hauling a computer - not a laptop off to college

Old Jul 11, 07, 2:54 am
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hauling a computer - not a laptop off to college

When my son goes off to Canada to college from California, he wants to take his desktop computer with him on the flight. Having measured, it seems it will all fit in his 2 pieces of carry on luggage, following the rules. But will TSA have a problem with it? They recently had no problem at all with me carrying on my grandmother's very tiny very old sewing machine, in fact the man said they see them all the time.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:00 am
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Welcome to flyertalk, Instead of takeing it on the plane I would have it shipped because the tsa is known for stealing items out of luggage and a desktop is just to valuable to put in there hands.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:06 am
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stealing from carryon?

Thank you!
I don't want it to be checked luggage, cos of theft and thrown luggage, but I don't want it shipped, really cos we've lost a lot of shipped items between here and Canada. I don't know who gets our stuff, but it's a problem. And shipping will take a while (and cost a lot).
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:12 am
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do you think TSA or the airline will consider it a problem?

Last edited by carolinelb; Jul 11, 07 at 3:15 am Reason: redundant
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:15 am
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if you don't wish to pay the freighting cost, a safer way is to lock the bag/use a huge cardboard box with styloform and tape the whole thing. Make sure no bottles or poles or other items that usually get the attention of the x-ray screener. Ask the check-in agent for fragile stickers and pack it well. The box unfortunately will qualify as an "extra bag" for luggage purposes and if the agent wishes to be anal, they can ask u to sign some sort of waiver like what legacy carriers such as SQ does to protect their butts from having to be held responsible if anything happens to it.If you sign the form, effectively, you are taking the pc at your own risk. I would take the lcd screen and components and ship the cpu instead. The CPU will weight about 10kgs.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by Tom92591 View Post
Welcome to flyertalk, Instead of takeing it on the plane I would have it shipped because the tsa is known for stealing items out of luggage and a desktop is just to valuable to put in there hands.
Stealing from a carryon? I'm not quite sure how they can pull that off. Btw it's not just the tsa agents who steal stuff but the luggage handlers as well! Personally I would just ship the item since it's kinda of bulky to have to deal with!
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Old Jul 11, 07, 3:20 am
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Sorry, are you saying the box would count as an extra bag of checked luggage? I think the keyboard and flat screen would fit in his backpack and the tower would fit in his carryon bag.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 4:19 am
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Originally Posted by carolinelb View Post
Sorry, are you saying the box would count as an extra bag of checked luggage? I think the keyboard and flat screen would fit in his backpack and the tower would fit in his carryon bag.
is the tower and the carry-on less than 8kg? if not, i would say you are gambling the system but ymmv.......
and to answer your question yes, as thats the way airliens like you to carry a cpu.wires in carry-on sometimes alert screeners.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 4:47 am
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Originally Posted by trekkie View Post
is the tower and the carry-on less than 8kg? if not, i would say you are gambling the system but ymmv.......
Who weighs carryons in the US? Of course if you show up with a tower case they might actually weigh it... I'd be more concerned with the exterior dimensions of the box.

What crazy place are you from, trekkie? Perhaps one of those places that only allows enough weight for a bag and a pair of underwear.

As for the keyboard, check it if it's a cheap (non-wireless) model.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 5:44 am
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Look into shipping it UPS (or FedEx). Both have ground services as well as expedited type air service. Look at the committment time on each product -- UPS will often send an "Air" item by ground if they can make their committment time.

First, you are covered with insurance (be sure to purchase sufficient insurance). Secondly it is tracked. The airline will not insure or accept responsibility if there is a problem (i.e. damage) because it is a limited liability item.

For UPS (or FedEx), you will need a "commercial invoice" to accompany it (usually original plus a couple of copies in the waybill pouch). This is very simple. Call UPS or FedEx for details to make sure this is an item that can be shipped. I've never had UPS lose anything shipped to/from Canada, or anywhere else in the world. With the proper documentation, it goes through the system quickly with no customs hassles since UPS attempts to pre-clear everything.

UPS will do a "Doc Audit" on the package before it leaves the US. The Doc Audit will ensure the paperwork is in order and the details will then be keyed in and sent ahead to the customs authority.. in this case Canada. As such it is pre-cleared in many cases and customs will only pull packages they have an interest in.

If possible, ship it yourself using ups.com (or fedex.com) - a UPS Store or a FedEx/Kinko's Store will charge an arm and a leg.

Last edited by SDF_Traveler; Jul 11, 07 at 5:51 am
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Old Jul 11, 07, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by carolinelb View Post
When my son goes off to Canada to college from California, he wants to take his desktop computer with him on the flight. Having measured, it seems it will all fit in his 2 pieces of carry on luggage, following the rules. But will TSA have a problem with it? They recently had no problem at all with me carrying on my grandmother's very tiny very old sewing machine, in fact the man said they see them all the time.
TSA will not have a problem with your son bringing a desktop. We have quite a few come thru when school starts back up, or pax going international.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 8:04 am
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What's the case of the tower made of? I used to work with a guy who had a tower with a metal case. He attached a big metal handle to the top and just carried it that way!

Really, though, carrying a desktop is going to be a PITA. It's heavy, awkward, and fragile. Desktops are really not designed or assembled to be jarred and jangled around like that. He's likely to arrive at his destination with a non-working PC (broken hard drive, disconnected cables, various chips and cards wiggled out of their sockets, soldered wires undone, etc).

He really should just get a laptop.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 10:12 am
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I've done the pack a PC thing before. Bought a PC from my dad several years ago and hauled it out with me. Pre 9/11 so I can't answer the security aspect, but I can help with the packing.

Honestly, I think you would be better shipping it via UPS, FedEx, or mail. It's less hassle as they're heavy and it's less likely to be mangled by the luggage goons.

I packed a PC and monitor in plastic tubs and padded them very well. However, CO didn't put fragile stickers on them like I asked and the monitor was broken when I got it. CO was very gracious in replacing it because they didn't put the sticker on it, but they could have tried to weasel out. The PC made it ok.

If it's a PC like a Dell, HP, or something, try to pack it in the original packing and FedEx it. That should provide adequate protection no matter how you get it there.

Good luck.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 11:08 am
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I did this a few years ago. The snitty PHL AA TA thought the ESD sticker http://www.staticcontrol.com/images/...ABEL4x4-LG.jpg was a radiation symbol and demanded that I open the box and then sent me up to have the whole thing x-rayed! If it wasn't for MrsJ yelling at the station super while I was upstairs, I wound't have made my flight. Idiots.

A former co-worker's wife has family in Costa Rica. They routinely fly down with 4 large pullmans filled to the brim with clothes, toys for the kids etc. He usually packs two CPUs and two monitors (LCD) bought from the local used computer/tech shop. But now he's been taking the $200 Acer deals. He said they've never had a problem with any of the components being stolen or damaged because they are well padded by all the clothing they take for the family.
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Old Jul 11, 07, 11:17 am
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UPS or FedEx shouldn't set you back more than $30 for ground. Do that, and save yourself a lot of headaches. I recently had to ship an A/V receiver, and doing UPS was much easier and safer than checking a $1000 piece of equipment.
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