How can I bring a 20-piece dinnerware set on a plane?
July 3, 2009 9:12 AM   Subscribe

How should I take a 20-piece dinnerware set on a plane?

My parents bought me a lovely 20-piece dinnerware set on sale, and will give it to me when I visit them. However, I'm flying up to see them, and I wonder how I should bring the set back on the plane. It will still be packaged in the original box, but I have seen how the checked luggage is literally tossed on the conveyor belts, so I'm worried the dinnerware might become a 100-piece set on the way back. Should I try to bring the box with the dinnerware as carry-on? Or should I check it?
posted by Nematoda to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Can you pack it up and ship it via UPS?

Also make sure you open the contents and check that they are all in piece before you leave your parents place. My experience working in retail is that they aren't always in perfect condition by the time they reach the customer. Would be best to make sure you have a complete set before risking any damage on the plane.
posted by tommccabe at 9:19 AM on July 3, 2009

The ONLY way to make sure a package is handled the way you want is to carry it yourself from point A to point B. Any other method of transport will require that you trust strangers with the safety of the contents. If you can pack the box well-enough that you are not afraid of the actions of others, then do that and check the box onto the airplane. If you cannot come up with packing that works for you, then your only choice is to carry this dinnerware set onto the plane with you.

FWIW, I'd be carrying the dishes on, were I transporting them.
posted by hippybear at 9:23 AM on July 3, 2009

I assume you just mean plates, but just to be sure, there should be no knives in there. Because I know somebody who had federal charges brought against her for trying to carry a wedding gift aboard a plane that included some steak knives.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:26 AM on July 3, 2009

Cup, saucer, soup plate, salad plate, dinner plate. 4 sets of these.

I second the UPS. Also...I don't think they would allow this to go onboard as a carry on. Its not exactly a knife, but man would it make a lot of shards if broken.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2009

I would not check the china in the store packaging, as that's usually not sufficient. If the box fits carry-on size, I'd consider it, but it might not.

You can take the set to a place like the UPS Store and have them pack it for shipment--assuming they do a good job, it will be packed well enough to be loaded on an airplane, shipped UPS, whatever.

I used to work at a store in the chain that became the UPS Store, and we packed china all the time, with varying levels of obsessiveness depending on the customer's desires and the value of the pieces. If you want to do this yourself, memail me and I'll explain the maximum-paranoia packing method.
posted by adamrice at 9:55 AM on July 3, 2009

I wouldn't trust UPS to not break a deflated basketball packed in foam rubber.

I've carried-on similar gifts without problems. Not 40pc, but a coffee/tea set and more than one big piece of glassware.
posted by rokusan at 11:27 AM on July 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

My folks did that a few years ago - flew home to the west coast of the US from Ireland with a 40-piece set in 2 boxes. They inspected the dishes for damages before flying, repacked them in the boxes they came in and added layers where needed, then wrapped each box in layers of newspaper and tied with rope. They also added handles with the rope, for easier transport in the airport. No problems with security, all the dishes made it home safely.
posted by dorey_oh at 12:49 PM on July 3, 2009

I'd wrap the whole box in a towel, stuff it securely in your carryon, and keep it at your feet instead of in the overhead bin. I've travelled with some ridiculous stuff this way- wine, unboxed glassware, etc, and none of it has ever broken.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:41 PM on July 3, 2009

We carried the dishes on the plane in the original packaging and stowed the box under the seat. I'm happy to report the dishes arrived safely! Thanks everyone!
posted by Nematoda at 10:11 AM on July 22, 2009

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