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Airline question

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by PSUDREW, Mar 24, 2012.


    PSUDREW Savant (480) Pennsylvania Jun 14, 2002 Verified

    I know the old forums has some posts about this, but is anyone familiar with what you can/can't do if you want to bring beer back and you are traveling by plane? Thanks in advance
  2. Agold

    Agold Advocate (530) Pennsylvania Mar 13, 2010

    Pack with a lot of padding, check your bag, depending on the airline if you tell them you are carrying bottles they may make you use their packaging which they will be happy to charge you for.
  3. yamar68

    yamar68 Champion (910) Minnesota Apr 1, 2011

    -No beer in your carry-on
    -Any amount of beer that will fit in a regular checked bag is fine to bring, free of any kind of tax
    -I'd recommend being as cautious as possible when packing the beers
    -Keep in mind that they do open and inspect some bags so you'll want to pack everything in a search-friendly fashion

    I just got back from Chicago with some beer. I brought back 7 bottles and basically just bundled each one in its own piece of clothing. Everything arrived intact.

    Where are you headed?
    BrewBoone likes this.
  4. I wrap them in bubble wrap and then wrap that ‘package’ in clothing (e.g., socks, shirts, etc.) and carefully locate them within my check in luggage.

    I check my bag and hope that the airline doesn’t have gorillas for baggage handlers (an old Samsonite commercial).;)


    PSUDREW Savant (480) Pennsylvania Jun 14, 2002 Verified

    No where. I have friends in Portland and they were debating bringing me something back, but they are afraid of transporting
  6. I bring beer back almost every time I fly somewhere. Usually, it's just 3-4 bombers of local/regional stuff wrapped in two t-shirts each, separated from one another by clothes stuffed between them. I put a layer of clothes down, the bombers with socks and stuff between them, and a layer of clothes on top of them. I take a bigger suitcase and more clothes than I need. Funny thing...I almost have the little tag inside my bag saying that it's been inspected, but the beers never seem as if they've been disturbed. I don't know if it's courteous security folks who carefully re-wrap them or if it's security folks who don't give a damn and don't even bother looking at what's wrapped up in the t-shirts. I mean, great for my beer. Not so great for security?
    stoneageradio and jbhess like this.
  7. cyclonece09

    cyclonece09 Advocate (515) Maryland Aug 5, 2008 Verified

    Remember to put each bottle in plastic ziplock bags if possible, because then if the unfortunate happens, it doesn't spill all over the bag and make it leak on other passenger's luggage or on your own.
    madmanjf and yesferro like this.
  8. WMEugene

    WMEugene Savant (285) Virginia Feb 3, 2011

    I always wrap in plastic ziplock bags, leave them in any commercial paper/plastic bags, and wrap them in clothes. As long as you'd feel comfortable dropping your suitcase 4-5 feet, you'll be fine. Last time I did this, I brought back 4 bombers from EBF in a small suitcase from Boston to Baltimore and they looked like they hadn't moved an inch.
  9. WMEugene

    WMEugene Savant (285) Virginia Feb 3, 2011

    It should go without saying that the bags have to be checked and I would never tell anyone what you're packing, don't give the airlines the opportunity to try to squeeze more money out of you.
  10. You can also check a regular cardboard box if you cant fit the beer in your suitcase. If you do that, just be aware that if one of the bottles in the box breaks (ie leaks), they'll throw the entire box out. Distribute your beers accordingly!
  11. honkduh

    honkduh Savant (355) Oregon Jun 2, 2011 Beer Trader

    They can buy beer here


    Which is in the airport after you go through security so they can bring it as carry on. There's also a couple breweries after security where you can get bottles and growlers.
    beertunes and HarrySTruman like this.

    PSUDREW Savant (480) Pennsylvania Jun 14, 2002 Verified

    Thanks everyone!
  13. That's why you should individually wrap each bottle so it won't leak if it does break.
  14. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Advocate (610) Washington Mar 9, 2008 Verified

    I have probably packed beer in my checked luggage more than a dozen times. After being really paranoid and going to great lengths to secure the bottles, I now just simply wrap the bottles in clothes and make sure no bottles are touching directly. I have never had any bottles break nor has anyone ever taken any of the bottles. I do not wrap them in bubble wrap nor put them in ziplock baggies. If you have these things and the bubble wrap doesn't take up too much space, feel free to do so. But if you don't have them, I wouldn't worry about it.
  15. I have a flight coming up, and I was curious if anyone has experience packing beer in checked luggage. I want to bring a few beers from home to enjoy on my trip and then hopefully bring some local brews home with me when I return. I was thinking if I packed them similarly to how I pack for a trade it might work.

    Anyway, just curious if anyone has done this before. Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  16. KAF

    KAF Advocate (610) Iowa Jun 22, 2007

    That is how I have done it in the past, just treat it like a trade and you luggage as the box. I will bubble wrap my bottles and put them in ziplock bags then stuff them in with my clothes. So far security has not checked my luggage and nothing has broken. My wife had her luggage checked for salad dressing though, go figure.
  17. JRod1969

    JRod1969 Advocate (625) New York Nov 23, 2010

    I have done this with success. Bubble wrap, plastic bag (unless you want to risk wet luggage), and wrap in clothes. It's better if the luggage has hard or semi-hard sides.
  18. jtmartino

    jtmartino Advocate (535) California Dec 11, 2010 Beer Trader

    I've had success, as well as a broken bottle in the past. The broken bottle was a bomber of Weyerbacher Tiny that I brought back from Asheville. A sad day indeed.

    The important thing is don't overpack your luggage. I overpacked my bag and it caused the plastic frame of my suitcase to break, which led to the breaking of the bottle. Use large bubble wrap if possible, and wrap the bottles in individual plastic bags or a garbage bag. If something breaks, you don't want it leaking out of your suitcase and getting everywhere.

    That's about it. Make sure the bottles don't touch the edges of the suitcase, and don't let the bottles touch each other.
  19. woosterbill

    woosterbill Champion (915) Kentucky Apr 6, 2009 Beer Trader

    I've brought beer in my checked bags on several occasions, and have never had a problem. Just last week I got back from a trip to Europe, and my checked bag contained nothing but a box, bubblewrap, and beer.

    For the record, 8x750ml + 5x375ml put me 2kilos/4lbs over the weight limit; luckily the check-in lady let me slide - I thought I was going to have to chug a 3F Golden Blend or two before going through security at Heathrow!
    jchoffman likes this.
  20. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (890) California Nov 16, 2009 Beer Trader

    I just got back from Tampa and brought 3 750s and 5 12 oz home with me. I brought electrical tape and some blue painters tape and 8 strips of bubble wrap. Wrapped them in a layer, covered with clothes. More bottles. More clothes. All was fine and dandy. Done it a couple times now.

  21. Thanks for the advice everyone! I was thinking around those same lines, but it's reassuring to hear your success stories (and learn from your unfortunate loss).

    Hopefully I will be sipping on some KBS on the beach in Florida tomorrow instead of having clothes that smell like KBS all week...
  22. woosterbill

    woosterbill Champion (915) Kentucky Apr 6, 2009 Beer Trader

    Make that 8x750ml and 6x375ml - reading this thread reminded me to put away my suitcase and extra bubblewrap, and in with the bubblewrap I found an extra bottle that I thought I'd left behind with my friend in London - a 1990 De Wets Geuze. How's that for a fun surprise?
    brikelly and HopsJunkiedotcom like this.
  23. You can pickup a decent portable digital luggage scale on Amazon for $15. It's pretty much spot on and since then I've never had an issue with luggage limits and beer.

    Prior to that, I always just had a "man overboard" beer or two that I stuck on top. Stuff that wasn't worth anywhere near a 50 Euro bag overage...
  24. woosterbill

    woosterbill Champion (915) Kentucky Apr 6, 2009 Beer Trader

    I'll have to look into that scale; it would have sucked to have gotten hit with the overage charge - on United it would have been $200!
  25. woosterbill likes this.
  26. gn0sis

    gn0sis Savant (335) Massachusetts Dec 17, 2007 Beer Trader

  27. I bring beer home from business trips all the time. I don't even bother with bubble wrap and plastic bags. I fly Southwest and they love bags, so no worries. I wrap the bottles around a tee shirt and set in my suitcase. I use the clasps built into the suitcase to make sure nothing can move around. So far, so good.
  28. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Advocate (625) Georgia Nov 13, 2008 Beer Trader

    I have never used bubblewrap in a checked back, but I would have to imagine it's a good idea. In the past, I've just wrapped my bottles in clothes and made sure nothing was moving around in the suitcase at all even with lots of movement of the suitcase. I would recommend using plastic bags in case of breakage, though. A few bottles should be no problem at all, I've brought about 8 22s home in a medium sized suitcase.
  29. I've brought beer home in my checked luggage many times, and have never had any problems. I don't use bubble wrap, but I do usually put each bottle in a sealable plastic bag, just in case. Also, wrap clothes around the bottle, or stick the bottle in a shoe, assuming you're packing shoes.
  30. yesferro

    yesferro Savant (250) Mississippi Jul 30, 2008

    pack it as if Fedex will be handling it, I bet they're rougher on packages then luggage handlers!

    I bubblewrap, ziplog and then roll it up in clothes. Last trip to Belgium, we brought back 27 bottles and 6 glasses, no breakage! We did have to mail some of our clothes home :B
  31. I was in Mexico in February. I didn't bring back any beer, but I did pack a bottle of tequilla and a bunch of hotsauce bottles in my luggage. Since we were travelling with our 1 year old and had a bunch of unused mexican pampers that weren't that great anyways, I wrapped everything in diapers and then put the bottles in the very middle of a clothes suitcase.. I figured that would give me the padding needed plus if anything broke the liquid absorbtion stuff in the diapers would keep my clothes from getting soaked. If I were to bring beer back from somewhere in the future I would totally use diapers again.
  32. Wrap each bottle in a sock and then put it in a ziplock bag. If a bottle does break, the sock will stop the glass puncturing the bag, which will keep the beer from leaking into your bag. Also try and pack the bottles in the middle of your suitcase, not on the edges.
  33. guajolote

    guajolote Advocate (530) Oregon Sep 12, 2008

    If you're flying out of PDX, this is a great option. The Laurelwood brewpubs in PDX (Concourses A & E) sell growlers & bombers to go. The growlers were $14 (with glass) the last time I was there in December, which is a steal at a regular bar, let alone at the airport. Since the pubs are past security, you can carry the bottles or growlers onto the plane with you. I take a growler with me any time I go back to Ohio to visit family. Also, Portland has a "no price gouging" ordinance, so anything you buy at the airport costs around the same price as it would anywhere else in town.
  34. Steimie

    Steimie Advocate (590) Michigan Jan 7, 2012

    Flew with 7 bottles today. Wrapped them in bubble wrap, put each one in it's own ziplock bag, wrote "BEER" on each bag, put the bags in a wooden wine box, taped it shut, wrote "BEER" on the outside of the box. Beers arrived safe and sound. There was a TSA inspection tag inside my suitcase and another inside the box. TSA had very carefully re-taped the box.

    If you're as anal about packing beer as I am, I highly recommend the wooden wine boxes. They're not terribly heavy and it seems as though they offer pretty good protection.
  35. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Advocate (550) Oregon Aug 17, 2005 Beer Trader

    You're lucky. The last time they inspected my beer they used a box cutter to just slice through all the bubble wrap and then just sort of tossed them back into the bag with the bubble wrap sort of half assedly wrapped around the bottles. Oh, and someone wrote "Nice beer!" on the inspection card.

    Luckily nothing broke or I would have been pissed because it was 2 bottles of Hunahpu's and a bunch of other stuff I can't get in Oregon.
  36. Steimie

    Steimie Advocate (590) Michigan Jan 7, 2012

    Man, that sucks.

    I flew out of DTW, and I have to say I think they have the best security system and the best TSA agents of any airport I've been to. We'll see if it goes as well when I fly back on Sunday. Hoping it does...I'm flying with 2 bombers of Abyss and I'd hate to see them break (for lots of reasons, obviously).
  37. mindswoop

    mindswoop Savant (265) Texas Dec 22, 2011

    I've never used bubble wrap and never had a break.

    Always use jeans and sweatshirts to wrap 750s. Use other clothing to provide padding around the bottles. I make sure the bottles don't touch and that the suitcase is full so there isn't the opportunity for much movement. Another trick is using shoes to protect 12oz bottles...they fit perfectly and have instant protection on 3 sides.
  38. rings

    rings Aficionado (235) Michigan Feb 4, 2011

    I nearly always check in a case when I return from Germany. I bubble wrap each bottle, and tape cardboard over the top, but the plastic cases are perfect for carrying and the Mehrweg bottles (thicker glass as they're reusable) hold up really well.
    You're allowed 1 case per adult through customs, no tax or fees.
  39. paulys55

    paulys55 Advocate (735) Pennsylvania Aug 2, 2010 Beer Trader

  40. FullObs

    FullObs Savant (325) Illinois Jul 27, 2010 Beer Trader

    Use wine shippers. Declare it as wine and tell them it's professionally packed - they put a sticker on it and will be more careful with it (hopefully). 12x 750s in a styro shipper is under the 50lb limit.