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Beer on a Plane

So another thread got the windmills in my mind churning about a Smokey and the Bandit run down south to bring home some Abita Wheat and Shiner Bock. As this would be the carless, presumably Sally Fieldless (but who knows?), subway, taxi and Jet Blue version of the Smokey and the Bandit beer run, how well does beer travel on planes and how do I pack it?

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  1. I brought some Dogfish Head back to Ca in my luggage wrapped bubblewrap and then padded with clothes. It survived in tact.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tofuburrito

      I brought some Westvleteren back from Belgium in my luggage. Wrapped each bottle in bubble wrap, then put them in a zip lock bag with a bit of newspaper, then another zip lock for good measure. Then placed them among my clothes in each suitcase. All arrived perfectly.

    2. I've flown home with beer now on probably six different trips. The first few times, I had only a few bottles, and simply wrapped them up in clothing. This worked pretty well. Then, I got really ambitious, and tried to take a large number of bombers home, wrapped in bubble wrap. I didn't do the best job wrapping them, and three bottles broke at the airport before my flight. The airline guy was really helpful, and sold me several of these:

      These things are awesome. I now take them with me when I travel anywhere, and a lot of beer has made it home in them. I still will take small bottles wrapped in clothes, though. That seems to work pretty well.

      1. Bombers, 750ml and smaller bottles wrapped in clothing or bubble wrap in luggage surrounded by the rest of my clothes has worked for me on numerous occasions in the past with no breakage. I've now started to place all the wrapped bottles in one Ziploc Big Bag to comply with airline policies requiring leak proof bags and of course to protect the rest of the contents of my luggage from that first broken bottle.

        1. For our recent Belgium trip we brought a cardboard box with styrofoam inserts made for wine bottles with us. We brought it full of local San Diego beer and came back with it full of belgians. It worked well and we just checked it on the plane with our other luggage. I have also wrapped stuff in clothes and bubble wrap. To me, it all depends on the beer. I wouldn't risk wrapping my Westy in clothes but in your case it might work just fine.

          1. Brought back a couple of six-packs of Beer Lao from Laos. Just tossed into suitcase. Arrived fine.

            1. If you're buying a full case, you can just leave it sealed in its case and check it as baggage. I've done that with wine before with good success.

              Just curious though: where do you live that you can't get Abita and Shiner? I've been able to get those in almost every city I've lived in the past few years (DC, ATL, MSP).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Loren3

                BOS. We can get a few of my least preferred Abitas (the brewery doesn't push their normal beer up north, I especially like the Restoration and the Wheat), and no Shiner at all. Washington, I noticed, had a fantastic beer selection in their package stores.

                I still can't get Yuenling either. :-(

                I'll try the case idea, hopefully it won't fall off the truck.

                1. re: sailormouth

                  I miss the days of rolling that case right onto the plane and putting it in the overhead.

                  I've checked a case before. It's been a long time, but I did have to sign some waiver b/c there wasn't any real packing for it other than the cardboard. The airline wouldn't take responsibility if someone dumped it and broke bottles.

              2. i've brought back bevvies from belgium and japan just by wrapping them up in clothing and making my luggage nice and tight. no issues.

                the only problem i've come across is when i tried to bring back homemade dulce de leche and when security scanned my luggage they decided they needed to unpack it to check it... spills spills spills.

                1. I have brought many beers back on planes many times. The last airplane trip my boyfriend and I took we safely brought back 29 beers. Unfortunately the new airline charges will limit us next time. Our typical packing system includes picking up a stack of free weekly papers and wrapping each beer in sheets of them and then in clothing. Usually we have designated beers to bring home and designated beers to drink while we pack. Sometimes we have to drink more because we can't fit them all but that isn't a problem. I recommend wrapping the beers in newspaper then in clothing. Most trips for us include a trip to local thrift stores and we usually pick up a few t-shirts to help us pack the beer. <knock on wood> I have flown with beer many times and have never had one break. On a few trips I had to buy an extra bag but so far they have all made it home safely. While planning my summer trip I realized I was going to have to drive rather than fly because flying will no longer allow me to bring back as many beers as I would like. The photo here is an "extra" bag we bought just for beer transport. The zipper broke while we were packing it and so we tied it up with airline tape. They all made it!

                  1. I used to take beer home from trips in carry-on bags, but with the new regulations, I assume that everyone here is talking about checking in bags stuffed with beer. I had a friend a few years ago who tried this and the beer suffered greatly. Nothing broke but the bottles were half full and the beer flat. There was no sign of the beer. It just vaporized. We concluded that subjecting the beer to 30,000 feet in an unpressurized cabin caused this. Has anyone else experienced this?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jpsox

                      I pack beer in my suitcase all the time and never have a problem. I wrap each bottle in bubble wrap and then place inside a zip lock bag, just in case I get a leaker. I have probably done this 30 times without an incident.

                    2. My husband brings back all the Fat Tire he can fit into his suitcase/golfbag everytime we venture west of the Mississippi. He has been doing this for ten years and has had only one bottle break. He just wraps each beer in an article of clothing.