Transporting 27" iMac on a plane in luggage?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by riddlerenigma, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. riddlerenigma macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Hey All,

    Going to be getting a 27" iMac with the i7 soon. However, I need it to be nice and portable for air travel. And the behemoth of a screen is limiting my options. So I am wondering if any brilliant people out there can figure out the best way to transport a 27" iMac on a plane without going over average height and more importantly weight restrictions.

    I think most airlines limit to 50lbs max. With 62" length+width+height restriction.

    I am thinking to detach the iMac from the metal armature that holds it up, and maybe carry that separately. And maybe use an SKB or Pelican case for safety.

    But again, a heavy duty pelican case will most likely push it over the 50lbs max. So here is the problem... I hope there are some brilliant spacial relation geniuses out there that can come up with a solution...


  2. gjw4u macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Why not call the airline and see if they might be able to help you?
    Whatever you do, I would not suggest having the iMac put it in the cargo hold, as it might get some rough handling there.
  3. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  4. IChing macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2007
    I used this to ship my 20'' overseas on a plane

    I filled the suitcase with bubble wrap and popcorn and it came through just fine with my other suitcase on the plane with Lufthansa. I don't know if they have one that fits the 27'' but maybe you can find one. Also I didn't fly United because they had temporarily lost my luggage and damaged it a few times before going overseas.

    Got it at overstock
  5. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    I think you got yourself the wrong computer for this :D
  6. Techhie macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    A friend of mine has some bad experiences with transporting his Mac Pro in luggage. The Airlines assured that it would be covered, but just to be safe he bought an industrial grade shipping box for the MP. When he arrived, not only was the case destroyed, but so was the Mac Pro. It turned out that the Airline's policy didn't cover hardly any value, much less that of an expensive workstation.

    The entire casing was blown apart, rivets stripped and everything.

  7. riddlerenigma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Thanks. Brilliant solution.
  8. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Lol sorry didn't want to sound rude. But I would be scared to travel with such a big computer. You probably have already searched for this kind of bag:

  9. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    Yes i would also say contact the airlines.

    when i carried my guitar it wouldn't fit in the overhead compartments (guess your imac wont too...) so i had the air hostess ( damn she was hot:D) keep it in a special compartment that is used to keep bigger stuff (they had hangers for clothes their...maybe the compartment was used to keep suits of people so they won't have to fold them ) ...those compartments are in front of the plane (or middle, if its a big plane) and my guitar was pretty safe(for more than 22 hours...i changed 3 planes and did the same thing on all of them...)...

    so maybe you can ask to do the same thing...dont know if they'll allow as the imacs are huge..but it wouldn't hurt to call them and ask...

    hope this helps :)
  10. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I only take valuable things as carry on luggage. Get a MBP and connect it to a monitor when you get there.

    Or if the iMac is absolutely needed, take the foot off, put it in a neoprene sleeve, and carry it on - very carefully.

    A quick look at the web indicates that most international airlines accept carryon roughly 22'' largest dimension - meaning a 21" imac is guaranteed to fit if you are very careful. Some airlines accept 26" meaning you might be able to get away with a 27" iMac as it's so thin.

    Domestic airlines are more liberal, so you're more likely to be able to carryon a 27". Check their rules.
  11. Gaijin de Moscu macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006
    For an iMac, a large hard case should be safe enough. I used a Samsonite last month to send my white 24" iMac to Russia with an occasion. I put some thick towels around the screen, secured the leg, added some packaging foam so it didn't move around, and chucked it into the luggage. It arrived in perfect condition.

    I believe the height of the 27" is reasonably similar to the 24" (didn't look at the specifications to be honest), so it should fit into a really large Samsonite.

    PS - I did have to pay around 100 USD for the overweight, though. The thing is heavy.
  12. macchiato2009 macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009

    you can play lego with your imac after that :D

    the only solution is to carry it with you in the plane
  13. NJRonbo macrumors 68010

    Jan 10, 2007
    Oh my God! I can't believe I am reading
    this. I would never think about trying to
    transport a 27" iMac on a plane flight.

    If it's only once, then....well...okay it's
    a huge risk but go ahead. However, if
    this is something you are going to do
    often then you should have bought a
    Macbook Pro instead.
  14. riddlerenigma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Thanks for the multiple words of warnings from everyone... But I am graphic designer who works in remote locations, that needs some serious horsepower and a good size screen. So I have no choice. (Other than getting a macpro and a 24" inch screen, only inflating my problem...) When MacBook Pros come out with desktop-grade i7's and 24 inch screens, my problems are over. Until then, please no more responses about how 'NOT' to take a iMac on a plane. I KNOW it's not a great idea. But some creative and constructive ideas would be appreciated more...

    Pelican cases? SKB cases? Others? Any specific model recommendations.

    Thanks to everyone who's come up with some good ideas thus far. The samsonite case and iLugger are definite options...
  15. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR

    If you really need the computer, I would not EVER airline it. (I use to work as an airline pilot, until I switched to business jets.) You would be surprised the amount of items stolen, much less broken during transport. The airlines specifically exclude any reimbursement for electronics of any kind in checked luggage, and it is probably too big to be carried on.

    What I would do is ship the computer to your business/hotel/etc. instead, using a shipper with insurance, such as UPS/FedEx, or the USPS. Make a shipping company responsible for any loss or damage, rather than checking it as luggage and accepting the loss yourself.

    Good luck.
  16. sparkie7 macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    i shipped my 23" ACD in check luggage in its original box. Asked for it to be put in 'oversize'. They slapped a fragile sticker on it and i just prayed all the way during the 24 hour flight. Well, ok, I didn't really pray, too busy watching the latest movies. besides my 23 ACD was 3-4 yrs old, but still I paid £1500 for it at the time. It came through unscathed :D
  17. hitekalex macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2008
    Chicago, USA
    So what did you do before i7/27" iMacs came out? Lugged around a MacPro tower? You may not want to hear this, but I think what everyone on here is trying to tell you is that lugging 27" computer on a commercial flight is insanity.

    Get a top of the line MacBook Pro, or ship your iMac via insured freight forwarder (FedEx, UPS).
  18. theMaccer macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2006
    why not put it on the tray table and watch hi-def p0rn during flight.


    u r proly better off waiting for the next MBP rev. Maybe we will see Quad Core on those babies.
  19. riddlerenigma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Yup. Transported a MacPro. Pelican makes a special case just for that. So it is possible. Always checked it. Never had problems. But the 27" iMac is a different beast. Screen being fragile and all. And no proprietary case by Pelican or SKB yet. And would prefer not to have to check it anymore... Unless it's impossible.

    Again, thanks for the words of warning.
  20. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    There are many other people with the same problem as you - mostly musicians who have to transport priceless violins, cellos and double-basses. What they do is book a separate seat for the musical instrument.

    If your talents are really in demand at remote locations, then book a seat for the tools of your trade and add it on the bill. Make sure the airline knows what's up and has confirmed it in advance.

    I have seen a couple of cases of musicians buying seats for their instruments, but still being forced to check it in, where it subsequently gets destroyed by idiotic baggage handlers.

    Why not buy a mac-pro, which is tougher, transport that in specialised luggage, and tell your destination to line up a large monitor (or two small ones) for you wherever you go? Monitors are cheap and common.
  21. riddlerenigma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Thank RedTomato. I might have to do that. I would still like to find a nice tough case for it, even though I might carry it on and be forced to buy an extra seat. I'm afraid though that a MacPro might have too big off a butt to fit in an airline seat. :) Nowadays those seats are a getting smaller and smaller...
  22. Dark Horse macrumors member

    Dark Horse

    Mar 12, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    No experience shipping an iMac, but plenty of experience shipping valuable things with idiotic people handling it along the way.

    Pelican cases are AWESOME. Find one that fits the dimensions with plenty of space around the edges and (assuming they don't do a custom case with pre made foam) get the pick'n'pluck foam - it's pretty easy to make the foam the right shape with that stuff.

    I choose the case I want on Pelican's website, and then buy from B & H photo's website (you can't buy direct from pelican's site).

    Just be sure you're very conservative with the amount of foam you need around it. Estimate how much protection to give it in inches around it, then triple it. You can't be too careful.

    Plus you can TSA lock pelican cases...
  23. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008

    I have traveled around the world extensively with a wide-array of presentation equipment, photography gear w/ full studio lighting, and much more. My biggest nightmare was a trip to China in which I travelled with 410 pounds of gear. I can't think of a way to reliably protect a 27" iMac without going over the domestic 50 pound weight limit. If you really need to do this on a somewhat regular basis, you're going to have to pay fees for excessive weight. A Pelican case is definitely your best bet for protection.

    I also agree with Richdmoore -- I would ship it ahead via UPS or FedEx. (in a Pelican case) They are far more reliable than the airlines ever will be and it will definitely suffer less abuse.

    I totally understand why you're looking for alternate options (it would save you a ton of money), but I simply can't think of any. In the end, if you can't live with a 17" MacBook Pro, then you may have to chalk it up to the cost of doing business.

    Hope this helps,
  24. UAofE macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I'd suggest using the factory shipping box and wrap the hell out of it with duct tape.
  25. knewsom macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2005
    Put it back in it's box, and fed-ex it. make sure it's insured and backed up with time machine. bring the time machine backup in your carry-on luggage.

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