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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
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    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
    18
    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: 100 - 199
    Location: Gilbert, South Carolina, United States
    65
    21
    8
    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
     

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