Taking beer on a plane as a checked bag

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

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  1. Preluderl

    Preluderl Devotee (493) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I was wondering about this as well as I'm going to California later this year and wanted to bring stuff back with me. Thanks for the information, all.
  2. fiver29

    fiver29 Devotee (404) Sep 18, 2007 Ohio

    I've taken beer on trips with me lots of times. To answer your specific questions I'd say a couple points. First, as long as the cans aren't blasting into one another in your bag they should be fine. If it were me I'd still pack them so they aren't banging into one another so they can't tear each other somehow. Think packing them in socks and t-shirts as a must. Biggest issue you will have is weight limits.

    Taking beer in and out of the Bahamas is not a big deal. Booze is big business for the islands actually. That won't be a problem either. They don't care about beer.

    Congrats and have fun!
    RyanMcFly1985 likes this.
  3. fiver29

    fiver29 Devotee (404) Sep 18, 2007 Ohio

    When I visited San Diego a couple years ago I stopped at a Bevmo and picked up 2 12 bottle styro shippers. Filled both of them and checked them at the airport. I brought my packing tape from home. I looked at it like this. The cost of checking the box was less than shipping it from CA.
  4. RyanMcFly1985

    RyanMcFly1985 Disciple (303) Oct 20, 2007 Ohio

    Thanks for the info guys!
  5. Lorianneb

    Lorianneb Aspirant (281) Apr 27, 2012 New Jersey

    The hubby and I did it in 2002, not too long after 9/11, on the way back from GABF. I called TSA and told them what I wanted to bring back. They said no prob. We then took the 4 cases of beer to a UPS store and they packed them for flight into 2 boxes. We counted them as our second checked bag. Told everybody that asked what it was and had no problem.
  6. MEGAawesomeLAUREN

    MEGAawesomeLAUREN Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2013 Minnesota

    I flew back from Chicago not too long ago with a bottle of DL in my checked bag...got home and opened my suitcase and saw that TSA left me a little note saying that they had to search my bag. The flyer attached also said that there was a limit on the amount of "liquids" that you can have in a checked bag.
  7. TheRealDBCooper

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

    I've had great success checking bottle shippers as an extra bag, though apparently an EMPTY box was too confusing for TSA on my last trip to the bay area. The box was in pristine condition before I checked it. Apparently stacking one sleeve on top of another sleeve in a box is over the TSA's pay grade.

    Having said that, I've traveled domestically and internationally with copious amounts of beer and never had any real issues. On the Customs side though, always tell them you are carrying beer and pay the small customs fee. Most of the time though, the Customs people don't even bother. (One of the pluses to beer being relegated to where it is in the booze hierarchy.)
  8. blackcloud

    blackcloud Aspirant (299) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    I've said it in this thread before, and I'll say it again. an 8gal ActionPacker and bubble wrap is your friend. I've used this method exclusively for a couple of years, every time I fly somewhere. the 8gal will fit 14 bombers, and be under weight.
    ChiTownPackFan likes this.
  9. fiver29

    fiver29 Devotee (404) Sep 18, 2007 Ohio

    Wasn't sure what you were referring to. Looked it up. Question. Do you check it in? How do you keep it from popping open?
  10. blackcloud

    blackcloud Aspirant (299) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    Yup. I just check it. I usually just put some tape over the handles, maybe one wrap around the middle, and haven't had an issue yet. A friend who's adopted the same method uses a couple of those quick release luggage belts as added security.
  11. 1beergeek

    1beergeek Initiate (85) Oct 26, 2012 New Mexico

    Just got back from Pittsburgh flying home to New Mexico. Brought back 2 cases of Head Hunter IPA via Southwest Airlines. No problems at all. Bubble wrap is your friend. Cheers!
    PuckIt likes this.
  12. Strelnikov

    Strelnikov Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2008 Texas

    It has been my experience that the best possible suitcases for air travel are Halliburtons. And I'm not talking about the Darklord's company. These are the guys that make those cool aluminum briefcases that you always see in movies carrying the millions in drug money. The thing is they have been around for at least 60 years and older models turn up on ebay. Good ones can be picked up for $60-100 which is cheap as shit compared to what the run new.
    Basically the only substantial thing to change over the years are the latches. The rest stayed the same: Aircraft aluminum, combination locks, and an o-ring which makes them water tight. Their pretty much indestructible and can carry a lot of wieght.
    I recently came home from Portland with at least a dozen 750s, 5 bombers, assorted 12 oz-ers, and a growler. The case weighed 77 lbs! No problems. The other case, which I had to borrow was another story entirely. It was one of those Semi hard-sided plastic jobs with handles on 2 sides and roller wheels. It only weighed 47 lbs. but the first handle snapped off as I loaded it in my rental car; the second handle snapped off as I unloaded it from the rental car. Joy! Lost 2 bottles on the flight.

    Just checked ebay, here's what I'm talking about: This thing is 26 x 18 x 8 and is currently bid to $36
  13. psuKinger

    psuKinger Devotee (477) Feb 2, 2005 Pennsylvania

    This looks promising.

    Shipping is astronomical though, especially with the styrofoam insert included. The website says to visit your local total wine and inquire about getting one on your own. I live in PA... no Total Wine. I stopped by my local state store, and the guy behind the counter looked at me like I was from Mars.

    Anybody have any thoughts/suggestions on how to get a styrofoam insert for less than $28 in PA?
  14. kscaldef

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

    Look for a wine storage place. They often have them for sale.
  15. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,556) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    How about the local uhaul Tell them you are moving , inquire about a shipper.
  16. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Aspirant (286) Jun 6, 2013 District of Columbia

    A recent update on checking booze internationally:

    I just flew back from Europe with a haul. Wrapped it in socks, bags, and then wrapped in dirty clothes. Wrote a nice note to the TSA. No issues, nothing broken. Declared everything. Brought back just under a gallon.

    Not a single issue. Flew in from Madrid to Chicago.
  17. millionsuns

    millionsuns Initiate (177) Dec 6, 2008 Maine

  18. metabrewing

    metabrewing Initiate (72) Aug 14, 2010 California

    I'm not quite sure why you would say it is wine when it is beer? Did the airline have a policy for beer that does not apply to wine? If so, which airline?
  19. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Crusader (772) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I wouldn't be surprised if provisions were made for wine but not beer.
  20. kscaldef

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

    Near wine country, it's pretty common for them to hassle you about adequately packing if it wasn't "professionally" packed by a winery employee.
    swoopdog likes this.
  21. swoopdog

    swoopdog Initiate (95) Apr 4, 2012 Arkansas

    This is helpful as I am visiting Alameda County, CA next week and plan on bringing back a metric ton of delicious beer back to the midwest. I read this entire thread and am probably going to settle on a combination of bubble wrap, tape and Styrofoam inserts in a bag with a disclaimer to the TSA agent about personal consumption. Flying southwest so we get two free checked bags as long as they are under 50lbs.
  22. blackcloud

    blackcloud Aspirant (299) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    As a former TSA employee, I can tell you that the only REAL (read: legal) restrictions are on booze, greater than 24% ABV, and those are FAA hazmat restrictions.

    Directly from the FAA:
    Quantity limits: 5 L (1.3 gallons) per packaging and 5 L total per passenger.*

    Must be in unopened retail packagings.

    Beverages containing more than 70% alcohol (more than 140 proof) are forbidden in carry-on and checked baggage.

    See the regulation: 49 CFR 175.10(a)(4)

    Tip: Alcoholic beverages containing 24% or less alcohol by volume are not restricted as hazardous materials. This includes beers and most wines.
    harperman69, DelMontiac and Kyrojack like this.
  23. dtrtrggr

    dtrtrggr Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2013 Pennsylvania

    flew back from sfo to pit a few months ago with a 12 of pliny and an array of other RR split between 3 or 4 checked bags. southwest airlines. no issues.
  24. wizzy

    wizzy Initiate (110) May 20, 2006 Michigan

    I sacrificed a bottle to Delta today. The one bottle (of 6) that broke was DESTROYED, tons of mini-shards of glass inside the plastic bag and enough jaggy's to cut a hole and drench my suitcase with liquid. I can only imagine what happened to that spot to cause that kind of damage to the bottle.
  25. Halluxone

    Halluxone Aspirant (214) Dec 7, 2012 Georgia

    Flew from Vegas to Atlanta a few months back with 2 Parabolas, Sucaba, Velvet Merkin, and DFH 120. If you get those neoprene sleeves normally used to carry wine, most bottles will make it. Didn't lose an ounce!
  26. lowbit

    lowbit Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2013 Wisconsin

    I've been using "Wine Diaper" bottle bags to bring back beer when flying, with so far great results. They have kind of a weird name, but the point is that even if a bottle leaks, the padding/absorbent material in the bag will soak up the spill and prevent it from getting all over your clothes. Good stuff.
    IAmJacksHopTongue likes this.
  27. c64person

    c64person Devotee (416) Mar 20, 2010 North Carolina

    I recently took a 12 bottle styrofoam shipper in a cardboard box, filled with beer and some other brews on top of the box in a bigger box. As long as it meets the dimensions and weight requirements, they don't care. TSA opened the box once, but everything was fine. However hauling a 49.8lb box across two airports without wheels was a pain in the arse.
  28. BeerHunter76

    BeerHunter76 Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2010 Texas

    I have to tell you I have done this many times. Trading beers in Amsterdam with a GREAT BA trader. Using towels as packing material and filler my bottles constantly arrive safely even after a 9 hour flight. And the flight back is just as much fun knowing I am bring back amazing brews from across the pond. Some airlines even add fragile stickers to your bag (not that it makes a difference in some cases).
  29. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2011 Illinois

    I do this all the time in a basic roller. Just do a good job packing and expect TSA to open it up and inspect it. I usually throw a small layer of bubble wrap around each bottle to be safe
    mactrail likes this.
  30. blastoderm55

    blastoderm55 Disciple (331) Jun 7, 2013 Texas

    I am hoping to bring home some Russian River from my trip in February. Am I better off trying to pack it in my checked luggage or shipping it home via UPS/FedEx?
  31. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (5,230) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin

    Check a styro shipper
    blastoderm55 likes this.
  32. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (394) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Checked luggage, IMO. Especially if yuou have hard-sided suitcases.
    IN any cases, get king-size ziplock bags, seal the beers in there, and wrap in your clothes. A t-shirt is a perfect wrap, and a rubber band or 2 will keep things together.
    Make sure there's stuff between the bottles, and watch the weight of the case.
    fredmugs and blastoderm55 like this.
  33. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2009 New York

    I just flew with eight BCBS bottles. First duct-taped around the caps, then wrapped each bottle copiously with Saran wrap. Then wrapped each bottle in a shirt and arranged in the middle of the suitcase (with clothes all around, below, and on top of). Also used my daughter's diapers for additional padding and stability. I think, even more important than padding, is eliminating any ability for the bottles to shift around. If they can't move and they have some padding, they are going to be just fine.
    blastoderm55 likes this.
  34. mlhyatt

    mlhyatt Devotee (419) Jul 27, 2013 Georgia

    Wrap it in swaddling clothes.

    I brought out a 2011 BCBCS and a parabola from GA to Utah this christmas and i just wrapped each one in a sweater and then put placed clothes on all 6 sides of it and checked my luggage. Ask the person checking your luggage to put a fragile sticker on it and you'll be fine.
    Xandrose likes this.
  35. HighWine

    HighWine Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 Illinois

    All of the above suggestions are great. Depending on how many bottles you have, you can also go to a liquor store and get an empty bottle box with dividers. I wad up a piece of newspaper in the bottom of each section, wrap each bottle in two sheets of newspaper so it won't rattle, wad a piece of newspaper at the top of each section and then seal the box. Works fine and cheaper than a styro shipper. I just did this with 15 bottles in an old Korbel case. Worked great.
  36. JISurfer

    JISurfer Poo-Bah (1,681) Dec 10, 2002 South Carolina

    Anytime I travel, I always leave extra room and under pack, so I can bring back beer/rum. I've been doing this for about 12 years now, and have never had a casualty. Typically, I line the luggage with thicker clothes/shoes, then bag each bottle in a gallon ziploc bag with a little bit of air for cushion. Then, I wrap the bottles with shirts/shorts, and stack them accordingly. With that said, I usually bring back between 5-8 bottles. Hope that helps.
  37. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    Stomach if all else fails
    shnsajax likes this.
  38. Gunch43

    Gunch43 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I'm a fan of the styro shipper as well. checking it or FedEx back to myself. when I'm on vacation, wrapping-taping- rubber banding bottles, then making sure they are packed not to break in my suitcase is a big pain in the ass. it's 20-30 minutes I'd rather spend enjoying my vacation.
  39. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,111) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    If you put it in suitcase, bring some bubble wrap and wrap it just as if you were packing it to trade.
    Cynic-ale likes this.
  40. shnsajax

    shnsajax Disciple (318) Jul 2, 2013 Idaho

    This is what I do, and will be doing tomorrow.
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