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Taking very large paintings on a flight

Taking very large paintings on a flight

Old Feb 8, 20, 7:57 pm
  #1  
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Taking very large paintings on a flight

I'm not sure where to post this, but my wife will either fly on AA or AC, so I thought I would start here and if there is a better forum, please let me know.

My wife is a painter living in the Eastern US and will be having a show of her work at a museum in Western Canada -- near where she was born. Most of the pieces are on plasticized paper that can be hung on their own or mounted on wood with a vacuum press if there is a skilled person at the host city. She had a show last year at a gallery in London and she and I took all of the pieces rolled up in a tube on the plane and BA let us put them in the coat closet.

However, two of the pieces can't roll because of their construction and will be mounted on wood in NY. They are pretty big pieces -- say 8' by 6'. Is there any way to take them in cargo on the plane? I'm sure they won't meet the linear inches dimensions for baggage. Because this show is at a museum rather than at a gallery, the works will have to be shipped back to us (or she can roll most of them up and take them back) as the museum is not selling the pieces.

I think it is unlikely but I am hoping that the geniuses of FlyerTalk qill know a way to do it.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:10 pm
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As to the rolled items, do not count on their being a coat closet. Many aircraft no longer have them.

For the larger items, air cargo. That is not checked luggage, but an entirely separate operation and is typically handled by an air freight forwarder. There are some which specialize in art work. They will deal with proper crating, shipping, and Customs.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:14 pm
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Art isn't listed in AA's specialty items, but either way you're beyond the limit per the website:

Rules, exceptions and packing instructions apply to special items. The maximum weight and size for all items is 100 lbs / 45 kgs (some exceptions apply) and 126 in / 320 cm (length + width + height). If your equipment exceeds allowances, contact a freight forwarder. All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, each way. Overweight and/or oversize charges may apply.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...and-sports.jsp

We don't accept checked bags over 126 in / 320 cm.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...ht-baggage.jsp

8'x6'x6" (not including addt'l inches for the box and packing materials to safely hold it) would be beyond 126".

That said, I would assume the baggage handlers wouldn't take that much care in packing it either way and think it would be safer using a professional shipping company with shipping insurance.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:42 pm
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We have found UPS to be marvelous at moving “unusual” shapes and sizes. My mother, an artist, had many things that needed to be shipped to the 4 kids. No problems.

Mom’s art was an intensely (personal, important, a part of our youth, a integral part of our growing up, etc., ) part of who we are today. Nothing of hers will ever hang in a museum, but hangs/sits/exists in places of honor in all of our homes.

If your wife respects her work, and a museum agrees, pay up for professionals.

I would NEVER be even remotely interested in having AA’s disinterested luggage loader goons within a Parsec of anything remotely important to me.

YMMV

Last edited by Dallas49er; Feb 8, 20 at 9:15 pm
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by shawbridge View Post
I think it is unlikely but I am hoping that the geniuses of FlyerTalk qill know a way to do it.
As freight in a crate via truck, end of story.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 9:07 pm
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I would definitely send this via a professional shipping company (UPS, FedEx, etc.).
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Old Feb 8, 20, 11:10 pm
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I'm a licensed US Customs broker in the US, here are some things I will suggest. If you decide to go with cargo shipping for the large items, it will have to go through customs formalities in Canada, and in the US upon return. Check to see if the museum works with a shipping company from their side (Canada) that might be able to assist you with this. I'm sure most museums/galleries have had similar situations and they work with shipping companies that specialize with artwork. The 8'x6' item will be bulky and might be costly to ship, since it will most likely volume out and will take space.

Paintings and artwork are duty free, their Harmonized Tariff Schedule in the US or HTS for short is 9701.10.0000 It is pretty much the same for other countries as well. While working with the shipping company, it is very important to tell them that goods will return to origin, US. They might opt to do a Carnet entry, that will allow goods to travel through several countries without any need for customs intervention for up to one year, or Temporary Importation Bond, similar to carnet but only limited to one country. The only caveat to this is that the goods being declared on the carnet or temporary import bond can not be sold, if one is, the carnet/TIB will have to be adjusted you will have to pay duties for the item sold, along with a penalty for breaching the carnet/TIB.

My suggestion, if you are not going to sell an item, best to go with carnet or TIB. If there is possibility of a sale then do not do carnet/TIB, and just go through the regular formalities of clearing goods upon arrival into Canada, as well as the return to the US. For the US return the goods can be considered US Goods returned, and should be classified as 9801.00.40 duty free. You will probably need to write some certificate indicating the authenticity of the paintings, painters name, and country of origin (US). This will help the shipping company in their process of clearing goods.

Good luck and enjoy the show.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by shawbridge View Post
I'm not sure where to post this, but my wife will either fly on AA or AC, so I thought I would start here and if there is a better forum, please let me know.

My wife is a painter living in the Eastern US and will be having a show of her work at a museum in Western Canada -- near where she was born. Most of the pieces are on plasticized paper that can be hung on their own or mounted on wood with a vacuum press if there is a skilled person at the host city. She had a show last year at a gallery in London and she and I took all of the pieces rolled up in a tube on the plane and BA let us put them in the coat closet.

However, two of the pieces can't roll because of their construction and will be mounted on wood in NY. They are pretty big pieces -- say 8' by 6'. Is there any way to take them in cargo on the plane? I'm sure they won't meet the linear inches dimensions for baggage. Because this show is at a museum rather than at a gallery, the works will have to be shipped back to us (or she can roll most of them up and take them back) as the museum is not selling the pieces.

I think it is unlikely but I am hoping that the geniuses of FlyerTalk qill know a way to do it.
I am really surprised at this post. Shouldn’t the museum be arranging the shipping and return? This has been my experience.

Shouldn’t a professional shipper art shipper be used? Not just for the size but also for the customs documents/clearance? Even if art has no duty there has to be customs clearance.

And about the exhibition at the UK gallery. Was there no concern that no other item would be put up on it? What about proper customs clearance in the UK? Did you do it on your own with a carnet?

The large size is problematic— so why not have a professional art packing and shipping company take care of it? I have not had great luck with having things sent from UPS stores when buying things at regional auction houses.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post
I am really surprised at this post. Shouldn’t the museum be arranging the shipping and return? This has been my experience.

Shouldn’t a professional shipper art shipper be used? Not just for the size but also for the customs documents/clearance? Even if art has no duty there has to be customs clearance.

And about the exhibition at the UK gallery. Was there no concern that no other item would be put up on it? What about proper customs clearance in the UK? Did you do it on your own with a carnet?

The large size is problematic— so why not have a professional art packing and shipping company take care of it? I have not had great luck with having things sent from UPS stores when buying things at regional auction houses.
It's a show at a museum, so she's probably responsible for getting her pieces to where they need to be.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 1:15 am
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Originally Posted by seigex View Post
It's a show at a museum, so she's probably responsible for getting her pieces to where they need to be.
I have loaned art works to museums and they picked up, packed, and shipped the art and returned it. Others I know have had the same experience; I have been present when when art works owned by another person were picked up for a loan to a Canadian museum. The museum assumed all responsibility— including insurance and customs formalities.

None of us are artists — not sure if that makes any difference.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 1:19 am
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post
I have loaned art works to museums and they picked up, packed, and shipped the art and returned it. Others I know have had the same experience; I have been present when when art works owned by another person were picked up for a loan to a Canadian museum. The museum assumed all responsibility— including insurance and customs formalities.

None of us are artists — not sure if that makes any difference.
Admittedly I have no art shipping experience, but wouldn't art being displayed at a show that's at a museum be different from either a museum shipping art or a loaning art to a museum?
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Old Feb 9, 20, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by seigex View Post
Admittedly I have no art shipping experience, but wouldn't art being displayed at a show that's at a museum be different from either a museum shipping art or a loaning art to a museum?
The OP stated that this is a non selling show. All the works I have loaned were for the same — some shows/exhibitions were dedicated to one artist or others to a particular theme or subject so the works were there just for the show.

What surprised me about the original post was that no professional shipping was involved for the UK gallery show— as the UK has an import duty on art; the duty is paid when art is sold unless it is exported from UK.

The customs issue is very complicated which is why even when carrying something by hand (only done twice and for small works on paper that fit in carry on) I have paid for a customs broker. I did not want to have any problems with customs. Some people have done the Carnet themselves but I did not want to make a mess of it.

If I buy something overseas and have it shipped to US I am send a copy of entry paperwork.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 11:31 am
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Thanks for all of your thoughts. She will probably have to go with an art shipper. She has worked with art shippers before in the US, but we have heard about nightmares where the work gets stuck in customs.

arttravel , good questions. She has had pieces in museum and gallery shows in the US where they paid for shipping and gallery shows where the shipping was split (she paid to get the work there; they pay to send what hasn't sold back eventually (though they keep it for quite a while as they try to sell it all) and shows where she paid shipping. As she has gotten better known, the museums and galleries tend to pay but even fancy galleries are not doing so well in the era of the internet..

In this case, it is not a major museum, just one near where she grew up. They have very little budget. Since she is not going to make money from this show, she was looking at cheaper ways to ship.

arollins , that is very helpful. My recollection on the UK show was that if she brought the art work herself, she didn't have to pay duty but was responsible for tax when the work was sold. So she paid tax. The work that didn't sell is still at the gallery. She was thinking of putting one of the UK pieces in the upcoming exhibition but decided that she didn't need it.

She did have some work in shows in Cuba and South Africa but did not attend either show. No idea what happened there with respect to duty but I probably would have heard about it if duty had been paid. She will ask the Canadian museum what they have done, but since this museum is dedicated to the region, they may not ship across borders.

Is there a difference when she is taking the art across the border herself? She is a dual Canadian/US citizen and we have brought art work across the border regularly -- we have a house in Quebec where she paints and she has done residencies in Western Canada and brought work made there back to the US. We have also brought her work to Canada. When she goes through customs and if they ask, she tells them that it is art that she has made. They say "Fine. Have a nice day." I think she has had work in a couple of galleries in Canada over the years but brought the work to them or they have picked it up from our house in Quebec. If she sold pieces, they withheld and she paid taxes in Canada and the US. She has always told the customs folks, if they ask, that she was traveling with work that she made. This has never been a problem.

This would be the first time she has shipped work to Canada with a shipper. A quick internet search suggests that if you are going to bring art work into Canada, you have to pay 5% of the value of the art as a tax going in Canada and then apply to get a refund when it returns to the US. But, I also see the following that says that museums can import work without duty (https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publicat...14-15-eng.html), We will need to consult an expert. arollins excellent advice will be my starting point.

Last edited by shawbridge; Feb 9, 20 at 11:49 am
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Old Feb 9, 20, 1:54 pm
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Shawbridge -- these are complicated questions -- I think artworks by a Canadian citizen and made in Canada can reenter Canada without duty/import taxes -- but then there is usually proof of export from Canada.

What did you do with the UK? Put up money for an import duty bond?

I do understand that smaller museums may not have the budget for international shipping. Perhaps the museum has worked with a shipper that has experience, even if the museum does not do it themselves.

It would be a major disappointment if the larger works were damaged/delayed by customs, as this exhibition is an important achievement for your wife.

I did look into getting a carnet for one situation, spoke with the company, who were very helpful, and made me realize that it was not appropriate. I absolutely agree with consulting a professional customs broker and/or shipping company.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post
The OP stated that this is a non selling show. All the works I have loaned were for the same — some shows/exhibitions were dedicated to one artist or others to a particular theme or subject so the works were there just for the show.

What surprised me about the original post was that no professional shipping was involved for the UK gallery show— as the UK has an import duty on art; the duty is paid when art is sold unless it is exported from UK.

The customs issue is very complicated which is why even when carrying something by hand (only done twice and for small works on paper that fit in carry on) I have paid for a customs broker. I did not want to have any problems with customs. Some people have done the Carnet themselves but I did not want to make a mess of it.

If I buy something overseas and have it shipped to US I am send a copy of entry paperwork.
Thanks for the details, very interesting. Didn’t even know there would be much of a duty or custom issues with art, but it makes sense.
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