So, a friend of mine is getting married, and I want to take her one of those champagne bottles packaged with a couple of flutes. She lives in a place where it is difficult to get this sort of thing, so I thought I'd buy it here and fly it down. The destination is in Mexico, if that matters.
Are there issues about putting champagne in the luggage compartment. Would it explode? I assume, if I pack it well, it would not get damaged, but is there enough pressure in the cargo hold to keep it from exploding? Maybe it doesn't matter, as the bottle is very structurally sound.
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Done that. The wire bail is generally more than sufficient to protect the cork from ejecting, and the bottle is usually more than durable enough as well. But I do recommend good padding, particularly for the flutes.
It is possible TSA may want to look further (inspect bag contents) - Champagne bottles in particular have been implicated in security-related problems in the past, and they may remember that. I'd recommend packing well and a TSA-approved lock.
Like other have done it myself and found the best thing to look for is the champagne / flute combo that come in wooden boxes. Cost a few dollars more but those boxes are pretty much uncrushable no matter how many bags are on top of yours in the luggage hole, even soft sided.
I took a lotta bottles one trip. I wrapped each in bubble wrap with those big bubbles. I also put a piece of bubble wrap at the bottom of each bottle. All held together with masking tape. All survived the flight.
You may want to make the bottles so large that stealing them would be very conspuious. In a bubble wrap, wrapped in clothes (with arms of shirts left free to dangle) all held together with masking tape and twine.
I agree with the posters above - I've checked wine (usually wrapped in t-shirts etc. - two or three per bottle) many times, and only had one "accident" (and the reason was that I was in a hurry when I packed). You should be okay with the champagne.
However, checking the flutes would be tempting fate IMO - I would definitely carry them on board.
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I've done this many times and there is no problem with the changes in air pressure. Keep in mind, French Champagne is made and bottled in France and then sent to your local store. I cannot imagine that it gets all of the way here without some air time.
I think the most important packing tips when carrying glass bottles in hold luggage is to ensure the bottles will not move, especially if there are more than one bottle and/or other hard objects packed. I've had a few friends make the mistake of assuming that if they package the bottles in a hard shell suitcase, there will be no danger. Perhaps no danger from outside, but all the bottles moving about, smashing into other items, makes a big mess of things.
Usually just some bubble wrap will do. I also always wrap each bottle in plastic bags to contain any spills as much as possible. If the bottles are very good wines, I usually will go to the trouble of packaging them in wooden wine boxes.