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Packing food for a flight -checked bag

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vallevin May 18, 2008 07:12 PM

Does anyone have any advice on how to pack food that will be going in a checked bag on a flight from Newark, NJ to Tampa, Fl.

My husband needs meals for five days and we figured this was going to be the easiest/cheapest/fastest way to get him fed. I'm planning on sending some relish type salads, some pasta salads, cooked fish, lasagna. I know the pressure changes can cause some problems, and then there is getting the bag through security.

Any advice is appriciated.

Thank You.
Valerie

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    Erika L RE: vallevin May 18, 2008 07:29 PM

    My first thoughts run to food poisoning rather than to packing issues. Baggage can sit on the tarmac for a long time before being loaded, and that assumes that the bag is actually loaded onto the correct plane! Also, hopefully there's a fridge and microwave on the FL end...? If not, I would say to scrap this idea altogether. And then there's the question of what will happen if even one of these leaks during the flight, and all of your husband's clothes smell like fish for five days, or a contraband-sniffing dog gets a whiff. Frankly, I wouldn't risk any of these.

    Is there a way that he can go to a grocery store in FL and stock up? Most large supermarkets have deli sections. Alternatively, have you considered paying for an extra checked bag and sending a cooler that contains only food, plus blue ice? One catch to that one is that it would be best to tape the lid down, and TSA will balk at that.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Erika L
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      vallevin RE: Erika L May 19, 2008 03:16 AM

      We are whammied in 2 ways (maybe 3), A) we keep kosher and B) the sunday he flys in is the start of a major Jewish holiday that night(for two days). He needs to attend to business matters immediately after the holiday ends. The "local" kosher cater is charging $35 per plate...yes plate of food and a $50 delivery fee, and I know I can do soooooooooooo much better than the caterer. I might try the Fed-Ex route.

      1. re: vallevin
        karmalaw RE: vallevin May 19, 2008 02:13 PM

        Ah... the kosher limitation combined with the holiday makes it more difficult.. BUT, have you checked:

        http://www.shamash.org/kosher/search.php

        If that brings you back to the $35 per meal -- perhaps there is a JCC or Student group that will be providing meals that you can contract for under the circumstances.

        If not -- I would avoid dairy products/mayonnaise/eggs and pack him items that can withstand a little of our heat.

        1. re: karmalaw
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          vallevin RE: karmalaw May 19, 2008 08:08 PM

          Yes, yes...I know shmash very well. If you knew as well as I did you'd know that it frequently has out-dated information, especially for the smaller "kosher" communities, like Tampa. All the discussion about food poisoning has got me sufficiently nervous to see about shipping stuff from Miami. I thought that if I line the suit case w/ frozen gel packs I'd be okay for about 6-8 hours, but maybe not.

          Thanks anyway

          1. re: vallevin
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            shoelace RE: vallevin May 20, 2008 06:59 AM

            most of these warnings abt food poisoning r coming from people who have never done this before

            iv done this many many times, and am actually going to be doing it again wednesday night on a flight to puerto vallarta, which is a much longer flight than one ot tampa

            my rule is, only pack things that im ok freezing, then stick then in the freezer for 24-36 hours preflight, put them in my luggage wrapped in a towel, and im good to go

            u forget, the stuff that in yournluiggae under the plane will become beyond frozen when in the air

            2 years ago, i flew to the canaries, with a 3 hour stopover in madrid, we traveled with a bag of frozen homemade shnitzel & another bag of frozen homemade broasted chicken, then they lost our luggage, by the time it was found and delivered to our room ( 32 hours after wed initially arrived at the departure airport, the chicken was still frozen enough that we had to micro it to defrost it to have it for shabbos dinner

            id advise against mayo based things, bc they freeze funny, but anything freezable should be fine

            1. re: shoelace
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              vallevin RE: shoelace May 21, 2008 05:26 AM

              Shoelace:
              THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

        2. re: vallevin
          karmalaw RE: vallevin May 19, 2008 02:21 PM

          Ah... the kosher limitation combined with the holiday makes it more difficult.. BUT, have you checked:

          http://www.shamash.org/kosher/search.php

          If that brings you back to the $35 per meal -- perhaps there is a JCC or Student group that will be providing meals that you can contract for under the circumstances.

          If not -- I would avoid dairy products/mayonnaise/eggs and pack him items that can withstand a little of our heat.

      2. karmalaw RE: vallevin May 18, 2008 09:27 PM

        I certainly wouldn't send anything with mayonnaise to Florida in this weather (it's already in the 90's here) unless food-poisoning is your goal... ditto with anything else likely to turn rancid in the heat.

        Unless your husband is on a very special diet (which pasta and lasagna don't seem to be normal items on any restricted diets), then he can probably eat cheaper buying food in Florida than you can making it and sending it along with him (do note that most airlines now charge for a second bag).

        There are plenty of inexpensive places to eat if you put your mind to it.

        1. ipsedixit RE: vallevin May 18, 2008 10:10 PM

          Instead of shipping it on a checked bag, ship it separately via Fedex or UPS. Use dry ice to keep the food cold and fresh.

          1. Sam Fujisaka RE: vallevin May 18, 2008 10:27 PM

            You said that the bag will be checked. Should be no problem with security. Pack a big dedicated styrofoam box packed full and taped shut. Include some tubs of frozen soups and chili (or similar) to keep everything cool.

            Where will he be staying?

            1. c
              cimui RE: vallevin May 18, 2008 10:30 PM

              your home cooked meals sound great, but i'd also worry about food poisoning. if you want to risk it, try freezing everything beforehand and hope it's still cold enough that when it reaches FL, harmful bacteria aren't already having themselves the party of their lives. double bag in ziplock freezer bags. i've packed meals like this in a cooler, for camping.

              if you don't want the risk, see if hubby would eat pouches of chicken / tuna / salmon / jambalaya (zatarain's makes this), boxed soups or instant soups he could make using hot water from the kinds of coffee pots you find in many hotel rooms (if he's staying in one). send these, a jar of nut butter and preserves, bread, crackers, trail mix, durable fruit (like apples, oranges).

              also, do consider that price of living in tampa is actually lower than in newark, so it might make some economic sense, if he has the means, to pick up items in tampa, as karmalaw suggested.

              1. meatn3 RE: vallevin May 19, 2008 01:48 PM

                Last fall I checked luggage which was filled with soft sided coolers. I froze all food, wrapped well in my usual manner for the freezer. I then wrapped each with newspaper for extra insulation and enclosed in a ziplock for protection from mishaps. I found a type of blue ice made by Rubbermaid in the form of a sheet composed of blue ice bubbles. It can be cut (between the bubbles) and is flexible for wrapping around a container. I wrapped each packet with this & secured with tape. Then tucked the packets in the coolers.

                Upon checking my luggage I let them know there were perishables and they marked the luggage accordingly. Everything came through just fine with no thawing. This time of year going to Tampa I would see if dry ice is allowable.

                There is a Kosher grocery in St. Pete, Jo-els IIRC. They are in an industrial park a little east of U.S. 19.

                Another thought is ordering from a kosher mail-order place & let them ship directly.

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