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Guide to Flying with Dive Equipment

Table of Contents

Not everyone is so lucky to have accessible diving at home.

Or maybe you’re tired of diving in your backyard and want to explore other reefs of the world?

Regardless, we’ve compiled all the information that you need to know regarding flying with scuba equipment.

Picking the Right Airline

Every airline has different pricing structures, rules, and regulations when it comes to traveling with carry-on luggage, or overweight bags.

Budget airlines like Spirit or Frontier, although they appear cheaper, can actually come out to be way more once accounting for all of your bag fees.

Most of the main airlines, at least in the USA, require checked bags to be under 50 pounds. 

Southwest is the only main airline that does not charge money for checking a bag, and even allows two for free

American Airlines’ policy requires bags to be under 50 lbs, and charges for checked bags.

All Airlines that we’ve found will charge you a fee for an overweight bag, anywhere from $75-$200.

So it’s key to keep the bag under 50 pounds, in order to keep your dive trip budget-friendly.

In order to get your scuba gear bag under 50 and still get everything you need, tune into our next section on packing your bag.

Many airlines offer loyalty programs the more you flying with them, sometimes leading to extra free checked bags, or waived overweight fees. So if you’re planning a lot of dive travel, it could make sense to pick the same airline every time.

How to Pack for a Scuba Trip

The first step in packing for a scuba diving trip is to account for everything that you truly need to bring. 

Here’s what we would recommend bringing in order of importance:

Items like a scuba diving tank or weights are unnecessary in most cases, as any worthwhile dive shop or liveaboard will have these available for their customers.

These also happen to be some of the heaviest pieces of scuba gear and would make it super difficult to get everything under 50 LBS.

After scouring a few Facebook groups, here’s a few tips we got:

A few other things to note when it comes to packing your dive gear, is that in almost all locations, your mask defog spray, and sunscreen must be a reef-safe variety. For example, the state of Hawaii has banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. It’s unclear how the ban is enforced, but most dive shops will check with you before they take you out on a boat.

What to Pack In

When it comes to packing for a scuba diving trip, you have a few options. 

The most common bags to pack in are duffle bags or roller bags.

Roller bags have the advantage of being easier to move around with.

A lightweight mesh duffle bag is my go-to when it comes to traveling with my scuba diving gear. Something like this from XS Scuba is perfect.

If you’re really pushing the weight limits of your bag, then you might want to get something a little stronger and/or larger like the bag below. 

It’s safe to assume that your bag will be thrown around. So anything that’s delicate that you may be checking, be sure to pack it in a way, and in a bag that gives it the most protection.

Getting Through Security

Assuming you checked your dive gear, you shouldn’t really have any trouble getting through security. 

If you packed your dive torch inside your carry-on, then you might get into some trouble depending on what type of battery it is. It’s likely a good idea to check the battery next time you fly.

If you have a question about airline baggage rules, we recommend checking out the MyTSA app to get an answer. You don’t want to take something only for you to be told it can’t come with you.

For example, sharp items like a dive knife or speargun are not going to be allowed in your carry-on bag and must be checked. Make sure to pack these properly for the safety of airport baggage handlers.


Now that you have a better idea of how to pack for your next scuba trip, we’re excited to hear where you’re headed!

To recap, we recommend that you pack your dive bag with:

What are you going to take with you?

Let us know in the comments!

Austin Tuwiner Administrator
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  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to help readers become better divers, help them buy their first gear, and plan their next dive vacation!

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