Checking beer on a plane flight/baggage

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by IamMe90, Nov 16, 2012.

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  1. jtdolla911

    jtdolla911 Aspirant (238) Nov 18, 2011 Massachusetts

    I will be travelling to Belgium next year and plan on bringing back lots of beer. I will use the empty suitcase tip and fill it with bubble wrap so i dont go looking for it there.

    Im hoping to get a case of Westy 12, and see that it might b an issue. Does anyone have any insight on getting.cases of Westy 12 back to the states.

    And will Mass's screwy liquor laws affect the ability to check beer in luggage?
  2. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (5,253) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin

    For those of you who used styro shippers and checked them on planes: how did you label the box aside from your name and address? Any "fragile", "this side up" notations, etc?
  3. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,486) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I used a box with the styrofoam mold for bottles, and we did write "FRAGILE" on several sides of the box. I think most airlines will also give you some sort of sticker that marks it as delicate cargo, but they will caveat the shit out of any implied guarantee that the sticker will ensure safe arrival of said cargo.

    When my wife and I shipped 12 wine bottles back from Napa on our plane using this method, all of them made it intact.
  4. Eighty

    Eighty Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2013 Washington

    Has anyone used zip-loc bags for bombers/750s? They don't seem to fit in a gallon freezer bag. Do you use larger bags? What about + cork and cage?

    Sorry if this has been answered. Quick search didn't show any results.
  5. LivingWeapon

    LivingWeapon Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2012 Illinois

    Going to Russian River and want to bring some beer back home on the plane with me. What should I know about bringing beer back on a plane.
  6. kbuzz

    kbuzz Champion (888) Jan 22, 2011 North Carolina

    pack carefully in the luggage you're planning on checking
  7. TravisMBinns

    TravisMBinns Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2011 Illinois

    Check your luggage. Make sure you protect your bottes from breaking against one another. I use bubble wrap. A lot of people also put their beer in ziplock bags. Bring me back something!
  8. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,461) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Assuming you're packing the bottles in your suitcase, use bubble wrap, tape, ziploc bags, and stuff some clothes in between everything. And pray that TSA leaves your shit alone.
    kbuzz likes this.
  9. Kopfschuss

    Kopfschuss Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2009 Oregon

    Would it be similar in price to get a 12 bottle shipper and mail it to yourself? Or are you already checking the bag?
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  10. AngusOg

    AngusOg Meyvn (1,138) Apr 23, 2010 North Carolina

    Don't tell them there is beer in your suit case.
  11. billyshears

    billyshears Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2008 Connecticut

    I went to san fran/santa rosa in early July. Bought a bunch of wine too. I just ended up buying two 12 bottle shippers, loaded them up and checked them. I padded it a bit with bubble wrap just to make sure. I was a little afraid seeing them slide down onto the carousel, but they arrived safely with no issues at all. If you don't mind the additional fee for extra baggage, I would say that is the way to go.*

    *not responsible if the bottles break
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  12. kbuzz

    kbuzz Champion (888) Jan 22, 2011 North Carolina

    depends how far you're shipping. When I brought beer back from RR to Pittsburgh, it was probably about equal in cost to what shipping would have been, but I had my beer the day I got there instead of having to wait another week for it to get to me. :grinning:
    Kopfschuss likes this.
  13. theGroove

    theGroove Initiate (104) Apr 6, 2007 Indiana

    I'll be heading there in September and can't decide whether to take back in a suite case or take some of the packing materials I have from online orders and ship them.
  14. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (5,253) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin

    Buy a 12 bottle shipper and check it on the plane both ways. Proceed to enjoy your vacation and not having to worry about breakage.
    mcrago and Kopfschuss like this.
  15. azorie

    azorie Champion (884) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    big hard side cases with lots of bubble wrap and baggies to trap any breaks...
  16. Dakotah

    Dakotah Initiate (0) May 3, 2013 California

    if you can fly home from Santa Rosa, you can check a case of wine for FREE. See if that's possible logistically, and put your RR in a wine shipper. bazinga.
  17. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Zealot (597) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio

    I usually throw a note in my bag just letting them know what's in the bag and if they need to remove the beer, to please do with caution. I thank them for their service, 'Murica, and it has seemed to work every time so far.
    sunnrider and nsheehan like this.
  18. Bizoneill

    Bizoneill Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2012 Connecticut

    I recently flew from NY to Charlotte NC with 2 screw-top growlers that checked in my luggage. I have one of those hard plastic suitcases that worked perfect for this. I also wrapped electrical tape around the tops and was very generous. After the tape I used my heat gun to melt the tape a little bit and then let it cool and added another layer of tape. Last I lined a double growler bag from Magic Hat that worked perfect for keeping them cool on the trip down with a garbage bag dropped in the 2 growlers put a towel in-between and tied a knot and more tape on the end.

    Worked perfectly... :wink:
  19. nsheehan

    nsheehan Devotee (418) Jul 3, 2011 Texas

    No one has mentioned this yet:
    This plastic wrap is better than tape because you can take it off your bubble wrap and re-use the bubble wrap. You can also use it to further secure beer that has already been wrapped in clothes (tape might leave residue on clothing). Also, I invested in an $8 luggage scale.

    I've flown with beer a fair amount, and tried different methods. If you're patient, I'd suggest plastic wrapping the beer, especially the cap/cork area. Then wrap it in clothes or bubble wrap. Then plastic wrap it again. Put one or more beers in a decent trashbag of proper size. I put five 500-750 mL in a very thick contractor's trash bag after wrapping them like this (overkill, maybe. 0 breaks, worth it). I had two bags of ten beers in my upright soft-side suitcase. I also left a note for the TSA.

    I also put four similarly wrapped beers into a super over-sized soft duffel which I checked, and they made it through fine using the above wrapping method plus an extra layer of clothing and plastic wrap.

    Good luck!
    Bizoneill likes this.
  20. AlienSwineFlu

    AlienSwineFlu Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2012 Ohio

    Wrap it in colorful wires.
    Sarge3130 and MCain04 like this.
  21. BeerFlyer

    BeerFlyer Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2012 Georgia

    I have flown to San Francisco for Pliny the Elder, Chicago for Zombie Dust and Burlington, VT for Heady Topper multiple times. As a Delta Medallion member I am allowed three 70 pound suitcases. I carry a clean set a clothes(carry-on) and three very large empty suitcases (about 18 pounds each with wrap). Before leaving, I purchase from Walmart bubble wrap (small bubbles) in large rolls and tear the sheets to make two foot sheets (bomber or 12 oz) and lay them flat in the suitcases along with a couple of boxes of 2 to 2 1/2 gallon ziplock bags. I also carry a pair of digital scales that I carry-on on the return.

    Once purchased and back at the hotel room or even airport parking lot sometimes, I take roll each bottle in two feet of bubble wrap. I then put the bottle in the large ziplock bag. A 2+ gallon ziplock will hold several 12 oz. and easily four bombers. I then line the entire suitcase with bubble wrap about two inches thick, but it feels like more. I lay the ziplocks flat all over the suitcase adding more wrap as needed and making sure wrap is on the top. A case of 12 oz bottles is about 32 pounds. Due to daily limits at breweries, I fill in the weight with a local brew or stay another day to purchase more.

    Last February I flew from South Georgia into Vermont just to get some Heady and it was minus 12 degrees. I got a room by the Burlington airport. The next morning I drove to Warren Store for breakfast and to pick up a couple of bottles of Lawson Finest Liquids beer. I drove back up the road to The Alchemist and purchased my limit on Heady Topper. Then I drove to the Beverage Warehouse in Burlington to top off my suitcases. I got to the airport and Delta let me use a real scale to get my bottle and can count right in each suitcase. I was heavy! So I had to take three bombers out and then I checked the bags. It was three hours before the flight so I took the bottles to the bathroom where I struggled to open them with my keys and drink them. Then I went outside and smoked a cigar in zero degree weather.

    I have NEVER had a bottle break. TSA always places a card in the middle of each suitcase. I have heard of bad experiences with AirTran and checking beer just in the last week. My refrigerators in my man cave (garage with chairs) stay stocked with the best beer in the country.
    DIPALover, hopley and Augustiner719 like this.
  22. Dan_Bowman

    Dan_Bowman Initiate (120) Apr 11, 2010 Ohio

    I apologize in advance if this has been covered already. But can someone tell me about flying into Cancun Mexico with beer? I'll be flying with united airlines and I know the only beer that will be available with be bland Lagers so I'd like to take a few with me. Is flying out of the country with beer ok? Sounds like most of the stories I have ready were all flying domestic (US State to US State).
  23. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    As long as it is in the checked baggage, no problem. Only thing you need to check is the quantity limit, though I doubt you would be bringing that much beer.
  24. DC_Brah

    DC_Brah Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2013 District of Columbia

    The key is packing your checked baggage as tight as possible. I usually just wrap my beers in a shirt, or just a little but of bubble wrap and pad the surrounding areas in the suitcase.
  25. LCC

    LCC Initiate (194) Mar 2, 2012 Massachusetts

    Is this common, checking growlers? I assumed this wasn't TSA kosher. Is it perhaps only because you sealed the heck out of them?
  26. Dan_Bowman

    Dan_Bowman Initiate (120) Apr 11, 2010 Ohio

    Does TSA ask about it?
  27. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

  28. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,838) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    I've done this for trips to Chicago, Tampa, and Raleigh. A bomber will fit easily; 750's likely not. I used 2 ziplocs pre bomber to prevent any headaches if the bottle breaks. If you do that and roll them up in a heavy shirt or jeans it should work fine. I'm also finding new love for canned craft beer as two sixers from CCB packed easily in shoes or those little spaces of the luggage.
  29. Iamstryker

    Iamstryker Initiate (157) Aug 11, 2012 New Jersey

    Cans are a traveling salesman's' best friend.

    (That and free checked bags)
  30. BrittReed

    BrittReed Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2008 Arizona

    I got nailed once checking beer in a 12-bottle shipper with Frontier in Denver when the woman behind the counter asked if any of the packing was STYROFOAM!! Apparently styro is now a prohibited item, at least with Frontier, and I had to repack the bottles in my suitcase, with no breakage. And it was the ONLY time I have ever been asked.
  31. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Initiate (167) Dec 1, 2009 Mexico

    Flying into Mexico with beer is no problem. Your personal limit is 3 lts. If you go over that, then you have to fill out a customs declarations form and declare it. You can bring in an additional 6 lts. of beer and pay taxes for that. Taxes are 90% of original retail price. Beermail me if you need more specific answers.
    HRamz3 likes this.
  32. Eighty

    Eighty Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2013 Washington

    Just to update on this, I've been using 2-gallon freezer bags that are awesome. They fit bombers, 750s, cork+cage. Haven't had a problem with them yet.
  33. BeerDazed

    BeerDazed Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2014 Wisconsin

    I know a guy that once sent 12 bottles of specialty craft beers in a cardboard box via FedEx. When they arrived at the final destination, all caps had popped off and, thus, did not survive the (air) trip. Anyone remember the days when you could pay to have your luggage bubble/plastic wrapped? ORD comes to mind if I remember right.
  34. DouglasY

    DouglasY Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2013 New York

    Used this recently to bring 3x12oz and 1x22oz across country in a small wheel-on suitcase that I checked. Wrapped each in a jumbo ziploc and put a layer of corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap on the bottom of the suitcase nearest the beer. Winced a bit when I saw how they tossed it on the conveyor and was certain I'd find a wet mess full of broken glass, but every bottle came through perfectly. Worked great.
  35. kansascobleigh

    kansascobleigh Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2013 Wisconsin

  36. DaveLikesAle

    DaveLikesAle Initiate (163) Jan 24, 2006 Ohio

    Not sure if they still do, but American requires that you pack alcohol in styrofoam.
    BrittReed likes this.
  37. qcbrewer

    qcbrewer Meyvn (1,086) Dec 3, 2010 North Carolina

    Honestly, I've been traveling for work for the past 2 years (I fly every week within my 23 state territory) and I've just used Neoprene holders. I have two 6 pack holders (one is GLBC and one is for my Ravens) and a black double 750ml holder I bought at Total Wine. Knock on wood, I've never had anything burst yet at all, and ask my friends - I've brought A LOT home.
  38. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Initiate (167) Dec 1, 2009 Mexico

  39. Rohkey

    Rohkey Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2013 Michigan

    I did exactly what you are trying to do last year. The only thing that was an issue was just how damn heavy the beers was tough lugging around that thing on trains and whatnot throughout Europe when it didn't have a roller. Remember most airlines have a 50 lb limit, they give you a bit of wiggle room sometimes (my bag was almost 60 lbs with 20 or so beers). I didn't have an issue with anything breaking or whatnot, I stuck all my beers in socks, bubble wrapped (remember top of bottle is weakest point), and stuffed some extra clothing in my bag so nothing was loose.

    There shouldn't be an issue with the authorities, if you get flagged just explain you brought back beer that you purchased...and make sure to mark the purchase on the checklist they give you on the way back. I did get flagged for inspection at customs and the agent asked why I had so much beer and that's what I told him. He didn't ask any further questions.
    jtdolla911 likes this.
  40. thehilker

    thehilker Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2014

    I just flew home from NorCal with a few bombers. I had them each wrapped in a full-size paper grocery bag and a large black trash bag, all of them packed tightly amongst clothes in a hard-shell suitcase. The Southwest gate agent – who was probably genuinely looking out for me — asked to take a look at their packaging. She undid all of it and said it wasn't going to be safe. So I had to purchase these fancy inflatable bottle bags (ostensibly made for wine bottles, so they fit everything) for $5 each. I wasn't happy with spending and extra $15, but those things are pretty sweet, and they're reusable.

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