I am travelling later via plane bringing a frozen stew in a Tupperware inside my luggage. I don't have a cooler with me so I'm just wrapping the container with cloth to hopefully maintain the low temperature.

I wonder how long will it stay good before it spoils during transit? I plan to reheat or freeze it again once I reach my destination. It will be outside the freezer for around six hours, and I'm not sure if it will stay good.

If it matters, here are some details about my trip and the food.

  • I'm travelling in a tropical country
  • Food contains goat meat and has tomato sauce used in it with some pineapple.
  • Food was prepared yesterday and frozen right after it had cooled down to be prepared for said travel today.
  • 3
    Next time, make sure all food is frozen solid for at least 24-48 hours before you travel. Place in a reliable brand-name cooler with excellent insulation and you can travel with it up to 12 hours in the continental US. Tropical countries may be precluded.
    – suse
    Oct 26, 2021 at 3:53
  • Yes.. The food was frozen well for a day so it was okay when I reached the destination. I haven't got a cooler but for the duration of the travel, it was still okay so I was thankful for that. I used a plastic that was as thicker than your regular zip lock bag so maybe that helped.
    – ASyntuBU
    Oct 26, 2021 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


Probably not safe, but don't bother, airport customs will probably make you throw it away.

The FDA recommends that perishable food items such as anything with meat in it be thrown away after 4 hours at roughly room temperature. Depending on how long it takes to defrost, it may or may not reach that threshold during your flight- and it's unlikely to be easy for you to check its temperature while you're in the air to determine whether or not it's past the safe time window on a 6 hour flight.

Additionally, you don't state a location, but many countries around the world prohibit the importation of food items that aren't in industrially sealed containers (e.g. cans of soda, packets of potato chips, etc). If they catch you with it, they'll throw it away, and that's a waste of food.

Just eat it before you travel, or leave it in the freezer for after you get back.

  • 3
    Good answer, but OP might be travelling intra-country, so no customs check. With a decent cooling bag, I'm absolutely certain that it won't defreeze (I used to do exactly this when I lived 1 state away from my mom and my door-to-door transit was about 6.5h). With cloth, I fully agree on probably not safe. Oct 25, 2021 at 6:09
  • 1
    You got it @JulianaKarasawaSouza. I'm only travelling intracountry and no customs.. also, 6 hrs was total travel but only 1 and a half for the plane itself. I successfully travelled with it without any issues. still frozen when i reached the destination. It was packed in a thick plastic and newspaper. no cooling bag used though. Cloth was not necessary. I was only asked if what is it when it got past the xray. explained it was goat meat and already cooked. Maybe they didnt bother as the travel within the plane is only an hour and a half.
    – ASyntuBU
    Oct 26, 2021 at 14:01
  • Thanks for the well thought answer @nick012000. It was still helpful and can consider it in my future travels.
    – ASyntuBU
    Oct 26, 2021 at 14:07
  • 1
    If you’re traveling in the US, they might consider it to be a stew to be a ‘gel’, and force you to dispose of it for being more than 3oz. (I’ve heard they’ve done that for peanut butter)
    – Joe
    Oct 26, 2021 at 16:01

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