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Old 09-24-2008, 09:47 AM   #1
holly7347
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Can you check a cooler when flying?

HI all,

I have emailed Air Tran but I thought I would check here to see if anyone knew.

There are four of us flying but we originally were only going to check 3 suitcases. Can we use our 4th allowed piece of baggage to check a hard sided cooler with food/drinks inside?

The air tran website does say that you can check beverages and that dry ice is allowed. But it didn't specifically say anything about coolers. As long as the cooler is within the size and weight range is it allowed?

TIA
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holly7347 View Post
HI all,

I have emailed Air Tran but I thought I would check here to see if anyone knew.

There are four of us flying but we originally were only going to check 3 suitcases. Can we use our 4th allowed piece of baggage to check a hard sided cooler with food/drinks inside?

The air tran website does say that you can check beverages and that dry ice is allowed. But it didn't specifically say anything about coolers. As long as the cooler is within the size and weight range is it allowed?

TIA
Holly
I personally would not check a cooler with food and drinks. That chance that something would get opened or broken would deter me. Plus, you would have to have a way to fully secure your cooler to insure it would not come open. Simply snapping the cover wouldn't do it with the way bags gets jostled around during transport. Duct tape, luggage straps, and other means come to mind.....

Personally, I will stop at a grocery store or do without while in WDW......

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Old 09-24-2008, 10:06 AM   #3
holly7347
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Originally Posted by dudspizza View Post
I personally would not check a cooler with food and drinks. That chance that something would get opened or broken would deter me. Plus, you would have to have a way to fully secure your cooler to insure it would not come open. Simply snapping the cover wouldn't do it with the way bags gets jostled around during transport. Duct tape, luggage straps, and other means come to mind.....

Personally, I will stop at a grocery store or do without while in WDW......

Duds
If we are allowed to check it I was thinking luggage straps to keep it shut. We aren't renting a car so getting to the grocery store is out. I'm trying to decide between a grocery delivery service or taking a cooler with us. My oldest DD has Sensory Integration Disorder which in her case is basically an eating disorder which makes her very picky about what she will eat. She won't eat "normal" foods plus she is lactose intolerant and will only drink lactose free cow milk. She refuses soy milk and most juices. I really don't want to let her drink nothing but koolaid and soda for a week so getting some of "her" milk is critical. In our case just doing without isn't going to work so I'm just trying to find out if a cooler is allowed. It seems like it might be easier and cheaper than grocery delivery.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:13 AM   #4
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I've checked a cooler before with luggage straps around it.

You could also check into a larger soft-sided cooler with a zipper top.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:25 AM   #5
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I see them coming off all the time....

Especially on flights from Alaska.

Luggage straps and/or duct tape seem to work.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:37 AM   #6
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First off, don't try dry ice. The FAA safety rule for dry ice is that limited quantities of it can only be used in specially designed vented containers; a regular hardside ice chest is not vented. They are SUPER-PICKY about accepting dry ice and prefer to see it only from known shippers.

While you CAN easily check a cooler as baggage, almost all airlines will refuse to accept it as baggage (as opposed to cargo) if it contains any glass, any perishable food items that will spoil or mold over, or any regular water ice. The regulations for carriage all require airline employees to visually inspect the contents of the cooler before accepting it as passenger baggage. (Most of the time when you see coolers of ice-packed fish coming off planes from places like Alaska, it's been packed by licensed agents and shipped as cargo.) What this means is that you have to take it to the counter unsecured, and let the agent look at what you have in it before you check it. If the agent doesn't like what he/she sees, you may have it refused or at very least you would have to discard the disqualified items. Milk that is not in shelf-stable packaging would normally be disqualified as perishable.

I personally check a hardside cooler every time we do a beach trip. We check it with towels, shoes and beach toys inside, then fill it with ice when we arrive. I know people who use their coolers to ship non-perishable but crushable foods such as packaged baked goods and cereals, or canned beverages. (However, you see a lot less of the canned beverages these days because of the weight limits.)

How old is your youngest child? If you have one who is about 3 or younger you can carry on milk (in baby bottles) under the baby milk exception. There is also a special foods exception for disabled persons who need special liquid nutrition. You might be able to repackage the milk so that it fits those conditions. (You wouldn't need to provide proof of the disability, buy you must declare the reason for needing the special nutrition formulas.)

If you can't take advantage of the the TSA exceptions I'd look into having a service deliver the milk, or take a cab over to Goodings and buy it. (Yes, I know Goodings is badly overpriced, but for one item the shorter cab ride balances out the cost.)
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolA View Post
I see them coming off all the time....

Especially on flights from Alaska.

Luggage straps and/or duct tape seem to work.
I agree. My husband checked a cooler full of salmon and halibut twice from Alaska and no problems. Just watch the weight.
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:47 PM   #8
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It's the FISH!!!

My father (who once embalmed a deceased family pet, btw) will often check a cooler full of irish and scottish moss for his yard when he flies between CA and IA. You can see why I'm stingy with the buddy passes....




Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolA View Post
I see them coming off all the time....

Especially on flights from Alaska.

Luggage straps and/or duct tape seem to work.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:39 PM   #9
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Well it doesn't sound like this will work for us. What I need mostly is milk. We will be in WDW 7 days and my 5 year old (the one with the eating issues) really will only drink milk or soda. I can't really package enough milk into bottles to last us 7 days. And I imagine they wouldn't let me carry that much on anyway.

I'm off to place a grocery delivery order.

Thanks for all the suggestions
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:19 PM   #10
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The resort gift shops usually sell milk.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:39 AM   #11
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Last year on a trip to a boat in the Bahamas, we packed a cooler with milk (I froze it in the carton before hand), cheese, sandwich meats and wine(wrapped in bubble wrap and big sock). Secured the hard side cooler on wheels with luggage straps and bungie cords and it worked beautifully as checked luggage. On the trip back, I used it to bring home lovely souvenier sea shells!
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safetymom View Post
The resort gift shops usually sell milk.
She needs a special kind of milk--lactose free, non-soy.

OP--Try wegoshop. Marge is the best and if you need it, she will find it. There are other services too, but we have always had the best of luck with Marge. She is very kind and caring.
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Old 09-25-2008, 08:33 PM   #13
holly7347
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She needs a special kind of milk--lactose free, non-soy.

OP--Try wegoshop. Marge is the best and if you need it, she will find it. There are other services too, but we have always had the best of luck with Marge. She is very kind and caring.
That is good to hear that is the service I was considering. Luckily Lactose Free, non-soy is easy enough to find at the grocery store (at least locally). But it isn't something you can pop into the gas station and pick up a gallon on the way home.
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:55 PM   #14
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I checked my hard sided cooler but was able to fit it inside my luggage and was full of shelf stable foods
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