Bringing a 27'' Imac on a plane

Discussion in 'iMac' started by R3k, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. R3k macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2011
    Sep 7, 2011
    Hi All.

    I was hoping to get some further advice on shipping my Imac as plane luggage from the US to Europe.

    I've trawled the internet and these forums for ages and have ready all the threads with this same question, still, i thought i'd raise the topic again.

    So, on Thursday I'll be taking my 2011 OWC Modded 27'' 3.4ghz Imac to Europe. I understand it is really not the perfect computer to travel with, but I dont have a choice due to work. It will be checked luggage of course. I was thinking of removing the stand, and wrapping the main computer up in an overkill amount of bubblewarp. I have a pretty rugged 30'' Samsonite f'lite hard shell case that I was thinking to put her in.

    I was wondering about how I should pad it. Do you think I should just bubblerap it completely so that It fits snug in the case, or is that a recipe to destroy the screen? Would it make more sense to fit into into the side styrofoam inserts from the original box so that the sides of the imac are supported, and then bubblewrap it snug in the case?

    Also wondering how likely the TSA are to open the case while they are screening, and if I should cut a slit in the wrap so that they may access the Imac easier and repack it it easily?

    Has anyone shipped a 27'' Imac in this fashion and can give me some advice? Or any thoughts advice from anyone at all would be appreciated.

  2. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    I've never done it before and probably wouldn't recommend it either. You can see if you can get an iLugger case for the iMac, that would probably be safer than your current plan. The safest bet however would be to ship it using Fedex or UPS ahead of time and collect it when you get to Europe.

    Also just to note that any loss or damage to the machine will not be covered by most airlines since their policies usually specifically exclude compensation for damaged or stolen electronics from checked baggage.
  3. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    ever see the commercial where the gorillas play with a samsonite suitcase ... that will be your iMac ... send it FedEx
  4. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    FedEx won't treat it any better, you just won't see them chuck it onto the cargo ramp from your window seat :)
  5. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    Im possible in the exact same position, i didnt see you post. :) Have you checked out if you can send it as special luggage? I know that you can send it as fragile. I also know that some of the airlines offer some kind of warranty. Keep me posted on what you end up with. Google the airlines special luggage sections.
  6. R3k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2011
    Sep 7, 2011
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Ive been researching the rates for this.

    For Fedex one way, its $444 via International Economy, and thats with a declared value of $100 shipped as personal luggage, so lying about the contents.

    That would be about $888 total after shipping it back again.

    If it is flagged by customs, as I understand it they will tack a import tax plus a Euro VAT type tax amount based upon value and shipping cost, about $488.

    So, worst case, I believe id be looking at about $1376 total to get it shipped and back, worst case scenario. Someone should correct me if i'm wrong.

    On the plane, im looking at $150 per direction- $300 USD total after shipping it both ways as a 2nd piece of luggage. I have brought Mac Pro's with me to Germany about 4 times in their original boxes, and have always been able to talk my way through customs without a fee. I dont think It would be as easy with Fedex, at the very least, it's more complicated and take about a week to get around customs that way, and at the worst, well, i pay the 20%

    So, thats why Im thinking of going the luggage route. Its really Risk vs Cost..hmmm

    lol, yeah we've all seen that before.

    Still, when they put luggage on big aircraft for International flights, dont they pack said luggage in those big enclosed pallets before they roll them onto the tarmac? Maybee im wrong.


    Cool, Ive havent checked out the special luggage thing, didnt think of that. Thanks for the heads up, ill take a look.
  7. srshaw macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    But surely all macs are shipped from china in the first place? If you have the original packaging, and make sure that is put in a bigger box with bubble wrap or similar, I would have thought it was ok. People buy macs mail order all the time (I know I did).
  8. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    I agree that sending the iMac in its original box is the best thing, but even if you send it as Fragile, if anything breaks, the airline will not be responsible. You should look at the rules for the specific airline you are flying and see what happens in the event of damage or theft. So if you ship it via Fedex you should declare the full value of the item, because if they loose it, then they will only refund you $100 if that's all you declare. I am not sure what the actual purpose is to fly the machine over to Europe. From your original post it appeared that you needed it for a business meeting. If you are shipping it via Fedex and are taking the same machine back with you, then you will not need to pay VAT, etc. Basically the serial number of the iMac will get recorded by Customs and when you leave the country you will need to fill out some paperwork indicating that the machine has left the EU zone. I have done this many times for medical work with 27" Cinema Displays and in most EU countries, this has not been a problem.

    If I were in your position, I would not risk sending this as luggage only to have it "lost" (i.e. stolen) or irreparably damaged. If you still insist on sending it that way, use the original factory box or buy a pelican case or an ilugger (these can be quite expensive, on the order 300-400 dollars).
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Freight handling is done a bit differently from general luggage.

    As for being shipped from China, it's a bunch of boxes on a pallet wrapped in plastic. And that pallet either goes to a Apple warehouse or it gets broken apart by the shipping company for individual delivery when it gets close to its destination. In the US, I've seen Fedex break up the palates in at least 3 different locations (Airports). I'm lucky, I'm less than 50 miles from one of those locations and tend to get free 2 day delivery on anything shipped from China due to proximity.
  10. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    OK, everybody is obviously trying their best to stop us from shipping this, but after some serious googling there was one solution. What about shipping it in a hard case with the stand removed? You take the styroform edges and wrap the screen in bubbleplastic. The styroform form the original box is big, so custom cut this so it fits the to the exact fit of the hard case. Then, wrap the whole thing togeter with with duckt-tape and there you go!

    Aslo, on the Apple plage, it says 30.000 feet as the max altitude.
  11. ombrenelcielo macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2011
    Helsinki, Finland
    Bubble-wrap it to fit the suitcase, use some extra polyfoam to protect the screen and it will travel safely.

    Have you seen the original iMac box? It ships from China with little to no protection, so you won't have problems :)

    I strongly advise you to travel with it in the plane: it will be more than safe and you'll be sure that your mac will be always with you.
  12. Jaxx macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2012
    How about you save $$$ by buying a cheap laptop? Or get an anvil case custom made? Anvil has a website
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Consider getting a special case. Although you might consider buying a laptop for the duration of the trip and then reselling it when you get back.
  14. iMarvin macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2011
    On the internet!
    Buy a macbook pro in the us and sell it when you leave where ever your going to, you'll most likely get the money back. :)
  15. yazun macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2012
    hand carry it ....

    While I haven't shipped an I-MAC, I did bring a full Desktop on the plane -- I just put it in a sufficiently large thin soft-sided nylon bag, and placed it in the overhead compartment. Once I landed in Frankfurt, I walked through customs with this suitcase, along with the rest. Unless you need to fly on a small plane (for which they check your carry-on at the plane), wrapped in bubble wrap in a 21x26x9 bag should do the trick -- also, out of the box should assuage any concerns by customs that you might bring it in for resale.
  16. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I own an iLugger for my 27" ATD and iMac. It is a great inexpensive ($200) case that makes it easy to carry the device... but it is NOT designed for check-in luggage. I use the iLugger to transport my ATD to our beach condo when remotely "working from home".

    Your best bet is to ship it in the original box to your destination. There has to be cheaper options than the Fed-X quotes that you received. The original Apple box has custom foam molds to hold your iMacs safely away from the box edges. If you got your iMac as a CTO... there is a 2nd plain brown box that snuggly holds the original Apple box. Alternatively, you can buy a hard case, but unlike the iLugger... they are quite expensive.

  17. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    There are tenbas and couple others that make cases specifically for certain computer and display models. B+H or one of the other retailers might be cheaper than the direct price. I'd check them all out. I know people have mentioned others as well. Pelican might have something too. I just looked up one that I know. They're all expensive. The ilugger is less expensive, but I'm not sure if it's meant to protect such an item as checked luggage. Personally I'd rather have a laptop and check a smaller display if necessary. It's too bad that you can't buy really good 19-21" displays anymore (I mean really really good ones, not laptop quality).
  18. R3k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2011
    Sep 7, 2011
    Thanks for the replies so far! Lots of good advice, ill reply to some of your specific posts withing the next few hours. Until then- One question regarding shipping in the original box.

    If someone was to drop a packed imac from 6ft onto the ground, wouldn't it be more cushioned in a hardside suitcasefilled with bubble wrap than it would be in its original box?

    Perhaps not as snug, but more cushioned from jarring impact?
  19. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Nov 20, 2009
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi R3k,
    if it'll cost $1376 than copy all you need on an external HD & buy or rent the iMac where you're going…
    With the risks & hustles you'll have to go thru I would never do that.
  20. coolweirdo macrumors regular


    Oct 13, 2011
    i travel all the time with my 27" imac try the pelican case u cant go wrong with it!!!!!
  21. harcosparky, Feb 27, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012

    harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Bubble wrap a 27" iMac in a suit case? Don't you like your iMac?

    If you seriously want to ship a 27" iMac, I would look for an appropriate sized PELICAN CASE.

    Yeah they are pricey, but so is replacing a damaged iMac not covered by insurance.

    All my expensive items get stored / shipped in Pelican cases.

    Have on for my 24" iMac.

    Even if I am carrying it across town, it goes into the PELICAN CASE before it goes into my vehicle.

    Here is another option, designed specifically for the 27" iMac ( similar to Pelican )

    Pelican 1730 & 27" iMac .......

    Pelican 1730 -----
    Cost: $334.99

  22. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    For the cost of an expensive carrying case, the original poster could do this:
    - Buy a Mac Mini
    - Transfer files, etc., from iMac to Mini
    - Put the Mini into a carry-on bag, take it right on the plane
    - Put a mouse and keyboard into checked baggage
    - When he gets to where he's going, buy, borrow or rent a suitable monitor.

    A LOT less trouble, little chance of the Mini being damaged on the trip, only real hassle is getting the display when he reaches the destination....
  23. BurningJah macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2010
  24. 88teeth macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011

    If you are planning on checking your luggage with your iMac in it, TSA will undoubtedly screen your bag and undo everything you did to protect it so they can screen it for explosives.

    It has to do with the size and density of the object as it is run through the machine. Laptops, desktops, game consoles, all get this treatment. Take pictures of it before your hand over your property to the airline. Some airports have lobby based screening so you can walk your bag over to the TSA and physically watch them screen your bags. If this is the case for your airport, wait and watch them screen it and don't leave until it is put on the belt and out of their hands.

    On the other hand, the larger airports (ATL, ORD, JFK, LAX, etc.) often have screening performed out of sight so the bag is placed by the airline on the belt and it proceeds to the screening area.

    Word to the wise to anyone traveling with valuable electronics...TSA will 99.99% of the time inspect your bag, unless the machine fails to detect the computer or whatever, so expect them to break it/steal it and then blame the airline.

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