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Unofficial Travel Advisory: Puerto Rico


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#21 dmoss

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:03 AM

Any suggestions in getting past the person standing by the steps outside the airplane (ATR-72) making any bag that "appears" oversize be checked in the hold? I've read that the maximum sixe is 36". ThinkTank makes a bag that's compliant with this size. It's just the guy with the double digit income and the single digit IQ that wants to seperate me from my camera that scares me.



Jim
The thefts , at SJU anyway, seem to be from luggage that is checked thru for the baggage handlers to sort thru behind the scenes. I have had to surrender my Lowepro wheeled carry on planeside in the past without incident. It has always been waiting for me when I get off. I've yet to have my backpack taken from me. I, like many others, have resorted to using checked luggage that looks too disgusting to be opened.
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#22 Chuck Jensen

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 07:09 PM

Has anyone heard any update on this? I unfortunately couldnt get around traveling through here on a planned trip to Bonaire in November.
Thanks
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#23 Jim

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:55 AM

Has anyone heard any update on this? I unfortunately couldnt get around traveling through here on a planned trip to Bonaire in November.
Thanks
Chuck


As of February this year I can say that the "theft problem" is alive and well. My wife and I had 2 bags broken into. One bag was a non-descript black roller duffle bag (containing dive gear), the other was a pelican case. We were flying on American Airlines through San Juan to Bonaire. Neither American Airlines or TSA were of any help when confronted with this problem. We've since boycotted both American Airlines and Puerto Rico. I would pay extra to fly Continental out of Houston for Bonaire, and avoid any destination only served by American Airlines.

That being said, for your situation, I would carry anything you don't want stolen on board with you. Insure your photo and dive gear. Roller bags are targeted by the gate agents for valet checking. That is, your roller bag is taken from you and put in the hold of the aircraft before you are allowed on.

I had a conversation with American Airlines about this before we left and this was their response...

"As I'm sure you observed once you boarded, the overhead bin and storage space on a
regional jet isn't as expansive as it is on our larger jets. Accordingly, our gate
agents and flight attendants must carefully monitor the available space during the
boarding process. Just as you mention, if the space fills up, we must then ask all
remaining customers to "valet" check their carry on items. In addition, certain
baggage types (i.e. bags with wheels) are simply not conducive to the overhead bin
space on regional jets and must always be checked."


I think that the best strategy for getting your gear there and back safely is not to let it leave your sight. That limits you to underseat storage. The overhead bins might be able to hold a light jacket as they are very short and thin.

Here's what American Airlines had to say about about cabin storage...

"On the ATR 72 aircraft, the dimensions under the 1 seat side are 11.5 wide, 13.5 high,
and 9.5 deep. On the 2 seat side, the underneath width is 23.0, 13.5 high, and 9.5
deep. The overhead bins are 45.5 inches wide, 9 inches high and 15 inches deep."


Translation: the window seat has the smaller space and the aisle seat has the larger space.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have a great time on your trip. I hear that November is a great time to visit.

-Jim

#24 Chuck Jensen

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:04 PM

As of February this year I can say that the "theft problem" is alive and well. My wife and I had 2 bags broken into. One bag was a non-descript black roller duffle bag (containing dive gear), the other was a pelican case. We were flying on American Airlines through San Juan to Bonaire. Neither American Airlines or TSA were of any help when confronted with this problem. We've since boycotted both American Airlines and Puerto Rico. I would pay extra to fly Continental out of Houston for Bonaire, and avoid any destination only served by American Airlines.

That being said, for your situation, I would carry anything you don't want stolen on board with you. Insure your photo and dive gear. Roller bags are targeted by the gate agents for valet checking. That is, your roller bag is taken from you and put in the hold of the aircraft before you are allowed on.

I had a conversation with American Airlines about this before we left and this was their response...

"As I'm sure you observed once you boarded, the overhead bin and storage space on a
regional jet isn't as expansive as it is on our larger jets. Accordingly, our gate
agents and flight attendants must carefully monitor the available space during the
boarding process. Just as you mention, if the space fills up, we must then ask all
remaining customers to "valet" check their carry on items. In addition, certain
baggage types (i.e. bags with wheels) are simply not conducive to the overhead bin
space on regional jets and must always be checked."


I think that the best strategy for getting your gear there and back safely is not to let it leave your sight. That limits you to underseat storage. The overhead bins might be able to hold a light jacket as they are very short and thin.

Here's what American Airlines had to say about about cabin storage...

"On the ATR 72 aircraft, the dimensions under the 1 seat side are 11.5 wide, 13.5 high,
and 9.5 deep. On the 2 seat side, the underneath width is 23.0, 13.5 high, and 9.5
deep. The overhead bins are 45.5 inches wide, 9 inches high and 15 inches deep."


Translation: the window seat has the smaller space and the aisle seat has the larger space.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have a great time on your trip. I hear that November is a great time to visit.

-Jim



Thanks for the insight Jim! I am just so bummed at the thought of having to go through this. I tried to book a Continental flight but unfortunatley they were sold out....
Cheers,
Chuck
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#25 cdoyal

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:01 AM

No one has posted a recent update here about any changes in the security in Puerto Rico. Is there any news? Are they still having "issues" with theft?
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#26 diver dave1

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:53 AM

No one has posted a recent update here about any changes in the security in Puerto Rico. Is there any news? Are they still having "issues" with theft?



I flew through San Juan 3 weeks ago - St Thomas to San Juan to Dallas on American. I carried all camera gear in a back pack plus regulator in a carry on. I had a dive bag filled with dive gear that was checked luggage. Its an Akona dive bag and pretty clearly a dive bag for those that have seen a dive bag before.
All showed up at the other end and did not appear to have been opened from what I could tell.
The only thing of much value in the bag was the BC.
Nothing easy to remove and sell in the bag but it all did arrive at home.
For its worth,
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#27 jakelevenson

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 03:30 AM

Wow, thanks for the tip. Looks like I have to fly through PR for next weeks trip to Dominica. Man, I really hope all goes smoothly!
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#28 crassostrea

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:21 AM

Great! I am heading to Tortola at the end of July and traveling via San Juan>St Thomas this make me nervous.

#29 rtrski

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:48 AM

Look at the dates of the trouble - and the lack of recent theft reports.

None of which is to say "don't be vigilant", and pack your bags to keep as much expensive stuff in carryon as you can...but don't be overly paranoid either.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#30 climbrox

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:02 AM

Perhaps it has already been mentioned but when traveling through Miami to GrandCayman recently, I noticed they offer some type of shrink wrap service for checked luggage. I didn't have time to look in to the details but the concept of having your bag wrapped tightly in shrink wrap on the departure end seems like it makes sense in terms of theft protection. Has anyone used this?
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#31 cdoyal

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 01:25 PM

Look at the dates of the trouble - and the lack of recent theft reports.

None of which is to say "don't be vigilant", and pack your bags to keep as much expensive stuff in carryon as you can...but don't be overly paranoid either.


I agree. I flew through there a couple months ago and all went well.
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#32 Marjo

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 04:27 PM

I fly through there all the time and whatmore, I work at a 148 room resort and am in contact with many people every single day who fly through there. In these 11 last years, and the thousands of travellers I have dealt with at my work, I have never, not even once, come across a guest who had anything stolen. Luggage does get delayed from time to time, but it does show up. The only incident I knew off was a friend of mine who has his bid housing stolen when flying out. That was at the time this thread was started years ago. I think having this thread pinned still does injustice to the current situation and it should be closed or unpinned, as it only serves to unnecessarily scare people.

#33 crassostrea

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 06:45 AM

good to hear. I have to large pelicans with housings and was starting to get worried. Thanks for calming my nerves.

S

#34 terrencelee

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 05:40 AM

whenever i go someplace with my rig i make sure its taken as a carry on, id be petrified to hand it to someone pre-flight, were going to new guinea in a week and a half and even if its at the expense of checking in my clothing ill be keeping it with me.

#35 rtrski

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 04:24 AM

Just got back from a trip through SJU (report to follow when I get a chance to type it up, and get what few good pictures I can out of my mess on my cards). Although my dive bag was clearly 'inspected' based on opened straps etc (why don't they re-close what they open and risk my straps getting eaten by the baggage carousel? ) there was nothing missing. Main photo gear was carried on, but the bag did have my dive computer / console as well as the 8" dome assembly and handle assembly for the housing, and it was all still there.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#36 allen

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:38 PM

I wonder if the guys stealing from bags got a better offer ...

http://www.nbcdfw.co...t-59330412.html

just another reason to never fly into or out of SJU and MIA.

#37 captainbruce3

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:03 AM

The best solution is laying over in PR is: DON'T. American Airlines sucks as an airline. If you read the travel booklet for Bonaire, it even states that loss or stolen equipment is very high in PR.

#38 Steve Douglas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 08:32 AM

I've long wanted to visit PR. Have things changed much now that it is a few years later?
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#39 rtrski

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:57 AM

I've been thru PR with dive and photo gear no less than 3 times during the period this thread has existed. (3 round trips I mean). I've never had a theft. I have had clear evidence that TSA or someone (didn't always find the "TSA inspection notice") has been thru the dive bag.

That said, of course that's only anecdotal experience, I wear my dive computer on the wrist now (or when console it was with the camera gear), I carry as much of my photo gear as I can in a Lowepro carryon backpack (everything but housing handles, large dome, and arm components), my gear is just "ikelite" (although I do have some pretty high-dollar W.A. and zoom lenses), and my scuba gear is el-cheapo "Sport" class equipment (Oceanic Alpha 8 Sport reg) and jacket BC....so maybe it's just not that enticing a target.

A Lowepro AW300 (Vector?) backpack does fit as carryon even below the seat or in the overhead even on the smaller AE turboprops, and I've never been asked to check or 'gate-check' it on Caribbean itineraries.

If you do visit PR, I strongly recommend Mona and Monito for diving, as well as East coast (Fajardo) type diving. There's a few different liveabords that do the Mona and Monito thing, from the Juliet that I sailed with to the Spree (which I've also been on but only in the Flower Gardens off the TX/LA coast). There's also a lot of land/surface stuff worth seeing - El Yunque rainforest, lighthouses and cliffs off Cabo Rojo, bioluminescent bays....

Edited by rtrski, 28 May 2012 - 05:58 AM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#40 leepix

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:58 AM

What I routinely use for all my trips is: TSA approved locks (of course they NEVER pout the lock back where they found them~) and tie-ties across all the zippers. That way I know if ANYONE has opened the bag or any of its pockets (I use a soft sided roller). I usually put camera gear and impt dive gear in a rollaboard. But the airlines are restricting number, size and weight of those bags as well.

HENCE I went to using a smaller camera rig: Canon S90 in a Fisheye housing with single Inon strobe~