Yesterday I arrived back in Australia with the ETT. Your advise was spot on. The telescope did not have any damage. Well, there was a small crack in the plastic mirror cover that came with the Optics. (see attached). Now I am looking forward to many nights under the Southern Cross with this telescope.
In order to get the ETT on the airplane, I broke the telescope down to its nuts and bolts. And everything but the optics was packed in regular checked luggage. I purchased a Nanuk hard case with heavy foam inside. I cut out a place to place the main mirror and mirror cell (still attached). The mirror has a few finger prints, but otherwise there is no harm to the mirror. As you can see from the note left by the TSA agent, they were interested and also encouraging.
Last night (when I was up due to jetlag), I went into the back yard and saw lots of naked eye and binocular dazzlers. (see the Telesope Facebook page for information on the sights from last night). I am now ready to reassemble the ETT and start using it, but I may force myself to wait while I do a bit of maintenance on the telescope. There are a few scratches in the finish, and I may make a few other changes, but nothing major.
When I return from Australia (some years down the track), I will have the airfreight guys pack the telescope and ship it back to the States.
This is my learner telescope (yes a 12” ETT). When I return, I will move up to a 16” or 18” dob. But most of the time my trusty 12” ETT will be my telescope for the road. I like it very much.