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July 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Three Caribbean Hubs That Leave Your Dive Bags Behind

from the July, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

With all airlines in trouble these days, its even more important to bring your dive essentials as carryons, especially on puddle-jumper flights to Caribbean and Pacific islands. Too often, luggage gets left behind for a day -- or five -- late. Here are some recent examples of subscribers experiencing lost luggage woes.

Edward Clapp (Corte Madera, CA) says American Airlines overbooked his flight, so he was offered travel vouchers, a seat on the the next evenings flight, and expenses for the interim but no guarantee that his bags would fly with him. Four of my five bags arrived the day after I did, but the bag with crucial dive gear took two days. I met a family whose luggage had taken five days to catch up with them. . . . After his Islena Air flight from San Pedro Sula to Plantation Beach Resort at Honduras Bay Islands in January, Don Beukers (San Jose, CA) didnt see his luggage or dive gear for two days.

We often get complaints about Cayman Airways. While all his bags made it with him to Brac Reef Beach Resort last November, Gary Malinowski (Oconomowoc, WI) says his dive gear bag didnt arrive back home until five days later. It didnt make the flight off Cayman Brac, even though the resort staff and the airline assured me and other passengers several times that there was plenty of room for our bags. . . . Richard Visser (Grand Rapids, MI) had luggage delays on arrival at Little Cayman Beach Resort in November. On the way back home, when our plane stopped in Cayman Brac, I looked out the window and was amazed to see my main suitcase being loaded off the plane and left there. I never received an explanation. Leave plenty of time between the Cayman flight and your mainland connection, he says. I had to fill out lost-luggage claim forms at the Grand Cayman airport, which made my connecting flight with Delta tight. That airport is a zoo on Saturday afternoons as many vacationers are leaving and arriving then.

Even the big airlines mishandle luggage. On his January trip to Nadi, Fiji, Richard Rodriguez (Arlington, TX) luggage was lost by the baggage handlers at Los Angeles. It didnt show up for three days, so I had to use rental gear. The more remote your dive destination, the smaller your planes cargo hold will be, and the more probable that some bags wont make it on the flight. At the very least, bring your computer and prescription-lens mask as carryons.

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