and done, I was just being "lazy". Referencing Rob's comments, I decided against using network logos and such to keep things kosher. PTI is actually my DBA (good ol' Pan, Tilt, Invoice--ha) but I added the "media services" just to hit the point home! As I mentioned, the quality of the card is top notch, it's on standard thick ID plastic stock and looks as good as any company ID. I even put a bar code on the back just for fun (that's on their site).

Ironically, having just flown yesterday, I was up against it as both the Delta counter agent and the supervisor messed up the (rather simple) media rate structure. From now on I may just travel with a printout of the info from the carrier's website. Pulled it up on my phone but they wouldn't even look at it. Sigh. The good news was--no-one questioned the badge!!

Attached Files


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#7 Afton Grant

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 04:00 PM

I did a very similar thing a long time ago and it worked without fail. I used Photoshop to design the badge. I initially wanted to get it printed out on a nice stock at Staples, however, I shot myself in the foot by designing into the card a copyright notice at the bottom. The whole badge was phony, so of course the copyright notice was phony, but it was all convincing enough for Staples to refuse to print copies of it without the network's approval. How does one explain that situation to a Staples employee?

Ultimately, I just bought a few badge holders, some slightly thicker paper, printed it out on my own printer and slid it inside the badge holder. For a good finishing touch, I ran over it in my chair and scuffed it along the floor a bit to make it look worn.

Like I said, worked without fail.
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#8 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:08 PM

I have been traveling a lot lately and have found that most airlines don't have a media policy anymore. Can you guys list the airlines where that works?

I only know of Southwest right now. $50 per piece after 2 no size or weight restriction (under 100 pounds) and they let you pre board most of the time if you have bulky cases with you. carry my batteries on in my Pelican 1600.
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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:15 PM

Delta
http://www.delta.com...index.jsp#media

American
http://www.aa.com/i1...geAllowance.jsp
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#10 Nelson Villamil

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:09 AM

There is an option, is a herramiento that helps us all to our economy.

I wish I had more information.

In addition to the companies that relates Charles, anyone know of others??

Air canada?

The policy is only for domestic flights USA only ?? , or also international?

EX. flying to or from Canada?

Thanks

PD. Hey Charles. Thanks a lot.
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:57 AM

I guess if we are concerned about UPM's and the rest seeing discussions on alleged rate fixing etc on here because it is a public forum, we should also be very clear here that no-one is advocating falsifying documents to cheat airlines. They need to see proof that we are in film production, and we legitimately are, it's just that we aren't issued official badges stating this fact that will satisfy the average airline counter representative (Mike's suggestion of the SOC card is a solid one, although an ID with a photo always seems best).

I've gotten my situation resolved with Delta but after this experience, I most definitely will bring a printout of the airline's policy with me each time I fly so I don't have to go through that hassle again. Nothing infuriated me more than seeing an adjacent counter representative make one of those "he's a difficult customer" faces at me when I was insisting on them honoring their stated policy. Amazing to think that a counter agent at LAX who must process film/television crews every day not be aware of the extended weight parameters available on that rate schedule, but I guess I just got lucky.
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#12 James Leonzio

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 01:37 PM

I just got hosed again with US Airways. Agent claimed they don't have any media rate options or policies. She acted like she's never heard those words before.

I didn't even get a chance to flash my self made Kinkos laminated masterpiece.
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#13 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 02:59 PM

Two things about US Airways:

1. Some independent commuter airlines operate under the US Airways flag, but the fine print exempts them from some of the policies of the parent US Airways carrier. Perhaps this is what you experienced...?

2. US Airways (and their commuter affiliates) seem to be in a race to the bottom with Delta for most awesomely awful customer service. Three or four years ago I experienced firsthand their infamous tendency to cancel flights simply because they haven't scheduled enough crew (or maybe don't have enough passengers booked?) Some of my most miserable domestic flying experiences have been on US Airways.
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#14 PeterAbraham

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:59 PM

If I may just say, Charles, you are as breathtakingly handsome now as you were 26 years ago.

Now, what's all this about laminates? :D

I'm very tempted to do this. However, I was issued a network studio ID with my photo and no expiration date ( by way of needing a new door swipe card for steady work I'm doing ) last week. It's genuine and should do the trick.

Yanno, Pre-9/11, when traveling for a network event, I'd make sure a had a handful of ABC Sports enameled pins. Oddly, those did the trick to get me the Traveling Media Discount. Now? I'd be hustled out of the terminal sans Pelican cases to an undisclosed location ( Piscataway, New Jersey ) for a few weeks of heavy interrogation. No More Pins.

Nice find though, Charles. May yet make one anyway.
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#15 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:54 AM

For those of us who fly alot with gear...Always see what the bump up rate is for First Class on any carrier your flying. 6 hours is the cut off mark, so 6 hours before the flight (AT the airport only!) you can check yourself in at the self service kiosk, and you may be offered a first class upgrade for a particular amount of money. The upgrade price may be less than the price of one extra case, and you usually are allowed heavier bags and 3 checked in instead of 2, so on many occasions I've upgraded to First or Business and actually saved money.. Weigh ALL your options..... Also, American still does the media rate..... Fly safe.
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