carmenlu15
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 6:45 am

There's no taste like home...

When I was a RES agent, I would get frequent inquiries about whether pax were allowed to carry food in their luggage for their relatives abroad. I remember that among the large variety of foods, the most common were dairy products like cream and cheese, all sorts of typical dishes like tamales or chuchitos,, and even canned beer (and of course don’t forget fried chicken!)

To avoid lost luggage issues, we advised passengers to pack food in their carry-on. Now, the smell of fried chicken in the cabin may be appetizing at first,  yummy  but I don’t think it would remain the same after 5 hours of flight…  yuck  (There’s even a common saying among TA employees: if you want to find your luggage at LAX, just sniff for Pollo Campero and you’re there!  Big grin)

Any experiences you would like to share?
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
tjr16698
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:06 am

RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 6:57 am

Well a few years ago, my wife was flying home FR to Genoa from Stansted, just before Christmas on the same day that a 747 cargo crashed on takeoff. The airport was, not surprisingly, thrown into chaos, with delays all round as they tried to figure out what had gone wrong. My wife bought some bananas from one of the shops for something to eat while waiting, and then her flight was called for immediate check-in. She put the bananas in her bag, and rushed to the check-in. On arrival in Genoa, there was no sign of the luggage....
Several weeks later the bag arrived at our house in Oxford. On opening it, we were greeted with a blast of warm banana-esque decomposition, and some decidedly contaminated theoretical christmas presents for relatives in Italy.
mmmm.
A year later, having spent all the time outdoors, the case went to the bin men still smelling of bananas...
 
ahlfors
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 7:03 am

Well, it shouldn't be any problem on the airline's end. But most countries do ban certain products. Like try bringing foreign beef or oranges into the US, or just about anything fresh into OZ/NZ, and you're likely to be paying a fine to the "nice" people at customs.
 
fly727
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 8:18 am

What's the deal with Pollo Campero that is so famous among our fellow passengers from Guatemala? Is it that good?

Quoting Ahlfors (Reply 2):
Like try bringing foreign beef or oranges into the US, or just about anything fresh into OZ/NZ.

It is not only limited to oranges or meat. Any unprocessed animal product or fresh fruit, vegetables, soil, plants or seeds are forbidden to enter in most countries.

Quoting Ahlfors (Reply 2):
...and you're likely to be paying a fine to the "nice" people at customs.

Correction for perfection:

The "nice" people at customs will be glad to take any undeclared excess of money and goods. It is the people down at Agriculture who will take care of the rest ...

RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
ltbewr
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 8:25 am

Even into some states you cannot enter (even by car) with certain fruits. This is particulary true for the States of Arizona and sometimes California. The USA is very touchy about smoked or uncooked cheeses, meats, and certain fruits and vegetables entering the country. At some customs locations, we use dogs to 'sniff out' embargoed foods in luggage, people. This is to prevent the importation of incect pests as to fruits and vegetables and biological infections of meat animals as well as protect humans.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 8:40 am

In February 1990 I went to Prague on an OK IL-62.

At baggage retrieval in Prague there were two belts, one labeled Copenhagen (my departure destination) and one labeled Leningrad (yes, Leningrad, not St Petersburg.

The first thing to arrive on the Copenhagen belt was some 15 - 20 lbs of onions which continued rolling freely all over the floor. Next came a broken cardboard box with a few more onions in the bottom.

And yes, all baggage from Copenhagen arrived on the Leningrad belt.

We assumed that onions had been on sale on the Leningrad market. It was quite funny to watch fifty people running around retrieving a hundred onions.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
flyingnanook
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 11:46 am

It's not too exotic, but whenever I visit family in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I bring back cheese and summer sausage from Berger's. Nothing beats real Wisconsin cheese and summer sausage.  yummy  I put the cheese in an insulated lunch bag with blue gel ice packs and put that in my suitcase. The summer sausage gets checked in the suitcase as well. I haven't had a problem yet.

Thinking about cheese, I think I need to plan a trip to Oshkosh sometime soon. Mmmm....cheese.  drool 
Semper ubi sub ubi.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 11:56 am

Yeah, each country has different ag regs. Some are for insect reasons, some protectionist reasons.

You won't get fined by the ag inspectors in the US for small amounts, they just take the food away and incinerate it.

States of AZ and CA in US have ag inpection for fruit depending on region, because of Med Flies.

Hawaii has inspections leaving to prevent spread pests that exist on Hawaii fruit but not on Mainland US. But only certain fruit are excluded. And you can't take un-inspected plant material into Hawaii either, not only to prevent spread of animal pest, but also to prevent spread of weeds from destroying the Hawaii ecosystem more than it already has been by foreign plants.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
m404
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 6:38 pm

We've always been amazed at the weight of baggage from India. Many self-destruct due to being overloaded and soft side construction. All sorts of interesting foodstuffs spill out. Rice being a large part. Even here in the the American south we have many Sub-Continent markets and I'd think rice would be easy to get. Obviously by the time this arrives here it's gone through customs.

As an aside it's fun to watch the folks who supposedly packed this bounty try and lift it into the trunk (boot) of the waiting car. Rarely successful, many bags are unloaded piecemeal first.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
xpat
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 6:46 pm

Quoting M404 (Reply 8):
We've always been amazed at the weight of baggage from India

LOL...So true, so true! Despite having most of these items available in the US, we're (erroneously) convinced that they taste better when purchased in the Mother land!
The only thing we have to fear is the sky falling on our heads. -Asterix
 
aeroweanie
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 8:42 pm

I was once at SFO, picking up some luggage that had been loaded on the wrong flight. While I was there, there was an announcement that some luggage that had been delayed three days was now coming out on the belt. The first piece was a battered box, leaking water, marked "Live Maine Lobsters"...

With that said, I must admit that we usually bring food home from our overseas travels. Sheep's Milk Feta cheese from Israel, real Paprika from Hungary, Parmesan cheese from Italy, a bottle of Pims Cup from the UK, Chocolate from Belgium, Rum from the Caribbean...
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 9:00 pm

I take specific food items over to the US in my checked luggage when I go, things you can't get over there like sultanas, dried peel, hot cross buns (!), decent chocolate, things like that. I always put them on the Customs Declaration form, and have never had a problem.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Orion737
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 9:15 pm

I believe those British ex pats in Spain take many a jar of Marmite down to their 'villya'
 
cornish
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 9:24 pm

Our american friends in L.A. insist on us bringing large supplies of mint aeros (chocs), orange matchmakers (chocs), nice n' spicy Nik Naks (crisps), pickled onion monster munch (crisps), and various other bits and pieces when we visit.
Tend to stuff a suitcase full of them - but no problems as yet when arriving in the US with them -even when a case was opened.
Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
 
BCAL
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 9:34 pm

Although I do enjoy sampling local cuisine, I do sometimes miss home foods so when I go abroad I normally pack some Yorkshire tea in my luggage and, if we are using the family villa or self catering, some good old British bacon and sausages for the odd "fry up".

Arriving in AGP one day some years back, I picked up my suitcase from the baggage carousel and went on to my apartment. When I opened the suitcase, I realised that I had picked up the wrong bag. However, I was more surprised at the contents of this suitcase - a quilt, about 20 packets of Pot Noodles and a similar number of pork pies. I immediately contacted the airport and airline to say I had the wrong bag and would be returning it, but I was completely baffled as to why someone would want to go abroad and live on a diet of Pot Noodles and pork pies!
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
aer
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 9:51 pm

Quoting Fly727 (Reply 3):
What's the deal with Pollo Campero that is so famous among our fellow passengers from Guatemala? Is it that good?

We don't know, it's just chicken and now they have it in L.A. but people still want the Guatemalan version. As for is it that good, well it's just chicken so who knows, but the nostalgic market is huge there.
nice and spacious airports in need of new airlines and flights... GUA or FRS anyone?... anyone at all?
 
tavve
Posts: 169
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 10:14 pm

I told you my food story a few years ago but it's worth being told again:

I flew BCN-FRA-GOT in the summer of 2001. The take off from BCN became delayed because of luggage vs. passenger matching problems. Finally the A300 took off and I arrived to FRA by the time the last flight of the day took off for GOT. I spent one night partying at a hotel and early the following morning I boarded a LH B737 for GOT.

Walking down the isle I noticed that there was a lot of people in the first half of the aircraft but the rear section was relatively empty so far. Next to my seat, almost all the way down the isle, a German female cabin crew tried to communicate with a women who turned out to live in Sweden but originally came from Iran. They didn't have any language in common. Therefore the German woman asked me if I could help them out.

The problem was a huge piece of luggage that the Iranian woman absolutely didn't want to leave out of sight. The German one explained that it would be better if they put the bag in the cargo hold and that she would get it back before they disembarked in GOT. For the Iranian woman this was absolutely out of the question. Since there were so few on the flight it all ended up in the bag being securely fastened to a seat next to the woman for the entire flight.

So, what was it the woman brought from Iran to GOT, Sweden, via FRA, Germany?

She brought a huge suitcase full of ice-cream for a wedding!!!
GOT, that's where I live
 
slider
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 11:25 pm

I am convinced there is no smell as foul as Salvadorean cheese eminating from a bag on the ramp in the heat of a Houston summer.

For the love of God, PLEASE DON'T PACK PERISHABLE FOOD IN YOUR BAGS!!!
 
carmenlu15
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 11:34 pm

Quoting Aer (Reply 15):
Quoting Fly727 (Reply 3):
What's the deal with Pollo Campero that is so famous among our fellow passengers from Guatemala? Is it that good?

We don't know, it's just chicken and now they have it in L.A. but people still want the Guatemalan version. As for is it that good, well it's just chicken so who knows, but the nostalgic market is huge there.

Me neither... While I like the pollo, I don't see the point in taking all those suitcases full of chicken, especially when it's available in L.A. And Guatemalans are not the only ones... my friends from El Salvador tell me it's also part of their usual luggage.

Then again, I found myself bringing a large bag of pupusas on my last trip SAL-GUA...  blush 
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
rduramper
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 10:11 am

RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Wed May 25, 2005 11:50 pm

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 18):
For the love of God, PLEASE DON'T PACK PERISHABLE FOOD IN YOUR BAGS!!!

Also....for the golfers...if you have a soft-sided golf bag, your six-pack of beer WILL NOT survive normal and routine baggage handling procedures. Please remove them.  cheerful 
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exFATboy
Posts: 1887
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Thu May 26, 2005 12:09 am

I've never taken perishable food, but I used to bring back a case of Nalley's Jalapeno Chili every time I went out west. They just don't sell it back here, and it's the only decent canned chili I've ever found.

And at my company you are expected to bring back as many boxes or bags of "Wine Gums" as you can if you travel on business to London. We have several addicts here in the office.

I did bring back a box of "Cherry Ripes" when I went to Australia a couple of years ago...yet another addiction.  Smile
 
HR001
Posts: 292
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Thu May 26, 2005 12:11 am

On several TACA flights I have taken the plane smells just like the Campero's in Honduras.

HR001
 
carmenlu15
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Thu May 26, 2005 1:07 am

Quoting RDURAMPER (Reply 19):
For the love of God, PLEASE DON'T PACK PERISHABLE FOOD IN YOUR BAGS!!!

Reason #1 why we would advise pax to pack ANY food in their carry-ons. Still, the baggage agents would receive claims such as "My bag has been lost for a week, and I had 10lbs cheese in it!"  yuck 

Why, oh why, do passengers take airline policies and rules as mere suggestions? (Guess that's material for another thread...)
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
ETStar
Posts: 1850
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RE: Taking Food As Part Of Your Luggage

Fri May 27, 2005 6:03 am

You have to know how to pack items in your checked bags... obviously, some people, including that Iranian lady with the wedding ice-cream don't.

Here are a few items that I have carried myself, in checked luggage, without it going bad or being destroyed:

Out of Ethiopia: (btw, when I go to Ethiopia, I go with one suitcase with clothes, but with a huge folded duffel bag inside for my goodies to bring back)
- Ethiopian spiced butter: melt and place butter in jerry can, close lid tightly and freeze for a few days before trip. In fact, some establishments in Addis Ababa sell butter for export: sealed in most effective jerry cans. All you need to do is freeze and pack. A tougher way of packing is to put it in multiple plastic (think ziplock) bags.

- Ethiopian stews: most effective way is to place in a bag, seal, cover with newspaper, place in another bag, seal. Freeze.

- Ethiopian spices: these don't go bad at all. Seal, however, and place in suitcase other than those that have your clothes. Believe me.

- Millefoglie cake from Ethiopia: well, not much you can do... but be nice to flight attendants and they will help you keep it cool by giving you ice. Ethiopian Airlines FA's are experts at this.

- Cheeses: carry on is best.

- Holy water (seen it done from Ethiopia, as well as from Saudi Arabia): good, proven jerry can. Best as carry on, since after all, it is holy  Wink Don't know if anyone has noticed, but pilgrims from Jeddah carry a jerry can and a Audio player (CD/Cassette).

- Mangoes from West Africa: placed in a box. Be sure to have layers of newspapers at bottom of box, since those plump fruits are so ready!

- Bakhlavas: carry on. Follow Millefoglie instructions


Now I am hungry!