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Old Oct 19, 10, 5:50 am   #1
 
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Checking in boxes on an international flight

If all goes well I'll be living in the States for a number of years or even longer starting the end of this year. I plan to be leaving this December, in J, from Amsterdam or Dusseldorf to Sacramento on DL.

I believe J passengers are entitled to three checked bags up to 70 Lbs ea. As I have a whole number of books to take with me I wanted to check in two boxes with a weight up to this limit and another (regular) bag with clothes/electronics etc. Would this be a problem on DL? I'm talking about a cardboard box which is also sold for shipping heavy items overseas and should be able to take 70 Lbs.

What would be the best way to do this? I prefer to check-in boxes instead of bags as then I would have to buy at least 2 bags which I will probably never use again. Customs is probably gonna search them so if anyone has any advises how to pack it (tape or something else?) that would be great.

Thank you.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 6:39 am   #2
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Baggage details are found in the applicable Contract of Carriage. You are correct on the allowance of 3 x 70 pounds for a Business ticket between Europe and the U.S.

Pay obsessive attention to size and weight. One inch too big and one pound too heavy and both fees will apply, making that a very expensive box.

http://images.delta.com.edgesuite.ne...riage_intl.pdf
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Old Oct 19, 10, 6:48 am   #3
 
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Boxes don't travel well. Make sure the cardboard is heavy enough.

Many times overseas I've seen "kiosks" at the airport which allow you to wrap checked baggage in large "saran" wrap (Istanbul comes to mind.). This helps protect against water and other damages. Had no problem with this going through customs in JFK with lamps inside.

Make sure you have a way to transport 70# boxes of books... ;-)

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Old Oct 19, 10, 7:12 am   #4
 
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Boxes may not be accepted as checked bagage

http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...ked/index.jsp#

also electronics can be a problem.
Best way may be DHL or UPS.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 7:19 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLItaly View Post
Boxes may not be accepted as checked bagage

http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...ked/index.jsp#

also electronics can be a problem.
Best way may be DHL or UPS.
Boxes are only prohibited to (most of) Central and South America. I've checked a box domestically (before the fees for checked bags came in). I would agree about electronics, particularly on international flights. Flew VS IAD-LHR last month and had a colleague who put a laptop in his checked bag discover a severely bent MacBook Pro upon arrival.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 7:23 am   #6
 
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Do not check any electronics in your luggage. You may never see them again.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 7:29 am   #7
 
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Put your name and flight numbers on the boxes, or they will end up in the freight warehouse because they look like freight boxes....
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Old Oct 19, 10, 7:43 am   #8
 
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I agree with both mtkeller and STBCypriot about not checking electronics especially any that are expensive to replace and that you will need during your stay, damage and theft as I know from experience, can happen and is very upsetting.
As tgtg says 70lb boxes are going to be difficult to handle and be near the size limits, health and safety hat on, so you need to think how you will move them at the start and end of your flights without damaging yourself, hat off. Also tgtg is right boxes might not travel well and you have to take this into account and if using stronger cardboard this is also heavy in itself. It might be easier from a handling and safety, for your items, point of view to buy 2 cheaper suitcases to get around these problems.

Hope this helps

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Old Oct 19, 10, 8:08 am   #9
 
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Well with electronics I meant cables, mouses, cheap computer hardware. No laptops or anything else that can not be lost. Obviously that will be taken on board in my carry-on.

I'm flying Europe-->US so I think boxes are allowed.

Dennis
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Old Oct 19, 10, 8:24 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgtg View Post
Many times overseas I've seen "kiosks" at the airport which allow you to wrap checked baggage in large "saran" wrap (Istanbul comes to mind.). This helps protect against water and other damages. Had no problem with this going through customs in JFK with lamps inside.
AMS has this service as well. Details:

http://www.schiphol.nl/web/show/id=103054/langid=42
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Old Oct 19, 10, 9:24 am   #11
 
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Keep in mind you are not checking in in AMS with Delta, but rather KLM. Make sure that you are ready for KLM rules to be applied before Delta rules are applied to how much and what you can ship.

I have successfully checked boxes in AMS for transport to the US but they were industrial strength boxes carrying engine parts.

Pack well.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 10:07 am   #12
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Sometimes you can mail books really cheap, although they will not arrive instantly. Books normally are exempt from customs duties so that having them accompany you isn't an issue. I haven't done this in a while, so check the specific rules for the countries involved. The cheapest shipping method for heavy stuff like books is literally by ship, taking from several weeks to several months.

Sounds like grad school or a postdoc in the US?
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Old Oct 19, 10, 10:27 am   #13
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Back in the 80's I moved from the US to Europe, bringing most of my stuff with me in 8-9 cardboard boxes. The U-Haul "dishpack" boxes in the US are great - perfect size for the airlines and pretty sturdy. I am sure you can find similar boxes in NL.

I have traveled between Europe and the US numerous times with boxes. I know in Europe, customs officials are highly suspicious of what is in boxes. They don't seem quite as curious at customs in the US, but the boxes could be opened at your point of entry. That is why I don't like that plastic wrap stuff - "just in case" it gets opened.

The size and especially weight restrictions are key. The airlines are very much into "fees" so if you can pack within the specified dimensions you avoid a confrontation on that issue.
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Old Oct 19, 10, 12:19 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Sometimes you can mail books really cheap, although they will not arrive instantly. Books normally are exempt from customs duties so that having them accompany you isn't an issue. I haven't done this in a while, so check the specific rules for the countries involved. The cheapest shipping method for heavy stuff like books is literally by ship, taking from several weeks to several months.

Sounds like grad school or a postdoc in the US?
Well you are part right. It's a full studies starting at the undergraduate level. I don't see myself easily returning within the next couple of years so that's why I take everything with me...

I think when moving custom duties do not apply anyway but I still have to check this. My visa appointment is next week and after that I can really make plans...

Oh, and the reason why I'm checking in boxes with books (& cd's, & miscellaneous stuff) is that I just have a lot...I already plan on shipping 5 boxes with DHL as well.

Dennis
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Old Oct 19, 10, 2:21 pm   #15
 
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I would actually consider getting my hands on some large suitcases rather than boxes.

I have a couple of older ones that I would use for just this purpose if I need them, but they have the advantage of being regulation size and having handles on them.

I somehow think of 70lbs of books in a flatter, wider space a little more manageable in an airport (Luggage carts, bag check, etc), also maybe fewer questions, less chance of being mistaken for cargo...whatever.

Up to you of course, and some good advice about boxes above, but just another thought.
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