For worlds were going to ship our robots to Kentucky. The only doubt I have about shipping is that luggage sometimes gets lost and I’m not going to build my robot in one night. Do you think that a robot could get lost in during shipping? Do they make robots a priority in shipping our can they lose robots like any other bag of luggage? And have you ever lost a robot in shipping during Worlds? (I feel the pain)
You can always drop ship as well using Vex’s preferred shipper or a common carrier you want to use.
We did this route when worlds was in California. Now it is the other direction and you travel East. While expensive, and you lose 10 days with your robot, our robots arrived safe and sound every year in Anaheim (and back again). Our wallets were just a wee bit lighter.
Most lost baggage occurs with connections, so if you have a direct flight the chance of it getting lost is extremely low, but even with connecting flights it is very rare for baggage to get lost. We have had baggage go missing on connections (not VEX related luckily), but it always turns up the next day, so that could be another reason why it’s good to go on Wednesday just in case.
Whether there is a robot in the box or not has no effect on how it is handled even if you put lots of fragile stickers on it, and I would be surprised if there are any major airports that don’t have at least somewhat computerized baggage sorting, in which case there isn’t much that can be done anyways to handle the robot case differently.
Some airlines will offer priority luggage handling, but usually all this means is that it is one of the first items out. I’ve watched a few times, and all they do is while loading throw any priority bags to the side and then put them in the hold last. You’d have to check with your airline, but I’m not sure if something like this would help.
If you’re really worried, you can always put a GPS tag in the case, that way in case it gets lost you can at least pinpoint exactly where it is.
I wouldn’t worry so much about lost luggage as that is not very common however, when you ship the robot make sure you pack it with foam padding and support the drive base with some extra metal to keep the wheels off the bottom of the box so you don’t bend drive axles during shipping. Assume the box will be thrown around and abused and pack with lots of padding and make it a tight fit so the robot doesn’t bounce around during shipping. We used to take the robots on the plane when worlds was in California and we had no issues with losing bags, but the boxes were visibly damaged even with fragile stickers on them so pack it well.