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Thread: Kegs on a plane!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    25

    Kegs on a plane!

    Not "snakes on a plane"....kegs on a plane!

    Or, more accurately, sixtels.

    Has anyone checked in a sixtel on a plane for an event? I've got a function that's on the other side of the US, and I either have to ship cases overnight or bring two sixtels on a plane with me. I suspect the airlines won't go for this (liquid AND alcohol), but I thought I'd see if anyone had success stories to share. Or horror stories.

    Just to be clear, we're not selling the beer...it's all donated product.

    Thanks!

    Sean
    Fullsteam Brewery

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    111
    I have done it before, but it was pre-9/11. They did ask if it was pressurized and I said "I work at the brewery so I was able to depressurize it during the filling process." The lady looked at me funny and said "Okay!"
    I would question the ability to do it in this environment, however you can definitely put cases in a cooler and strap the cooler closed and fly with that. You might be able to get away with it if you put it in a cooler, its just going to be a big cooler.

    Matt

    skafabricating.com
    skabrewing.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    230
    I also checked a 1/6 barrel keg pre-9/11. It was in a duffle bag, and they never asked me what it was. The woman at the counter grabbed the handles, gave me a look I assume was because of the weight, slapped a "heavy" tag on it and threw it on the conveyor. I have checked bottles multiple times post-9/11, in boxes. They always ask me what it is (beer), was it packed by a professional (sure), and is the box lined in case of breakage (you bet).
    Paul Thomas
    Brewer
    Sockeye Brewing
    www.sockeyebrew.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville Beach, Fl
    Posts
    162
    I have never actually done it myself but back in 2008 my good friend Gernot, as a wedding present brought me 2 30L kegs of Augustiner directly from Munchen to Austin via JFK. He had no problems. They just stuck the baggage tags on the side of the kegs. Here is the picture to prove it. Sorry the picture is sideways but 60L is a lot of Lager to drink by yourself.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Luch Scremin
    Engine 15 Brewing Co.
    luch at engine15 dot com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    792
    Ive done it by shipping them cargo/freight. Shipped them the day before and they were waiting for me at the cargo terminal when i flew in.

    Two notes:
    -On their request, I brought a tap with me and tapped the keg in front of the shipper to prove there was no pressure.
    -This was pre-911
    Last edited by Ted Briggs; 08-04-2017 at 08:08 AM. Reason: notes
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    456
    I've done it. Feb last year. But there was a bit of a heated discussion with the people at the desk. Be prepared to pay hefty baggage fees. It's probably cheaper to ship UPS, which can be done as long as your recipient has a license.

    The thing I said that won it for me was when I asked if they ship soda in cargo. They said yes, I said "this is a soda can on steroids."

    Good luck!
    Nat

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    25

    The results are in...

    Thanks, all! I thought I'd follow-up with my less-than-successful-than-Nat story.

    The day before my flight, I called the airline and explained the situation. They said it'd be fine, but that TSA had the final say. The main issue seemed to be a limit on ABV (24% or so), which isn't a problem for most breweries.

    At the airport the next day, the TSA representative would not budge. The issue was pressurization. More specifically, that they could not disassemble and verify the pressurization level of the keg. Now I know enough about kegs to know that the pressure of beer (+ any supposed atmospheric effect) is a non-factor in flight. But the issue was that the airline could not determine the keg's pressure. Guess I should have brought a gauge with me to show him..but I doubt that would have even made a difference. He was emphatic with his "no."

    Your mileage may vary -- especially considering the airline told me something different the day prior. My advice: bring bottles. Or use Nat's line about soda.

    Cheers, all!
    Sean

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,964
    Big signs at airports from TSA about radioactive materials, flammable liquids, and pressurized tanks. They don't care what the pressure is--they just don't want any. How is this guy supposed to know what the bursting strength of your keg is? And the internal pressure? Your arguments and reasoning won't likely find any favor. I've flown with checked tanks before (CO2 and scuba). The only way to get them on board is to OPEN THE VALVE! Better luck next time!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    817
    There doesn't seem to be any standardization here.

    I have flown Air Canada a few times with a 20L keg in a duffle bag, checked as a second bag (for which there is a surcharge and weight limit - 25 kg, I think). It has to be checked in separately and is 'sniffed' for explosives, 'wiped' with some other thing to check for something else and sent through an x-ray in your presence (not that you could see much). They asked me a few questions about what it was but seemed familiar with doing this before. A cylinder of pressurized liquid didn't seem to faze them. Perhaps if I was trying to transport a cylinder of compressed gas they may have been a little less helpful? Provincial Airlines here in Newfoundland and Labrador apparently do it a lot as well for remoter communities.

    WestJet (another National carrier here) won't even entertain the notion of it.

    Call your carrier, but even then...

    When I lived in Dublin, we were flying to Scotland to spend Christmas with family and I decided that I would try to bring a 20L keg of beer with me. I spoke with various people at the airline we were flying and received assurances that all would be fine. When I got to the Airport on the 23rd of December, I was told it was not possible.

    I left the keg at the 'left luggage' service with a pony pump, told the boys that I expected that it would be consumed by my return.

    It was.

    Pax.

    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville Beach, Fl
    Posts
    162

    Update

    Well I wanted to update this thread since I had success once but not so much this time. I arrived at the airport and went to check the keg. They tagged it after calling TSA and they said to send it down. As I was waiting to board TSA came in and informed me that they wouldn't allow it on the flight because it is a pressurized cylinder. Being the smart ass that I am I argued that so is a coke can and that's allowed. I also asked if they ever see mini kegs like the kind you buy at the liquor store in checked baggage, they said yes and that they do allow those. My natural response was that it's the same thing the only difference is the amount of beer. They are all "pressurized" cylinders. I made my point and they basically couldn't really tell me why but that they were making the call not to allow it. I pushed it a little further but I could sense the growing irritation and felt like I may end up in Gitmo at any moment. Honestly being an airline pilot and a brewer I know for a fact that there is no safety issue here, so sure am I that I was checking it onto a plane with me and my wife and kids. As an aside, im typing this on said flight, the real danger are the batteries on all these electronic devices, there must be a couple hundred phones, tablets and laptops on this plane. Those are what really keep me up at night. YMMV. Oh, almost forgot. The TSA also informed me that they will be confiscating the keg for 30 days. We'll see if it's still full when I come pick it up next month! LOL!
    Luch Scremin
    Engine 15 Brewing Co.
    luch at engine15 dot com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Cluj-Napoca, Romania
    Posts
    12
    It depends on the airline. Personally, I think that it's ideal to get in touch with specialized company. Cargolution come to mind.

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