Insel Air baggage questions

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by cxg31s, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. cxg31s

    cxg31s Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle, WA
    368
    5
    0
    We are heading to Bonaire next week and have been going around with the airline re. the baggage limits, no one can give us a straight answer. So I am hoping someone who has flown Insel Air recently can help me!

    Here's our situation: We're flying on Insel Air from Miami to Curacao, having to spend the night in Curacao, then flying Insel Air Bonaire the next day. The website states that for the MD-80, we are allowed 2 pieces of checked luggage up to 88 lbs (I'm assuming that's per person?) and 1 carry-on up to 22 lbs. However, on the EMB-110 (the smaller plane I'm assuming we'll take from Curacao to Bonaire?) we are only allowed 1 checked bag up to 44 lbs. The fine print also states that we are allowed 22 lbs "scuba allowance" at no additional charge. So my questions are:

    1. Which checked bag policy do we follow? If we fly the bigger plane to Curacao and then switch to a smaller plane from Curacao to Bonaire, are they going to nail us for the 2nd checked bag on the smaller plane?
    2. Are we allowed a carry-on plus a personal item? Or is it really ONE carry-on total per person?
    3. What's with the "scuba allowance"? If we have 22 lbs of scuba gear does that mean we're allowed another checked bag? Is that 22 lbs free on top of the 88 lbs?
    4. Do they really weigh the carry-on bags?

    I hope this makes sense, I appreciate the help!
     
  2. arrow

    arrow Angel Fish

    12
    0
    0
    You are allowed the extra weight for scuba gear at least between the islands. There is no storage area for carry-ons. They take it from you at the plane and put it with the checked luggage. Your checked luggage may not land with you. Ours came several flights later and some not until much later that night. We flew in on Saturday and one bag with fishing gear showed up on Weds. Good luck.
     
  3. cxg31s

    cxg31s Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle, WA
    368
    5
    0
    Thank you for your reply Arrow, that's a good tip about potentially not getting all of our luggage until later. I will pack my necessities (cert cards, mask, toothbrush) in my carryon just in case, that way I can still dive even if my gear doesn't make it for a few days!
     
  4. Waterskier1

    Waterskier1 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    868
    7
    0
    I'm headed there this Friday, and will be able to say more definitive after then, but the way I read the rules:

    1. You follow the policy relative to the plane you are flying on. It doesn't matter that you fly on a large plane with lots of luggage carrying capabilities, when you then board a smaller plane with significantly less capabilities. So, I would be (and indeed I am) prepared to pay extra for baggage over what is allowed for the specific plane I will be flying on. I have read that for many, they don't exercise the option of charging more, but they have full rights to do so. Remember, the EMB-110 is a much smaller plane.

    2. It is one carry on. There are no overhead compartments on most EMB-110's. Therefore, there is limited space to store carry on luggage. Indeed, much of it will be checked at the ramp, and loaded into the cargo hold of the plane.

    3. I read the scuba/dive equipment allowance as a freebie. I'm not sure if you could substitute a bag of clothing for scuba gear and qualify for the additional allowance. When you get down to it, 22 pounds doesn't allow for much. My fins, BP and wing, in a bag exceed that. I read the 22 pounds as "per person", so it would be on top of the 44 pounds/per person, not the 88 pounds (which I'm guessing you got for 2 people).

    4. Have you looked at the size of allowed carry on luggage? It is equivalent to approximately 4" x 7" x 21" - considerably smaller than the US allotment of 9" x 14" x 22". I think 22 pounds in their much smaller size is about all that one would probably have.

    I will be taking much more. I can't get even a minimum amount of scuba equipment in my "dive bag" and meet the weight requirement. I put all my regulators/masks/computers/lights in another bag (either checked or carry on) and I'm still over 30 pounds in my dive bag. I know my checked bag will exceed 44 pounds. My goal is to keep it under 50 pounds (the weight restrictions in place by American Airlines before I take the Insel flight). Also, I'll be taking a full sized carry on bag and a laptop bag. I'm prepared to have to pay for that carry on bag on the small plane. I'm hoping I can take my laptop on board and stow under the seat.

    It is a real challenge meeting the requirements of Insel. I'm hoping they will give us a break on weight and quantity, but I'm prepared for the worse. It will still be cheaper than the Delta or Continental direct flights by $100's.

    One thing you didn't mention is that the excess baggage fees for the checked bag is $3/kg (2.2 pounds) but $5/kg (2.2 pounds) for the scuba bag. So, if you are going to be overweight, try to transfer that weight from the scuba bag to the checked bag.

    I know this is going to be challenging. But I think it is better to be prepared - Hope for the best, but expect the worse.
     
  5. bkpix

    bkpix Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Las Vegas, NV
    184
    7
    0
    We flew Insel from Miami direct to Bonaire so that is the only knowledge I have. The allowance was for two bags each checked, and a carry on and personal item. They did weigh the carry on bags. Ours were over and they made us repack so the not so delicate items were put in one bag and checked. The other bag had camera gear, laptop, etc. and was still over the limit! We took out the camera gear bag and the laptop and carried them on as personal items. Quite a hassle, but there was no way I was going to have those items in checked baggage.

    On the way back from Bonaire, they did not weigh the carry on bags at all. Not sure what the difference was, but that's how it went down.
     
  6. cxg31s

    cxg31s Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle, WA
    368
    5
    0
    Thanks for the replies! We're just going to pack the best we can and see what happens. This wouldn't be such a pain if the Bonaire airport wasn't closing at 6pm every night, then we would have flown straight through! It's getting where Bonaire is almost impossible to get to, maybe it's time to find a new destination!
     
  7. mbchiro

    mbchiro Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Gilbert, South Carolina, United States
    59
    21
    0
    I just got off the phone with Insel Air and was told if your flight originates in US you are subject to the baggage rules for said flight, not the connecting flight from CUR-BON. As prev. stated your carry on bag will be placed in the cargo hold as the EMB 110 d/n have overhead storage. You will get off the flight and retrieve your carry on then procede to customs, where your checked luggage (hopefully) will be. Our first flight will be 8/20-8/27/2011 so I can only go on what they tell me. Hopefully things work out!
     
  8. hmp2z

    hmp2z Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida
    12
    1
    0
    I'm confused - when you say there is no overhead storage for carry-on, are these for the inter-island planes? Or would that also apply for the plane from Miami to Bonaire (we're planning on flying direct)? We were planning to bring our own regulators, but I don't want them getting tossed in with checked luggage.

    Thank you in advance for any help!
    Heather W
     
  9. iztok

    iztok PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Charlotte, NC
    4,603
    393
    0
  10. hmp2z

    hmp2z Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida
    12
    1
    0
    We checked the Insel Air page, and it looks like the planes going from MIA to BON are MD-83, which I'm hoping has carry-on storage. Does anyone know if that's accurate?
    Thank you!
    Heather W
     
  11. iztok

    iztok PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Charlotte, NC
    4,603
    393
    0
    MD 83 is bigger. Inside of one:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. koksie

    koksie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Willemstad, Curacao
    53
    0
    0
    I fly the Curacao- Bonaire route at least once a week with Insel. The MD-8x does have overhead bins, as is shown in the picture in this thread. The Embraer does not, but that is not a problem. You just take your carry-on with you and at the bottom of the airplane stairs, you hand it to the lugguage guys. They then put it in the cargo part, which is very small, they cannot throw the lugguage around or it will go through the walls :) . They are normally quite careful with the bags, since a lot of business guys with laptops fly this route daily, so they know to handle carry-ons with care. If you are worried, just tell them to handle it with care and they will.

    Once the plane has landed, just disembark and wait for the guys to get the carry-ons out of the hold, they will hand it back to you directly of place it on the tarmac.

    I find Insel to be a nice airline. Yes, they are frequently delayed (at one time 6 hours for a 20 minute flight!) but I got my bags every single time, so for me they are ok. The others here are not much better. DAE is about the same, Divi Divi is the best but their planes are so small that bringing dive gear is not an option.
     
  13. hmp2z

    hmp2z Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida
    12
    1
    0
    Thank you! That helps a lot!

    Cheers!
    Heather W
     
  14. timetraveler

    timetraveler Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne Beach, FL
    174
    4
    0
    Hello Angie, I searched scubaboard looking for clarification of insel air's baggage policy and ran across this thread:

    We're considering booking insel air rt from Miami to Bonaire and will have the same problems (but I hope without the overnight in Curacao) but in the opposite direction. You said that you were going to pack the best you could and see what happened.

    Can you please tell me what happened?
     
  15. irie1029

    irie1029 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Fort Wayne Indiana
    228
    16
    0
    honestly this was a good trip charlotte to hato. luggage is not nazi as with AA or other. we were over and i just said scuba and voila no problem. also lots of refreshments on the plane. actually enjoyed the flight. i woudl reccomend them to anyone.
     
  16. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    3,686
    1,553
    113
    We're trying Insel's new flight from Charlotte on Saturday. We have done the Miami flight in the past. Will see how this one goes. Never had a problem with baggage from Miami.
     
  17. mbchiro

    mbchiro Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Gilbert, South Carolina, United States
    59
    21
    0
    I had a flight booked for 8/31-9/3/2011 which was cancelled due to Irene. I have been emailing Customer Service and calling them since and have not gotten either a voucher for future travel or a refund yet. They emailed me about 2 months ago saying my claim was in progress. If you call them you stay on hold for 30 minutes min, then you get the run around. Screw those Dutch bastards I will never book with them again.
     
  18. Lwang

    Lwang Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NYC
    1,129
    67
    0
    I got my Wed flight cancelled from Charlotte to Bonaire and rescheduled to next Sat Decided to return the following sat instead of losing half my vac staying in some Charlotte motel. I was able to reschedule my hotel but had to buy new ticket from Charlotte back to NY. Insel won't reimburse me for my ticket (it has been escalated to management). They will normally reimburse $5.95 per meal but they said they were generous and gave us $10/meal. We were afraid they might not reimburse us, so we went with the cheapest option (shift from wed-wed to sat-sat). We saw others buy next morning flight to Miami at some crazy price and didn't think we should gamble on that.

    The odd thing was that I won a Insel ticket on my way back for a RT from Charlotte to Bonaire. If I was to exercise this option, I would still have to pay the taxes, by my RT from NY and buy full ticket for my wife. Not sure if will be worth it.
     
  19. highlandfarmwv

    highlandfarmwv Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hattera, North Carolinas
    595
    8
    0
    However did you win a RT ticket???
     
  20. Lwang

    Lwang Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NYC
    1,129
    67
    0
    they had a raffle on both legs of the Charlotte/Curacao flight. They were very specific on redeeming the flight. They won't even let me change it for a Miami-Bonaire ticket.
     

Share This Page