1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Taking beer on a plane as a checked bag

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by KingHenry, May 22, 2012.

  1. Never had a problem and have brought large quantities back from overseas. I am actually flying home from AZ to MD Saturday but I think it will be all cans this time so no sweat on breakage. Its the 10 pound chunk of petrified wood that has me worried about my wife's bag being overweight!
     
  2. Docrock

    Docrock Savant (465) Illinois Jan 21, 2012

    Hopefully you have paperwork for the petrified wood! It is illegal to collect it.
     
    CORKSCREWFISH, luwak and 2beerdogs like this.
  3. Never thought of that I did buy it will need to check.....
     
  4. I'm too lazy to read everyone's replies, but you can totally check in styro shippers. Easiest way imo, but TSA will fa sho open that shit.
     
    woodchopper likes this.
  5. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Champion (800) California Jan 31, 2005

    Within the US, pack as much beer as you want. I've put a dozen bombers and a 2 pack in my old backpack with success. Never had so much good use of dirty laundry before., Shove each bomber in a sock or two and no breakage!!! Yeah, BOY. Da,ned Skippy.
     
  6. luwak

    luwak Savant (305) Arizona Mar 2, 2010

    Yeah that usually works but the one time a ramper throws a bag or it falls off a cart you'll be pretty sorry. or more likely, TSA opens and then repacks badly and so it breaks easily.

    if you do this a lot use boxes.
     
  7. Does anybody know if beer can freeze in the cargo hold? I mean it is unpressurized and way below freezing temperature in there.
     
  8. Steasy66

    Steasy66 Savant (370) Minnesota Feb 23, 2012

    On multiple 8 hour flights I had no issues with this. I took cans, small format bottles, and large format bottles. ABV's as low as 5%.
     
  9. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    This can happen in the passenger cabin, too. I had a few things explode in my carry ons over the years. But not beer. It doesn't explode when you shake it, right? No interface between the inside and the outside.

    I brought back a few dozen bottles from the UK to the US last May. No problems at all. I declared it all, because I was way over the limit, and the guy just laughed and showed his friends. No duty. I obviously wasn't their sort of whale.
     
  10. Avangion

    Avangion Aficionado (110) New York Dec 14, 2012

    Next time, include a Miller High Life bomber as a decoy.
     
    Docrock likes this.
  11. FLBeerGuy

    FLBeerGuy Advocate (625) Florida Feb 6, 2007

    Southwest is funny about checking alcohol. My Mother in Law tried to check a 12 pack of beer I had brought from LA. The attendant told her is was illegal to check alcohol on a flight. I told her I had just flown the beer from LA on Delta and it had a TSA inspection card inside when I got home. She made her buy these plastic air packing bags at $5 a pop and repackaged her beer. Ended up costing $20, it was either that or she would not allow her to check it.
     
  12. heatwaves

    heatwaves Savant (335) California Oct 17, 2009

    That's just crazy!

    My attendant went on and on asking how "secure" my beers were. I told her that I had a lot of experience shipping beer and she didn't have to worry. Needless to say, she didn't buy my explanation and started to rant that my beers could explode, leak on someone's bag, and ruin their clothes. I replied that they might want to be awfully careful with my box then. :D (And this was after she told me that Southwest could not abide my by "This Side Up" stickers all around the box.) She should have just relaxed and had a homebrew.
     
  13. Freeze? Maybe, but very very unlikely. Transport category aircraft have pressurized cargo holds but are not required to have temperature controls. However, for sake of simplicity in design the cargo hold is (typically) pressurized through the same system that pressurizes the main cabin which, as you can guess, is required to be temp controlled.

    FWIW, any time I take a trip somewhere I bring back some local brews in my checked bag. This last trip home it came out to be exactly 50lbs worth of brew. TSA searched my bag and I did not have any broken bottles. In fact I've never had a bottle break in a checked bag(that doesn't mean it won't happen to you).
     
  14. FlyingKelly

    FlyingKelly Savant (250) Texas Nov 28, 2012

    I check beer in all the time on United. Bought a sturdy plastic bin at home depot with attached swivel lids. I pack it up nice and secure, put a tie-down strap around it, and add a TSA approved pad lock. Works great!
     
  15. jpfromb

    jpfromb Aficionado (110) Oregon Apr 9, 2010

    Flew from Belgium to Bend, Or. a year ago. Had seventeen carefully bubble wrapped bottles placed in between articles of clothing in a large suitcase. Checked through to customs in DC, everything looking good. Bag comes around the carousel in Redmond, Or. and just about crapped when I saw my bag. It was completely unzipped with packing tape wrapped around the bag in several directions and clothes poking through the tape. Got home and every bottle was unwrapped and tossed back in my bag. Miraculously, not one bottle was broken.
     
  16. Ii think wine and beer there is no limit. Just booze, something like 5 liters.
     
  17. DonDirkA

    DonDirkA Savant (400) Arizona Dec 14, 2011

    I brought beer back from England, all under 5% ABV, 11 hour flight. No issues.
     
  18. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (410) Maryland Feb 17, 2013

    Just brought 48 bottles of Westvleteren 12 home from Belgium. Checked them in 2 bags with each bottle in a 1 gallon ziplock bag, wrapped in bubble wrap. Lost one bottle on the trip, and had to pay a 70 Euro "over weight" fee to KLM for one of the bags. Makes the beer even more expensive, but well worth it! My recommendation is to use two 22 inch roll aboard bags, and make sure the kids are tightly packed. The small bag made it fine. The larger, 29 inch bag had to much slop, and was overweight because of all the filler we had to put into it. That's where we lost the single bottle.
     
    tacosandbeer likes this.
  19. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (410) Maryland Feb 17, 2013

    Worked great for me. Lost one, but that was due to my own stupidity.
     
  20. Not up there long enough
     
  21. ao125

    ao125 Savant (335) Virginia Dec 1, 2010

    I'd be more worried about TSA, especially now with the impending furloughs.
     
  22. DanGolfs86

    DanGolfs86 Savant (300) Illinois Dec 2, 2010

    I've brought back bottles every week for the past 3 months, every time i get the nice slip in my bag saying that the TSA has inspected, they always repack my beers as they were.

    It's not the TSA you have to worry about it's the baggage handlers. I swear my RR 375ml was intact up until i heard the bags being thrown on the baggage claim belt. They were dropping them so hard the belt was shaking and we could hear each bag from behind the wall. I was sad and my clothes were covered in beer. :( (But my other 4 bottles made it that trip, so not a total loss)
     
  23. crusian

    crusian Advocate (620) Oregon May 14, 2010

    animals.
    people fly their dogs places. it is pressurized and wont freeze.
     
  24. Smitty1988

    Smitty1988 Savant (325) Arizona Oct 16, 2012

    Which cans? I am from AZ...
     
  25. I don't know about temperature, but as others have said, the cargo hold is pressurized the same as the rest of the plane, otherwise pets wouldn't make it. I doubt it's too cold either, for the same reason.

    edit: looks like others have beat me to it.
     
  26. FlyingKelly

    FlyingKelly Savant (250) Texas Nov 28, 2012

    I fly with beer at least once a month in a hard case, no clothes in it, just beer. Only once have I had an issue, not with breakage but with what I assume was TSA doing a lousy job inspecting and repacking the beer and not re-securing the box with the lock and strap. Otherwise it's been fine... and tasty.
     
  27. A little bubble-wrap and then wrapped again in clothes has never done me wrong. Just be careful to watch the weight unless you are willing to pay for overages.
     
  28. SupperEL

    SupperEL Initiate (20) California Feb 19, 2013

    I had problems traveling trough Mexico from Ixtapa to Mexico City. The security procedure is for them to search your bags before the the ticket counter. They found my stash of beer and would not allow anything with a bottle cap through. Luckily I also had a couple of corks so it manage to get away with a few bottles.

    I did not have any issues on my way to Ixtapa from Mexico City because my bags were checked all the way through from SFO.

    There are no limits for beer in domestic travel. If you packed your own suitcase there is nothing else to be said at the ticket counter.
     
  29. You got one random and kinda disturbing avatar there..
     
  30. Dirty25

    Dirty25 Savant (370) Germany Jan 22, 2012

    TSA shearched my bags last time. They focused on the beer. The guys commented about it(the one guy seemed to be a BA) and put it back in my suitcase and told me I was good to go. I made it home with 8 12oz bottles.
     
  31. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (585) Illinois Nov 10, 2012

    I travel a lot for work and typically bring beer back. You don't have to tell them what it is. Just make sure u pack it well. If I am just doing a few bottles I pack it in my luggage wrapped in towels or clothes.
     
  32. I use these bottle weight estimates when packing my suitcase. I make sure to note the weight of the bag when I check it on the outbound trip, so I know how much I can bring back and still stay under the weight restriction.
    12oz = 1.25lbs each
    22oz = 2.5lbs each
    750ml = 3lbs each

    I don't bother with bubble wrap or ziplock bags. Each bottle goes in a sock. My suitcase is hard sided except the top. So I make sure the bottles can't move around - stuffing clothes to fill in the gaps, then pile extra clothes on top. Have safely brought back hundreds of bottles from my trips and haven't lost one yet.

     
    swoopdog likes this.
  33. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (380) New York Jul 16, 2011

    I thought there was a separate pressurized/heated compartment for the critters.... could be wrong though.
     
  34. RyanMcFly1985

    RyanMcFly1985 Savant (305) Ohio Oct 20, 2007

    Gonna resurrect this one as I am heading to the Bahamas on my honeymoon in late July. I wanted to pack a case or so of Surly cans for my wife and I to enjoy on the beach. Would I be able to be "less meticulous" with my packing materials since they are cans? Could going out of the country cause me more problems if caught? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  35. kemoarps

    kemoarps Advocate (590) Washington Apr 30, 2008


    I don't know about the legal side of it travelling internationally, but I've packed beers across the country in both bottle and can formats. I've never had a bottle break, but I HAVE had a can punctured (it was a TENFIDY, too. Sad face), so I would advise against the "less meticulous" approach.
    Just my two cents and experience. Either way, I hope it works out and have a great trip!!
     
    RyanMcFly1985 likes this.
  36. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (410) Maryland Feb 17, 2013

    In general, traveling internationally with beer isn't an issue, but check Bahamian law and see if they have any specific restrictions. You may need to pay a duty, but, frankly, don;t let that be a big deterrant, as the duty is pretty small. You can be a little less meticulous with cans, but don't get sloppy, because you can puncture a can, and it makes every bit as big of a mess as a broken bottle.

    Congratulations, and good luck!
     
    RyanMcFly1985 likes this.
  37. Rohkey

    Rohkey Savant (350) Michigan Jan 13, 2013

    I took some beer with me to Belgium for trading purposes. I had no problems, my bag was inspected on the trip home and nothing was unwrapped, etc. I flew Delta as well, and I can give you just a bit of advice...

    1) Beer is damned heavy. I took about 24-26 bottles and it came in a bit over the weight limit of 50 lbs (52 lbs and 59 lbs), which could have cost me a lot of money in oversized/overweight luggage fees, but both times the employee who checked my bag in said it wasn't a big deal and I didn't have to pay extra.
    2) Socks and bubblewrap is your friend. I put my bottles in socks with a rubberband on either end, and then bubblewrapped them twice over. Make sure the neck is well protected, as that is the weakest part of the bottle and the most likely to break. Be mindful that wrapping your beers adds a lot of bulk to them, so you'll want a fairly large suitcase. Also lining the suitcase with bubblewrap/clothes is a good idea. Make sure that if something does break, it won't leak all over the place...socks will hopefully absorb anything.
    3) I remember reading on Delta's website that beer is okay to take in basically any quantity. They only regulate higher ABV beverages. Though I also read that it is forbidden to bring alcohol for trading/selling/commercial purposes, so if you are questioned say it is for personal consumption or something along those lines. I suspect if you bring more than a suitcase of beer, they might get suspicious...I left TSA a note in my suitcase in case it was inspected beseeching them to be respectful when searching through things, and that the beer was for personal use.
    4) Ensure that the beers are placed so that they are either flat or upright when the suitcase is set down or on its side. If the bottle necks are bouncing around or off other things, that could be an issue.
     
    Stugotzo and RyanMcFly1985 like this.
  38. Preluderl

    Preluderl Savant (360) Pennsylvania Sep 27, 2012

    I was wondering about this as well as I'm going to California later this year and wanted to bring stuff back with me. Thanks for the information, all.
     
  39. fiver29

    fiver29 Savant (415) Ohio Sep 18, 2007


    I've taken beer on trips with me lots of times. To answer your specific questions I'd say a couple points. First, as long as the cans aren't blasting into one another in your bag they should be fine. If it were me I'd still pack them so they aren't banging into one another so they can't tear each other somehow. Think packing them in socks and t-shirts as a must. Biggest issue you will have is weight limits.

    Taking beer in and out of the Bahamas is not a big deal. Booze is big business for the islands actually. That won't be a problem either. They don't care about beer.

    Congrats and have fun!
     
    RyanMcFly1985 likes this.
  40. fiver29

    fiver29 Savant (415) Ohio Sep 18, 2007


    When I visited San Diego a couple years ago I stopped at a Bevmo and picked up 2 12 bottle styro shippers. Filled both of them and checked them at the airport. I brought my packing tape from home. I looked at it like this. The cost of checking the box was less than shipping it from CA.
     

Share This Page