I would do 2. you can check it. They will mostly likely open it to make sure its not a box of Molitov Cocktails. And the $25 extra bag charge will be less than shipping it from NC to AZ. I recently flew to Denver from FL and checked 2 boxes of beer on the way home. Both 12 bottle wine shippers. Cost me $25. I checked with fedex Ground and it would have been about $65 to ship both and taken 5 days. I just had a carry on and used my first free bag for 1 and paid for the other.