Things You Will Need
  • Cooler

  • Ice Packs

Commercial airlines have procedures in place that allow passengers to fly home with their fishing catch with relative ease, as long as it is properly packed and sealed for a safe journey. Passengers can carry seafood on board if it fits TSA guidelines or check their haul and let the airline do the heavy lifting.

Wrap the fish in plastic or other watertight material. For small to medium sized portions of fish place them inside a resealable plastic freezer bag and make sure the zipper is properly closed. For larger hauls, wrap the fish in heavy plastic that won't tear, especially if wrapping fish with fins, and seal the plastic with waterproof tape such as duct tape.

Freeze the fish fully after sealing it and remove it from the freezer only just before packing to preserve it during transit. If the trip is a short one, no additional ice will be needed. For longer trips or if you wish to avoid affecting the fish's flavor by freezing it, pack dry ice, frozen water bottles or frozen gel packs around the fish. Ice that is not in a sealed container is not recommended as some airlines won't allow it in checked or carry-on luggage. If carrying your luggage aboard, the TSA will not allow partially thawed freezer packs or ice on board the plane. The FAA restricts dry ice to 5.5 pounds for checked and carry-on luggage; any package containing dry ice must be designed to allow venting of carbon dioxide and the package must be clearly marked with "carbon dioxide solid" or "dry ice" as well as with the weight of the dry ice.

Store the sealed bags of fish and any refrigerants inside a sturdy plastic cooler or watertight box that has a lid. The outer layer of the box should not be made with Styrofoam; it's not strong enough to withstand handling and stacking, though Styrofoam can be used inside as insulation. Alaska Airlines recommends using a standard seafood shipping box, which can be handled and stacked conveniently by the airline. If checking your fish, seal each box with at least two sturdy plastic bands or with duct tape to make sure its lid stays firmly shut and watertight during transit. Label your container clearly with your name, address, and the weight and type of fish inside the container.

Call your airline ahead of time and inform it that you will be traveling with seafood. Some airlines require this notification, Some airlines may also charge overweight or oversize fees for large quantities of seafood, or may count your seafood against your checked luggage allowance; discuss these details with the airline before arriving at the airport.


Consult your airline about its particular restrictions regarding fresh fish and its handling before packing, as your airline likely will inspect the container for acceptance aboard the plane.

Many charter fishing companies or fish retailers will wrap your fish for transport for you for little or no cost.