Can You Take a Cardboard Box As Checked Luggage? (2023)

When we travel by plane, have you ever noticed that everyone carries different kinds of luggage? You may see people rolling suitcases, carrying duffle bags, or carrying backpacks on the carousel, but when was the last time you saw someone with a cardboard box? It’s weird, right? But guess what? Those boxes can be used as checked luggage!

Don’t worry; we know what you’re thinking – how safe is transporting your stuff in a cardboard box? We’ve tried it out ourselves, and it worked well! But, of course, every airline has some rules and restrictions, and we don’t want you to face any problems on your next trip. So, in this post, we’ll give you all the do’s and don’ts to make sure you can use a cardboard box as your checked luggage without any hassle.

What Are TSA Rules about a cardboard boxes?

When considering using a cardboard box as checked or hand-carry luggage, the first question we ask is whether or not the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approves it. Fortunately, the answer is affirmative. The TSA has no objections to cardboard boxes as long as they comply with the restrictions on certain items.

However, the TSA may need to screen your box for security purposes. Their officers may open your box to check for any restricted items. But they will take care to repack your belongings or tape them back up after the inspection.

Assuming there are no security issues with your plastic or cardboard box, you can check it in and collect it at baggage claim.

What are the Airlines’ policies about cardboard boxes?

Another authority that you must consider is your airline. Before packing your belongings in a box, it is essential to obtain all the necessary information. You need to know if your airline accepts plastic or cardboard boxes as checked baggage.

Most airlines accept boxes because many people move with their household items, necessitating the use of boxes for transportation. However, some airlines may not accept boxes as checked baggage on international flights. To avoid any inconvenience, you should know your airline’s policy in advance.

After verifying that your airline accepts boxes, the next step is to ascertain the size and weight restrictions. Typically, airlines limit the size to 62 linear inches and allow a weight range between 50 to 70 pounds.

Can we use cardboard boxes as checked luggage?

If you are willing to pay the baggage fees, then yes, you can use a cardboard box as checked luggage. Generally, airlines do not have any issues with it as long as you adhere to the size and weight restrictions.

You must confirm how many checked bags are allowed. Most airlines allow passengers to take two checked bags per person when traveling internationally. You can check which airlines allow how many pieces of luggage, but to avoid any inconvenience, you should check with your airline. Based on my experience, my aunt had to pay an extra baggage fee because her cardboard box was not compliant with the airline’s size restrictions.

Now let’s discuss the size and weight limits of cardboard boxes.

When checking a box on a plane, what size box is allowed?

Most airlines allow a maximum of 62 linear inches for checked luggage. You can obtain this measurement by adding up all three dimensions, i.e., height, width, and depth. The standard dimensions are generally 27 inches by 21 inches by 14 inches.

What is the checked luggage weight limit?

The exact weight restrictions apply to boxes used as checked luggage. The weight limit typically ranges from 40 to 70 pounds, depending on the airline’s policy. Some airlines allow up to 50 pounds, while others may allow up to 70 pounds for first-class passengers. To get accurate information, it is recommended to check your airline’s policies since weight limits may vary between airlines.

Is there any restriction on items that you can pack in a carton?

Most airlines have no issue with the items you pack in the box if you comply with the airline’s rules and regulations. Even once, my sister took serving dishes to Canada in a carton as checked luggage; those dishes can’t fit in a suitcase.

But some items have special requirements and extra fees like sports items and musical instruments. So before packing these types of items must check your airline.

What is the biggest size of box you can take as checked luggage?

In terms of size and space, a box can be a better option than a suitcase for checked luggage. While suitcases come in various shapes and sizes, it’s difficult to find one that can fit irregularly shaped items accurately. In contrast, you can easily find a box that fits your belongings snugly.

The maximum size for a checked box is 62 linear inches, which can be in the shape of a rectangle or even a perfect cube.

Moreover, a box can hold up to 144 liters of space, providing ample room to pack more items than a suitcase. However, checking your airline’s luggage policy before packing anything is crucial to avoid additional baggage fees.

Exceeding the allowed limit can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s always better to be aware of the restrictions beforehand.

Can we use cardboard boxes as hand luggage?

The answer is affirmative: a cardboard box can serve as a carry-on if it meets the size and weight requirements set forth by the airline. It is crucial to ensure that no prohibited items are contained within the box, as stipulated by the TSA.

The dimensions permitted for carry-on baggage are typically restricted to 22″ × 14″ × 9″ or smaller, though some airlines impose a 45 linear inches limit. Specific policies regarding size should be reviewed with the airline. At check-in, the box must fit within a box frame of a particular size, as set by the airline.

It is common for airlines to allow the weight of carry-on luggage to be 20-22 lbs. However, certain US airlines do not have weight restrictions and only require that the carry-on fits within the overhead bin or under the seat. If the size or weight limits are exceeded, the box may need to be checked, or additional fees may apply.

Is it safe to use a box as your belongings carrier?

Based on my personal experience, I can attest that transporting your belongings in a cardboard or plastic box as checked luggage is a safe and viable option as long as you take the necessary precautions and do not have an unfortunate incident. As observed on the baggage carousel, boxes of different shapes and sizes are routinely transported along with other luggage and arrive at their destination unscathed if packed securely. Many travelers from Asia use such boxes to carry their belongings when traveling abroad, and baggage handlers demonstrate exceptional professionalism in handling them, ensuring that they remain intact throughout the journey.

In which situations should you use a cardboard box instead of a suitcase?

In many situations, using a cardboard box as luggage could be advantageous.

For instance, if you want to make full use of your weight allowance, a box can hold up to 144 liters of items, whereas a suitcase typically holds only 115-120 liters and adds an additional 10-15 pounds of weight to your luggage.

Similarly, a box could be a good option if you need to transport an oddly-shaped or oversized item that won’t fit in a suitcase, such as large serving dishes, a large picture frame, or a stuffed animal.

And lastly, if you don’t want to buy an additional suitcase for your extra belongings and incur additional baggage fees, a cardboard box could be an excellent choice.

How can you protect your box so it won’t damage and safely reach its destination?

There are several ways to protect your box and ensure that it arrives at your destination safely:

Choose a sturdy box:Make sure the box you choose is made of strong materials, such as cardboard is only very strong if you make it strong by different means. Plastic box is way better than cardboard box as checked luggage and can withstand the rigors of travel.

Reinforce the box:If the items inside are heavy or fragile, you can reinforce the box with extra tape; tape your box thoroughly to add a protection layer. Tape would help to make the box water-resistant and prevent it from breaking or tearing during transport.

Use appropriate packing material:If you’re transporting delicate items that you can not keep in the suitcase, mark your box as fragile and take some Preventive measures in advance. Use bubble wrap, foam, or other cushioning material to protect the contents of the box from impact and prevent them from shifting around during transport.

Label the box properly:Make sure to label the box with your name, address, and destination so that it is properly routed. You can also use “fragile” stickers or labels to alert handlers to handle the box with care.

Check with the airline for special instructions:Some airlines have specific requirements for packing certain items, such as electronics, musical instruments, and sports items. Check with your airline before packing to ensure you comply with their guidelines.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your box arrives safely at your destination.


Can I check in a large box at the airport?

Yes, you can check in a large box at the airport as long as it meets the size and weight restrictions set by your airline. It’s important to check your airline’s baggage policy to ensure that your box is within the acceptable size and weight limits for checked luggage.

Can I take a carton box at the airport?

Yes, you can take a carton box to the airport as your checked luggage or as a carry-on, as long as it does not exceed the size and weight limit of the airline you are flying with. Few airlines don’t allow cartons or cardboard boxes on international flights.

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