If there’s one thing divers are terrible at, it’s traveling light. Here are a few tips for shaving pounds off your luggage, as well as a roundup of airlines with a free scuba equipment allowance.

If there’s one thing divers are terrible at, it’s traveling light. Hefty baggage fees can really put a damper on a trip before it’s even begun. However, there are a few airlines with a free scuba equipment allowance. This means we can pack our gear, sometimes in addition to another checked bag, for free. Below is a list of these scuba-friendly airlines, as well as some handy tips for traveling with scuba equipment.

Top tips for traveling with scuba equipment

  • Invest in a portable luggage scale so you know exactly how much your bags weigh.
  • If you’ve got the cash, splurge on a first-class or business-class ticket. You can bring more luggage at no extra cost.
  • Pack your bulky, durable gear like fins, BCD and wetsuits in your checked luggage. Keep your smaller equipment, such as your mask, booties, etc. in your carry-on bag.
  • Consider sending your equipment by FedEx before you travel if you have an address or friend to receive it. This option may cost a little more, but you can insure and track it.
  • Be loyal to one airline and save the frequent flyer miles, which will give you extra baggage perks.

Airlines with a free scuba equipment allowance

You can stow the gear in the same bag or pack it separately. This is in addition to the ticketed checked baggage allowance. Garuda Indonesia allows you to bring up to 50 pounds (23 kg) of scuba gear free of charge to anywhere it flies, in addition to your free baggage allowance. Insel Air allows divers to bring an extra gear bag of up to 22 pounds (10 kg) for free. All scuba equipment must be packed in the separate bag, apart from regular checked luggage.

If you’re traveling with charter carrier Thomson Airways, show your dive certification card on check-in. They’ll give you an extra 11 pounds (5 kg) luggage allowance for free. Turkish Airlines allows one set of dive equipment per person without additional fees for departures from and arrivals to Male in the Maldives, Aqaba in Jordan, and Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. You can bring your own diving equipment in addition to your free baggage allowance at no extra charge. Just keep the overall weight to 50 pounds (23 kg) or less.

All scuba equipment must be packed in the separate bag, apart from regular checked luggage.

Garuda Indonesia Garuda Indonesia allows you to bring up to 50 pounds (23 kg) of scuba gear free of charge to anywhere it flies, in addition to your free baggage allowance.
Insel Air Dutch Caribbean carrier Insel Air allows divers to bring an extra gear bag of up to 22 pounds (10 kg) free of charge.
Turkish Airlines Turkish Airlines allows one set of dive equipment per person without additional fees for departures from and arrivals to Male in the Maldives, Aqaba in Jordan, and Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.
Virgin Atlantic You can bring your own diving equipment in addition to your free baggage allowance at no extra charge as long as the overall weight isn’t more than 50 pounds (23 kg).
Air Tahiti Air Tahiti gives divers with a certification card an additional baggage allowance of 11 pounds (5 kg) for dive equipment only.
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi’s national airline allows one set of scuba-diving equipment, weighing a maximum of 33 pounds (15 kg) as checked baggage free of charge.
South African Airways South African Airways allows one additional piece of luggage containing scuba equipment. Your gear bag can weigh no more than 50 pounds (23 kg) and have maximum dimensions of 62 inches (158 cm).
Sri Lankan Airlines

 

You can include one set of scuba gear in the free baggage allowance. If you’re carrying more than one set, normal excess baggage charges will apply.
Thomson Airways If you’re traveling with charter carrier Thomson Airways, show your dive certification card on check-in and they’ll give you an extra 11 pounds (5 kg) luggage allowance for free.

Guest author Sarah Richard is a travel writer and divemaster currently living in Hong Kong. She has been diving for eight years and has most recently worked on a liveaboard in Micronesia. Check out her travel blog here, or follow her adventures on Facebook.

 

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