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I wish to take a computer monitor with me on vacation. I possess the original cardboard box and the Styrofoam. Unfortunately I do not have a suitcase with the same dimensions. I was hoping that I could simply bubble wrap the cardboard box as if I was planning on throwing it over a cliff and then checking it.

Am I

  1. able to do something this odd on a US domestic flight? I.e., will the airlines permit it?
  2. able to actually protect my monitor with reasonable assurance without a hard top suitcase surrounding the bubble wrap?

I noted this question where someone actually shipped a TV without any padding except for the Styrafoam successfully. Perhaps I'm not as brave and would like to bubble wrap it, but if the TSA needs to open it, surely they won't bubble wrap my package again.

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    Nice question, but I did laugh at "as if I was planning on throwing it over a cliff" – Mark Mayo Nov 23 '14 at 23:40
  • I've always thought that my wife packed some interesting luggage.... – Karlson Nov 23 '14 at 23:47
  • I've taken cardboard boxes sealed with wrapping tape on flights before with no problem. Including international flights but if I've done it in the US it was before things got stricter due to 9/11. – hippietrail Nov 24 '14 at 4:14
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    In the pre-911 days I used to carry my monitor around, I'd often have it sat next to me on the plane with a seatbelt on. Good old days. – PatrickT Nov 24 '14 at 11:12
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Yes, you can check in anything you like as long as the airline is reasonably assured that a) it contains nothing nefarious/dangerous, and b) will survive the trip without disintegrating into bits along the way.

However, what are you hoping to accomplish with the bubble wrap? The original cardboard box and its Styrofoam inserts have already been designed to provide all the protection necessary for its long journey from the factory in China to wherever you bought it, and are thus likely more than sufficient for a flight or two. Simple plastic wrapping might be worth it if you're concerned about theft, somebody sneaking in a kilo of cocaine, water damage etc, but none of these except maybe the last seem terribly likely on a US domestic flight.

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    The original cardboard box and styro inserts work great when the box is one of many such boxes all shrink-wrapped together on a pallet. They're not nearly as effective if the box is shipped all by itself. Anything sensitive should be double-boxed. – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 31 '15 at 6:06
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While the shipping box is amply strong to keep the monitor from getting crushed, it is not as strong against punctures. And bubble wrap does not really address this aspect either.

When I have flown with monitors, I have filled the space inside the box with folded clothing or sheets of cardboard. This helps protect the monitor if the corner of a large hard side suitcase lands on top and such.

If the box has any carrying handles or holes, be sure to reinforce them with a bit of duct tape.

If you do decide to use bubble wrap, be sure to bring to extra tape with you to the airport, in case they make you unwrap it for inspection.

In general ramp rats will recognize the frangibility of a monitor box and treat it more gently than a hard sided suitcase.

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