It may sound bizarre, but it's true...

So I've got an order to transport 0,5m (about 3kg) steel pipe with flanges (and parts like washers and bolts) from Poland->Germany using Wizzair. The time needed to do so probably decided for such solution...

People from corps with higher budgets and better logistics, please don't make fun of me...

Disclaimer: for management guys, it's always "possible"... "There isn't any problem". "Here is my anecdotal story when I've transported something illegal (not drugs but metal parts)..."

I've checked WizzAir rules: 1. Hand luggage has hardcore restrictions. 2. I can't find any limitations for checked luggage

  • How do you plan to pack it? Will it be inside a suitcase or are you just planning on showing up at the check-in counter with a pipe? Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:35
  • How much is it worth? You might run afoul of customs because this is a commercial import.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:36
  • 1
    @mkennedy Being within the EU, there won't be any customs issue here.
    – crayarikar
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:39
  • Zach Lipton: Good question, atm I'm working on it... I steer towards something in dimension of hand baggage. This is how it'd possible to pack wahers and bolts additionally.
    – John Smith
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:40
  • mkennedy: probably below 200EUR
    – John Smith
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:41

6 Answers 6


For checked bags, airlines basically care about only two things:

  1. How heavy and/or unwieldy is it?

  2. Is there a risk that it may catch fire (or explode) during transport, or damage other bags it's transported with?

Neither sounds like it will be a problem for you 3 kg steel pipe.

Police and/or customs at your destination might worry whether your pipe is intended to be used as a blunt weapon, but they don't care whether you carried it in hold or cabin luggage. And if you have a plausible explanation why you're traveling with it, the weapon angle shouldn't be a real problem.

  • +1 but also since the flight is within the EU, there won't be any customs issue. Though the police angle still holds true.
    – crayarikar
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:41
  • 4
    Regarding risk of explosion, remember that there is such a thing as a "pipe bomb", which a steel pipe + washers and bolts might look very similar to in x-ray, so it might attract some attention!
    – djr
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 23:11
  • @djr - sure thing, so check the bag reasonably early so that they can do the hand inspection (post x-ray in the baggage handling area) and still have time to get it onto the right plane.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 15:31
  • @crayarikar Flying intra-EU doesn't absolutely preclude customs problems with items which are prohibited for import into a country, although I'm fairly sure no-one puts a metal pipe with an obvious legitimate use in that category.
    – origimbo
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 16:53

The main concern is that it’ll look like a pipe bomb to the scanning equipment. Where possible, do not pack it in close proximity with any of the following:

  • Anything looks like a detonator

    • cables or cords
    • alarm clock
    • cell phone
    • any type of batteries
  • Anything that looks like shrapnel

    • nails, screws, washers, or bolts
    • try to keep the pipe’s end caps off
  • Anything that looks like (plastic) explosives

    • peanut butter
    • meat
    • chocolate
    • X-ray impermeable material

If possible, just pack it in it’s own bag or box with nothing else around, beneath, or near it.

While one might say a reasonable response to a suspected bomb would be a hand inspection, it’s also reasonable to assume that destructive analysis (or blowing it up) is the safest way to neutralize and analyze a suspected bomb.


I doubt you'll have any problem. I've flown on a passenger flight (UK to USA) with Formula 1 teams before, and they picked up a lot of packages of F1 car parts off the checked luggage conveyor belt when we arrived.

The principle of weird industrial parts going as checked luggage rather than on a cargo flight is exactly the same.

As both WeatherVane and djr have pointed out in comments, in an x-ray scanner it may look rather similar to a pipe bomb. Expect the package to be subject to intense scrutiny, but probably only after you've checked it and its somewhere in the baggage handling process. I expect they'll get sniffer dogs on it, and there is a high chance of your luggage being opened to verify that it isn't a bomb. I'd recommend packaging that can easily be opened and resealed for this reason.

  • +1 for personal experience of bringing something similar, and tips on how to avoid it causing problems. Would there be any point in telling the person at check in what it contains?
    – djr
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 22:19
  • @djr - Not a clue, or not from experience anyway. I wasn't working for an F1 team, just an F1 fan who couldn't believe his luck in choice of flight! I doubt telling the person at check-in would make any difference to whether security officers want to open your package to make sure.
    – AndyT
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 9:41

I have flown UK->Germany with metal pipes complete with electronics and wires hanging off them (motorised replacement parts for an optical system). I made the trip several times (only once carrying quite such bulky spare parts but often with smaller ones). Several other times I was sent from check-in to special baggage, where airport security scanned my tool case then hand-searched it quite throughly. I can't remember what I was asked at check-in/bag drop that propmpted them to send me that way; the case was within size and weight limits.

If you're carrying spare parts for a system, be sure to pack them in a way that they can easily be repacked sufficiently well with little or no effort. It won't do any harm to have the paperwork with them (copies of orders etc.) but it's not required within the EU. Check in/bag drop early (as others have said) to allow for slowness, and answer questions openly.

This sort of thing happens all the time -- a parcel company should be cheaper but if a service engineer is going, make them lug the part across half a continent


I've been in a somewhat siilar situation. When I finished living in Amsterdam and was moving back to the UK I put my bike lock in my hand luggage- a massive hefty solid chain.

I was stopped at security with this, they wanted me to leave it behind as it was dangerous. It took quite a bit of discussion for them to let me through with it after they believed by story about moving house, on the proviso that I promised not to get it out and wave it about.

Basically there are no laws about taking chains, lengths of metal pipe, etc.... but they are on the lookout for anything that can be used a a weapon and this might cause you trouble.

Make sure it's nicely packed up and looks actually useful for something to allay any fears if you run into over zealous security people.

  • Was this before or after 2001?
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 13:02
  • Being stopped with something like a bike lock or chain in your hand luggage is quite understandable. Here, in the US, TSA will not let you through security with that at all. They will allow you to leave it behind (confiscated), or go back to the ticket counter to check in your hand luggage as checked baggage. When transporting legal weapons, the same rules apply. You can declare them as part of your checked luggage. But, if you get to the TSA security checkpoint with the weapon still in your possession, you will be arrested. No questions asked.
    – Dean F.
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 15:32
  • Late 2000s. A while after 2001 and its immediate aftermath had come and gone. Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 13:27

As the steel pipe is just 0,5m and about 3kg with flanges, it would not be a problem to fit it into the checked-in baggage. And parts like washers and bolts can easily fit into the Checked-In Bag.

As of Wizzair Baggage Policy, each passenger can carry:

So, there seems no problem for you to carry/transport the steel pipe from Poland to Germany through WizzAir.

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