Packing is one of the most stressful bits about any holiday. Increasingly, us divers have more and more electronics too in our kit bags. So how can you go packing to ensure you comply with the current rules laid out by the UK FCO on flights coming to the UK from Egypt?
Caroline was our packing guinea pig on a recent trip to Egypt this month, with plenty of camera kit to test the current system out.
Remember: these rules only apply on the return leg, not the outbound
Does your item have a battery? Yes?
You will need to think about where and how packing your item
How should I pack to come home?
In practice, the rules are being implemented slightly differently locally to those laid out on the FCO website.
- Anything bigger than the standard dimensions for electronics on the FCO must go in the hold – 16 x 9.3 x 1.5
- This includes torches, cameras, laptops, kindles, strobes, chargers etc
- Absolutely no spare batteries at all (lithium or not!). The only permissible batteries must be in the device they power in the hold and not lose in your bag (hold or hand baggage)
- We recommend taping over the ends and putting in the wrong way round (eg in torches) so they cannot accidentally be turned on in transit
- Do not take any power banks – these will be confiscated at the airport. Chargers are allowed but have to go in the hold
- Hard drives can go in the hold but we would recommend marking it as HARD DRIVE/COMPUTER so it cannot be confused with a power bank
The packing process
There is a thorough bag scan when going into the airport. This is where the authorities check the bags and go through it all with a fine tooth comb. The bag scans are monitored by the police, who have a good understand of the rules outlined above. Don’t worry if there is a bit of discussion between the authorities at this stage. They are just checking items on a case by case basis. It can be slow going, but the airport staff are doing their best to make it as easy as possible for people.
Keep your cool and be ready to move things about if asked.
After immigration there is a hand baggage search and then a final search just before you board.
Tips for packing
- Think about your hold allowance for the way home and book enough excess. You can pack differently, but make sure you have an idea how much your hold bag/s will be coming back too
- Make sure laptops, kindles and phones all have enough power to turn on if asked. You will then need to turn them off for transit.
- Pack lots of bubble wrap and tupperware boxes for fragile cameras and kit. Take a robust case for your laptop – Peli even do a specific laptop case. Then everything can be packed carefully in the middle of your hold bag. Wetsuits make great additional padding!
- Camera lenses are fine to travel in hand baggage.
- Make use of a few disposable batteries or take cheap batteries you don’t mind leaving behind on the boat.
- Caroline actually took more strobes than needed so she could have enough rechargeable batteries for the trip, and then bring them home again.
- And save the in flight magazine for the way home!