Today I Got My Homemade Media Passes In The Mail

Today I Got My Homemade Media Passes In The Mail

Last week I wrote a post detailing my frustration with getting airline agents to check my bags under the "media rate" that I am entitled to as a photographer or "film making crew." I decided to print my own media pass so that this will never be an issue again and today they arrived. 

If you watched Episode 6 of our behind the scenes series with Mike Kelley you may remember me saying "I'm going to print out a media pass for every single one of these checked bags." And that's exactly what I did. I printed out eight different badges, four for Patrick and four for myself. 

I used and although they were quick, they aren't too good at printing. I couldn't figure out how to print a different sized ID card so I chose a template that looked bigger. I'm annoyed to say that the ID is the exact same size as a credit card. This makes it easy to carry but it doesn't look as official as larger vertical badges I've seen in the past. The printing itself is horrible. The high res jpg that I had uploaded has been down-scaled significantly to the point that some of the small text is completely illegible. To make things worse, the printing itself is very poor and you can see smeared ink or missing areas all over the badge. 


I have no doubt that these badges will be sufficient but at this point I cannot suggest you print yours at Find another site, buy your own card printer, or simply laminate two pieces of photo paper together. 

Although I do plan on flying a lot in the near future (I'm actually flying to NYC tomorrow), I don't plan on flying with a ton of gear for quite some time. For this reason it will probably be months until I can actually put these cards to the test. When that time does come, I'll happily write another post updating you on the experience. 

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Adrian Lyons's picture

Mine are en route....

A while back (about 4 years ago) I saw Charles Papert posted a similar article on a different forum ( ) about how to take advantage of the Airline's Media Rate and suggested that might make nice Media ID badges. Maybe I will give them a try. Curious if I will be able to read the fine print once the card arrives.

Thanks for posting the follow-up about the card quality! Good to know!!

Will Gavillan's picture

I'd see if moo cards can do these. Their print quality is excellent. Small type and photos are not an issue

Moo doesn't offer printing on plastic, but they do make some thick glossy cards that would look pretty good stuffed into a badge holder.

Cyberdyne industries?!?!? I love their work!

Joonas Nieminen's picture

I went to a shoot with a SKYNET hoodie - client was a high tech military branch, we had a laugh :D

Looks like making media passes is as easy as PI π

Dave Re's picture

We just used to produce something similar - for exactly the same purpose. We did credit card sized badges (CRE-001) w/ oval lanyard holes, for flexibility. The printing looked exactly like what we sent them, and what they proofed. They were super easy to deal with, and the turn around was reasonable (about a week).

Thanks for the suggestion

lee arthur's picture

I don't know about credentials, but printing lab of choice here is MPIX They've never failed me yet.

Peter Nord's picture

Take a test trip. I'll give you ten bucks. If you can get another 99 donors, you ought to be able to go somewhere interesting. We're all curious to see how it works.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

I bought an inexpensive heat laminator from Amazon for a similar purpose and was surprised at how well it works. It only takes a few seconds and the finished product is quite good.

Nick Viton's picture

Cyberdyne? Really? Too funny!
A dead give away to airline agents the passes aren't legit.
Thanks for the tip though.

I ordered mine at about the same time as you, and luckily my printing turned out a bit better. There was a bit of smudginess to some of the printing, and forget about small print looking good. I really doubt a check-in agent is going to scrutinize the quality to the point of rejecting this badge, but I guess I'll find out next week!

Mr Hogwallop's picture

If you do curbside check in or use a well tipped skycap here's a tiny chance they will look closely at it, even less that they know the company name unless they have a preregistered list to cross check, they just want to see something.

On the extreme off chance they spot it as a phony, be ready to spend the next few hours 'splainin yourself to a surprising amount of govt guys/gals in suits (with real ID badges) who hang out behind those unmarked doors at the airport. They might wonder what else you faked...

Or just bill the client...¯\_(ツ)_/¯

it's not fake as I really do work for Fstoppers

My badge isn't a phony. I just need to have a bullshit badge to match airlines' bullshit requirements.

Is your point just to get an airline discount? Because making your own 'credentials' is a type of fraud. The only valid credentials are the ones issued by an official organization like the NYPD or a sponsored news organization like Reuters or AP which issues limited credentials that are also registered with the NYPD.

making a photo ID for your business is not fraud

No where on any of the airlines websites does it state that the credentials need to be "Police" issued in order to get Media rate.
If I made credentials stating I work for NBC(i don't) then YES, thats fraud.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Go read Lee's original article, where he explains the details and legalities of making these types of badges.He is in no way trying to access anything that he is not allowed to. I still have my registered police and government ID badge ( now expired since the newspaper is now defunct) but if I ever used that to gain access where I shouldn't be, then that is illegal. All Lee is doing is giving the TSA clowns what they are asked to check by their job description.

Terrence Chambers's picture

Cyberdyne Systems.... Perfect.

Tony Roslund's picture

ASMP members can use their ASMP card to satisfy airline requirements.