Dumb question of the day.
March 15, 2013 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Can I safely pack canned alcoholic cider in checked airplane luggage?

I'm flying home internationally with one changeover. Am I about to completely ruin my clothes, etc. by packing four cans of Irish Cider in my checked baggage?
posted by floweredfish to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
I always pack a ton of alcohol when I leave a foreign country and I usually wrap it in my clothes since I like to pack light. Glass bottles AND cans. If you want to be really safe, you can wrap it in bubble wrap and put the cans in individual zip loc bags and then wrap those in another bag.
posted by melissam at 12:35 PM on March 15, 2013

You should be fine but wrap it up in something absorbent and put that in a plastic bag just in case.
posted by mskyle at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2013

I did a lot of research last year about bringing canned champagne on a trip and the internet told me it would be fine. I ended up not taking it, though, so I can't speak from personal experience.
posted by something something at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2013

Almost certainly not. But when packing any fluids, I usually wrap them in about four layers of plastic bags alternating with clothing. I've never had a distaster yet.
posted by pont at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2013

See this older mefi question. In short, it might be okay. It might not. Up to you if you want to risk it.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 12:38 PM on March 15, 2013

Baggage handlers aren't especially known for gentle treatment of items. If you do this, I would pack with the assumption they're going to get slammed around a lot.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:41 PM on March 15, 2013

Maybe related, maybe not: I had a bottle of wine confiscated when checking a piece of luggage on a domestic flight earlier this year (thanks a bunch, United.) My understanding is that policies vary by airline. United requires packaging specifically manufactured for shipping wine. No amount of improvised padding or sealing is acceptable, but a flimsy bottle-shaped envelope of bubble wrap makes everything A-OK.
posted by jon1270 at 12:44 PM on March 15, 2013

Perfectly fine so long as you protect it against the crazy bludgeoning damage it will receive and your clothes against it should you fail. Double layer of freezer bags around the cans plus artfully folded and tightly packed clothes around and between them should work just fine.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:52 PM on March 15, 2013

I've taken wine bottles wrapped in clothes in my checked luggage on international flights quite a few times and they have never broken so I'd happily take cans. Just make sure they are well padded with clothes. This was between UK and UAE on Emirates.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:56 PM on March 15, 2013

I've flown with a 12 pack of beer (bottles) in checked luggage without issue. As many others have pointed out, wrap individual bottles/cans in bubble wrap or some sort of cloth, and zip it in a freezer bag and you should be fine (barring asshole airline agents)
posted by Roommate at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2013

Incidentally, you aren't flying through any dry countries on your way home right?
posted by Blasdelb at 1:49 PM on March 15, 2013

Yeah, as other have said, cans can handle the lower pressure, but the big concern is knocks, drops and other mishandling. They're not a fragile as glass, but a dent in a can can lead to failure and mess.

My usual strategy for liquids is to wrap them in an absorbent, like a towel, then place that in a ziplock bag, then that in some damage-proof container (like the centre of your bag). This works for airlines and for parcels. I've never broken anything yet this way and I've been shipping fluids both for work and pleasure for years.
posted by bonehead at 1:57 PM on March 15, 2013

I've flown icewine to Hong Kong from Toronto, with a change in Vancouver in my checked luggage. Wrapped tight and in plastic, in case it does break. Just make sure it is snug, with no movement.
posted by typewriter at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2013

If the unthinkable happens and your cans explode (oh, the humanity), I'm fairly confident that your clothes will not be ruined. I mean, there were many weekends in college where some article (or articles) of my clothing would somehow get drenched in alcohol (thanks, drunk guy trying to go down the stairs!) and I wouldn't be able to launder the clothes for several days. Everything turned out fine in the end.
posted by cooker girl at 5:38 PM on March 15, 2013

Update: it worked! I wrapped each can individually in paper towels an in an individual plastic bag. I wrapped a towel around them and then put them in another plastic bag in another plastic bag. I put them in the middle of the main compartment of my suitcase. They made it!

Of course, they will probably explode when I eventually crack one open, but that's a different problem.
posted by floweredfish at 4:21 PM on March 16, 2013

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