Few sentences strike fear into the heart of a photographer like "you're going to have to check that bag." This helpful video will explain how you can avoid having to check your expensive and fragile photography equipment.
Coming to you from Matt Granger, this great video talks about how to keep from having to check your gear bag when flying. Personally, I think you should never check gear. In addition to what Granger says, one thing that has helped me in the past was to know the airline's specific rules. Many gate agents simply eyeball bags that come by and if they look close to the maximum size, they'll tell you to gate-check them. This happened to me when I tried to board a flight to Europe with my Pelican 1510 full of very expensive glass and bodies. I smiled and politely said: "I understand your policy is a maximum of 22" x 14" x 9". This case is 22" x 13.8" x 9" and was designed specifically to be carried on. I'd be happy to walk it on and show a flight attendant it fits, as it is full of some expensive and fragile gear." I think the gate agent was more taken aback by the logical argument presented courteously than what I actually said, but whatever it was that swayed him, he let me on with the case after that. Also, remember that most airlines let you take a carry-on bag and a laptop bag; if you get a messenger camera bag, you can normally fit two or three more lenses in that as well.
Lead image by Pixabay user winterseitler, used under Creative Commons.