The Blog

Dive Luggage

I recently flew into this country from Egypt and the security was very tight and very Egyptian.
The first check we encountered was a full x-ray scan of everything, hand luggage, hold luggage, belts shoes the lot. We then walked through a metal detector and had a full pat down search. So far so good, nice to know they are looking after you.
We then weighed in the hold luggage in and off it went through another scanner, excellent, reassuring. Now fill in the exit visa form – otherwise your holiday might go on a bit longer – and have your passport checked. Good egg, another baggage check …… and body search, by now this is starting to get a bit wearing, I only have the one bag and one body how many times do you want to check it?
A word of advice, wear trousers that stay up when the belt is removed – they don’t like you to keep your hand in your pockets – otherwise you’ll be showing the Dennis The Menice boxers to the world as you penguin through the checks.
Duty free, food hurrah, done!
Nope!

This was where the problem occurred. As we went to the gate ….. you guessed it another body search and bag check.
Another tip, they called us to the gate very early, so I suggest that you do actually eat before you get there otherwise you have a long, hungry, wait until you get fed on the plane.
All spare batteries were confiscated, any electronic equipment that was the wrong size, potentially gone, if it was the right size but wouldn’t turn on, good chance you won’t be seeing it again (I didn’t personally witness this but the inference is there). I was getting worried at this point about my regulators. People with SMB reels in their hand luggage (why?) had to unwind all the cord and leave it behind.
Now you’d have thought that the security people could have sorted all this on the first check, giving people a chance to shift stuff from one bag to another, but no.
Because of all this I thought I’d do some research and write up exactly what the rules are, that way we can all pack safe and not put our gear at risk.

Let’s start with the Liquids.

Liquids include:
• all drinks, including water
• liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups
• cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
• sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
• pastes, including toothpaste
• gels, including hair and shower gel
• contact lens solution
• any other solutions and items of similar consistency

If you do take liquids in your hand luggage:
• containers must hold no more than 100ml
• containers must be in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
• contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
• the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
• you’re limited to 1 plastic bag per person
• you must show the bag at the airport security point
Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can’t go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions.

Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can’t go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions.
It always intrigues me the number of people who fall foul of this, but we’ve had these rules for years now.
Interestingly, you can buy all sorts of liquids in duty free and carry them onto the flight. However, don’t assume that just because you bought it in Duty free you can take it on the flight with you, see electronic equipment.

Essential medical equipment

You can take medical equipment with you if it’s essential for your journey.

The equipment is screened separately and you must show documentation from a qualified medical professional, such as a letter from your doctor.

Item
Allowed in hand  luggage                                 Allowed in hold luggage
Tablets and capsules Yes  Yes
Essential liquid medicines Yes  Yes
Hypodermic syringes Yes  Yes
Inhalers Yes Yes
Cooling gel packs Yes Yes
Medical equipment (for example CPAP and TENS machines) Yes Yes
Oxygen cylinders Contact your airline Contact your airline

Other personal  items

Item Allowed in hand luggage Allowed in hold luggage
Corkscrew No Yes
Spoon Yes Yes
Knife (with a sharp or pointed blade and/or blade longer than 6cm) No Yes (check with your airline)
Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm) Yes Yes
Large scissors (with blades longer than 6cm) No Yes (check with your airline)
Round-ended/blunt scissors Yes Yes
Fixed-cartridge razor blades (disposable razor) Yes Yes
Nail clippers/nail file Yes Yes
Tweezers Yes Yes
Knitting needles Yes Yes
Sewing needle Yes Yes
Umbrella Yes Yes
Walking stick/cane, walking aid Yes Yes
Pushchair Yes Yes
Wheelchair Yes Yes
Safety matches Yes No
Non-safety matches No No
Fireworks, flares and other pyrotechnics, including party poppers and toy caps No No
Cigarette lighter No, but you can put a lighter in a plastic liquids bag and keep it on your person No
Contact lens solution Yes (up to 100ml) Yes

Some of the above rules are a bit odd, you can’t take a cigarette lighter on a plane unless it’s in your liquids bag. Which makes no obvious sense to me.

There is also a really odd rule whereby if you try taking a full-size container but with less than 100ml of product in it, it will be confiscated. I puzzled over this and worked out that if you had to combine liquids to make a dangerous substance you’d need a container to do this. Shame about the bottles bought in duty free and emptied on the plane!

Flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia

You must put all phones, laptops, tablets and e-readers, and some accessories that can be used with them, in your hold luggage if they’re larger than any of these measurements:

  • 16cm in length
  • 9.3cm in width
  • 1.5cm in depth (thickness)

For example, you can take an iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G3 or Sony Xperia Z2 in your hand luggage.

You must also check the size of the following accessories:

  • keyboards
  • power supplies and transformers
  • external hard drives

You can’t take any of these accessories or devices in your hand luggage if they’re larger than these measurements, even if you bought them at the airport (for example, at a duty-free shop)!

You can’t take any spare batteries or portable power sources in your hand or hold luggage if they’re larger than these measurements and could be used with a phone, laptop, tablet or e-reader.

Items Carry-on Baggage Checked (hold) Baggage On One’s Person Airline approval required
Spare batteries for portable electronic devices containing lithium ion batteries exceeding a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh when carried for personal use. 

No more than two individually protected spare batteries per person may be carried.

Each lithium ion cell or battery must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch).

Batteries and cells must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to confirm that they have complied with this.

Yes No Yes Yes
Only Spare Batteries Looking at the above we may have a problem with some dive gear batteries. Original Equipment batteries will probably be properly labelled, but the rechargeables that I have for my torch are not labelled at all. My guess is that the authorities will err on the side of caution and bin them.
Spare fuel cell cartridges

No more than two spare fuel cell cartridges may be carried by passenger.

Fuel cells containing fuel are permitted in carry-on baggage only.

Fuel cells must be of a type that will not charge batteries when the portable electronic device is not in use and must be durably marked by the manufacturer, ‘APPROVED FOR CARRIAGE IN AIRCRAFT CABIN ONLY.’

Refuelling of fuel cells on board an aircraft is not permitted, although the installation of a spare cartridge is allowed.

The airline’s approval is not required to carry spare fuel cell cartridges. However, the passenger must contact their airline prior to travel to obtain further information contained within the ICAO Technical Instructions.

Yes Yes Yes No
Not sure about this, I guess if you have a fuel cell you’d know about it and they don’t seem to be a problem anyway.
Spare batteries for portable electronic devices (including metal devices) containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries carried for personal use.  

Must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch).

Each spare battery must not exceed the following:

  • lithium metal or lithium alloy batteries, a lithium content of not more than 2 grams;
    or
  • lithium ion batteries, a watt-hour rating of not more than 100 Wh.

Batteries and cells must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to confirm that they have complied with the requirements.

Yes No Yes No
Only Spare Batteries Two grams isn’t a lot and how would you know anyway? The 100 Watt hours is probably easy to identify, but unlabelled batteries are a problem. There is also a problem of interpretation “or batteries carried for personal use”, “…UN manual of tests….” It could be argued that Alkali batteries would come into this. I googled this for you and it covers loads of things, pyrophoric and self-heating substances in my opinion would cover the alkali batteries as would corrosive properties of substances.
Spare non-spillable batteries must meet Special Provision A67 of the ICAO Technical Instructions. Your airline should be able to advise you prior to travel.

No more than two individually protected batteries may be carried per person.

Batteries must not have a voltage greater than 12 volts and a watt-hour rating of not greater than 100 Wh.

Batteries must be protected from short circuit by the effective insulation of exposed terminals.

Yes Yes No No
I’ve googled it, the content of the battery must not be liquid below 55oC and the terminals must be taped or covered by packaging so that a short circuit cannot occur. 12v is quite a high voltage, I’m not sure how this would relate to dive equipment. Rebreathers perhaps?
Spare batteries for portable medical electronic devices containing lithium metal cells or batteries not exceeding 2 grams, or lithium ion cells or batteries not exceeding 100 Wh No Yes Yes No
Spare batteries for medical electronic devices containing lithium metal batteries exceeding 2 grams but not exceeding 8 grams, or lithium ion batteries exceeding 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh No Yes Yes No
Spare batteries for electronic smoking devices, (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems.

Spare batteries must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placing it its original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch)

Yes No Yes No

This is where people were getting caught The Egyptian authorities were confiscating normal Duracell AA batteries in packs of 4 etc.

This requires a bit of thinking about, my suggestion is, ask yourself, do you need to carry spare batteries? Most battery sizes can be bought anywhere easily so if it isn’t rechargeable why carry them around?. Next do you need to carry spare rechargeable batteries? They are rechargeable after all, this depends on the recharge time and the gaps between diving, however generally the items that use batteries the most are cameras and torches and it is quite likely that you don’t need spares.

In other words, if you don’t need it, don’t carry it.

Again, personally, any batteries will be fitted to the equipment that way they are not spares, if I feel there is still a risk I’ll tape over the terminals.

You can still take other accessories, such as headphones, in your hand luggage.

You must also follow these rules if you’re on a connecting flight via these countries, even if your journey started elsewhere.

All other flights

You must follow these rules for flights to or from any other countries except Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.

Item Allowed in hand luggage Allowed in hold luggage
Mobile phone Yes Yes
Laptop Yes Yes
Tablet devices Yes Yes
MP3 player Yes Yes
Hairdryer or straighteners Yes Yes
Travel iron Yes Yes
Electric shaver Yes Yes
E-cigarettes Yes No

Cameras

You can usually take camera equipment in your hand and hold luggage. There might be restrictions on specialist equipment, for example professional video cameras.

Make sure your devices are charged

Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device doesn’t switch on when requested, you won’t be allowed to take it onto the aircraft.

Batteries for your device

Check the restrictions on certain types of batteries or contact your airline if you’re not sure what you can carry.

Gas-powered hair curlers

You can take hair curlers containing a gas cartridge in checked or hand luggage as long as the safety cover is fitted at all times. You must not take separate gas cartridges on board.

Sports Equipment

Item Allowed in hand luggage Allowed in hold luggage
Diving equipment Check with your airline before you travel Check with your airline before you travel

This may present us with a problem. I have heard all sorts of things about regulators, pressure and temperature variation and how they are better as hand luggage. So, I decided to undertake some research about this. In all the research, I did I could find no reason for not putting regs in the hold luggage other than if the bag goes missing your regs go with it and they are expensive.

Let’s think about this a bit, if we pack our case well it shouldn’t be a problem. I use a hard case, put in my fins, then my BCD, open, the next layer is my sharkskin followed by the regs in their bag and a wetsuit on top for extra padding. I then close the BCD and pack everything else round it. That should give adequate protection if your still worried bubble wrap doesn’t weigh much.

The one tip I did pick up, that seems very sensible, is to make sure that the bag is not easily identifiable as having diving equipment in it and is therefore worth stealing.

I’ve also made sure that my travel insurance includes cover for my diving gear. If the worst comes to the worst, at most reputable dive centres, I will be able to hire the kit I need if the bag goes missing, and I’d expect the airline to pick up the tab.

As a suggestion photograph all your diving kit when you buy it and keep the photos and receipts in a file ready for the insurance company should there be a claim.

Disclaimer:

Whilst I have done my best to ensure that the information contained in this article is correct. The source that I have used have in the main is the .gov website, things will change over time, please check regularly and certainly before you travel. I’m not an expert just an interested party, so if there is any inaccurate information in this article please let me, and the site you found this on know. I cannot be held responsible for any losses of or damage to equipment or people arising from following the advice in this article.

Ps if you are using this mention my name.

Rob Sweeting