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Thread: Traveling with a rebreather?

  1. #11
    RBW Member stuey will become famous soon enough stuey will become famous soon enough stuey will become famous soon enough stuey's Avatar
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    Inspo, Evo, Poseidon

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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    As you all know security in airports all round the world has been tightened up in recent years however there are several airports in Europe which I try and avoid. If I can. The following is only my opinion.
    Heathrow, under staffed and always busy give yourself loads of time to make connections. Having a British passport used to make a difference when entering the UK unfortunately a british passport no longer means that much.
    Amsterdam, staff here come top of the list for being ignorant they are obviously employed from the neck down, and chances are you may never see your baggage again, BEWARE you have been warned.
    Charles De Gualle. The French haven't figured out how to use e tickets and self service check in, the last time I was in CDG there was huge queues at the check in desks and all the self service check in machines were empty. Not to bad if your travelling Air France, anything else they don't really give a s**t
    Also make sure for international travel that you have loads of time between connections, travel agents should get off their butts and try and make some of these connections they haven't got a clue about transfer times.
    In January this year I brought my Inspo out from the UK to Thailand with BA in the AP box, I removed the cylinders from the unit to get the weight under 30kgs (28kgs) I put the cylinders in another bag with stickers on them stating they were empty and that the valves were opened, I also put contact details on everything, and had no problems.
    I travel round Asia on a regular basis and find it much easier than travelling in Europe, I also done a round the world trip earlier this year with Continental 2x22kg bags and can recommend these guys, all other airlines should take a lesson from these guys on customer care.
    Good luck guys and be sure to take plenty green with you.

  2. #12
    RBW Member Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    We will be leaving Canada for Mexico next spring and are just a bit worried by horror stories of rebreathers being seized because they are "Military" equipments.[/quote]

    We travel to Mexico from Canada with the Meg an average of every 2-3 months. From experience offer this;
    1. Use direct flights if at all possible, avoid connections in Houston - dive gear ripped off or bag "misplaced" on two occasions. Avoid ANY USA connections. .
    2. If feasible travel business class - more weight allowance both for carry on and checked baggage.
    3. Get to airport well ahead of anyone else - including on trip back in Cancun - that way you are one of first to check in when counter staff less stressed.
    4. Check through security well before your flight departure that way if you do have any hassles you have time to resolve them- again unrushed.
    5. Dont pack dive gear in "expensive" cases try to let the bags be as "normal"as possible - soft bags are better
    6. Remove all tank valves regardless if airline says they will carry them with valves on.
    7. Check to see if you get a free allowance for dive gear - both Air Transat and Westjet offer this. ( up to 30kg - 1 piece). Also print off a copy of the particular airlines regulations for transport of dive gear.
    8. Keep a list of everything that is in each bag and keep this with you if your bag gets lost. Photos of gear also help
    9. Laminate your origin address and destination address on piece of paper & put in each bag.
    10. Make another laminated sign saying "dive gear" non restricted. Put on this your contact address cell phone number etc. and put in each bag
    11. If travelling with tanks have another laminated notice that says "these are non pressurized tanks used for Scuba diving- please contact me at ____ (your cell number) if you have any questions.
    12. Put a previous TSA inspected form in each bag if you have them
    13. Spread your gear among the bags so that at least you have a spare set. Take dive gear not clothes - you can buy them at your destination cheaper.
    14. Hand carry your complete meg and hoses - put an instruction book in there ( the ANDI manual works great).
    15. Remember you are allowed a second piece of handcarry - computer and bag - load this up with dive computers plus other diving literature. You dont need excess clothes
    16. Wear a belly pouch ( under a shirt) put your offboard first stages in here. When they go thru the security check put it on last on conveyor belt.
    17. Expect to get your "heavy" handcarry opened or swabbed. Laugh - say this normally happens that you expected it - its dive gear ( your rebreather) and because you have the time - offer to explain it to the inspecting officer. Also as they check the belly pouch you can say the contents help make the unit work. Keep on mentioning Scuba - dive gear.
    18. Dont get rushed, stressed, flustered or seem anxious - they have a job to do as well
    19. Make sure your RB carry-on is on rollers, and matches the airline crew's type bags for size i.e. dont fill up the outside pouch.
    20. Wear a "diving" shirt and a smile..... RELAX.... you are going on holiday.

    Have a great time and fun in Mexico.

    Oh P.S. Have a very understanding wife, non diver, who lets you use her allowance for your portable dive shop. Last trip was with Meg, full spares,
    incl 2 scrubbers, 2 ea 30cbft and 2 each 3Ltr tanks.

    If you have room after all your gear packed put in something that you either think the destination dive shop might need or call ahead and ask them if there is anything you can bring - getting stuff into Mexico without personally travelling with it can be a PITA. ( Yep the solenoid is coming this trip Matt !)

    Same things above apply for most flights anywhere. Plan ahead and be prepared. Only hassle I ever had so far travelling with the Meg was in Hong Kong last February enroute to Bangkok with a tight connection - they thought the unit was a pressurized paint sprayer. After being firm and polite showing them the manuals and a photos of people wearing the unit underwater and with help from the airport supervisor everything went OK.

    Sorry for long post but you did ask.....

  3. #13
    Dan Carr pdxDiver is an unknown quantity at this point pdxDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    Just traveled to St. Thomas USVI yesterday with my Meg without incident. I used tips found on the board which included:

    - Carried Meg Canister, Head, Scrubber, CLs, regs, and loop as carry-on in el-cheapo roll-aboard bag
    - Valves completely off cylinders
    - Sorb packed broken out into doubled-up plastic bags with MSDS attached
    - Placed polite note in each bag explaining that the cylinders and sorb met TSA and DOT transportation requirements and provided my cell phone number in case of questions.

    Really not a big deal. Just know your rights. Make sure that you pack according to regulations, provide documentation, labeling and contact information.

  4. #14
    RBW Member mbelair is an unknown quantity at this point mbelair's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amarok  View Original Post
    12. Put a previous TSA inspected form in each bag if you have them

    Sorry for long post but you did ask.....

    You mean as in a form you got when you previously traveled with your Meg?


    Thanks all for the anwsers provided.

  5. #15
    RBW Member Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    [quote=mbelair;153994]You mean as in a form you got when you previously traveled with your Meg?

    Yes if you have one - every little bit helps....

  6. #16
    RBW Member Shawn has a spectacular aura about Shawn has a spectacular aura about Shawn has a spectacular aura about Shawn has a spectacular aura about Shawn has a spectacular aura about Shawn's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    Ok, I just got back from my trip and I didn't have a problem traveling with my Meg at all...however the TSA did take my tooth paste....:o

  7. #17
    RBW Member mbelair is an unknown quantity at this point mbelair's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn  View Original Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone, this take a lot of the worry off of me...

    I plan on taking my Meg via carry on with just the head, hose, and plenum...
    Was this how you carried it?

    Which airline where you on?

  8. #18
    RBW Member mbelair is an unknown quantity at this point mbelair's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    We came back from a two week trip to Mexico.

    We traveled with American Airlines going south. Coming back up north, we were on American Airlines and after they cancelled a flight, on Air Canada as well.

    We carried the head, hoses, plenum and canister in a hand held carry-on.

    Counter lungs where placed with the rest of the dive gear.

    Security people in Montreal did not know at all what they where dealing with and it took us a good half-hour to clear. We had brought along ANDI's (Joe Radomski's) Meg Trainig Manual and it helped reassure them quite a bit.

    From one security check to the other we were being less and less descriptive of the rebreather and that seemed to help. At the end, we would just say that the bag contained specialized diving equipement.

    Is it pressurized? -No
    Any batteries - Yes, Plain C batteries (No need to say that they are lithium batteries!)

    Actually the major down side of the trip was when are bags failed to show up at the airport on the way back and when they did show up, all four steel tanks where missing.

    I'm still waiting to see what Air Canada will do with my claim!

    Next time, I will make sure that I use a wheeled carry on. That Meg gets heavy after a while.

    I'll see if I carry my tanks again or rent them in the future. Having them stolen really P****d us of.

  9. #19
    San Diego rEvo Mafia "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon" has a spectacular aura about "The Brandon"'s Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    I work for the airlines in the US, so I will try and throw in my 2 cents.

    - TANKS. you can travel with tanks (ill advised) as they can be siezed by TSA without warning and you will not get them back. They must be checked, valves removed, with absolutely nothing blocking the tank opening. They can be asses even about clear packing tape over the opening, or they can be cool. It is anyones guess. Pre-ship or make arrangement at your destination for tanks.

    - SORB. Easier to pre-ship. There has been discussion on another forum about putting all of you sorb in a Kitty Litter tub and checking it in as baggage. Probably illegal but who knows. There are MSDS sheets you can print out and attach to your sorb tub. BUT while passengers have followed all of the rules on taking sorb on the plane the TSA has still chosen to confiscate it. You have no recourse for the confiscation, it is gone. Make back-up arrangements at your dive destination for SORB purchase.

    - RB. Carry on what you can, the delicate parts, the computers whatever you don't want the baggage handlers or TSA rooting through (without your presence), possibly stealing or confiscating. Double check the allowed carry-on weight allowance.

    - Check you airline website for weight restrictions for both carry on and cheaked baggage. All airlines are different and they change all of the time. Weigh you bags at home and work out the weight distribution before you get to the airport.

    - I took my KISS CLASSIC as carry on baggage the last time I travelled, with my computer, DSV, put other parts in my scrubber. Just be prepared to take it all out and show them EVERYTHING.

    Sometimes it is just easier to ship everything, with insurance.

  10. #20
    RBW Member Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok will become famous soon enough Amarok's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with a rebreather?

    Hey Marc;
    Hope you had good trip in Mexico - sorry to hear about the flights back and the tanks. Remember Air Canada's motto = "we are not happy unless you are not happy.
    Just got back last nite myself after another two weeks doewn in PDC. No problems with gear or two sets of tanks - maybe they are getting used to the bags by now!!

    Let me know how your claim goes with A.C. - my last one after a big cf in Houston didnt work out too well.

    Cheers
    KB

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