Can I bring alcohol on a plane?

As you’re packing for your trip, you notice alcohol in your fridge. You’d like to bring it along to enjoy time with your friends and family. But, you wonder: can I bring alcohol on a plane?

We’ll go over the TSA guidelines for alcohol in this article. We’ll also talk about the rules for bringing alcohol in your checked baggage.

If you’re wondering if you can drink your own alcohol on a plane, we’ll go over that too. Let’s get started!

Can I bring alcohol in my carry-on bag?

Yes, you can bring alcohol in your carry-on bag. But, it’s subject to the TSA’s 3:1:1 liquid rule. This means you can bring a maximum of 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a plane. You can bring mini bottles of alcohol on a plane as long as they fit nicely inside a quart-sized bag.

The containers must be able to fit inside one bag, and there’s a limit of one bag per passenger.

It’s not a good idea to overflow your bag or pack it really tightly. This won’t go unnoticed by the TSA and it’ll just be more difficult for you to travel with all that extra liquid. So make sure you follow the rules for a smooth experience through airport security.

Can I bring alcohol on a plane in checked baggage?

Man drinking alcohol on a plane

Yes. Drinks that are between 24% (48 proof) and 70% alcohol (140 proof) must be five liters or less (1.3 gallons) in checked bags. They must be stored in unopened retail boxes, according to the TSA.

Most beers and wines that you can get from some grocery stores or liquor stores are on the lower end of this spectrum: around 48 proof.

Most vodka is 80 proof and whiskey ranges between 80 to 100 proof on average.

If you have alcohol under 24% concentrated, then there’s no limit on how much you can bring. 

Of course, it has to fit in your checked baggage, and your checked bag has to remain within the airline’s bag weight limit. But beyond that there are no requirements for under 24% alcohol.

You cannot pack alcohol in your checked luggage that is over 70% alcohol or 140 proof.

How do I pack alcohol in my checked luggage?

The TSA requires that alcohol between 24% and 70% concentrate must be in unopened retail packaging. They likely want to be able to quickly identify if the liquid is dangerous or suspicious if your bag needs to be checked. An unopened box with the labels on it gives the agents more confidence that the substance is safe.

Can airport scanners detect alcohol?

Airport x-ray scanners can tell if alcohol is in your carry-on bag. If it is not 3.4 ounces or 100 mL, the TSA agents will confiscate the drink. The scanners cannot tell if you have been drinking, nor does the TSA pay attention to that. Of course, if you are drunk to the point of being disruptive or obnoxious, the agents may call security. But many places around the airport serve drinks so you don’t need to worry about having some alcohol in your system.

If you brought too much alcohol and you’re stopped by a TSA agent, you have a few options.

  1. Dump out the liquid and carry the bottle or container on the plane.
  2. Dump out the liquid and leave 3.4 ounces or less to bring on the plane.
  3. Throw out the bottle or container.
  4. Have someone who is not traveling take your alcohol before you go through security and board the plane.
  5. Give the alcohol to the TSA agent. (They can’t drink on the job, but they will confiscate it!)

Your best option is to probably throw it out or give it to someone who is not traveling, if they’re available. You don’t want to hold up the line or lose your place in line because you didn’t follow the TSA liquid rules. Especially on busy days with crowded airports, that can be a real hassle!

How do you sneak alcohol through airport security?

Do not try to sneak alcohol through airport security. It won’t work. After you drop off your checked luggage, you’ll go through an x-ray scanner and so will your carry-on bag. The scanner will detect alcohol. If it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, it will be confiscated.

Think carefully before you decide to try breaking the TSA rules. In reality, you are just inconveniencing others and inconveniencing yourself by causing unnecessary delays for the TSA agents.

You cannot drink your own alcohol on a plane, anyway. So there’s no point in sneaking your own alcohol on a plane. Just purchase alcohol when you get to your destination so you don’t have to skirt any rules.

Can you take a bottle of wine in your checked luggage?

Yes, wine fits between the 24% and 70% alcohol content required by the TSA for checked baggage. You can take up to 5 liters of alcohol, so bring a few bottles if you’d like!

Can you take alcohol on a plane if you’re under 21?

Interior of an Airplane with Lights On

This depends on the specific alcohol laws in your state. Some states prohibit minors from possessing alcohol, while others only prohibit consuming it or buying it. You might catch some weird glances if you’re carrying a bunch of alcohol up to the security checkpoint. Not to mention that you have to stay within the TSA’s 3.4 ounce/100 mL liquid rule.

To avoid the hassle of your state’s laws and following the strict liquid rule, carry the alcohol in your checked bags. Even if you’re under 21, this shouldn’t be a problem. The agents won’t associate your age with the luggage they see, unless you do something suspicious.

Just be sure to pack 5 liters or less of 48 proof to 140 proof alcohol.

Utah, for example, has pretty strict laws on alcohol consumption. If you’re under 21, you cannot purchase or consume alcohol. Violating this law may result in a class B misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. You could also get your driver’s license suspended.

Check your state’s laws before you carry alcohol on a plane under 21. If in doubt, pack it in your checked luggage. 

Will a wine bottle explode on an airplane?

No, the airplane cabins with checked baggage are pressurized and kept at a specific temperature. They won’t explode on a plane. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to bring a whole bottle of wine on a plane. It will have to go in your checked luggage. You can only bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a plane.

Can you drink your own alcohol on a plane?

No, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits you from drinking your own alcohol on a plane. They only allow you to drink alcohol provided by the airline.

Airlines don’t want to have to deal with drunk passengers or any problems that could arise from that. You don’t want fights breaking out in a small confined space 35,000 feet in the air!

How do you drink alcohol on a plane?

Some airlines will serve alcohol. This is the only way you can drink it on a plane. You can’t drink your own alcohol on a plane, but you can bring it. It just has to be under 3.4 ounces.

Can I bring alcohol on an American Airlines flight?

American Airlines follows the exact TSA guidelines. You can only bring 3.4 ounces of alcohol or less on a plane. They’re allowed in checked baggage if the beverage is between 25% and 70% alcohol and under five liters.

Can I bring alcohol on a United Airlines flight?

As the TSA guidelines state, you can bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a United Airlines flight. You’re not allowed to drink alcohol on the plane. But if you wanted to bring some with you, pack it in your checked baggage. You can pack up to five liters that’s between 25% and 70% alcohol.

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Can I bring alcohol on a Southwest airlines flight?

You can bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a Southwest flight, just like the other major airlines. Southwest also follows the TSA checked baggage rules. You can bring up to 5 liters of alcohol that’s between 48 and 140 proof.

Are you noticing a pattern? Pretty much every major airline follows the TSA guidelines exactly. That being said, it’s still good to go to their specific website. Sometimes airlines have stricter requirements than the TSA, requirements that they don’t mention. You can also go to each airline’s website to see if they serve any alcohol on board. That’s the only way you can drink any on a plane, after all.

Can I bring alcohol on a plane for an international flight?

Yes, the same rules for bringing alcohol on a plane for domestic flights apply to international flights. You can bring 100 mL of alcohol on the plane. In checked baggage, the alcohol must be 24% to 70% concentrated, but you can bring up to 5 liters.

The TSA has a couple of specific requirements for traveling with alcohol on connecting flights/bring it overseas.

If you are bringing alcohol from overseas to the United States for a connecting flight, the bottles must be unopened and sealed securely. Also, you must show proof that you bought the alcohol within the last 48 hours. Hang on to the receipt so you can bring your alcohol home.

Regarding wine or spirits, the TSA doesn’t handle those regulations. Customs and Border Patrol does. They may get suspicious if you’re trying to bring more than a case of alcohol back to the States.

Beyond that, you’ll have to look at your state’s requirements. Every state has different requirements on what types of alcohol you can bring, and how much. So be sure to do your due diligence and conduct some research in advance.


We hope that this article helped you decide on what you can and can’t pack when it comes to alcohol. Remember, if in doubt, you can pack wine or beer in your checked bags. Even vodka and whiskey is allowed; you just can’t bring anything over 140 proof. And don’t bring too much – 5 liters is the limit!

Good luck and have a great trip!

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