Flying with wine raises more considerations that just safely packing bottles says Peter F May.
In recent articles I have discussed various ways of transporting wines when travelling by air. There are some more issues that need to be thought of.
A case of twelve bottles of wine, even when packed in a lightweight wine packer, is heavy and bulky. An average bottle weighs around 2lb 14oz or 1.3kg meaning a case of twelve will weigh 34.5 lb or 15.6 Kg, plus the weight of the container.
Although the great advantage of checking in the container on a flight is that you do not see it again until you arrive at baggage claim at the other end. However you still need to get it to check in and away from baggage claim. So you need to consider how you’ll manage that along in addition to your normal cases. No problem if you travel by car or taxi and there are helpful porters or ample baggage carts at the airport but if your onward journey involves public transport – or even a bus to rental car pickup - then its more of a challenge. First time a helpful check in agent used some industrial tape to wrap the box and make a handle, but you can’t rely on that and from then on I took some cord with me to tie around the filled box in order to make something to grip.
You’ll need to check your baggage allowance. The number of cases you can check in and what the weight limit is depends on the airline that you travel on, the class of travel and the destination. Long haul international travel usually allows more baggage than a domestic short haul flight. If you have to change planes to complete your journey then you need to check whether your long haul allowance will be honoured on the connecting domestic flight. Usually if the journey is booked as one package, e.g. travel from A to C via B and your baggage is checked through to the final destination then the long haul allowance is valid for the entire journey. But if you book two separate flights, say long haul from A to B then domestic from B to C then they may be treated as separate flights and when you check into the domestic flight you’ll be charged for excess baggage.
Disclaimer: While I am a frequent flyer and the above information is based on my personal experiences, I am unable to take responsibility for your travel. You must check weight restrictions and carriage regulations with your travel agent or airline.
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Peter F May is the author of Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World which features more than 100 wine labels and the stories behind them, and PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine which tells the story behind the Pinotage wine and grape.