Taking beer on a plane as a checked bag

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

  1. DonSaleen747

    DonSaleen747 Savant (325) Connecticut Oct 2, 2009 Verified

    I also have this and have filled it on multiple trips from Colorado & Cali to CT with no issue. No bubble wrap or anything, just toss the bottles in and zip it up. I also fill my other check bag(s) with smaller bottles wrapped up and had no issues.
  2. capnmike

    capnmike Savant (355) Illinois Dec 6, 2013 Verified

    I was in Colorado for work last week, and I brought my bubble wrap and zip-loc gallon bags on the way out - suitcase was 31 lbs.

    I packed and brought back one bomber, 3 750s, and 4 12 ozers and the weight on my return was 48.5 lbs (woo hoo!).

    I got a note that TSA opened my bag (probably check a lot of bags leaving CO these days), but all made it back intact.

    I saw a guy in the airport carying a case of some Firestone-Walker brew, all taped up and with his name/address on it - seemed pretty obvious he was going to use that as his checked bag.
  3. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,155) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member Verified

    I've never seen a suitcase that would hold a 12 bottle shipper, but that doesn't mean they don't exist I suppose. It would have be a pretty large suitcase I think.

    The GF and I both use cardboard wine sleeves that fit perfectly in a couple of medium size, roll away suitcases we own. We've never had a problem packing bottles (or breakage) in either one. The samsonite suitcase I recently bought is pretty deep, and at times I've been able to fit 9 bottles in it. We typically use the suitcases for 750 ml. wine bottles, but the times I've packed beer, it seemed to work equally well (just pack some bubble wrap if you have it around the individual bottles to take up some of the extra space if you're bringing bombers or 12 ounce bottles).
  4. John_M

    John_M Moderator (1,155) Oregon Oct 25, 2003 Staff Member Verified

    The only time I've ever had a problem with breakage is when TSA opened up the suitcase for inspection. The person who opened my suitcase, didn't put the bottles back into the sleeves correctly, resulting in one broken bottle. Not sure what you one can do about that, though I would add that this was an isolated incident, and usually it's not a problem. For a while I would include a note to TSA, letting them know I had packed wine in my clothing suitcase. That seemed to help, as when I used that note, I never had a single problem.
  5. kscaldef

    kscaldef Champion (845) Oregon Jun 11, 2010 Verified

    Yeah, that's why I get nervous transporting bottles in a suitcase vs the wine check. Either way, TSA always opens it up, but they can't really screw anything up with the shipper, whereas suitcase with clothes as padding doesn't always get repacked as well as I'd like.
  6. HighLowJack

    HighLowJack Advocate (525) Massachusetts Jun 5, 2013 Verified

    right. so it seems like the best way to

    1) have a rolling suitcase
    2) be able to bring back 12-14 bombers

    is to use a standard sized suitcase and use my own packing materials?
  7. I used to do it too ... years and years ago. I must admit I don't travel at all in my current job, but nowadays the airlines are so paranoid about everything, I just assumed there was no chance. I'm surprised (and happy) that some people do this successfully.

    It kind of reminds me of when I used to do white water kayaking. I had some friends who would fly to South America to kayak and would take their boats with them. I asked them one time if checking them through an airline was ever a problem. They advised me "Don't ever call the airline and ask them if it's okay. Just show up at the airport with your boat, ticket in hand, like you didn't know any better, and they'll find a way to get your kayak on that plane." Perhaps beer can be handled in the same way. :D
  8. amano_h

    amano_h Advocate (555) California Mar 18, 2014

    I recently came back from California with three cases of beer; one of which was packed into a roller, two of which were packed into regular cardboard boxes (I got lazy with one and just wrapped the original case with bubble wrap and filled the sucker with packing peanuts into an even bigger box)

    All of them made the trip from SFO -> PHL without incident without a single casualty. I did notice, when I opened my two boxes, that TSA had gone through them and left their little courtesy "we searched through your crap for the sake of national security" notice. Seeing as how I haven't been arrested or charged for anything yet, I'm assuming TSA doesn't care if you take copious amounts of beer with you as checked-in luggage on a plane.
  9. Seanem44

    Seanem44 Aficionado (240) Virginia Mar 18, 2014

    There are no issues at all. I did two weeks reserve training in Italy. Shipped all my clothes home and devoted my luggage solely to wine. No problems at all.
  10. montman

    montman Savant (435) Virginia Mar 10, 2009 Verified

    Just had my first trip to where I brought back home multiple bottles, I had to bring back some Alpine and a few others to VA from San Diego. Just put the bottles in ziplock bags and wrapped each one individually very carefully in clothes. Luckily no problems at all, all were intact.
  11. mjshearer1

    mjshearer1 Advocate (565) Michigan Dec 16, 2011 Verified

    You gotta wonder who the first unlucky person who lets "I'm checking in this bag of bombers" slip out is going to be.
  12. nathanb47

    nathanb47 Savant (275) Massachusetts Dec 14, 2010 Verified

    I brought back a few glass bottles and some cans from Florida recently in my checked bag. All I did was put them in gallon ziploc bags and surrounded them by clothes. No TSA note and no breakages. To top it all off, my bag still weighed less than my wife's haha
  13. stingley

    stingley Savant (285) Pennsylvania Sep 21, 2013

    These just came back from Boston on a checked bag. Did not partake tonight but will probably get into one them tomorrow. Both are new to me so I'll be reporting in on Sunday!
  14. I bought my mother a bottle of pumpkin porter from Alaskan brewing during my trip up there , without thinking left it in my carry on , at check in was pulled to the side and asked to open my bag. They told me I could put it in my checked bag, but then I would have to recheck the bag which would have been 25$ and waiting in line, so I just left it on the line and got on the plane. Hope someone got to enjoy the bottle.
  15. stillalivetui

    stillalivetui Disciple (65) Indiana May 30, 2014

    I flew various FFF brews back out West yesterday. All the bottles made it okay, however, one of the Zombie Dusts leaked out a wee bit. It was nothing substantial and the bottle is still in good shape. I am vexed as to how that happened because there was no crack on the bottle or anything. Has anyone had anything like this happen before?
  16. Cyclone8

    Cyclone8 Advocate (500) Minnesota Oct 19, 2011 Verified

    Yup. The pressure (high altitude) can make that happen, it's happened a couple times to me. Which isn't too bad, 2 leaky bottles out of 100 or so.
  17. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Savant (405) New York Aug 18, 2012

    I put a ton of beers (wrapped in bubble wrap) in my surfboard bag on my way back from Cali and didn't have to pay anything extra, most likely because they had no idea.
  18. stillalivetui

    stillalivetui Disciple (65) Indiana May 30, 2014

    I know I'm being paranoid, but does this leakage mess up the carbonation? I only ask because it's gonna be a gift for a friend, and I don't want to give him botched ZD.
  19. Janeinma

    Janeinma Advocate (585) Massachusetts May 24, 2009 Verified

    brought back all this in suitcases from Austin no losses at all but we did use a lot of bubble wrap, we flew Southwest and were both allowed 2 bags of 50 lbs we were basically at max the baggage handlers did not like us.
  20. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Savant (305) California May 13, 2014 Verified

    I always like to make sure I wrap the bottle in something, then put it in the ziplock, then put padding around it.

    Reason being is should the bottle break, it's liable to puncture the ziplock. Nothing like getting to where you're going and not having anything to wear because it was all soaked in beer.

    TSA has checked my bag and all beer still has arrived safely. Never had a problem <knock on wood>
  21. Drift

    Drift Advocate (545) California Mar 26, 2014

    Awesome thread. When I eventually go to Belgium im taking a 12 bottle shipper with me.

    12 Fou Founes ftw. Rares for days!
    Shroud0fdoom likes this.
  22. dutesanch

    dutesanch Advocate (510) California Apr 22, 2014 Verified

    During a trip to Salt Lake we bought 2 cases of stuff from the Uinta store. Tried to ship it via FedEx but they refused. Packed it up and had to check it. We didn't think that they would allow us to carry on, plus it weighed 50lbs and we didn't want to carry it any longer anyway. $125 fee to check.
  23. GeorgiaBeerGuy

    GeorgiaBeerGuy Poobah (1,020) Georgia May 31, 2013 Verified

    Ok to send fedex, if you don't tell them it's alcohol...l but I brought back a hard side suitcase with bubble wrapped bombers many times, no breakage. 80% TSA check, but no problems....
  24. Never a problem with Southwest Airlines. Just make sure it is under 50lbs.
    tommyguz and IMFletcher like this.
  25. paulys55

    paulys55 Advocate (725) Pennsylvania Aug 2, 2010 Verified

    I've flown with beer countless times without a problem. It's snakes on a plane that gets you into trouble.
  26. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Savant (385) Oregon Jul 29, 2006 Verified

    I've done it several times with no issues.

    HOWEVER... Last time I flew home, a guy on my plane was taking a case of Yuengling home (why, I don't know). A ground crew member calls his name over the speaker before takeoff, and he has to go to the front of the plane. Apparently several of the bottles broke, soaking the bag. He was given the choice of taking his stuff out and putting it into a plastic bag, or getting off the plane. He ended up throwing a fit, claiming they were too rough with his bag and getting thrown off the flight. All over some Yuengling. Don't be that guy.
    Irishize75 and Chaosfiend like this.
  27. 22Blue

    22Blue Advocate (625) Kansas Nov 10, 2013 Verified Subscriber

    Just returned from Europe with no problems. Just wrapped everything as best I could and made sure everything was snug. Weighed suitcases before leaving and knew how many 750 ml. bottles I could return with without going over the 50 lb. limit. Used 3 lbs. per 750 ml. as a guide. Have never had any leakage problems, but think next time I will tape the caps just to be doubly safe. Read on another forum here the weight to use for small bottles and cans.
  28. Donco

    Donco Advocate (510) Pennsylvania Aug 12, 2013 Verified

    Have a bottle of Double Bastard and one of BA Speedway Stout coming back with me from my San Diego trip tomorrow in my checked luggage. Will be bundling each up in my dirty clothes.:rolleyes:
  29. Homebrew

    Homebrew Advocate (555) Connecticut Sep 5, 2012 Verified Subscriber

    i flew home from a brewers conference in Belgium last month, to my dismay(as I budgeted quite a bit for it) there is no beer stores that will ship to the states anymore. something about to much paperwork for customs. unless you wanna go through shipping it yourself( very costly) bring it in checked luggage. I picked up a good selection of brew I cant get here, the woman in the store put these Styrofoam fishnets on each bottle then I wrapped each one in my dirty clothes. NOT ONE BROKEN BOTTLE. just remember I only put a 12pk in each suitcase I had (BEER IS HEAVY) unless you wanna pay overweight charges. out of 4 bags I had(my wife bought a bunch of s*&$) they were all under the 30kg limit
  30. Flounder57

    Flounder57 Advocate (590) Massachusetts Feb 22, 2010 Verified

    Brought a 12 pack of beer back from Florida last month on Jet Blue. Was under 50 pounds too. I have brought beer back on Southwest too. Pack safely and no broken bottles or cans.
  31. tvoss99

    tvoss99 Savant (350) Wisconsin Feb 13, 2014 Verified

    Very glad this thread was started. I always was curious if beers would explode in your bag with the pressure change. Glad to know I can bring some out of town craft brews back to Milwaukee next time I travel :)
  32. EricTKole

    EricTKole Advocate (605) Michigan Jan 4, 2014 Verified

    I had a scare recently. On a trip to Austin TX with the wife I brought down 6 singles, a 650ml bottle and a 750ml bottle in my checked luggage for an IP trade. Well waiting for the shuttle bus upon arrival in TX I decide to open my bag and do a quick check. Everything was bubble wrapped well and in ziploc bags(except the 750). I opened my suitcase to find some of my tshirts were wet, my heart sank. Quickly I picked up the wet tshirts and smelled them, nothing, no odor. I rifle through everything finding several other articles of wet clothing with still no scent of alcohol or beer. The shuttle bus shows up so I have to close everything up and anxiously ride to our hotel where upon arrival in the lobby I'm acting like a little kid who needed to go to the bathroom 20 mins ago. Anyways we get to our room and I tear everything open and to my relief everything is fine. My conclusion was that someone else's bag must have leaked on mine or water was spilled on it. Thanks for the heart attack whoever put water in their suitcase.

    I don't really know all the rules about packing bottles in your checked luggage. I've brought stuff home from Spain and all over the country. What I do know is that traveling with bottles of beer in your luggage adds a level of anxiety to the experience. Cheers man, good luck and safe travels.
  33. BeerGreg

    BeerGreg Advocate (550) Illinois May 17, 2013 Verified

    Feels like an appropriate thread to post my luggage story. Went to San Diego back in April. Over the course of our weekend there, I planned on bringing home 12 bombers, 10 Russian River bottles, and a sixer of pint cans. Well, I knew how much spare weight we had on the flight out. I carefully packed said beers in two bomber cases. We get to the airport, and I'm fully expecting to pay the surcharge for being overweight. The American Airlines employee puts our first bag (no beer) on the scale, and we're good to go. 43 lbs., I believe. Now comes mine. He puts it on the scale, tags it, then says "have a nice flight." I see the scale...83 lbs.! Grab my GF and tell her we need to get into security. The AA employee tries picking up the bag, which then causes him to check the actual weight. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Get back here!" We had only gotten a few feet away. He proceeds to tell me they will not accept bags over 70 lbs. So, 13 over, with only 7 to spare. I had the boxes packed perfectly too. I open the suitcase and was going to start putting individual bottles into the other suitcase, which sucks because I went to great lengths in packing mine. While I start unpacking, the guy waits on the girl who was behind me. She's active military. Apparently active military members have no weight limit when it comes to suitcases. She agrees to put my name on her suitcase, and vice versa. So I paid no additional bag fees! Could not have been luckier. I offered her whatever beers she wanted. Tried to give her money or buy her breakfast. She wouldn't take anything. I am forever grateful to her!
    BigStein88 likes this.
  34. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poobah (1,240) Maryland Mar 18, 2008 Verified Subscriber

    The rules now with baggage and airlines are just pathetic.

    They have made weight limits low (sometimes as low as 40) and now they are charging checked bags, so what does everyone do? Bring huge carry ons in the plane that don't fit... grrreeeat..... :confused: and take forever to get people to board the plane. And of course you can't take bottles in your carry on now... yeah that makes perfect sense... :mad:

    Also back in the day you would take those big huge suitcases to Europe, or some other International destination. Those bags packed.. minimum... would be 70lbs easily 80 sometimes and there's no way those are getting on for free now. now those pieces of luggage are useless.

    I've taken and packed stuff home from trips from time to time. Southwest luckily doesn't charge on the first 2 bags... but then you have to fly SouthWest... :cool: so read into that what you want.

    Interestingly enough I got back from Austin this weekend, and my packed checked bag filled with a few Texas goodies including some Jester King stuff, was all nice and set to go. It was inspected and opened with a left note when I got home. They actually then repacked it better than I did after they were done! :)
    StartedwithSAM likes this.
  35. cyclistdan

    cyclistdan Disciple (65) Texas Jan 1, 2012

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  36. cyclistdan

    cyclistdan Disciple (65) Texas Jan 1, 2012

    Folds up well enough to fit under a seat even with a change of clothes inside. Weighed in at 49.5 lbs at check in
  37. smanson56

    smanson56 Advocate (635) New Hampshire Feb 15, 2014 Verified Subscriber

    Flew back from Florida on Friday with 3-6 packs of Jai Alai and 2-4 packs of Backwoods Bastard ,packed in my suitcase on Southwest. Watched the scale read 58.5 lbs but nothing was said and everything arrived in perfect condition. No TSA notes.
  38. Just back from VT Trip and have brought many bottles back including into Canada. I buy a clear plastic file tote from staples $7-$11 and a roll of bubble wrap $5. I use pieces of the cardboard case on the bottom and sides, then a layer of cloths. Then 4-6 bombers per layer with 2 layers - cloths in between and on top. Then tape it. Comes in at just under 50 lbs. Nice thing is that for big bumps the plastic will crack a bit and absorb the shock. Even better if you put a bit of cardboard between bottles. If you can put a running shoe width wide on each size that it a great and light way to avoid then getting dinged. Knock on wood, never lost a bottle.
  39. MisSigsFan

    MisSigsFan Advocate (630) California Mar 2, 2013 Verified

    Never had a problem taking beer in a checked bag. It just needs to be protected by a towel or something. Internationally might be a challenge though.
  40. RockAZ

    RockAZ Savant (435) Arizona Jan 6, 2009 Verified

    Here is what your bag goes through at the airport,...

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