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Taking beer on a plane as a checked bag

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

  1. fmccormi

    fmccormi Champion (815) Florida Oct 24, 2010 Verified

    Bottom line, I've gotten to the point where I will specifically ask for "fragile" stickers and leaving a hand-written note in my luggage asking TSA to be very careful with my bags' contents and to replace things to their original position after searching their contents. Something about being a young male flying solo internationally once or twice a year puts me on search lists, I guess.
  2. lionssoccer13

    lionssoccer13 Savant (330) Florida Jun 30, 2011 Verified

    Came back from Belgium with 15 bottles of Cantillon and 3F stuff. No issues at all other than the outrageous heavy bag fee, lol.
  3. penniwisdom

    penniwisdom Initiate (0) California Sep 10, 2010

    I once packed a few Pliny bottles and a bottle of Dave leaving Portland Airport. The Dave didn't make it but at least the Pliny did.

    Seriously though, I had a bottle of Big Bad Baptist taken from my bag a few years back by TSA. Weak.
  4. RWNay

    RWNay Savant (475) Illinois Oct 7, 2010

    Just flew home yesterday with 4 bombers and 6 singles in my bag. Long story short, after 2 canceled flights and multiple airports, I made it home with all my beer and no problems. Although I did get my bag searched 3 different times....
  5. Flashy

    Flashy Advocate (675) Vermont Oct 22, 2003 Verified

    Over the years we have carried hundreds of bottles of beers in checked luggage. We always wrapped them in socks and then rolled them up again in the clothes. Only had one bottle break over the years, but I suspect we were getting a little cocky.
  6. theCoder

    theCoder Savant (400) Minnesota Oct 24, 2011 Verified

    Socks plus dirty/cushy clothes. I do this often, it works fine. Just have the edges with a solid layer of padding and on the bottom and top. Bubble wrap if you got it otherwise just use 1 shirt + 1 sock per bottle.
  7. mecummins

    mecummins Savant (425) Illinois Nov 16, 2012

    I actually bought them on sale at Christmas for around $14 a piece. Worth it to me for wine and pricier beer.
  8. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Texas Apr 11, 2012

    I buy a roll of bubble wrap, cheap kitchen bags, and rubber bands. Wrap bottles and secure with rubber bands. Put in bag, squish out air, twist a few times and put it back inside itself (essentially double bagging it), squish out the air, then tie the bag. I fit 11 bottles. I had to put about 4 pounds of clothes into my carry on since it was 53.5 lb at the airport, but that wasn't a huge deal.
  9. richardflyr

    richardflyr Savant (435) Virginia Jul 28, 2009 Verified

    I wrap my beers in hotel hand towels, then put those in ziploc bags, squeeze the air out. Then I make sure that there is padding between the ziploc bags. Never had a beer breakage yet in about 3 years of doing this regularly for business travel.

    Honestly, I think if your bag is closer to 50 lbs, you're safer than if don't. It's a lot harder to throw a 50 lbs bag.
  10. tgchief

    tgchief Savant (315) Iowa Nov 30, 2010

    I have traveled with growlers and never lost one yet, knock knock knock...
  11. JuniperJesus

    JuniperJesus Savant (440) Illinois Feb 26, 2011

    How do I ship this girl home?
  12. crusian

    crusian Advocate (665) Oregon May 14, 2010 Verified

    you steal towels? Thats not cool.
  13. Sam_Frank

    Sam_Frank Initiate (0) California Nov 29, 2012

    those beers look happy to have had a safe trip
    JulianB likes this.
  14. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Advocate (670) Missouri May 11, 2012 Verified

    $14.99 isn't bad. The fact that you can reuse them time after time is pretty cool
  15. kmello69

    kmello69 Advocate (645) Texas Nov 27, 2011 Verified

    Re-purposed wine shipper. :)
  16. Arsenal_MC

    Arsenal_MC Aficionado (205) District of Columbia Feb 25, 2013 Verified

    One friend went to FL last weekend and brought some Cigar City back with him in his checked back no problem. While my roommate was made to repackage his 7 bottles into styrofoam boxes and send them seperately this past weekend.. Sucked, but the RR's were worth it! AND I have the packing materials to make my first 6 bottle trade... I'm in DC, holler at me!
  17. Twice I've had bottles leak through a seemingly sealed cap in checked luggage. Each time, maybe an ounce or two of beer leaked out, but what was left was still fairly carbonated. I've probably transported 200 bottles in checked luggage, so not too bad of a track record.
  18. joshodonn

    joshodonn Savant (345) Florida Jan 21, 2011

    I've transported bottles in my checked luggage dozens of times. This past Saturday I was flying from Birmingham to Tampa and had 8 750 ml bottles and 2 22oz bombers in a standard wine bottle box. I was planning to just check the box as-is, I've done it plenty of times and haven't had any problems. The agent at the Southwest desk asked me what was in the box, it was pretty obvious that is was wine. Before I even answered she told me to open it up and handed me a pair scissors to cut the tape. I told her it was beer, she asked if I had packed it correctly, and proceeded to refuse to check it for me because the bottles weren't individually wrapped in a sealed bag. I asked her if I could put them in my suitcases (I had two, was just lazy and didn't pack them in there ahead of time), and she said no, not unless they were properly wrapped. They had a 'wine bottle bagger' thing that was out of order, so that didn't help. So basically, she refused to check them for me. This was at about 10:45am, my flight was at 12:40, and I had $150 worth of beer at risk. So I acted quickly, went and got a cheap rental car, managed to find a Wal-Mart close by to get a box bubble wrap. I get out to parking lot to pack the box, and realized I didn't have any tape in my briefcase, so I ran into Office Depot thinking it would be quicker than going back into Wal-Mart. I then rushed to wrap the bottles and pack the box, using dirty clothes as filler/padding. By this time it was 11:30, still had to find a UPS Store or FedEx to ship... I found a UPS Store on my iPad, tried to find it and it directed me to a residential area. By this point it's about 11:40, and I'm running out of time. I start to head back towards airport and by chance see the UPS store. So I go in, and of course got the slowest UPS clerk of all time. Finally got out of there about 11:55, and high-tail it back to the airport, drop off my car, and then realized I had lost my boarding pass. Shit. Get a new one, make it through security at 12:15, just in the nick of time to get on my flight as it was boarding. that was the most stressful morning I think I've ever had, thank goodness it was in Birmingham.
  19. pitweasel

    pitweasel Advocate (550) New York Jun 11, 2007

    I've only done it once, but it was no problem. Beer bottle into clean sock, sock wrapped by t-shirt, t-shirt wrapped by Navy issue rain coat. That bottle of Alpha King tasted pretty damn good in Dallas.
  20. Having flown medical aircrew for the USAF for 11 yrs, I have brought enough beer back to last a lifetime (like that was going to happen). We would stick racks of beer from Germany in a big green box called a CONEX box and never had a bottle break. When I would fly commercial back, I would wrap them up in dirty laundry along with the glasses for each beer (got my Leffe, Grimbergen, Kostrizer, several wheat beer glasses and a ceramic replica of a steel pot helmet from a local Bastogne brewer for the 60th anniversary of the battle of the bulge) and I never had one break or get stolen.
  21. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (430) 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.
  22. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (430) Maryland Feb 17, 2013

    Worked great for me. Lost one, but that was due to my own stupidity.
  23. dvmin98

    dvmin98 Champion (760) North Carolina Nov 1, 2010 Verified

    Not up there long enough
  24. ao125

    ao125 Savant (335) Virginia Dec 1, 2010

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

    DanGolfs86 Savant (310) 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)
  26. crusian

    crusian Advocate (665) Oregon May 14, 2010 Verified

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

    Smitty1988 Savant (385) Arizona Oct 16, 2012 Verified

    Which cans? I am from AZ...
  28. 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.
  29. FlyingKelly

    FlyingKelly Savant (260) 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.
  30. Jslay013

    Jslay013 Savant (415) Massachusetts Mar 6, 2011 Verified

    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.
  31. SupperEL

    SupperEL Aspirant (35) 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.
  32. Rollzroyce21

    Rollzroyce21 Champion (870) California Oct 24, 2009 Verified

    You got one random and kinda disturbing avatar there..
  33. Dirty25

    Dirty25 Savant (390) 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.
  34. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (670) Illinois Nov 10, 2012 Verified

    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.
  35. 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.
  36. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011 Verified

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

    RyanMcFly1985 Savant (425) Ohio Oct 20, 2007 Verified

    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.
  38. kemoarps

    kemoarps Advocate (700) Washington Apr 30, 2008 Verified

    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.
  39. cdmillard

    cdmillard Savant (430) 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.
  40. 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.