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Old Jul 4, 10, 12:34 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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checking cardboard boxes with AA

i know this is not a question about aadvantage but i could use some advice from some experts with aa..

my fiancee is moving to the usa from chile... between the 2 of us we get 4 checked bags... i was thinking instead of buy extra luggage for 2 bags use coardboard boxes... while in the usa we can go to walmart and get a cheap $20 bags in chile it will cost $50 for a cheap bag that we will never use agian...

so what happens if we use cordboard boxes? what happens if they decide to open them... will the seal it back up? i will stay under 50lbs.. and only put clothes and some books maybe where they can clearly see whats in it thru xray.. trying to limit the need to open them...

what if i check a empty bag on my way to chile... should i but something in it?

thank you

Last edited by gezzuzz; Jul 4, 10 at 12:40 pm.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 12:45 pm   #2
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There are lots of baggage rules, some of which depend on origin, routing, aircraft type, baggage type, season, and contents. Lapses in understanding on the part of the OP can be very costly. There is no good short-cut.

Here is the relevant International contract of carriage. Baggage rules start at clause 97 and go on and on.

http://www.aa.com/i18n/Tariffs/AA1.html
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Old Jul 4, 10, 12:54 pm   #3
 
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You can check cardboard boxes. But they will be subject to the same possible abuse as other checked luggage. (it can be thrown, have heavy items placed (or thrown) on top, dropped on the edge of somethings else so as to maximize the force and minimize the area over which that force is applied,....
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Old Jul 4, 10, 12:56 pm   #4
 
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My younger brother checked two good sized cardboard boxes ... probably 30x30x30" each ... both weighing close to 50 pounds on a flight from Boston to LAX last month. No issues whatsoever with check in. Did it for the same reason as you. Filled them with clothes and other items he needed for a move. Nobody said a word about it, accepted them just like they were a suitcase. Though they could of course get damaged, they came out just fine.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 1:01 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gezzuzz View Post
what if i check a empty bag on my way to chile... should i but something in it?
How about stuffing your empty bag with some cheap canvas duffel bags?

American Airlines permits using cardboard boxes as checked luggage. However, there is an embargo on checking boxes on travel to and from selected South America destinations between June 5 and August 24, 2010.

From International General Rules:

Quote:
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE - CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICA (Not applicable for travel originating in Ecuador to Worldwide points other than USA/Canada/ Mexico)
Checked Baggage
Two pieces of baggage, not to exceed 62 in./158 cm. total linear dimensions each or maximum linear dimensions of 124 in./315 cm. combined total. The maximum weight of each bag is not to exceed 50 lbs./23 kgs. for a combined maximum weight of 100 lbs./46 kgs.
Charge Per Piece
1st Checked Bag - No Charge
2nd Checked Bag - No Charge
Carry-on Baggage
One additional piece of baggage of which the sum of the greatest outside linear dimensions does not exceed 45 in./115 cm. and the weight does not exceed 40 lb./18 kg. except where actual underseat space facilities require a bag of lesser size.
Additional Item
One of the following items allowed free in lieu of one checked bag (maximum of two). If in excess, see Rule 100: Archery Bowling Camping Fishing Golfing Hockey/Lacrosse Oars Shooting Skateboard Skiing/Snowboard Tennis Boogie Board Tent/Sleeping bag or Bedroll Rucksack Knapsack Backpack Portable Musical Instrument (See Rule 100 for definition) Garment Display Bag
Boxes
Boxes may be accepted in lieu of standard checked baggage allowances (maximum of two) provided they do not exceed size/weight of standard baggage allowances.
EXCEPTION 1: Boxes are not allowed when travel is directional from/via JFK to point in Central/South America.
EXCEPTION 2: Boxes will not be accepted to any destination in Central/South America during an embargo period.

NOTE: The exceptions do not apply to bicycle, garment bags or musical instruments boxes.
(Applicable for travel originating in Ecuador to Worldwide points other than U.S.A./Canada/ Mexico)
Quote:
EXCESS/OVERSIZE/OVERWEIGHT BAGGAGE CHARGES – CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICA
Boxes will not be accepted as excess baggage. Subject to the provisions of this rule, the charge for excess/oversize/overweight baggage will be as follows: (Not applicable for travel originating in Ecuador to Worldwide points other than U.S.A./Canada/ Mexico)
Applicable between the U.S.A./Canada and Central/South America - A maximum of three excess bags and no boxes will be accepted as excess baggage.
EXCEPTION 1: Between U.S.A./Canada and Venezuela – Unlimited excess bags allowed. See EMBARGO RESTRICTIONS.
EXCEPTION 2: Between U.S.A./Canada and LPB/VVI/SSA/REC - excess pieces are not allowed at any time. See EMBARGO RESTRICTIONS.
Baggage in excess of the standard allowance will be accepted upon payment of charges in the following manner:
Each piece of checked baggage within the weight and dimension allowances in I(1) above, will be charged USD 100.00/CAD 105.00 per piece.
Each piece of checked baggage which weighs over 50 lbs./23 kgs. and up to 70 lbs./32 kgs. will be charged USD 50.00/CAD 50.00 per piece.
Each piece of checked baggage within the standard allowance will be assessed a charge of USD 150.00/CAD 150.00 when:
The sum of the three dimensions exceeds those permitted for standard allowances but does not exceed 115 in./292 cm. or
The weight exceeds 70 lbs/32 kgs. but does not exceed 100 lb./45 kg.
Each piece of checked baggage will be assessed a charge of USD 200.00/CAD 200.00 when:
The piece is in excess and the sum of the three dimensions exceeds those permitted for standard allowances but does not exceed 115 in./292 cm. or
The piece is in excess and the weight exceeds 70 lbs./32 kgs. but does not exceed 100 lb./45 kg. or
The piece is within the standard allowance and the sum of the three dimensions exceeds those permitted for standard allowances but does not exceed 115 in./292 cm. and the weight exceeds the weight permitted but does not exceed 100 lb./45 kg.
Each piece of excess baggage will be assessed a charge of USD 300.00/CAD 300.00 when the piece is in excess and the sum of the three dimensions exceeds those permitted for standard allowances but does not exceed 115 in./292 cm. and the weights exceeds 70 lbs/32 kgs but does not exceed 100 lb./45 kg. (Applicable for travel originating in Ecuador to Worldwide points other than U.S.A./Canada/Mexico) Baggage in excess of the allowed weight will be charged at a rate per kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of one percent of the full, normal, all year Economy Class fare. In applying these rates, fractions of less than one-half of a kilogram will be charged at the next lower kilogram, and fractions of one-half kilogram or higher will be charged at the next higher kilogram.
Embargo Restrictions
Boxes will not be accepted during any embargo period. No excess baggage (extra piece) or bag over 50 lbs. and 62 linear inches will be accepted from travel during:
June 5, through August 24, 2010 as follows:
SAL, SAP, TGU, GUA, CLO, MAR, MDE, LPB, UIO, VVI, SSA, REC

Last edited by TWA884; Jul 4, 10 at 1:18 pm. Reason: Update information
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Old Jul 4, 10, 1:57 pm   #6
 
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thank you for all the great info..
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Old Jul 4, 10, 2:34 pm   #7
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It used to be one could bypass some of these restrictions and pay a nominal fee for counter air freight - not much of an option anymore, AFAIK.

Some airlines would be suicidal if they refused to accept boxes - notably Philippine Airlines and their balikbayan box traffic.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 4:44 pm   #8
 
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When you want to checkin a Cardboard box, they will make you sign a waiver releasing the airline from any liability from damages to the box. The boxes come in ok, but as someone previously said, the abuse is the same.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 4:45 pm   #9
 
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What I generally do when traveling from International destinations, is to get the box covered in plastic. There are counters in most of the airports outside the US where they wrap your luggage in plastic for a small fee. I feel more comfortable when I do this.

I have taken Cardboard boxes from US to India on a couple of occasions without any wrap and it came thru without any major damage. Also, we do not put any sensitive stuff in the boxes. Any thing sensitive / anything that might come up in an X ray generally goes into the suitcases.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 7:04 pm   #10
 
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We used to use cardboard boxes all the time out of JFK to the USVI...but have not tried since 9/11...Ours were good, brand new boxes, and we would strap them and then use the stretchy clear wrap outside....and they always made it just fine. Skycaps at JFK used to recognize us by our boxes....The TSA out of NY is our issue now, and the reason we stopped and switched to suitcases...
We have gone to thrift stores in the states and purchased luggage that we use just for the transporting stuff...and then either leave it at the destination or bring it back empty (since we get free luggage on AA) and use it again...no issue to transport a totally empty suitcase....and we are moving "stuff" for houses under construction or for us to use at our own house, so it's not clothing....I'd try for the plastic wrap at the airport if you have anything interesting in the suitcases, just to prevent pilferage...a constant problem for us now.
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Old Jul 4, 10, 7:39 pm   #11
 
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I've checked 50# cardboard boxes on AA and other carriers without a problem. Yeah they get banged up, but that's what duct tape is for....wrap them in plenty of duct tape. It's highly unlikely the integrity of the box will be compromised if you pack it well.

My boxes look super tacky but they work
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Old Jul 5, 10, 1:46 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FINASTORY View Post
When you want to checkin a Cardboard box, they will make you sign a waiver releasing the airline from any liability from damages to the box. The boxes come in ok, but as someone previously said, the abuse is the same.
Never been asked to sign a waiver while checking in cardboard boxes and computer/monitor shipping boxes many times.

Just use lots of duct/shipping tape along all edges of the boxes for reinforcement. They will probably be opened and you'll find a little TSA love note inside, but they are pretty conscientious about closing them back up well.
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