UPS Wants To Replace Your Luggage With Their Luggage Box

As checked baggage fees continue to rise — and with nickel-and-dime carriers beginning to charge for carry-ons — it’s becoming more and more popular for air travelers to ship some of their belongings directly to and from their destinations. Now, UPS has taken it to the next level, introducing a cardboard suitcase that gives you the options of checking, carrying-on or shipping.

UPS announced the new Luggage Box yesterday. It comes in two sizes, the smaller of which can be used as a carry-on, is made from corrugated cardboard and comes with a handle.

The shipping company points out that using the Luggage Box to replace your regular suitcase will allow you to pack more for your trip since the cardboard is likely less heavy than your suitcase, giving you an extra few pounds of wiggle room on the airport scale.

Both boxes have a max. weight limit of 55 lbs., but when the larger one is securely taped up, that max. limit increases to 85 lbs. So maybe you check that luggage on your way to visit your uncle in San Francisco and then tape it up for the trip home so you can carry all those Golden Gate Bridge miniatures and boxes of Ghirardelli chocolates you purchased.

Click here to view a PDF with specs and whatnot for the Luggage Box [PDF]



Edit Your Comment

  1. JennQPublic says:

    Golden Gate miniatures and Ghiradelli chocolates? Your SF shopping sprees are decidedly more tame than mine…

    Castro leather stores, here I come! ;-)

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Cute! Would be convenient to put one of these inside your regular suitcase in case of shipping needs.

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I used to work in a mailroom, and these look like their “World Ship” boxes, which we used to order all the times for ourselves because, when assembled correctly, they are DAMN strong.

    • PsiCop says:

      +1 on these being World Ship boxes. We used to joke that it took anti-armor weaponry to damage those.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        My cats have been sleeping on the same two World Ship boxes for over three years now so they can see out the window. It always made me laugh when people didn’t fold down the side flaps…

  4. areaman says:

    I would gladly pay the extra money so TSA doesn’t mess with me and the way I pack my luggage.

    They took my wine bottle opener last time. I could have checked it in but really, they weren’t interested in me checking it in. They were worried about me taking down a Southwest flight with a bottle opener.

    Also less chance of space monkey baggage handlers stealing my stuff. I love doing business with UPS.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      TSA is inconsistent too. My last flight out of Grand Rapids there was a couple complaining because they had taken a 1-2″ long pocket knife the guy had apparently carried for years through many airports.

      TSA fail, IMO.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        On the other hand, you know knives aren’t allowed onboard. Why be a dick and keep bringing one, just waiting for the time when they find it so you can make a scene and call them out on all their earlier failures? You know, the rest of us just want to get on the plane.

        (That’s the impersonal you, not you, Oranges w/Cheese.)

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Truth, I thought they had rolled back the restrictions though? Maybe I’m wrong *shrug*

          • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

            The TSA website say that “Knives – except for plastic or round bladed butter knives” are prohibited. I guess I was wrong in my assumption that everyone knew the rules and that this guy was being needlessly dickish.

        • kmw2 says:

          Not so, in fact, not so – pocket knives with blades under a certain length are now allowed, as are nail clippers, knitting needles, forks, and all manner of other not-actually-deadly implements.

          • reishka says:

            Wish I had known that when I flew last — left out of LGA with a tiny pocketknife (the blade is half the length of my index finger) in my bag that I hadn’t realised was there. Spent my vacation in Dallas, and on the return trip the TSA at DFW took it. Wouldn’t let me check it in my regular bag, or mail it to myself. I was bummed, since it was a souvenier. :(

      • areaman says:

        Yes, I agree TSA is a TOTAL fail.

        They almost have the RIAA business model (scrutinize honest paying customers and work on and try to improve everyone else but themselves).

    • red92s says:

      . . . it’s my stuff in a box.

  5. TuxedoCartman says:

    Only problem I can see with these is that you’ll not be able to tape them up before flying. TSA has to get in and loot… I mean, root around in your belongings when you check your bag, so they’ll probably just cut the tape on it. So what keeps the box securely fastened if it’s not taped up?

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand that part. At first, I thought this was so you could ship it most of the time, but then carry on coming home if you wanted or whatever. If you have to tape it to use it, it makes no sense.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        I’m going to assume these are a lot like the hat boxes we used to have in High School band.

        Durable as fuck and they stay shut due to the handle. No tape necessary except in shipping circumstances where jostling/machinery may open them up.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      According to the pdf (thanks Consumerist!) it doesn’t look like you even need tape. It’s all folding and tucking. Whether or not the TSA will have the respect/patience to refold and tuck is another story

    • Chmeeee says:

      If you tape something and they want to open it, they’ll cut it and then retape it with special TSA tape. They did it to me once.

      • TuxedoCartman says:

        Really? Wow… I just assumed, what with them being the TSA and all, that they’d just leave it untaped, and maybe take a whizz in it or something. Score one for the TSA! (which means they’re only down by about a million or so).

      • econobiker says:

        I just flew back from the Northeast to Southern USA with a box of cast iron frying pans and pots- 39lbs worth to be under Southwests 50lb limit. The TSA broke, searched, and resealed the box. I hope they didn’t mind all of the packing peanuts set to exit from the top flap area due to being compressed on several plastic air bags. Nuknuknuk…

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        yep, it’s the ‘your stuff has been searched tape’
        i brought some mustard back from belgium once and had it packed securely in the middle of my bag with shirts wrapped around it because it was glass. it came back to me [intact fortunately] right behind the zipper with a washcloth taped loosely around it with TSA tape.
        amazingly, they figured out my reusable cable ties and opened and resecured them without damage to the cable ties. i’d figured they’d just cut them and replace them with their own. i only used the reuseable ones so i could secure my suitcase in hotels and a quick glance by a casual thief on hotel staff would keep them out since the reusable aspect isn’t glaringly obvious

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      They are meant to be shipped by UPS so you don’t have to pay checked luggage fees at the airport. The cardboard luggage is lighter than your regular luggage, therefore cheaper to ship.

  6. PatrickPortland says:

    Too bad the cost calculator that they link to doesn’t have (a) the box, or (b) ground shipping options – using the calculator as-is, sending 85lbs from here to where I’m going is $376, more than my roundtrip flight and hotel combined.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      In that case, I’d opt for the $20 luggage fee. I actually just did that recently with a very large suitcase to Michigan. Winter clothes I don’t need in Florida got packed up and shipped for $20! Woo!

    • wcnghj says:

      That sounds like the price for next day. Check the 3day price, that should be much cheaper.

      • PatrickPortland says:

        Unless I missed something, they specifically say “ground.” I’m not going to pay for 2nd Day if it goes Ground, especially if I have to pay for the box. If that’s really the case, I’ll continue to do what I have been doing, and ship Ground in my own box.

    • Package Man says:

      It could be that you have to visit a UPS Store to obtain one. UPS is doing a lot now to push The UPS Store and it’s especially apparent to independent store operators like me. I’ve gotten the distinct impression that UPS would love nothing more than to find a reason to drop my Authorized Shipping Outlet account to try and force people to their stores.

      • PatrickPortland says:

        Packageman, I’m not sure what to make of it then… their own press release says “and visit our cost calculator…” (or equivalent).

  7. satoru says:

    I suppose it’s interesting, but without wheels lugging the big one around would be a gigantic pain in the ass, if you opted to check in instead of shipping. Try navigating the London Tube with wheel-less luggage and you’ll be in for a world of pain and suffering (even with wheeled luggage it sucks)

  8. TBGBoodler says:

    Maybe this is kind of off-topic, but doesn’t that PDF read like it was written by a non-English-speaking person? It sounds so scammy when you read it. Don’t they have writers or editors at UPS?

    Where’s the guy with the lady hair and the magic marker?

    • nybiker says:

      Considering I only know the English language, I had no problem understanding the instructions. Now, as to whether it’s written in the best possible way, that I do not know. I will leave it to others to debate that point.

      Also, as to shipping home chocolates, not likely for me. I’d probably eat whatever I bought. None would last til the flight home.

  9. nygenxer says:

    I’ve been doing this since the 80s. Go me!

  10. halfcuban says:

    Some airports have Post Office’s and other shipping places inside them for this exact reason; the reality that carrying stuff back with you is often cost-prohibitive. Many high end retailers in prominent cities will also ship goods back to you for free or little cost, especially if its a big ticket items but cheap to ship (such as clothing).

  11. areaman says:

    Another reason for me to send luggage (or anything else via) UPS…

    my friend had two SLR cameras stolen from her checked luggage in the last 12 months. She didn’t buy travel insurance or any other kind of insurance for checked luggage. So I don’t feel she’s trying to pull of insurance fraud.

    And there’s video of luggage handlers out there who “shop” for themselves in other people’s luggage.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I never pack anything of value that’s going to be checked. Glad I’m not just paranoid.

  12. James says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a home airport with multiple checkpoints leading to all areas, rather than broken up by individual terminals with one screening point each.

    I never travel with anything questionable and have my 3-1-1s in order, but if I did pick something weird up I’d look for an addition checkpoint at the airport. If they decline it, provided you have time and the lines aren’t long, just say “I’m going to leave and mail this,” and just go to another checkpoint.

    Things being as random as they are you probably have 50/50 shot. (Case in point the wine bottle opener above.)

  13. trillium says:

    Since this is UPS do I have to be concerned that they would ignore the front desk at my hotel and tuck it behind the tree by the front door only to claim that it was delivered?

  14. JonBoy470 says:

    I realize that carriers have started to charge for checked bags, but on what planet is it cheaper to UPS a suitcase-sized box to my destination than it is to pack my actual suitcase and eat the checked bag fee?

  15. socritic says:


  16. HungryGal says:

    I imagine this only would be economical with ground shipping- and who wants to wait a week (or more) to see their belongings again? Especially if you pack something important like your camera or corkscrew!

  17. Bog says:

    So, here is my solution for dealing with stuff stolen from my luggage, I am going to start to pack some food. Food that has been contaminated. Yes, that’s right, I pack a poisoned treat in the checked luggage. It is marked so that neither I nor people in my group will eat it. I may not ever get my stuff back, but I do feel good about the fact that I might just get some revenge on a thief or his friends.

    My next idea is to rig a camera with a laser in the view finder. When someone steals it from the special box in my car and tries to use it? Well, they will get an eye full if they try to take pictures with it.

  18. justjoe says:

    Good idea, theoretically…..

    My fave is my last cross-country flight on AirTran:
    Ticketing Agent: Your bag is overweight and your extra bags will cost more.
    Me: I’m aware of that *Whips out card*
    TA: Are you sure that you don’t want to ship these?
    Me: Lady, I did the math on the cab ride over here. I could have shipped everything but I’m working all next week and don’t have time to deal with UPS. Please tell me the amount that you will charge me so I can agree to it and put those bags on the belt.
    TA: Are you sure? It costs extra.
    Me: Yes. I would also like to fly business class on my second leg. I’m aware that it costs extra as well. Please charge me whatever is needed.

  19. Aking0667 says:

    I once shipped my belongings Fedex one-day to Phoenix, they handled it much better than any airline I have ever been on has handled it. I think it was cheaper than the stupid fees Southwest was trying to charge me for my baggage too.

  20. FrankReality says:

    I once attended a conference where they used boxes similar in design for conference materials, mainly paper handouts. They worked well as shipping boxes and worked well as carry-ons, but they didn’t quite work so well as checked luggage. Now if every seam and edge had been duck taped they would have done much better.

    I hope UPS’s are tougher – it’s a mean world out there

  21. jenjenjen says:

    Huh. I was on a Southwest flight yesterday and three different people on my plane had checked a big cardboard box as well as a suitcase because Southwest doesn’t charge for luggage until the 3rd bag. All the tape looked intact – my guess is TSA only opens boxes if there’s something weird-looking on the x-ray.

  22. packcamera says:

    Referencing earlier posts about bikes being battered by the airlines, couldn’t UPS make a bike box for the airlines?

  23. Andrew360 says:

    I think this is a great deal. I trust UPS way more than an airline.