Question about Flying with Cheese [moved from Manhattan board]
Hi! I have a question for you all, and I'm hoping that a travel expert can help me. We live in the wilds of Orlando (near Disney), so our local cheese selections are very limited. We are huge, HUGE cheese fans, and are planning to pick up some interesting cheeses while we're in NYC - visits to Murray's and Zabars are planned. What we were hoping to do was to stock up on cheese, then bring some back home with us, maybe in a cooler? There are such weird laws on what you can carry when we're flying that we're not sure how or whether this will work. Any thoughts or suggestions on getting cheese home with us would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
If you are planning to really load up, a hard- walled ( i.e. anything but styrofoam ) cooler is perfectly acceptable checked baggage. Bring back cheese and ice packs to your heart's content, with crumpled newspaper. Close the cooler with 2 double bands of duct tape. Include a partial roll of duct tape in the cooler (yes, I know, second roll) with a note on top asking TSA to reseal the cooler to the same condition. (The yellow TSA tape is very strong, but they don't always have it nearby).
I would check it. . . you'll probably be ok, but with that much effort going into it, you don't want to get into a debate with the one TSA guard that disagrees with you. The more solid cheeses are highly unlikely to be any concern at all, a very ripe triple cream might raise some eyebrows and the whey around a fresh mozzarella will be a definate problem. If you're only bringing a few pounds of hard cheeses though, you'll be fine carrying it on.
I frequently travel within the US with cheese. Mostly though, it's in 1/4 to 1/2lb servings of a hard chedder or goat cheese and it's been fine. Couple weeks ago I flew from SFO to Toronto eating fresh cherries and Humbolt Fog all the way home. Lovely.
btw, I never put my cheese in my 1qt bag of liquids. There seems to some special dispensation for a 3rd carry on if it is disposable and contains only food
Here's what I usually advise....
Get a gel ice pack- wrap the cheese and the ice pack in your clothes and pack in your suitcase. The altitude means that the cargo compartment will be cold, even in summer, and your cheese is protected from both too much cold and too much heat by the clothing, and the temp stays stable because of your cold pack. Works every time. I would hate for you to try and carry it on, and have it taken from you.
There's no prohibition against hand-carrying cheese on board, but you won't be able to get ice packs through. If your flight is fairly short, you can carry it without ice and hope nothing delays your flight. I've hand-carried cheese from Canada this way. But if your flight is longer, pack it in your baggage with ice.
I would just recommend you ship it or check it as luggage w/the airline. I fly 3 weeks out of the month on business and it varies by airport and by screener what is allowed and what isn't. Since you cannot bring liquids, aerosols, or gels greater than 3 ounces per container AND they all have to fit inside a quart sized ziploc bag (1 per passenger), it's highly unlikely they'll let you get through security w/it if you try to carry it onboard w/you. You shouldn't have any problems checking it in as luggage. Just make sure the container is sturdy, well wrapped, and has plenty of ice packs in it.