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Dec 3, 2012 11:17 AM

Travelling with lobster - suggestions urgently needed!


I'm flying back to Paris (where my family lives) from Montreal (where I'm studying) on December 13th. My parents have complained about how expensive lobster is in Paris when compared to the lobster we used to get here in Montreal, so as a Christmas present, I'd like to bring back two or three lobsters. Yes, I am insane.

Of course, the million euro question is how the hell I'm going to do that. I've heard stories of family friends freezing uncooked lobsters for two-three days before leaving, then taking them out at the last minute and wrapping them in plastic bags and ice packs for transport. I don't think it makes sense to transport them live, because I doubt they'd survive 6.5 hours in a plane, plus the mandatory waiting time before boarding, getting luggage, plus travel time from the airport to home.

Does carrying them frozen sound reasonable? Has anyone done this before? I'd love any advice you might have!

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  1. You should contact a lobster retailer that ships lobsters. They should be able to give you more details about how long lobsters can survive out of water.

    1. Are you sure you can import the lobsters? It would be awful to actually get them there and lose them to Customs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tacosandbeer

        Agreed-check with customs first. I thought I heard that the Legals at Logan Airport couldn't do their regular pack/ship for overseas flights. But thats that might be a US thing?

        After that do what Ray suggested-call a lobster retailer. I have had luck packing lobsters in dry ice but that was for no more than a 4-6 hour drive. I have no idea what impact a pressurized airplane compartment would have. Plus you need to take into consideration the time traveling to the airport, waiting at the airport, the actual flight, travel back to your folks, etc.

      2. I have transported live lobster before. Not Internationally though, so I don't know the Law, that would allow/not allow you to bring them into Europe.

        On a good note, a live lobster should be able to be taken with you as your carry on luggage. Just make sure you pack it correctly. Most places that sell fresh lobster will pack it in dry ice.
        Even if a lobster perishes, then you have approximately 8hrs to steam it before it's no good to

        1. Customs and Cabin Pressure are the unknowns to me, but time out of water should be fine.

          Every Thanksgiving I pick up 2-3 lobsters here in Boston and take them on a 6-7 hour drive home. The lobsters chill out in a paper bag for around 8 hours in the car, then another 24-36 hours in a fridge (Still in the bag). When I pull them out of the Fridge for their annual Thanksgiving day photo op, they are lively as ever. (They then go into the Freezer for 10 minutes to put them to sleep, but that's a different life story... Great tradition.