Taking beer on a plane as a checked bag

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

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  1. KingHenry

    KingHenry Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2009 Massachusetts

    I did a search and couldn't find anything, its not really beer trading but figured that would be where the info would reside. Im Really interested in bringing/trading beers on a future trip. Is anyone familiar with the rules regarding taking brews with you on a plane, if it makes a difference between airline it would be delta. I have read posts about this in the past but can't seem to find a central location for specifics. Any info or reccomendations would be appreciated,
  2. NWer

    NWer Crusader (777) Mar 10, 2009 Washington

    I've checked a lot of booze in a lot of luggage and never had a problem.
    I never asked them if it was OK & I've never heard of anyone else having a problem.
    DaverCS and tarheels86 like this.
  3. mhenson42

    mhenson42 Devotee (489) Nov 20, 2011 Texas

    I just brought about 8 22oz bottles home from a recent trip. I just bought bubble wrap and wrapped them up good that way I didn't have to worry about TSA moving them around if they inspected. It didn't appear that they did. One time when my kid was a baby, I checked a suitcase full of beer and diapers. Diapers made great padding and if a bottle broke, no leaks.
  4. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    I flew Delta from Belgium on my last trip from there...and I brought 4 bags. 3 of them were large, plastic, wheeled boxes...each weighing 70 lbs, chock full of beer and packing material. 48 750s in total. No problems whatsoever.

    mhenson42 - man, diapers is a great idea! I'll have to give that a shot if I can't find enough bubblewrap this next trip.
  5. Ronnie_Lemaster

    Ronnie_Lemaster Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Michigan

    So how much did the luggage fees and customs charges cost you?
    IndyHop-s and mtbdonn like this.
  6. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2010 Ohio

    that is awesome
    tuesunsommiel and jglowe77 like this.
  7. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    Each box cost me 100 Euros (I believe)...initially some sticker shock, but considering the contents it would have been much more if I ordered 48 bottles of my favorites online. Customs charges were zero...I assume since I declared on paper and verbally, for personal consumption.
  8. Ronnie_Lemaster

    Ronnie_Lemaster Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Michigan

    I have included bottles in a checked suitcase many times in the past. Normally it's just a bomber or two. I usually seal them in plastic and then wrap them in t-shirt and then try to make sure they're isolated from anything hard. More recently I brought home two bottles of Pliny from a golf trip to California using these: http://vinnibag.com/. I packed them with my golf clubs in a soft-sided golf travel bag and they came through fine. The Vinni Bags may be a bit of overkill, particularly if your packing a bunch of small bottles. There are some cheaper options along the same lines available on amazon.
  9. TheRealDBCooper

    TheRealDBCooper Aspirant (219) Mar 17, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

    The only issue I've ever heard of is out of San Francisco due to the wine crowd failing to pack properly, though I never had a problem going through there.
  10. BruceBruce

    BruceBruce Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2011 Texas

    I brought back a box weighing 49 lbs (over 50 is charged with southwest) and then my suitcase full of beer wrapped in my clothes and literally had to carry on a bunch of hanger clothes so it was underweight, no problems. Done it every time I have flown the last few years. You will be fine.
    DaverCS and sajaffe1 like this.
  11. leprakhan

    leprakhan Aspirant (294) Dec 28, 2009 California

    I flew out of Oakland n asked if I could fly with some "goods." They said as long as it is properly wrapped and not just wrapped in my clothes. (Well they were just wrapped in my clothes) So I fessed up and admitted so. The employee then offered some of the best bubble bottle bags I have ever used for 2$ a piece. They hold 2 22ozs or 3 12ozs. I was happy to wrap them with these bubble packs. It's alot cheaper than buying all new clothes and suitcase
  12. strohme2

    strohme2 Meyvn (1,268) Nov 3, 2007 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Done it a few times flying back from San Diego. Last trip I checked a 14x14x14 cardboard box (on Delta) securely taped up on the outside and plenty of bubble wrap on the inside with name and address clearly written. I was a little worried at how the box wold arrive but had no problem and the box was not damaged in the least bit.

    Other times just for my peace of mind I pack my beers in a drybag and stuff it well in a suitcase. In case of leakage at least it won't get any of my clothes soaked in beer. I've never had a problem.
  13. kscaldef

    kscaldef Meyvn (1,189) Jun 11, 2010 Oregon

    I've sent styro shippers as my checked luggage many times, never had any problems. Only once (flying home from SF) got asked what it was ("wine") and if it was packed by a winery ("yes").
  14. Agold

    Agold Defender (623) Mar 13, 2010 Pennsylvania

    God willing this will be me on my way back from belgium at the end of june.
    ford0626 and VonZipper like this.
  15. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Strongly advise using ziplock bags in addition to whatever bubble wrap or other packaging materials you use. But yeah, it's doable and not really that much of a hassle.
  16. Brew33

    Brew33 Crusader (776) Oct 24, 2007 Ohio

    Let me ask a related question. I'm headed out on a weekend trip soon and my checked bag will be my golf bag. I'm planning on squeezing a few bombers into my golf bag. Anyone heard of any issues doing that?
  17. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (821) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois

    Do the pressure changes affect the beer at all?
    tvoss99 likes this.
  18. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Baggage compartment is pressurized just like the cabin, from what I understand. Remember, sometimes Fido flies in the baggage compartment and his eyes would pop out if it wasn't pressurized.
  19. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,382) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think this is a very good idea (wrapping the bottles in bubble wrap). I pack wine and beer in my suitcase all the time and even have a suitcase that is specifically designated as the wine/beer suit case. I have cardboard wine bottle partitions that I fit into the suitcase, and then I also pack bubble wrap on the bottom and over the top. As long as TSA doesn't actually inspect the suitcase, there's never been a problem. However, the times they have inspected it, invariably the suitcase was not packed back up the way it was before. Those are the only times I've had any breakage, and on those rare occassions I probably would have been OK if each bottle had been wrapped individually in bubble wrap.

    So I would just keep in mind that TSA doesn't always employ the best and the brightest, and often times they're just not very careful about repacking any suitcase they inspect. Plan accordingly and you should be OK.
    DaverCS likes this.
  20. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (821) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois

    Sometimes after a flight you open your bag and your toiletry items have sucked in on themselves quite a bit, something like a shampoo bottle. So it seems there is a certain amount of pressure change going on. But I guess if people have flown with beer and no ill effects, that's all the evidence I need.
    tvoss99 likes this.
  21. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    If you plan to fly a lot, get a styrofoam shipper that's inside a cardboard box.


    Designed for big wine bottles so you will need to add more packing material, peanuts work great. Make your own handles out of packing tape by looping it around the entire box and then have some slack on one side, I usually wrap 2x around, then fold the tape on itself to create the handle, ya need 2 and the throwers will thank you since it's easier to move. Sometimes they will cut the handles though. I always tell them it's beer, that they're individually packaged and have never had a problem. Portland/Chicago/San Diego/San Fransisco/Denver and Houston Hobby...all SWA.
    Tacoboomerang likes this.
  22. steebo777

    steebo777 Devotee (413) Jun 30, 2009 Michigan

    Bubblewrap and a suitcase or two, that's all I ever need and I fly all over the world a good amount.
  23. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I saw these linked in another thread. Reasonable price and easy to use.
    DaverCS likes this.
  24. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    Fun side-story:

    My mom made a trip to wine country north of San Francisco last spring, and I had asked her to bring a couple of bottles back for me from Russian River if she could. Well apparently someone there talked her into buying multiples, so she ended up with six bottles in her bag, as well as glassware from all of the wineries she visited on her trip. She hadn't (and I hadn't) thought ahead of time to pack some shipping supplies, so she just wrapped everything in her clothes. Fast forward to opening up her suitcase to discover that only about 3 of the 12 or so wine glasses she'd picked up survived the trip, while all six of my beers and the snifter she bought me from Anderson Valley all came home intact. :flushed:

    So I guess my point is that yes, you should be ok to bring beer with you on your trip, but be careful about how you pack it!
    crushedvol likes this.
  25. mcaulifww

    mcaulifww Initiate (0) Aug 18, 2011 Virginia

    I'm going to mexico in August. How should I handle customs on the return trip? I'm not planning on getting anything great but, any advice on what to put on the forms or say when asked whats in my checked luggage?
  26. kscaldef

    kscaldef Meyvn (1,189) Jun 11, 2010 Oregon

    At customs? The truth. Alcoholic beverages for personal consumption. Fibbing to FedEx is one thing. Lying to government officials who can detain and fine you is dumb, especially since you're not doing anything illegal.
  27. BrianTheBrewer30

    BrianTheBrewer30 Aspirant (221) Nov 17, 2009 Massachusetts

    I have checked beer in many of bags in many different airlines. Never had an issue.
  28. awalk1227

    awalk1227 Initiate (0) May 2, 2010 Georgia


    I consulted this directly after not finding anything for sure about the legal side of things.

    As for your beer safety, heed the warnings of people about TSA searches on your luggage. I've traveled with a couple of bottles in my bags at a time, so that if they got unwrapped and thrown back in, they'd probably survive. Here's my personal favorite strategy though:

    Pack a box like you would to ship beer, and check the box as an additional bag. I did this coming home from Oregon with a full 12-stocked styro shipper. I told them it was beer, they told me they weren't responsible for any breakage, I agreed, and off it went. I feel like the amount of shaking and rolling around would be comparable to your average cross-country FedEx trip. My beers made it back safe and sound, and I claimed them at the Atlanta airport.

    Funny story, I was flying stand-by so my bags (and beer) left without me since I missed the first flight. I was able to find my beer back in ATL immediately, and it took them an hour to track down my actual luggage. If you've got any questions let me know!
  29. queens1130

    queens1130 Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2008 California

    I've thrown 22oz. bombers in my snowboard bag a few times, no issues here. Luckily they're the perfect size to fit snuggly in a boot hehe

    Also, checking a styro shipper is the easiest way to go. Hit up Epic in Utah this past Dec, bought close to a case of beer & asked what the best way to take on a plane was. The brewmaster Kevin offered to wrap everything nice & tight in a styro shipper, used thick plastic wrap to fashion a handle, & made it safely all the way back to CA. Big ups to Epic brewery for the awesome tour & beers btw :slight_smile:
  30. mtstatebeer

    mtstatebeer Zealot (574) Apr 15, 2008 West Virginia

    Even if the airplane/cargo compartment is pressurized, there will still be a change in pressure. The airlines cruise around 30-40K ft. and probably somewhere around a 2-4K ft. cabin altitude. This is why you can get drunk quicker on an airplane unless you are from Colorado or La Paz, Bolivia and are conditioned to the altitude. The pressure is a ratio based on what their system can handle. So there is still a pressure change, just not one from Sea Level to 40K ft; hence the "sucking."
  31. glaze3

    glaze3 Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2010 Nevada

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  32. danedelman

    danedelman Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    More the US customs part. You can carry as much as you can if domestic but internation you are allowed 1 case(24-12oz or 11.1oz bottles) per person.
  33. danedelman

    danedelman Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Depending on the country too, you can add your children as carryers. My dad used to have me carry a case of rum back from the Virgin Islands all the time. That was when we could go through security with it though. I am planning a trip to Brussels soon and yes, Cantillon high on my list. Plan on drinking till I almost die and then carrying the rest back with me. haha.
  34. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    May the Force be with you...
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  35. kscaldef

    kscaldef Meyvn (1,189) Jun 11, 2010 Oregon

    You can certainly bring more than that back into the US, as long as it's for personal consumption. I know many people who have done so. You may have to pay duties, but they aren't very much and often they don't bother.
    ChiTownPackFan likes this.
  36. DaveLikesAle

    DaveLikesAle Initiate (163) Jan 24, 2006 Ohio

    Check the airline's policy. American requires that beer or wine be packed in styrofoam containers. I don't think any other airline does. They almost didn't let me check my bag with beer one time when I stupidly admitted what was in there. If you're flying American, be warned.
  37. TheRealDBCooper

    TheRealDBCooper Aspirant (219) Mar 17, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands

    So I guess I should take my aviation degree out for a spin here. (God knows I don't use it for work.) Aircraft are pressurized to around 8,000 feet equivalent. In some aircraft certain belly compartments are not pressurized, though most modern aircraft don't have this issue. (Because people don't like their stuff to freeze and explode.)

    Also, always declare it to Customs. I have yet to have them charge me and as someone else mentioned, potentially paying a couple of bucks is better than losing it all and paying fines to Customs. I just did this Sunday. The conversation:

    Customs Officer: What food are you bringing?
    Me: Beer
    Customs Officer: Have a nice day.

    This is the exact same conversation almost every time, except I'm occasionally carrying wine or tea as well as beer.
    London_Gent likes this.
  38. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (449) Jan 2, 2010 California

    I was doing an IP trade in chicago and checked four bottles. When I arrived only two made it along with a piece of paper from the TSA, luckily they were the two that were for trade.
  39. abcramer

    abcramer Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I bring beer home in my checked luggage almost every time I travel. My problems. Good idea to put each bottle in a sealed plastic bag, and then, wrap it in your clothes and place in the center of the luggage. If you're packing shoes, put a bottle of beer in each one of them. I've never had one break, and I've never had one confiscated by the TSA.
    jzeilinger likes this.
  40. kevanb

    kevanb Poo-Bah (1,977) Apr 4, 2011 Illinois

    My last trip to SF saw me bring home 11 bombers and 2 64oz growlers in a small suitcase and a backpack. Just bubble wrap it nice and good like you would if you were shipping. You are allowed up to 5 Liters of alcohol per passenger in checked luggage.
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