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August 2006 Vol. 21, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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New Luggage Limits Slam Traveling Divers

from the August, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Pack light, fellow divers, because the airlines are cutting their luggage limits, and if you’re flying coach, you’re going to pay. Exceed the limits and you will be shipping your gear separately. And, that 60 lb. carryon is also a thing of the past.

New Luggage Limits Slam Traveling DiversContinental’s weight allowance starting September will be 70 lb./ checked bag, either domestic or international. They’ll collect a $25 fee for checked bags 51–70 lbs. And they’ll accept no bag weighing more than 70 lbs., even if it’s carrying your Light & Motion housing. That’s right, no exception for sports equipment. Items weighing more than 70 lbs. must be sent in advance via a known shipper or freight forwarder. These arrangements can’t be made at the gate when you’re told your bag’s over the limit.

International allowances for size and weight will vary by destination, carrier, and — in some cases — by class. For example, Singapore Airlines will allow two checked pieces weighing 70 lb. each, but frequent flyers and first- and business-class passengers can check more. TACA limits you to 100 lbs. total, with a maximum of 70 lbs. for one bag. Carry-ons are also limited by weight (about 45 pounds in most cases) as well as size.

On domestic flights, Delta will sock you $25 each way for a bag weighing 51–70 lbs, while United, on domestic and Caribbean flights, makes it $50. It’s $100 each way if a bag weighs 71–100 lb. and major airlines won’t accept a bag weighing more. American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner warned Undercurrent that divers who can’t get a piece of luggage below 100 lbs. “won’t be taking that bag with them.”

More restrictions are coming from nearly every carrier. Do your homework on their Web sites, by phone or with your travel agent. Before you leave, weigh your bags on your bathroom scale. Go for soft-sided luggage. Buy books at your destination. Rent a BC. Forget that hair dryer. Live in one T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Ask a buddy to tote some of your load. Get creative. Or fly business class.

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