As a diver, picking the right airline can mean a big difference in baggage costs when bringing along your own trusted gear. In this series of blogs, we will investigate the rules and regulations around flying with your scuba gear with different airlines for you so you don’t have to.
Although having frequent-flier status on an airline, or flying business class could give you larger weight allowances, we will only take a look at the rules and regulations that apply to passengers flying economy class.
British Airways (BA) is the largest airline in the United Kingdom based on fleet size, or the second largest, behind easyJet when measured by passengers carried. With a fleet size of 273, British Airways flies to 183 destinations around the world and is part of the Oneworld alliance.
Standard baggage allowances
According to British Airways, if every flight in your journey has a BA code (e.g. BA1234) you will get British Airways’ checked baggage allowance, even if some or all of the flights are operated by other airlines (so-called ‘codeshare’ flights).
If however, your journey includes a mix of BA and other airline codes you will get the allowance of the most significant carrier – usually the airline operating the longest part of the journey, and if every flight in your journey has another airline’s code, you will get that airline’s baggage allowance.
On most flights, British Airways offer you 1 bag as checked baggage with a maximum weight of 23kg (51lb). There are a lot of exceptions though:
- Flights to/from Brazil; 2 bags (max. 32kg / 70lb per bag)
- Flights between London and Doha; 1 bag (max. 32kg / 70lb per bag)
- Flights to/from Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone
- Flights between Europe and Japan; 2 bags (max. 23kg / 51lb per bag)
- Connecting between India and USA/Bermuda/Canada, or connecting from Saudi Arabia to USA/Bermuda/Canada; 2 bags (max. 23kg / 51lb per bag)
Bringing your dive gear with you
According to South African Airways, scuba gear is part of sports equipment which can travel free of charge as long as the additional piece of baggage weighs no more than 23kg (50 lbs) with a maximum of 200cm (79 inches) in length. If you decide to take your tank with you, remember that it must be empty.
5 pro tips for packing your gear
- Place fins along the edges or top of your dive bag’s main compartment to protect your other gear.
- Protect your mask by storing it in an open-heel fin pocket or mask box.
- For added protection, pack wetsuits around regulators and other sensitive equipment.
- Airline weight limits are very strict. Take the time to weigh your bags before you go, and remember being kind and a smile goes a long way with ground staff.
- Only pack what you really need on your trip and make sure you have everything serviced before leaving.
As of writing, British Airways is everything but a diver friendly airline and if you have the choice to fly to your next dive destination with another airline, that would probably be a better option!
Always make sure to check the latest regulations on their website before your trip as things may change in the future and don’t forget to always have a good dive or travel insurance that covers your gear in the case of an airline losing your gear.
And last but not least always respect your minimum preflight surface interval before flying!