Taking meat home….airplane

For 1 -2 coolers make sure all your meat it frozen solid and pre-chill your coolers the night before with a bag of ice. Before your flight dump the ice and pack full with meat. Any extra room you can ball up newspaper to add some extra insulation. I've flown for 20+ hours and had my meat or fish arrive fine this way. I have shipped with dry ice but it has extra regulations and takes away from the total weight you can bring back. For large amounts you can look into freezing it and shipping it air cargo to a shipping hub near you. Much more cost effective than a bunch of checked bags. Plan ahead though some airlines you need to fill out paper work to be a known shipper. Some processors may be known shippers and offer this option, also a good option if your antlers exceed check bag dimensions
We used a small privately owned shipping company (Mail Boxes, Etc.) to ship back our meat from Wyoming. They handled everything and used dry ice to pack it in special water proof boxes.
My wife, sister-in-law, and I brought back almost 200 pounds of yellowfin tuna filets in two cheap dollar general igloo coolers which held about 47 (cooler was 3) pounds each of solidly frozen vacumm sealed filets and we each had 25-30 pounds of vacuum sealed frozen filets in our backpack coolers that was our "personal" item. The airlines nail get you on oversize luggage (linear inches) and over 50 pounds. Only two filets partially Thawed in two of the backpack coolers. That was about 14 hours total in cooler. We did the same thing bringing back 100 pounds of halibut from Alaska but used a cheap walkmart cardboard covered styrofoam thing instead. Nothing thawed. The key is to make sure the meat is well froze prior to leaving and don't have snacks in the backpack cooler that you need to open and such it many times.
I think TSA has banned dry ice. I fly to kona every year and take venison to the locals. I use a rtic 20 qt.soft cooler, fill it with ice the night before to cool it down. Just before heading to the airport I pack it full of frozen meat and take it as a carry on. It'll fit in the over head bins. When I come home I do the same thing with smoked wild pig from my local buddies in Hilo and Kona. Up to 20 hrs, with flight delays no problem.
We overnight ship it. Freeze it solid and put in card board coolers tape it up good drop it off at shippers and it is there the next day. Done it several times never lost any meat. Make sure box doesnt have any air space in it pack them full.
sense no one has mentioned it, I would check out being a known shipper with an airlines. I fly a lot to hunt and also hunt AK every year. The cost was getting out of hand especially if you want to being home a moose and a caribou, so I became an "Alaska Known Shipper" It is through Alaska Air Lines and It allows you to book cargo on domestic or commercial flights just like you would book a plain ticket. You can also choose to book refrigerated or non refrigerated flights. This is key if you don't have a place to pre freeze your meat or come out of the bush and fly home right away. You're paying cargo rates so I believe the last time it was about .30 cents per pound. You just book a flight drop it off at the airport and pick it up from whatever airport you want to have it shipped to. It cost money to become a know shipper and a yearly fee but for me its cheaper in the long run. You can also ship all of your hunting gear a head of you and have it held at the airport. May be something worth looking into.
I fly back from AK with 2 to 4 coolers every year of salmon and halibut I catch up there (and moose and caribou burger from my buddy) . For about 10 years now I simply have it frozen for at least 24 hrs prior to leaving and use the cheap insulated meat boxes from Walmart to fly home with it. Never lost any meat to thawing
I do the same. Those insulated meat boxes hold just under the 50# weight limit and weigh next to nothing. Most of the hardware stores in AK carry these insulated boxes and if you save the styrofoam insert and the box, they will last for many trips. Just bring some tape, a marker, and some twine to get it ready for shipment. Some airports require you to open the box before being loaded into the luggage holds, so I don't tape before getting the okie dokie from the airline.
Freeze the meat solid, pack into a cheap/light cooler right before you leave for the airport, make sure you weight it!

If you time it right, the dry ice will peter away before you go to the airport, leaving very cold meat before transport.

Definitely keep weight overages in mind, depending on the airline. Sometimes it's cheaper to pay the over fees(usually 2 tiers, over 50lbs, over 70lbs), verses 2 separate coolers. Bring a good travel scale, and be flexible how you pack. I also have carried on board over 35/40lbs of sausage/meat in a Trader Joe's insulated grocery tote. They make lots of insulated soft coolers now. Definitely check them out. There's always a way. I sort of (jokingly) hail myself "The King of Carry-on".. lol
Be creative. Frozen meat will stay safe for a very long time if you have discipline to keep the container sealed.

Those cheap Coleman coolers weight the least, but a lighter weight wheeled cooler can be a lifesaver. In Alaska, I had to put my cooler on top of my buddies rolling model as we had a very long walk from the boat to the bush plane. Definitely freeze solid. And keep dry ice in mind if feasible /practical for the trip. It can help quick chill meat pretty awesomely.

Sorry if this is a little long winded, its just something I take very seriously. I like the challenge as well.

Semper Fi,

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