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Packing Pies for the Plane?

I'd like to take 2 or 3 pies on a plane for Thanksgiving. Anyone know the best way of packing them for carry-on? I assume they won't fit under my seat and I'll have to stuff them into the overhead compartment with everyone else's bags.

There's always the chance it might have to be opened at security, so it can't be *too* well packed. Bubble wrap? tupperware? Pie-sized sturdy cardboard box?

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  1. You should call the airline to make sure these don't quality as "liquids" (many gel toiletries do)....you're going to be awfully disappointed if you get to security and have to throw your pies in the trash.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JaneRI

      I've never had problems taking food onto a plane (minus this packing issue). And if they suggest I take a bite to prove it's really pie, I have NO problem with that.

      Glutton, you had them in a tin - meaning the pans you baked them in? I'm wondering how you stacked them without smushing.

    2. I took a pineapple upside down cake and a green apple cake on the plane in July and it worked out just fine. I had them in a shopping bag, wrapped in foil. One tin was bigger than the other, so I just stacked the small one on the bottom and the big one on the top and it worked perfectly. The TSA people paused when we passed them through the machine, but then when I told them what it was, they did not even unwrap them because the explanation made perfect sense with what they saw on the screen.

      The TSA is notoriously fickle, so I'm always hesitant to generalize my experience. However, I think it's pretty safe to assume that they won't consider this to be a gel. They've let me on with rice pudding, cheeses, and other things that are closer to a gel than a pie and I haven't had any trouble.

      2 Replies
      1. re: glutton

        You took cake - very different texture from pie.

        1. re: JaneRI

          I think you're splitting hairs. The TSA agent did not even ask me to unwrap them and prove what they are -- once I told him it was a cake in a pan, he was fine with that.

          To answer the question above abuot how the cakes did not get crushed, keep in mind that these two cakes do not rise very much. They both stayed below the top edge of the cake pan, so that made it easy to stack them.

      2. I'm not so sure about that not fitting under the seat idea. You might check the airline on that.

        1. I traveled with two pies last year, and aside from jokes from EVERY security person "Is that pie? mmmmmmMMMM, I just might have to confiscate THAT! Ha ha ha," I had no troubles at all. I did have to unpack them once, so that is a concern.

          I used a largish tupperware cake holder ($10 from target) to carry them. After putting the first pie on the base, I put the ring from a large springform pan around it and tightened it. I put a plate on top of the springform base, and the second pie on top of that. Then I tucked in dishcloths around the bottom of both pies to keep them from shifting inside the container. I have used this method for carrying pies on long walks and car rides as well, and it always works like a charm - although you have to be sure that the crust on the lower pie does not overlap the rim of the pie pan, or it will get crushed by the springform.

          This is really easy to unpack for security, and as long as there are other things in the overhead compartment to keep it from sliding around, the dishtowels keep the pies secure inside.

          4 Replies
          1. re: erican

            Great idea. I have all of that stuff on hand.

            1. re: CookieEater

              hummm, i recently abandoned my hopes of taking a steve's key lime pie to my mom on tday, now i suppose i should reconsider...thanks for the info!

            2. re: erican

              Is there any other method? I fear travelling with all of these items, in case they don't all make it home.

              1. re: erican

                I used the whole spring form pan ring and glass bottom over first pie plate and then second pie on the glass bottom then all of it in cake holder for both too! It works so well!

              2. Easy answer first, yes the pie will fit under the seat in front of you. Jfood used to bring two Chicago Pizzas from Giordanos every other week and yes two of the fit under the seat. Now unless your pie is larger than a deep dish pizza, this should not be an issue. And you will hear the same comment every time, "Oh you brought that for me?" "Sure that seat in First Class looks comfy."

                TSA is very airport specific. Some will let you through w/o a question, others may hassle you. Definitely worth a try though.

                1. Ever thought about FedEx'ing them instead of traveling with them on the plane?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    The last time I took a pie on the plane was before current regulations. I used an old-fashioned pie basket which has a wooden rack with legs so you can take two pies. It went in the overhead. These pie baskets are still made but I'm not sure where you can get them. I think mine came from the basket company in Peterborough NH.

                    1. re: Suzy Q

                      Fed Exing them, I'd still have to pack them. I'm not worried about carrying them, it's the packing.

                      Learning of the pie basket made me do a search online. I've never heard of "pie keepers." It seems like they mostly come in 9-in size (too small!!) but it might be worth looking around for these.

                      1. re: CookieEater

                        Oh I wasn't thinking about the inconvenience factor of carrying them, but more the risk of overzealous TSA agents not letting you carry them on.

                    2. I had a security agent hand-walk a bread made by my mother-in-law through security to avoid x-raying it. Needless to say, this was not in an American airport. Snort.

                      I think I heard something about ketchup on a sandwich not being allowed on board these days, but I have no clue if this is true.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: willownt

                        I brought a bbq sandwich with bbq sauce on the side thru security last week - they looked at it as it went thru xray, but didn't say anything. Worst case, I figured I would just dump the sauce on the sandwich - but I was hoping to avoid putting too much sauce on it.

                      2. LAST Thanksgiving, the TSA folks were confiscating pumpkin pies as a "gel."

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: zin1953

                          Everywhere? or at your specific airport?

                          1. re: CookieEater

                            Last Thanksgiving, it was EVERYWHERE -- there were stories about it on NPR, on CNN, in newspapers, etc.

                            1. re: zin1953

                              a-ha you party pooper, but look at this!

                              "Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but be advised that they might be subject to additional screening."

                              I know I run the risk of running into overzealous security people, but if I do my plan is to eat 2 pieces right there, then mash them up so those mean TSA people won't get to eat them either. heh heh heh

                              1. re: CookieEater

                                Considering the infamous "drink your breastmilk out of the bottle, lady, or we'll consider it poison" approach on the part of TSA agents in the past (not to me, mind you as I "decant" on demand -- might I add that TSA contradicts itself in its materials on the safety of storing food in checked luggage yet recommending parents bring on only as much "as needed"; and not to mention the cruelty of depriving food to babies in all those delayed flights?), I wonder -- why not just bake your pie upon arrival? A pie seems so fragile to transport. But I do love travelers who arrive, pie in hand, so I can't protest too much.

                                1. re: willownt

                                  I'm arriving just an hour before the meal so baking upon arrival isn't an option.
                                  I bought sturdy giftboxes at target that should fit the pies, nothing that I would miss if I *had* to throw it out. So I'm throwing caution to the wind!! Gonna bake the pies and see what happens! I'll let you all know.

                        2. REPORT: I did it!
                          I bought 2 sturdy Christmas gift boxes from Target and they worked very well. It's a good thing they stock Christmas stuff so early. Didn't attract as much attention as a cake carrier would and got through security without a second glance with my pumpkin and pecan pies.