Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jan 20, 2009 12:20 PM

Tips for bringing back cheese, chorizo, on long flights?

Hi everyone,

I've read some really interesting posts on the types of foods people have brought through airport security, but I can't seem to find any posts detailing how to keep these foods fresh.

Could any of you could provide tips on traveling with cheeses, chorizo, or hams? How long will these items last? What if you don't have a cooler?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It is illegal to bring back meat products, so chorizo and ham are out of the questions.

    As for cheese, you can bring hard cheese or any non-fresh cheese (so nothing that is in salt water or fresh goat cheese, etc.). So for hard cheese you can simply wrap them in wax paper. They will last for the whole day of flight.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kobetobiko

      Are you assuming OP is talking about international flights? If domestic, there's no problem to my knowledge. We bring all sorts of things back from NYC when we go there.

      1. re: kobetobiko

        I should have been more specific--tips on laws are appreciated, but the question is more focused on how well these sorts of food keep.

      2. 1) Why not have a small cooler? I have several, and I can't imagine life without them.
        2) Depending on your points "A" to "B", it may be subject to confiscation on incoming international flights. Find out first.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veggo

          To c oliver's point, exactly correct. You mentioned "long" flights, so I assume mostly international. You can have a moveable feast on international flights with every sort of food that is illegal at your destination, provided that you consume it all on the airplane.
          Nice way to stretch your trip for a few hours.

        2. I've wrapped rib eye steaks in an insulated cold bag with frozen ice packs and successfully flown for about 7 hours with them - when including driving time they were out of the fridge for about 10 hours total. The TSA raised some eyebrows when they saw the package go through, but said that as long as the cold packs were frozen solid it was okay. I would not use the gel type cold packs as I think these wouldn't make it past security regardless of the frozen state.

          1. I have a small carry on that has an insulated compartment, I love it.. Don't use the gel ice. There are some you can buy (more expensive that last much longer (designed for camping and other uses. A few airports questioned them however and even delayed me where I missed a flight once. I stick to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which I froze and by the time I flew it was ok. Last time I checked ... that was ok. I just take anything on anymore due to the amount of regulations. That may sound odd, but I just want to get through security as quick as possible. Other than a watch and 1 ring I don't wear anything anymore. I missed 2 flights and several close ones just because of security when it was absolutely nothing. Just for a laugh, I had bought a small windchime for my friends we were visiting. A beautiful woodstock chime for their hummingbirds outside their home. Well I had wrapped it with a bow so I didn't want it in my suitcase ... Bad mistake. They unwrapped it and tore it apart, they thought it was a gun. It even had the original tag on it. I missed my flight and they refused to pay for the 75 dollar chime they desroyed. I learned, lol.

            1. My small coolers, carry-on size, are 4.7 liters and 8.5 liters. The third large one must be stowed. I start with frozen gel-pacs, which are confiscated at customs. But the valuables have a good running cold start in an insulated box. I bring large, empty Zip-Loc bags if I have to ask flight attendants for a little help with a little ice. I have never been denied, although I try to be self-sufficient. If your cargo is legal, transportation is not a problem. What is surprising is what is not legal to import, between countries. That you can learn, beforehand.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                I read from a government source recently that the regulations for carrying on liquids are going to be greatly relaxed sometime this year. It was no more specific than that but it sounded quite definite. We used to carry our soft-sided cooler all the time as a piece of carryon. I like your idea of the gel-pacs and just letting them be confiscated, V.

                1. re: Veggo

                  To clarify, the frozen gel-packs are confiscated by TSA on the front end, before the flight, only in carry on luggage. Gel- packs on checked luggage pass through, although I have had a few pieces of luggage really torn apart, namely my big cooler. I include a roll of duct tape and instructions to please re-seal my cooler, in my cooler on top of the contents. The yellow and black TSA tape is a problem you don't want to deal with at customs, even when you are exactly in the right.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Sometimes vendors at the airport will give you some ice if you ask nice, or buy a little something.