Cakes on a plane…not as easy as you think…

We have flown cakes via private planes (Our preference, it goes right to the plane, there is no waiting and we have access to the cakes at all times.)   We have also flown cakes via commercial airlines. Is this our favorite option?  Nope, it’s not.  We will do it? Yes we will.  Is it expensive?  Yes it is.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not that easy to fly a cake commercially.  You can’t just put a cake in a box and pop it on a plane.  Because our cakes are fragile, we take extra precaution in crating the cakes for this kind of delivery. (Yep I said crating, the cake does not go in just a cardboard box – that would just be silly and some what dangerous, what happens if a suitcase fell on the cake? Smush.)

So here is some insight as to what it takes to fly one of our cakes on a commercial airline.

  • You need to be certified by the carrier, which we are. (Your company needs to go through a security check.)
  • Flight availability. Additional cargo packaging is not always guaranteed for a flight. All people and luggage are. (Sometimes you have to wait for another flight that has room for additional cargo, which is what a cake is considered.)
  • Crating.  We have special crates made for the cake.  It’s what they ship sculpture in.  Two sides are wood, and two sides are plexiglass so the airline crew can see what cargo they are handling.
This is the kind of crate we have made. There are handles on each side so it is easier for two people to pick it up.
  • Placement on the airplane.  This is predetermined by the amount of luggage already in cargo.  You have no choice as to where its location is in the cargo hold; all of the weight needs to be distributed evenly.
  • Temperature control.  Despite popular belief, it is not colder in the cargo hold; this is a direct quote from my contact at the airline.  The temperature is almost the same as the main cabin where people sit.  You can’t just put dry ice in the box (unless you are certified) because that is considered a “dangerous chemical”, and you need to be specially certified with the airline in order to transport dry ice.
The plexiglass gets screwed into place using a drill.
  • When we deliver to the airport, a refrigerated van takes delivers the cake, we don’t know how long we have to wait to get the cake on the plane, so we want to keep the cake cold for as long as possible.
  • Weight of the cake.  We can only go up to 100 pounds for each crate and that is including the weight of the crate.  So design needs to really be thought out in order to achieve this.  If the cake is over the 100 pounds, they will not ship it.
This is a cake we flew to Florida in 2007. All crated up and ready to go for a ride on an airplane.
  • When it’s picked up, another refrigerated van is needed; we need to get the cake back into a cold environment and then to a refrigerated location until the event.  (We like to keep our cakes cold so that they can sit out during the entire event for everyone to enjoy.)

The other thing people don’t realize, is the stress that we are under flying a cake to a location.  It makes us VERY nervous, which is why we take extra precautions to ensure a safe delivery.  So it’s not as easy as you think it might be…  🙂

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5 thoughts on “Cakes on a plane…not as easy as you think…

  1. I am just loving your blog! Thanks! It’s so true…taking a cake on a plane is extremely difficult and nerve-wracking. As always, RBI Cakes does it the right way and in style!

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