>>>Joe Bender-Zanoni wrote: Another wierd thing is that horribly packed bikes can come through entirely unscathed! They are very strong structures.<<<<
Oh so true. Steel frames, in particular, are pretty tough things. I once received a frame (Columbus Genius tubing with fork and HS installed) sent from Italy. The frame was only wrapped in plastic, heavy brown paper and tape. NO BOX! It was sent by common mail, USPS handed off by the Italian equivalent. It was totally unscathed. Amazing. I also once received a bike that was literally hanging out the bottom of a box where the bottom flaps had given way. But no damage! This is why I always strongly advise NOT trusting the staples in a used bike box, and taping the bottom of the box as well as the top.
Bad things can and do happen. But LOTS of bikes and frames get shipped safely every day.
Pack carefully, ship and pray (cross your fingers, chant, whatever "extra" measure works for you) and get on with life.
Falls Church VA