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TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Traveling With Alcoholic Beverages

Tuesday, January 07, 2014
TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Traveling With Alcoholic Beverages

Whether travelers are taking them on the road, or bringing them back from their adventures, alcoholic beverages are item that travelers often pack in their baggage. This is fine as long as a few guidelines are followed when packing.

Carry-on Baggage

  • Travelers may carry as many 3.4 ounce bottles of liquid (mini bottles of liquor are 1.7 ounces) that fit comfortably in one, quart sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag. Comfortable means that the bag will seal without busting at the seams. One bag is permitted per passenger.
  • Liquids (including alcohol) purchased after clearing the security checkpoint are permitted on the aircraft.
  • FAA regulations state that “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage.”

Checked Baggage

  • Any amount of alcohol greater than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked baggage.
  • Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, cannot be packed in checked luggage.
  • Travelers may take up to five liters of alcohol with alcohol content between 24% and 70% per person as checked luggage if it’s packaged in a sealable bottle or flask.
  • Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% alcohol content are not subject to hazardous materials regulations.

See you next Tuesday with more travel tips!

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Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Anonymous on

So does this mean I can bring a liqueur back from Germany?
Submitted by Anonymous on

"...are item that travelers..."
Where is the copy editor today?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

So how come I can bring 7 three ounce bottles of stuff in a baggie through security, but I can't bring 1 twenty ounce coffee or 2 eight ounce waters?

What makes the three ounce bottles so magical? Or is it the zippy bag that makes the contents safe?

Submitted by Anonymous on


Its the "magic" zippy bag obviously!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

@SSSS and Anon the entire TSA enterprise is based on magical thinking, so it stands to reason that the zippy bag is magical, too. I would just shrug it off as another modern incovenience were it not for the fact that we've wasted billion$ on TSA's security theatre without making us one bit safer, and have never even counted the indirect costs to business, government, and the travelling public that have been incurred as a result. pathetic.

Submitted by Sergio on

As long as the "magic" zippy bag has the certification for explosive/radioactive/bullet proof, otherwise the magic comes from Zathura.

Submitted by RB on

So any person can have as many 3.4 ounce bottles of whatever that fit in a one quart zip top bag and once past what TSA calls security screening can empty those several bottles into one larger container exceeding 3.4.

Only in the minds of TSA could anyone make a claim that those several 3.4 ounce bottles are safer than one bottle containing the contents of all bottles combined.

TSA, it's time to drop the curtain on this silliness.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do you persist in your nonsensical 3.4-1-1 policy when there is absolutely zero scientific basis for it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

These are all reasons I don't fly anymore. I just take more time and drive. That way, I don't have to be concerned about the size of my toothpaste tube or whether I have an illegal quantity of mouthwash. Ridiculous. I just wish the government would stop "protecting" me from everything. Thomas Jefferson said "A government big enough to give everything to you is big enough to take everything from you". Think about it.

Submitted by Richard on

From 49 CFR 175.10(a)(4)(ii)

(4) Alcoholic beverages containing:

(ii) More than 24% and not more than 70% alcohol by volume when in when in unopened retail packagings not exceeding 5 liters (1.3 gallons) carried in carry-on or checked baggage , with a total net quantity per person of 5 liters (1.3) gallons for such beverages.

As you see above the third bullet point in Checked Baggage is incorrect. First it has to be in unopend retail packaging not a sealable bottle or flask, second it is not just for checked baggage as it can be carried on as well, it just turns out the limit is far beyond what can be brought through the checkpoint, but as the second bullet point in Carry-on baggage states that if you could buy such alcohol after the check point you could carry it on. Such alcohol can be purchased in duty free shops and can be brought back from Germany but only in the limits described.

It should also be noted that if alcholic beverages are carried on, they can only be served to a passenger by a working flight attendant so pouring your own drink with your own alcohol is Illegal, plus it is the policy of many airlines not to serve individuals their own alcohol, because they have no idea what proof it is. Airlines can always choose to be more restrictive than the regulations so they are not violating the regulation by not serving passengers alcohol they brought on board.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If this is the policy, then why was my unopened miniature of whiskey (safely ensconced in my zippy bag) confiscated? So I then took to decanting it into an unmarked small container, which was deemed suspicious, so I now use a small Listerine bottle. Jeeze, Louise....

And the undoubtedly failed chemistry major who declared my 2 oz. spray bottle of 10% bleach solution used for sterilization (that's about 1 tsp Clorox in 2 oz. water) a "hazardous substance" because it could be used to create chlorine gas. Seriously???

This is a farce.

Submitted by Anonymous on

But alcoholic beverages might be flammable! We can't have any alcohol on the plane. Sorry, First Class people.

Submitted by Mike Wilson on

Just because you are allowed to carry alcohol past airline security doesn't mean that it approve it's usage on board. It would be better if alcohol consumption is completely avoided on flight.

Submitted by Rod Barnhart on

Blogger Mike Wilson said...
"Just because you are allowed to carry alcohol past airline security doesn't mean that it approve it's usage on board. It would be better if alcohol consumption is completely avoided on flight."

Consumption isn't the question, possession is. And, according to the Anonymous that I assume you're replying to, (s)he has to use deceit to get it through the checkpoint, even though it's allowed.

Submitted by Thomas on

"Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, cannot be packed in checked luggage."

So if we're bringing back high-proof alcohol for making bitters, we need to ship it FedEx to ourselves rather than bringing it in checked luggage? That's unfortunate :(

Submitted by Anonymous on

Checked a bag from Seattle to LA with a full unopened bottle of St. Germain (750 ml). The bottle was opened, all the contents poured out, and the empty bottle was put back in the bag. None of it spilled inside the luggage. It would have had to been poured out. WHY would they do that? It was a Christmas gift.

Submitted by Sheryl Mills on

Checked a bag from Seattle to LA with a full unopened bottle of St. Germain (750 ml). When I arrived in LA I found that the bottle had been opened and all the liquid had been poured out. Not a drop was inside the bag, so it would have had to been poured out. WHY would TSA do this?

Submitted by Laureen on

My guess would be somebody drank it! I doubt it just got poured out. Still sux tho. One of the many reasons I try to never check a bag, always carry on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

a long time ago, if you tried to bring a bottle of liquid through security that thought was suspicious, they'd make you open it and drink from it. atleast that made a little sense.

Submitted by Ron J on

Hopefully someone that knows will respond to this shortly.

Is a factory sealed 5 litre Boxed Wine permissible to be in your checked luggage?

And yes, I am talking about the wine that comes in a box with a sealed heavy duty plastic bag filled with wine inside of the box which is dispensed via a spout or spigot you open the box to get at to enjoy the contents?

Hope to hear from someone soon and thanks in advance for the help!

Submitted by Jillian on

Yes, boxed wine is fine in your checked luggage. I do it all the time.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Because they love power and inconveniencing people.

Submitted by Mely Mancini on

I've read in several blogs that it is smart to travel with the TSA Regulations printed out for any uninformed airline workers who question the transportation of alcohol. Has anyone done this and had any luck with it? I called the airline that my father will be flying with wine and they said they will carry wine as checked luggage and they recommended I check the rules at his destination. He is bringing a couple of cases of wine from Chile for the holidays here in the USA. I want him to have a copy of TSA regulations with him. Is a print out of this blog sufficient?

Submitted by Mely Mancini on

My dad is flying from Chile to USA (Florida) for the holidays and is planning on checking 2 cases of wine. I called the airline he is flying and they said they accept the wine as checked luggage but they also recommended checking the rules for the destination (FL). It seems that he can bring 2 cases but he may have to pay a duty. in my research of traveling with wine, I see a lot of bloggers recommended that passengers flying with wine should bring along a hard copy of the TSA regulations (that allow the wine to be checked in luggage). I see this bit of advice over and over but I am not seeing the official TSA regulations anywhere that looks fit to be printed as official regulations. Has anyone done this before and what exactly did you print out? Happy holidays!

Submitted by Seth on

Flying from Chile the issue is going to be US Customs, not the TSA. I don't believe they allow anything like 2 cases of wine to be imported without a license.

Submitted by Larry on

I recently bought a bottle of liquor at duty free shop. They put in a TSA approved bag and said I could take it thru security on my second flight returning home. Does anyone know if this works. I was afraid to trust information and put it in my suitcase after clearing customs before checking bag for final leg. I had never heard of such a bag and can find no information. The bag was clear with

Submitted by Anonymous on

What about empty bottles? How many of those can we bring back?

Submitted by Queen Bee on

I'm so confused every air line is different I'm afraid to pack deorant in checked luggage I'm scared to death every time I fly. Almost not worth it but I'm sure Colgate and other companies lI've everyone having to purchase things after they land

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is a zippy bag of holding. A wizard made it. Or Tesla.

Submitted by Unknown on

It is very difficult for me to understand the point of a lot of this people. Xmas gift can be easily shipped. A toothpaste can be checked instead carry on. All personal igiene products are available in small sizes, and if you don't wish to buy new shampoo you can buy a full selection of mini containers and pour all your favorite liquids. If you must have a drink purchase it on the plane! OK, a lot of these rules are silly or imprecise, but what makesyou think that you know better and you must have your deodorant spray or your booze on the plane? Looks to me that you all speak about national flight. Have you ever been on a 13 hour non stop? How come all these people can survive with these crazy rules?
The truth is that for one smart traveler that put clothes or shoes in the carry-on there are 9 that still want to bring on their father pocket knife or they have to be repeated several times to empty their pockets before the metal detector. That's what delay controls
Before to fly I always ask myself: do I really need this on the plane?

Submitted by Dianna B on

Well coffee is open... water, I have no clue.

Submitted by Alan Douglas on

What happen to the old days when you did not second guess what used to be the norm to carry alcohol bought anywhere and put in the plane overhead storage bins provided with its own box

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Alan Douglas sez - "What happen to the old days when you did not second guess what used to be the norm to carry alcohol bought anywhere and put in the plane overhead storage bins provided with its own box"

Sadly, they call them the good OLD days for a reason. Most (if not all) of those regulations changed in the wake of 9/11, some of them actually changed ahead of 9/11. That being said, if you are traveling from a foreign destination, the following rules apply:

You may carry duty free liquids in secure, tamper–evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:
•The duty free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
•The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
•The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.

This information can be found here at the bottom of the page .

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Tom Avery on

Is bringing back bottles of beer and wine in carry on bags ok?

Submitted by Unknown on

If traveling in the U. S.from one state to another is it okay to pack a 1 liter unopened bottle of alcohol that is 40% in checked suitcase?

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Tom Avery sez - "Is bringing back bottles of beer and wine in carry on bags ok?"

Only as described above in the Duty free bags. Checked baggage is ok to bring them though.

Unknown sez - "If traveling in the U. S.from one state to another is it okay to pack a 1 liter unopened bottle of alcohol that is 40% in checked suitcase? "


TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Travels With Liquor on

I'm thankful you posted travel with liquor rules and not concerned with a tippy....I mean typo

Submitted by J3susFr33k on

You should add to this list that it has to be labeled. I was denied bringing moonshine in checked bag this morning because it was in unlabeled mason jars.

Submitted by Andrew Koch on

Says it's against regulation to pour out my mini bottles in the cabin. Do I hand the steward a mini bottle of alcohol to pour in my served drink?

Submitted by Unknown on

Why are the requirements posted sometimes in imperial and sometimes in metric? It's a strange and ultimately immature inconsistency. Choose one or the other or use both consistently throughout the article.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a 52 year old male traveling with my 18 year old son from Ontario Ca to Nashville TN and I want to take up to 5 liters of alchol in each of our checked baggage. Is this ok ?

Submitted by Anonymous on

What does that mean for bringing a homemade liqueur on an interstate flight?

Submitted by Jacqueline Masse on

I am taking a trip to New York City at Thanksgiving and my mom wanted to send 3 liters of liquor in my checked bag for a hostess gift where we are staying. My brother is 19 and I am 17. Is this okay?

Submitted by Terry Harden on

I just got home and my bag was inspected (LAX to Phx) and I had a bottle of Gin. (Original purchase was in Scotland). I cleared customs/immigration fine. When I opened my bag, I had the notice of inspection, but my gin bottle was OPENED, as in, the safety plastic wrapping was removed, and the seal was broken. Is this a regular procedure?

Submitted by Anonymous on

You are an idiot

Submitted by George on

Get Real!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

the zippy bags are explosion proof.

Submitted by Vicky on

If I want to take a wine bottle in my checked in luggage, does it need to be in a specific rapping?

Submitted by Erin on

Can a homemade liqueur in a sealable bottle be checked? It is about 100 proof.

Submitted by Shelby Tate on

I bought a bottle of Vodka on an international flight, duty free. When we arrived in the US TSA took it because I had forgotten to put it in my checked bag at the Customs place. They generously suggested I go back to the Customs location and put it in my checked luggage. It was much too late for that so I told them to enjoy it. I don't think they were amused.