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Old Jul 30, 09, 11:21 pm   #1
 
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Consolidated "How to Transport Frozen Fish/Game as Checked Luggage" Thread [Merged]

I am flying out from a fishing trip August 6 from Redmond, OR to Wichita,KS and need to take frozen, vacumn-packed fish with me. An info available on how to best handle this? I am considering a Coleman cooler with frozen blue ice packs or dry ice. I have not found anyone at United who has a definite answer yet.
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Old Jul 30, 09, 11:26 pm   #2
 
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Welcome to FT. Several years ago when I was living in Denver I went on a fishing trip in Alaska and on the way home I flew on AS Ketchikan to SEA and then connected to UA SEA-DEN. I had a large cardboard box of vacuum sealed frozen fish packed by the lodge I stayed at and there was dry ice in the box to keep it cold. The fish was interlined from AS to UA at SEA. Upon arrival in DEN my fish did not come out at baggage claim... UA in DEN had mistaken it for a commercial shipment and put it in a freezer. After a little wait they brought it to me in baggage claim.

Dry ice worked great, it was still frozen or nearly frozen when it got to my house.
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Old Jul 30, 09, 11:33 pm   #3
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Off-topic, but if you took away all the ice chests with fish (and other good stuff) from Hawai`i inter-island flights you'd account for half the checked "luggage" on some flights!

And op, welcome to FlyerTalk!
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Old Jul 30, 09, 11:38 pm   #4
 
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Dry ice is considered a "hazardous material" and must be disclosed upon checkin (the signs at each baggage acceptance point state as such.) I believe you can have 5.5 lbs in checked luggage.

There is a rather large fee for having it in checked luggage ($175), although I believe the same quantity applies for carryon, and no fee applies.

Don't "forget" to disclose this, as dry ice becomes gaseous CO2 upon sublimation, and if pets are in the cargo, this can become poisonous to them when the total quantity in the pit exceeds what is tolerable (I don't work on the ramp, so not sure if they must separate any quantity from the pets to a different pit, or if there is a total pit limitation.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 12:39 am   #5
 
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However you pack it, make sure it can't "leak".

I was on flight 44 OGG-LAX last year. Flight 45 arrived a little late, and the Captain came out and told us that there was some frozen fish as cargo in the hold , and that it had leaked, and there was a distinct "fish" aroma in the cabin. UA would re-accommodate anyone on the next flight who wasn't up for 5 hours of fish smell.

I had to connect to SBA, so couldn't take the later flight. In the F cabin, the smell was more like cod-liver oil. It wasn't over-powering, and after a few drinks, one didn't even notice it.

Had a good time with Marsha the purser with this one!
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Old Jul 31, 09, 12:40 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilib View Post
I am flying out from a fishing trip August 6 from Redmond, OR to Wichita,KS and need to take frozen, vacumn-packed fish with me. An info available on how to best handle this? I am considering a Coleman cooler with frozen blue ice packs or dry ice. I have not found anyone at United who has a definite answer yet.
================================================== ======
Well I'll take a stab at it, if you'll forgive the pun !.......All kidding aside I worked 12 years in cargo for United and it is best to pack in a box specifically for (and marked for) fish. Coolers can be risky and possibly denied because any substance subject to "dripping" (ice) and fish brine can damage a cargo compartment.
Fastair is correct - dry ice should not exceed 2.5 kg (about 5 lbs). You should definitely declare contents and type of cooling because a package with dry ice cannot be within a certain distance of pets in the cargo hold. Pets can be in the same cargo pit but there has to be a specific separation from the dry ice product. Hope this is helpful. I do get passengers on a regular basis shipping "wet" fish and many times they put it in unacceptable containers and have to be refused or rebooked after correct packing is done.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 12:48 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauiUAflyer View Post
However you pack it, make sure it can't "leak".
Actually, make sure it DOES leak. When dry ice sublimates to CO2, it expands. You MUST vent it, or it will explode...no, not like violent fire TNT, but like any sealed container with expanding gas inside.

Maybe the inner bag of fish shouldn't leak, but whatever contains the solid CO2 must be able to vent.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 5:15 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Actually, make sure it DOES leak. When dry ice sublimates to CO2, it expands. You MUST vent it, or it will explode...no, not like violent fire TNT, but like any sealed container with expanding gas inside.

Maybe the inner bag of fish shouldn't leak, but whatever contains the solid CO2 must be able to vent.
Exactly, CO2 could be dangerous, if you use it arrange a cooler with leak.

I would recommend you pack your fish in sealed cooler (no leak) + gel ice packs (it doesn't emit any gas and will not affect the condition of the cargo area)
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Old Jul 31, 09, 7:10 am   #9
 
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I took a few ANC-PVD trips with fish on dry ice a couple summers ago. Dry ice worked splendidly, though you have to be careful not to overload the fish packs and get hit with an overweight fee, too.

The policies are at: http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1035,00.html

The fees are new since I last flew with fish. Yikes! For $175, you can probably fedex it.

I'd be a little leery of using gel packs because they aren't actually colder than the fish. You want the fish to stay frozen, not refrigerated, and therefore you need your cold source to be really cold. Per volume-weight, dry ice will offset more heat than a gel pack.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 7:49 am   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauiUAflyer View Post
...Had a good time with Marsha the purser with this one!
You mean all I have to do, to have a good time with Marsha the purser, is check frozen fish? Sounds like a no-brainer!
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Old Jul 31, 09, 8:39 am   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
...I went on a fishing trip in Alaska and on the way home I flew on AS Ketchikan to SEA and then connected to UA SEA-DEN. I had a large cardboard box of vacuum sealed frozen fish packed by the lodge I stayed at and there was dry ice in the box to keep it cold. The fish was interlined from AS to UA at SEA.
I did the EXACT same thing about 5 years ago! Ketchikan - SEA on AS, then on UA...My fish was packed in one of those disposable coolers, but no dry ice, rather several gel packs. Since my fish wasn't frozen yet (they were heavily vacuum-packed), keeping it cold on the journey home was sufficient...I threw it in the freezer right when I got home and enjoyed it for months to come.

If the OP thinks there will be a $175 charge, you might want to consider gel packs instead.

(What an experience mine was--I went up to KTN for a business meeting, my customer's friend is a boat captain, he didn't have anyone booked the afternoon I was leaving, and they took me out for the afternoon when we were done meeting--I brought home like 30 lbs of salmon and all it cost me was $1-something a pound to get it processed. I really need to get up and see this customer again! ).
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Old Jul 31, 09, 10:41 am   #12
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Many who depart SEA check fresh fish from various vendors in, e.g., the Pike Place Market. The vendors will wrap the fish in plastic bags in a styrofoam cooler with gel packs on top, so that the shipment stays cold for 24 hours. All of this is placed in a cardboard "carry-box" that can be checked. UA will accept these boxes on a "limited liability" basis -- that is releasing UA from "fragile" or "perishable" conditions.

I've checked fish about 10 times from SEA with perfect results (now I jinxed it!). But check your bag tags before the fish goes on the conveyor belt. On the last trip back, a few days ago, my fish almost went on someone else's PNR to ORD instead of with me to SFO.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 12:37 pm   #13
 
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Do NOT take dry ice! Big potential problems! The best way is a styrofoam cooler inside a card board box. The frozen fish will remain frozen for days. Ive had luggage lost and frozen meat still arrives days later perfectly. When asked whats in box i say 'food'. I never mention raw meat or fish they dont like that. They worry it has dry ice or ice which will melt. Say as little as possible. US is much better than CO with this. Also if possible curbside checkin is the way to go.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 12:56 pm   #14
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Here's an older post I made on the topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyinHawaiian View Post
I go salmon fishing every year up in BC and bring back my salmon in a waxed box, although I've used a Coleman or Igloo cooler in the past.

I field dress the salmon and wrap them in plastic or use a FoodSaver if I have the time.

The trick is to freeze the catch as much as possible, keep as much ice on it up until you leave for the airport, and then empty the majority of the loose ice out and throw a few "blue ice" bags in. Now that UAL's going to be a stickler on weight (50 lbs., right?) you shouldn't over pack loose ice.

I carry good strapping tape and once I clear security, I tape up the cooler real good and try to seal around the lid.

I've found the 48 quart coolers are a good size. I like the fact that the Coleman's have molded handles. On my Igloos, I always have to tape the loose handles down, as well as the drain spout and lid latch. There is an Igloo that has a pull handle and wheels that I've been tempted to use like a roll-on, but I abuse my gear too much - I doubt it would last a few trips.
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Old Jul 31, 09, 2:26 pm   #15
 
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OK, I can't resist.

UA baggage agent, when informing passenger that box of checked-in fish is lost: "So long, and thanks for all the fish."
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