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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 Shelby Tate on

Xmas gifts can be shipped but why should you have to pay for something like that? I agree with most of your other comments. It would help if the TSA understood their own rules better. They can be different from one airport to the next.

Submitted by Brittany on

It's because in 2006, people tried to bring aboard explosives that were disguised in liquid. The more liquid, the more explosives. By limiting it to smaller bottles that can only fit in 1 ziplock it limits the chance for a huge explosion

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can take 3.4 ounces on the plane. I can take 5 L and checked baggage. Why don’t you decide which system to use. Imperial or metric choose one and stick with it.

Submitted by West Cooper on

I believe part of the reason 3.4 ounces was chosen, is that it is pretty close to 100ml - which is the measurement used in many travel sized items in other countries. The US uses the Imperial system predominantly, but there are important exceptions - such as the use of 750ml measurements on many bottles of wine and liquors. By using the 5 Liter measurement, it makes it easier to calculate for folks taking wines and other bottles of spirits. 5 Liters also translates to a shade under 1 and 1/3 gallons, so it makes it a little easier conversion there as well. (on a completely unrelated note, 1/3rd of a gallon translates to about 38 ounces, which translates to about 25 loads of laundry based upon most detergents...)

I was not involved in developing the language and unit conversions they use in our publications, but I would venture a guess that they used these in order to try and make travel for all passengers a bit easier.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Paul Dougherty on

Stories like yours are what scare me. The TSA *CLAIMS* that they now allow you to bring duty free liquor in your carry on bag, but the real experience is often different from what they SAY. Did you have the liquor in a clear plastic bag that the store sealed your liquor inside? Did you have your receipt? If you did TSA claims you should have been able to travel with your liquor.

This whole thing could be solved if they eliminated the stupid second security screening for a connecting international flight. It's absurd and I'm positive they have never once and never will find anything at a second security check. Anything dangerous that a bad person brought with them that they wanted to cause harm with, they would use on the first leg of the flight before the connecting flight and second security screening. Which is why TSA will never, ever find anything dangerous during these second screenings. That particular job must be the worst job in all the TSA. Working the second security screening for connecting legs of international flights, from people that have already been through security. Nothing but pissed off passengers with nothing illegal or dangerous in their luggage. Well, that's 99.99999% of all travelers anyway, isn't it!

I'm afraid to try to carry on alcohol and waste my purchase when an uninformed TSA agent steals my gift. And it's not worth paying the checked luggage fee ($25 each way) just to save the few dollars of tax that you save by buying the alcohol in the first place. It's lose-lose for the traveler.

Submitted by Marcruz7171@yah... on

My son had travelled in an international flight and TSA had confiscated the sealed
bottle of Nutella? The main ingredient of Nutella is hazel nuts same as a Peanut
butter is from Peanuts? Why is this not permitted as I don't see any hazard material
in content of this food. Please response as we are travelling international in the
near future. thank you

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have the same situation, I wish they would respond to all the questions.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am traveling to Florida to stay with my aunt and uncle. I am 18. My mom wants to send me with a bottle of their favorite liquor for a host gift. Is this okay since the bottle will be sealed?

Submitted by Ashley on

how do i bring wine back from italy?

Submitted by MZ J on

I'm getting married and I want to give out bottles of wine to my guest as a favor. Will they be able to take it home on the plane if its unopened?

Submitted by Sean Barker on

Think about this. If you take water past security, how many $5 bottles of water will they be able to sell. There are no mini bottles of liquor at the gates to buy. My problem is being able to take the mini bottles on the plane, but you can use them.

Submitted by Marilyn on

Your not old enough to. Carry one unleast your 21

Submitted by D B Cooper on


Submitted by Guest on

Anything that may resemble a liquid, gel, aerosol spray, cream, paste is still subject to the 3.4 ounce limit for carry on. That would include anything that is spreadable and not a complete solid. Such as, Nutella, peanut butter, and cream cheese. Better to be safe and check it in!

Submitted by Dan on

Bob, you must have the patience of a saint to write a blog providing guidance, knowing rules and laws will be changed AFTER you try to be helpful, and then people roast you alive on your blog.

Cheers. Thanks for helping us navigate the rules that others have thrust upon you.

Submitted by Loraine on

I was told that at age 75 you are automatically TSA approved.

Submitted by Anne Yeater on

I agree! Never understood the logic of several 3oz verses one of more ounces!

Submitted by Anne Yeater on

My feelings exactly!

Submitted by Anony on

Need to look up customs for her and Germany to be sure

Submitted by Jay on

9-11 that's why.

Submitted by Shireen on

My husband and I are traveling together. We have one check in bag. Can both of our 1500ml of alcohol be in the one checked bag?

Submitted by Charlie on

The Transportation Security Administration said they found a record number of guns in one day last week, including several at Texas airports.

On May 3rd, the agency said, they found 26 firearms in carry-on bags, the most in a single day. The firearms were discovered at 15 different airports including one at Dallas Love Field, two at Dallas-Fort Worth International, one at Austin-Bergstrom and four at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Submitted by Guest on

It may work for you, but how about overseas travel? Are you going to drive too? :-)

Submitted by Guest on

The connecting fight is treated as new flight not as a continuation of your trip, therefore, you have to check in your alcohol.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I fill my own mini bottles of vodka to bring in my carry on in a quart sized baggie? I am flying aer lingus sf to London.

Submitted by Vw on

So I do not own a credit card and always carry cash. The airline do not except cash on board anymore. So why cant I pour my little bottle of vodka into my juice? I cant pay by credit they cannot discriminate me then? So I always proceed to pour my little bottle into my juice or soda. Sorry!

Submitted by Anonymous on

For alcohol, does it have to be glass or can or both

Submitted by Justin on

Did you get the point? That's really what's important.

Submitted by Hi on

They do this bc if you are carrying enough liquid to store a potential hazard in, it will be dangerous and they don’t have time to test all of it. So they equate the amount of mini bottles in a bag bc the substance you could put in 3.4 oz wouldn’t be strong enough to hurt someone.

Submitted by Anonymous on

does This mean that anyone, including teens/kids, can carry as many miniatures that fit in the quart size bag?? I or is not allowed for Youth?

Submitted by Helen on

When flying back from Jamaica where we had purchased miniature bottles of rum cream from duty free in montego bay, our bottles were taken out of the sealed bag and individually put in a device to screen them. This took quite a bit of time and almost missed our connection. Why would they do that if they were sealed and the receipt was visible?

Submitted by CHRIS BARRY on


Submitted by Rose on

My 19 year old daughter will be traveling to Mexico, I was wondering if it would be allowed to place alcohol in her luggage. Its obviously not for her but for her grandfather. Would it matter since she’s underage?

Submitted by Laurence on

I'm traveling to a Japan. I'm allowed two free luggage. Can I transport 5 liters of alcohol per suitcase ( which would come out to 10 liters total) or be allowed to bring only the required amount of 5 liters total for both check-in baggages?
I've traveled to Japan once before in 2015 with 3 liters in each suitcase LAX-NRT and everything went through.

Submitted by N/A on

Sorry to be specific, but can I have my little baggie of shampoo and other personal items, AND this baggie of booze? Or all in one? Seems to be variations for different airports for what is allowed. I carry the 2 baggies and only once was I challenged in over 20 flights. Who is right?

Submitted by Robin on

Is there s bridge to Italy I don’t know about?

Submitted by Anonymous on

My cousin has bee allowed to take 6 nips on her car carr yon. I prefer wine. Anyone brought the Minnie bottles. Any luck? How Many?

Submitted by Anonymous on

My cousin has bee allowed to take 6 nips on her carry yon. I prefer wine. Anyone brought the Minnie bottles. Any luck? How Many?

Submitted by Anonymous on


Submitted by Anonymous on

I think it's earlier. Recently flew to Missouri and TSA told by husband he was eligible to go through the TSA pre-check line. He's 73.

Submitted by Kerry on

Most cosmetics and bathroom supplies. Are ok in checked baggage. As long as there is no hazardous chemicals exceeding the limits. Carry on has different rules and the 3oz rule applies to most liquids

Submitted by Kerry on

More likely that’s is a customs questions as to imports

Submitted by Kerry on

That’s is a custom questions and most likely no as she is underage and will be questioned at customs

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I pack canned beer in checked luggage?

Submitted by William Berg on

135.121   Alcoholic beverages.

(a) No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage.

(b) No certificate holder may serve any alcoholic beverage to any person aboard its aircraft if that person appears to be intoxicated.

(c) No certificate holder may allow any person to board any of its aircraft if that person appears to be intoxicated


Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I take a flask 500 ml sterile water for my baby as he does not like the ready made milk only drinks the powder milk

Submitted by COL Zak on

Hi, Logic hits us like a foul ball in the face when you say, "if you are carrying enough liquid to store a potential hazard in, it will be dangerous and they don’t have time to test all of it. So they equate the amount of mini bottles in a bag bc the substance you could put in 3.4 oz wouldn’t be strong enough to hurt someone." So when me and my 10 buddies follow the rules by each of us carrying the allowed 3.4 ounces onto the plane. Now we have 34 ounces of on the plane. Now what TSA? Is it no longer your problem, once those 10 passengers clear TSA? Warm regards. COL Zak

Submitted by Ralph on

ONLY if and when it meets the specs of the 3.4 ruling

Submitted by Peter Mueller on

Yes, you may.

Submitted by Vipalpinetours on

Yes. As long as you follow the carry on size rules. If its in your checked baggage, and depending on alcohol content, you can bring as much as 1.3 gallons (check with airline as well) if its between 24-70 percent alcohol. Trick is, place bottle in a sock, wrap in plastic and put in middle of suitcase. Ive brought back dozens upon dozens of bottles back this way.