Main airlines used by British divers.
We have requested information which is of major importance for the travelling diver from the listed airlines.
Before booking with an airline, check the information given - you could save considerable anguish and expense.
There have been a lot of changes recently in airline baggage policy and it is continuing to change ever more frequently. The information in this page is out of date and we are updating it as quickly as possible, but it looks like it will continue to change so try and check with the airline BEFORE you purchase tickets. This applies particularly regards baggage and carry on luggage, as divers we seem to take a bit more kit than most travellers. Otherwise a cheap flight may become very expensive.
At the time of booking make sure that you have told them you are a diver, will be taking diving equipment and need extra allowances. Get a signed copy of the allowances that have been agreed. If booking online spell it out in the area for extra information and have a printed copy to show at the airport. eTickets can be problematic as information and allowances can be left off and you will not know till collecting the ticket at the airport.
*Points to check:*
Security concerns caused rapid changes in Government rules in 2006 and 'temporary' restrictions have partly been left in place, so before packing it is best to check on the Department for Transport website Here
If you are flying from a BAA airport (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Heathrow,London Gatwick, London Stansted, Southampton) check on the BAA Website Here also, as it has a good section on latest security information and restrictions. For other airports check their websites.
Currently you can take a bag with a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (slightly smaller than it used to be). If you are taking a laptop computer or purse it also has to fit into this bag. If you take it in its own bag this will be treated as your one allowed piece of cabin baggage. Liquids have to be in original unopened containers under 100ml and all packed in a clear plastic resealable bag no bigger than 20cm square.
In addition to restrictions at the airport, the airline you are booking with may have its own restrictions. Budget airlines tend to allow smaller sizes like 55cm x 40cm x 20cm so check with your airline, especially if you are buying a new carry on bag.
Turning up at the airport with overweight luggage can trigger an unpleasantly high charge, so thinking ahead is essential.
Some divers are happy to hire all their kit at the dive centre abroad, but others feel more comfortable and safer using their own. Obviously not many people fly with weights and cylinders, but suit, fins, bc and regs can add up quickly, before adding dsmb, reel, torch, batteries, chargers.....
The good news is that some airlines now accept that scuba diving is a sport, just as they have always accepted golf or fishing. So some airlines let you have have an extra free weight allowance for a bag of sports equipment. This may vary from 6kg (Virgin) 10kg (XL) to 23kg (BA). Check this when you book the ticket and carry your dive qualification card with you at the airport.
Other airlines make an extra flat-rate charge for sports equipment. For instance Air France charges EU10 to EU40 for an extra 20kg of sports equipment. Flybe charges ?17 to carry a set of diving equipment. Again, check the charges and book your extra equipment when buying the ticket. It costs less to pre-book and lets the airline know that there will be extra weight, especially if a group of divers is travelling together.
Research the options for your journey. Consider the cost, safety and convenience issues of hiring or carrying your dive equipment. When booking, get written details of the baggage allowances you have been allocated. Carry this with you at the airport on every leg of the inbound and outbound journey, along with your dive certification card. And be prepared to unpack for the security people, because dive kit can look a bit odd in the X-ray pictures!
The Skytrax site Here has useful air travel information, including seat pitch (ie legroom) and passenger opinion forums. Links to all the world's airline websites are listed Here and airport sites Here
Dive magazine for April 07 has a good article 'Weight Check' by Charlotte Boan, which is currently available Here
- Aer Lingus
- Air 2000
- Air France
- Air Jamaica
- Air Mauritius
- Air Malta
- Air Niugini
- Air Seychelles
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Egypt Air
- El Al
- Kenya Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Monarch Airlines - Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Kenya
- Ryan Air
- Thai Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways - USA and Caribbean