Boxes instead of Suitcases

 
Old Apr 15, 09, 1:52 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation Boxes instead of Suitcases

Hey guys,

I'm moving this August from Toronto to Edinburgh, Scotland for school. I just booked 3 business class seats (YYZ-ORD-FRA-EDI) for myself and my parents who will be coming to help me make the move.

Between the three of us we have lots of luggage allowance. I was just wondering whether it would be possible to check my stuff in boxes, assuming they meet the weight/dimension requirements, instead of suitcases. That way, I can just recycle the boxes when I'm done.

Thanx.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 1:59 pm
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Yes, but they will likely make you sign a waiver saying they are not responsible for loss/damage/etc. since the containers are not proper luggage.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:00 pm
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Boxes are fine. But they will take sometime taping the United Baggage tape on it. Don't put your address or other information like a you do on a letter than they will think it is part of USPS.

It seems that suitcases carry more stuff though.

Good luck on your move!
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:06 pm
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It will be fine, you will have to do a waiver against any loss or damage, so make sure you don't put stuff in there you want money back should something go wrong. Granted, there are some suitcases out there that are of lesser quality then a cardboard box, but that's how they are.

Make sure they fit the size and weight requirements, and one word of caution, if it's raining and they are out getting wet, the cardboard will pretty much dissolve away, so you may want to consider that.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:10 pm
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I check boxes all the time, you will have to sign a waiver and I can almost guarantee that one or more of them will be opened and searched by TSA. If the boxes are stuffed full and TSA can not repack them properly, they will smash everything back in the box and cover the box with tape. It's a hassle but all of my boxes have arrived more or less intact.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:14 pm
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Way back in 1998 I packed my pots and pans in a box and checked them on my UA flight when I moved across country. The lid for one of my pots still doesn't fit properly, after UA got through with it.

I'm not sure a suitcase would have helped, but the box was clearly squashed by the weight of other baggage that had been loaded on top of it.

If you use boxes, don't expect anything fragile to make it!
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by snic View Post
If you use boxes, don't expect anything fragile to make it!
I've had the opposite experience. I've checked at least a dozen cases of wine, and I'd consider a wine bottle to be somewhat fragile. They've all made it fine.

I've also moved from Chicago to SF and SF to NYC in the last few years, and checked 5-10 boxes between each of those cities in the process. Most recently it was a few lamps in storage from ORD to LGA. They all arrived unscathed.

Oddly enough, I've never been asked to sign a waiver. Once in a while the agent would ask what was inside, and almost all of the boxes got the red "fragile" stickers. Then again, I would usually use a skycap instead of lugging them into the terminal.

Just use sturdy boxes, pack the contents with sufficient padding, and you should be fine.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:33 pm
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Box happy

Have ckd more than 60 boxes in past 6-7 yr; wouldn't use anything else for most purposes. My boxes have gone to Bhutan, Tanzania, Nepal, NZ, Australia, all over Alaska, & other US locales -- some have made a dozen rts. What's in them? books, research equipment (some very valuable stuff), field supplies, clothes, glassware, samples, etc. Nothing ever lost or more than a trifle squished. UA does guarantee against loss only & you do sign a waiver on damage. Be sure you use stout boxes & reinforce corners/seams w/ tape. Also be sure agent puts the blue baggage tape on each box. I put accessory straps (abt $2-3 each) around each box to make them easier to pick up (& only 1 has 'disappeared' over the years). I fold the boxes up at destination & unfold them for return -- thus only a minor storage issue. Anyone who flies to/from AK very often surely notices that half the baggage is boxes.
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Old Apr 15, 09, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Bochis View Post
Hey guys,

(YYZ-ORD-FRA-EDI)
Thanx.
Why? I hope the tickets were really cheap! AC has a one-stop connection to EDI via LHR (codeshare with BMI).
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Old Apr 15, 09, 3:09 pm
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Banker's boxes are great for this sort of thing, because of the lids. Put your stuff in plastic garbage bags before you put the stuff in the box and you'll be fine.
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Old Apr 16, 09, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by blort View Post
I've had the opposite experience. I've checked at least a dozen cases of wine, and I'd consider a wine bottle to be somewhat fragile. They've all made it fine.


Just use sturdy boxes, pack the contents with sufficient padding, and you should be fine.
Like blort, I've checked about a few dozen boxes in the past 2 years due to my move from west to east coast, all of them with wine. One of them has fragile stickers from WN, DL, and UA - I think I was the only person who was amused by that.

They will ask what's the content, and ask you to sign a liability waiver. Unless it's truly unsuitably packed, do not let them mark that box, as some agents in JFK tried to do even when my wine was packed in wine shipper per UA's policy. Also, make sure they put on the blue "baggage" tape, and, based on status/cabin applicability, the priority tag.
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Old Apr 16, 09, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by AGSF View Post
Banker's boxes are great for this sort of thing, because of the lids. Put your stuff in plastic garbage bags before you put the stuff in the box and you'll be fine.
I've used garbage bags as box-liners since getting one soaked a few years back and it's worked out just fine every time.

Good luck with the move!
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Old Apr 16, 09, 1:54 pm
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You might want to look for Balikbayan boxes. Filipinos have a custom of bringing back gifts to their friends and relatives in the Philippines and make full use of their baggage allowance to do so. If you see the check-in line for a flight to the Philippines, you'll usually see long lines of people with two of these boxes each.

These are just standard cardboard boxes, though some are sturdier than others and usually conform to airlines restrictions. When my parents bring these boxes back to the Philippines, they usually wrap it very carefully in packing tape, usually use rope, as well, and put the recipient's address on all sides. However, if they're pushing the weight limit, they'll leave the top untaped in case they have to pull stuff out at the airport. Their scales don't always agree with the airport's scales. They also make sure to bring packing tape with them to the airport.
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Old Apr 16, 09, 8:18 pm
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Also in my experience, when arriving with cardboard boxes in most countries I am stopped by customs officials who want to check out the contents. Very rarely happens with regular luggage.
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Old Apr 16, 09, 8:35 pm
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I used to check boxes when I traveled between Washington and Los Angeles.

As others have said, the TSA takes special interest in them, but they have always made it--even if on a later flight.
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