Bookshelf Speakers Transport by Airplane - Checked or Hand Luggage

Long ago when I was 6 years old, I carried my dad’s rather large Sony bookshelf speakers as hand luggage from the UK to Canada on a BOAC flight. This was in the 1970’s.

Today, I am looking to upgrade from my KEF LS50’s to the Yamaha NS3000 for my office. Trouble is that the NS3000 is available in Canada but not in the USA (I checked with USA dealers).

Has anyone taken a bookshelf speaker as checked luggage on a flight today? I am not sure if security would even allow a speaker to go through these days.

The Canadian dealer may not be able to ship to me in the USA, but I have family living a few miles from this dealer. So, I can always pick them up personally, and even ship by UPS or FedEx, but I wanted to first see if anyone had taken speakers on a plane?



if you can afford expensive speakers like the NS3000 you can afford to ship them for a small cost. Just cough up the money

Never needed to consider this, but if packed securely inside padded luggage, I cannot see why they would be refused. Maybe someone else knows.

@kenjit If the option was shipping by FedEx or UPS versus me carrying the speakers in my luggage, I take me every time.  It is also killing 2 birds with 1 stone. since I have not been back to Canada since the pandemic. I am just trying to figure out if this type of luggage is still allowed.

I've considered this myself before.  

Read the airline's fine print for what they will accept responsibility for.  I think I looked up Southwest and the way I read it they took no responsibility and provided no value for damage or lost if not in a suitcase.  I kind of stopped thinking about it after that.  

I have never had any claimable damage or lost luggage for any flight.  And I have taken boxes with me on Southwest flights.  

The bigger issue would be if you get to the airport and they say it won't be allowed in checked or carryon luggage.  Those items you should be able to talk to the airline in advance to see what they have to screen for and get a sense of confidence if it is OK or not.


Carry it on, don't check it in. It will pass through security, but it might need to be checked by the TSA when you take it out of your luggage. My best friend just took a very complicated DIY Don Sachs tube phono stage with large Hashimoto transformers with him on his flight home that internally looked like a bomb and security didn't even bat an eye.

You would need two suitcases to do it. The drivers could get damaged, cabinet could get scratched or cracked if they are dropped or knocked. They weigh 30 pounds each. Not easy to drag two suitcases one in each hand behind you? Have you tried?



Is a road trip out of the question? I love long drives and the things you can see and experience on the way, especially on off the beaten path routes. But not everyone does and gas is so expensive nowadays. Just a stray thought. 


In 2018 my wife and I each put an old ads-300 speaker in our carry luggage. The x-Ray machine flagged them and our carry on luggage was searched. These suckers are metal and heavy for their size, so they shook the heck out of them, rubbed them with a drug or explosives strip. All told, it took a about 25 extra minutes.  But they eventually let us through.

All the best.


Thanks for the info. Looks like I can do this as carry on and checked baggage.

A road trip is not possible these days. It is about 3000 miles and my passengers do not have the patience for that. I did do a similar drive myself from Richmond, Virginia to California 20 years ago. That was a a great trip.

There was a restriction of the size of the carry-on baggage.  There was a stand with a form you would put your baggage into.  If it didn't fit, it would have to be "checked".  I would post it.  Travelling now is difficult enough.  You want the "extra baggage"?

@kingsleuy reason I asked was that the dealer never sells to the USA and dealt with customs and was also worried about selling a Yamaha product in the USA that Yamaha USA does not carry. So I figured to save the dealer the heartache and do the shipping myself. 

@yyzsantabarbara  I hear you.  Yes, what we audiophile will do and go thru for our music.  I did the same years ago, 1980's with a Phase Linear 400 amplifier.   I carried it on by the faceplate handles.  I would not try that now.

Will there be a customs problem with the speakers in checked luggage/carry on?

If so, then perhaps the dealer can recommend a Canadian shipping service adept with customs forms.


I would not go through the headache of trying to fly them in. First there is customs…then, I would trust the airlines far less than FedEx. Your relatives work. But you are likely going to have to pay export tax. I shipped a bicycle into cCanada… and trying to ship it back, the shipper got a big export tax… even though I had bought it in the US.

I would have your relatives ship it in the original packaging.


Consider these factors:

1)  The current airline flight cancellation nightmare,

2)  The hassle of trying to get the speakers from your car, through the airport,                 and through TSA screening,

3)  THEN hoping there is room in the overhead bins (the speakers are not going to        fit under your seat and they can't be squished down like you can do to clothes          if it's a tight fit in the overhead bin).

The answer whether or not to attempt the feat should be an easy "No effing way".  If you do decide to try it, please give us a follow-up post with the details -- pictures or it never happened!  😁😎

I was thinking of all of the above. I will figure this out when the time comes to buy. I now know it is possible to fly them home. I did read today about the chaos at YYZ (Toronto airport) as they come out of the pandemic. Sounded worse then LAX.

Not sure of size of the brand of speakers you are talking about! If they would fit in a hard shell suit case that is not bigger than what is allowed for a carry on. I would do that or i would pack them very very well and ship them. TSA may inspect them in front of you as a carry on, but it should not be a problem. Checking them is dangerous-There is no TLC applied to unloading and loading checked bags. Not to mention they could disappear.

Good Luck

I suggest you not try and fly speakers. I looked at air freight for a pair of Revel Salon2’s and it was a no go. The magnets give it a classification of hazardous good not permitted on the IATA listing. They are shielded, but that does not count. Aviation and magnetic material is not a good mix.

Here are the speakers in question. That MSRP price is in Canadian dollars. Crazy price for a monitor but I wanted to get the big brother, NS5000, for a bigger room. However, now that I am getting something else  for the bigger room, the NS3000 + KEF KC62 sub is perfect (but expensive) for my small office.


Thanks everyone for all the points made for and against shipping by plane. I wanted more knowledge on doing this and now I have it.