How Do I Get A Sword On An Airplane?
September 22, 2019 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Not carryon -- I'm glad to check it. But the stupid thing (present from an ex, too expensive to throw away, I've found a home for it) doesn't fit in my luggage (it's about a yard long and 8" across the hilt) and I don't want to buy a giant new bag for it. I was thinking I could find a giant poster tube, but searching isn't giving me anything in the right dimensions. Anyone have either a source for a 9"x38 poster tube, or a better idea?
posted by LizardBreath to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
FedEx used to have these things that were like poster tubes but they are triangular ... we would get 2 and tape them together to ship large pieces of booth decor for conventions. Not sure about the dimensions but maybe call and ask?
posted by mccxxiii at 1:50 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Could you wrap it in a large amount of bubblewrap, tape, and maybe an outside layer of paper? I once ended up having to check a long-handled umbrella on an international flight. It went onto the conveyor belt with just the baggage check tag around the middle, and amazingly, it came out the other side unscathed. So, I think it'd be mostly about protecting protruding parts from bumps and having the package be substantial enough to not fall off a conveyor belt and be lost.
posted by past unusual at 1:52 PM on September 22, 2019

Historically, most airlines will let you check a cardboard box - I'd take it to a mailing / packing place and have if packed up in sturdy cardboard / bubble wrap. Check with your individual airline about size limits - some have overall linear size limits (American is 100 inches which would work fine for your purposes). Another option is to ship it - since it's oversize, there will probably be an extra bag fee for it from the airline - double check to make sure it's not cheaper to ship it (if that works for your schedule / situation).
posted by macfly at 1:52 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cut down tv moving box from home Depot/etc? Or similar. Link
posted by TheAdamist at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2019

If it is relatively narrow across one dimension (like, not a basket hilt or something), get a hard-sided rifle case. They're relatively inexpensive, airline-baggage-handler-resistant, and lockable. They typically have foam on the inside that'll keep your blade from bouncing around.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about (US$25).

If you have a scabbard or sheath, you obviously don't store the blade in it long-term, but depending on design you may want to transport the blade in it (with the whole affair inside said hard case).
posted by sourcequench at 1:55 PM on September 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Some sports equipment seems of comparable size (lacrosse and field hockey sticks, regular hockey sticks) and they make bags to fit gear like that. Maybe a sporting goods store would have something that would work?
posted by fancyoats at 1:56 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

A surfboard bag would fit it. Or, just wrap in bubble wrap and paper with a cut down soda bottle protecting the pointy end,
posted by Thella at 1:57 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Bubble wrap and a soft guitar bag? I have at one point flown with a fencing gear bag full of not-really-pointy swords a couple of times.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:34 PM on September 22, 2019

Sonotube - cardboard form for casting concrete forms - readily available at places like Home Depot -they come in a variety of sizes....
posted by leslies at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

A friend who travels with swords from time to time says they often use Golf Bags for swords. Its about the right size and airlines are used to seeing them, so its less of a hassle then checking odd sized bags or packages.
posted by nalyd at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

How about using a length of PVC pipe with pipe caps on both ends?
posted by summerstorm at 3:29 PM on September 22, 2019

How about shipping it to an address where you'll be staying or to the recipient?
posted by lois1950 at 3:32 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bag it in a garbage bag or similar, then take a flattened cardboard box that's long enough and wrap it in that, like you're rolling up a crepe. When you're done there will be extra cardboard on each end and it'll be thickly swaddled so it can't be damaged. Tape it up strongly. I sell on eBay and that's how I ship long thin items like that.
posted by Slinga at 3:53 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Don't overthink. Bubble wrap. Sorted.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:03 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you're using a cardboard tube (or the FedEx triangles), it really only needs to fit the blade. You could notch in the hilt (that is, take pieces out on opposite edges of the end of the tube, so the hilt rests in them and the sword can't spin) and have the blunt parts just stick out of the sides/end like that. Tape and bubble wrap that whole end, stuff some crumpled paper in the side with the pointy bit and tape it in place, and you're done.
posted by teremala at 5:17 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you have it sorted, but just a note: many airlines have exemptions from their oversized baggage charges for golf bags. I have checked a whole rolling golf bag of swords with minimal baggage charges, and nobody looked at me funny. If you can borrow one from a friend, I would recommend it.
posted by agentofselection at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

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