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Dominica baggage restrictions?

Anyone been there lately?

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#1 StephenFrink

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:35 AM

I'll be in Dominica with a small group in early February. In researching the bagge allowance on AA I came up with this information that I used for my trip prep bulletin:

"I didn’t trust the web to deliver accurate information about baggage allowances into Dominica, so I persevered though an interminable hold time to actually speak to an AA agent. Here is what she told me after 40 minutes and 38 seconds on the phone … 70 pounds trumps all.

If you fly first class you get three bags for free and you maximum weight per bag is 70 pounds. If you fly coach you get one bag for free and a second one is $40, so long as both under 50 pounds. That’s a normal expectation for the Caribbean from the USA. Dominica is not normal. Over-ruling all of this is the baggage embargo into Dominica which states you may have 2 checked bags but the aggregate total on checked baggage can be no more than 70-pounds. It is not a matter of paying more, it is simply not allowed. We will have to be very creative with how we pack for this trip!"

I deduce the hand carry rules are as per normal for American Eagle but this is what the agent told me for checked baggage to Dominica (connecting through PR).

Does anyone have real world information on this?

As an aside, has anyone had problems with bag pilferage in PR lately? It used to be outrageous, but assume/hope this is no longer the case.

Thanks.
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#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:43 AM

Stephen,
The Dominica 70 lb limitation is real and is due to the unique runway configuration. (Short and built into the side of the mountain) On the plus side it's a real kick to come down through the mountain valley and land in the jungle. Getting in wasn't a problem since most will check the bags in Dallas or their home port. The problem shows up in Dominica when it's time to leave and it makes for some interesting discussions at the ticketing desk.

I was able to take two bags with 50 in each by flying one of the legs in First class. (PR to Dallas) AA has some unique ticketing options on their website that can make flying first less expensive than coach when you add in the cost of the additional bags. Be sure to check the cost of the "instant upgrade" fare. Example; DFW to SJU coach is shown as $602 for some flights in April, Instant upgrade is shown as $789. That would get you first class seats and the three bags that go with it. Most folks miss that the "Instant Upgrade" is in first but it's always worth checking. It works very well for flights to Costa Rica too.

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#3 Aquapaul

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

It has been three years since I have been to Dominica. I just loved the place, it's a beautiful place. But I warn you if you get car sick to be loaded up on motion sickness meds before you get in the van because it's an updownroundandroundontheedgeofacliff ride for at least 2 hours across the island from the airport. I remember carry on being very restrictive and a gate check is just about for sure so pack your gear in something hard and well pad everything. They would let us carry a very small backpack on board and that was it. I don't remember the 70 pounds total but I would not be surprised if that is true.

I agree with Steve that it's pretty cool coming in for the landing, it sure looks like Jurassic Park for the last 10 or 15 minutes.

The 3 times we have went there we had to do an overnight in Puerto Rico, if that is the case is a lot easier to just stay at the Hilton in the airport then to pay a cab and a hotel room away from the airport. We have done it both ways and though it's a very little bit more it was way more convenient at the Hilton.

Edited by Aquapaul, 10 January 2013 - 11:53 AM.

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#4 StephenFrink

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

This should be challenging, as I've never traveled to an UW photo location so light. I'll bring a Canon 1DMKIV in a Seacam housing, with only 2 lenses ... a Canon 8-15 and a Sigma 50mm macro. Hopefully that will cover me for whales, wide angle reef scenics, and smallish marine life. One fisheye macro port. Probably a Seaflash 150 and an Inon then, as even the strobe load needs to be minimized. Topside I might do it all with my little Canon 1GX. Interesting experiment.

Edited by StephenFrink, 10 January 2013 - 02:19 PM.

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#5 BDSC

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

When I went a few years back we had to overnight each way (Miami) but I heard that you can now get there in one day from the East Coast but I have not verified that. I need to go back!

#6 rtrski

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 02:41 AM

Necro-ing an old thread.  Heading back in 2 weeks.  Any updates?  I've crawled all over Seaborne's website (the ones now doing the AA codeshare from SJU Puerto Rico) and cannot find the 70 lbs restriction anymore.   I knew they had a runway extension project going even when we were there in 2012 - then again they had the hurricane last summer. So I honestly have no idea whether to hope the limit got increased.


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...


#7 parrotman

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 06:38 PM

I was there last year  and on the way down  had no issues  with my dive bag 50lbs  which I checked.  My camera case 19lbs which I carried on and my back back  that had my laptop etc in it.  On the way home  when I checked my bags at the Dominica airport  my checked bag was over weight by 2 lbs.  Not sure how that happened, same bag,same gear no addons  but none the less the counter person was a real PITA about it.  I had to take 2 lbs out of my checked bag and stuff it in my carry on.  As to the 70lb total weight  they never weighed my carry on bags but they were not going to let me check my bag  with more than 50lbs.



#8 rtrski

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 03:25 AM

Thanks for responding.  Yeah, wet gear syndrome.  That or a poorly calibrated scale.  

 

So you have one checked bag at 50?  A carry-on camera case and backpack with computer.  No clothes?

 

To clarify, the rule used to be 70 total for 2 checked, (50# max any one bag).  Carry-on was also supposed to be weight limited but they generally let the size be the indicator there so I'd stand casually with the lead-filled camera gear pack and pretend it was nothing.

 

Seaborne website doesn't appear to show that now; seems like it's up to the typical US 50# per bag, 2 checked max per person, but was hoping to find someone to confirm. 

 

Dominica gets like 3500 divers a year - surely at least one other one occasionally visits WP, I hope.  ;)  Wonder if that 3500 number I see around includes 'cruise ship' divers for whom this just isn't an issue.

 

I recognize I'm being irrational here.  I've found the official policy page of Seaborne that seems to say what I want it to say overall (2 bags max, 50# each) but I'd be more comfortable with a confirmation from a near-random person on the internet. :fool:

http://www.seabornea...gage-allowance/


Edited by rtrski, 08 June 2016 - 03:52 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...


#9 Aquapaul

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 06:59 AM

We went back in February, it was as big a cluster as we have ever had but it was weather related. We checked two 50 pound bags in Chicago and did have to pay for the second one, sorry don't remember how much. and , the same thing on the way back. I did have to gate check my 1550 pelican but no one said any thing about weight. Do some hiking when you are there, it's such a beautiful island. I whole heartedly recommend the Freshwater Lake Trail, sort of tough but worth it. If you do Tito Gorge and are not the best swimmer in the world make sure you have enough flotation and if you took fins you wouldn't be sorry.


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#10 rtrski

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 01:28 PM

Thanks for the reply. 

 

Did Titou in 2008 (with a housed camera, no less).  Remember it also being cool enough I'll want to take a wetsuit - both warmth and a little floatation - if we try that again.   My rig in 2008 was a lot less negative than the current one.

 

In 2012 we went up to the freshwater lake on a land photo day but it was totally socked in by fog, couldn't even see the  near shoreline from the little ranger/visitor hut.


Edited by rtrski, 10 June 2016 - 01:29 PM.

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...