Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane?

Whether you want to bring a bottle of wine on a trip or take some alcohol home as a souvenir, you may wonder if you can do so. While you can bring alcohol on a plane, there are some restrictions you need to know.

Carry-On Alcohol Limits 

In most cases, you can bring alcohol in your carry-on bag. However, the same regulations apply to alcohol as to other liquids. You can’t go through security with liquid in containers larger than 3.4 ounces.

Of course, all of your liquids, including alcohol, water, and toiletries, must fit in a clear quart-sized bag. This is a federal rule, so there’s no getting around it no matter what airline you fly or what airport you’re at.

Now, when it comes to alcohol specifically, you can’t bring just any alcohol. You must leave behind or toss any alcohol that’s over 70% alcohol by volume (ABV). That equates to alcohol that is over 140 proof.

Checked Bag Alcohol Limits

Like with other items, checked bags have fewer restrictions when it comes to the alcohol that you want to bring on your trip. If you’re packing alcohol that’s less than 48 proof or 24% ABV, you can bring as much as you want as long as it fits in your suitcase.


When traveling with alcohol between 24% and 70% ABV, you can only bring up to five liters per passenger. You also can only bring alcohol in its unopened retail packaging.

So if you’ve already opened a bottle of wine, you should leave it at home. But if you have a new bottle, it should be safe enough to bring.

Duty-Free Alcohol Purchases

After you pass through security at the airport, you may be able to buy alcohol at a duty-free shop. The same limits apply here as with checked bags. That means you can buy and bring up to five liters of alcohol on the plane.

When buying alcohol outside of the states and traveling to the US, you can’t mess with the bottle until you get home. The shop should pack the alcohol in a clear, tamper-evident bag, and it needs to stay there in order for you to keep it.

You should also keep your receipt on hand after your purchase. That way, you can prove to security and customs that you bought the alcohol within the past 48 hours.

How to Pack Alcohol in Your Checked Bag?

If you want to bring alcohol in a checked bag, that can be a great way to get around the carry-on limits. However, you need to be careful so that the alcohol bottle doesn’t break and cause the alcohol to leak onto your clothes and other belongings.

Make sure you wrap the alcohol bottle in something like bubble wrap. You can also buy a special case to protect the glass. If neither of those options work, you can wrap the alcohol in your clothes to help keep it from breaking.


You’ll then want to pack everything in a hard shell suitcase. That can help protect the outside of your bag in case it gets knocked around when people load it onto or off of the plane.

Tips for Traveling With Alcohol

If you must travel with alcohol, you should take some extra precautions. Keep the following tips in mind.

Don’t Pack Too Much

When bringing alcohol in a carry-on, don’t overstuff your liquids bag. If you do, it could break if it gets pushed around in your larger carry-on or personal item.

Instead, pack only what you need. If you’re also bringing a checked bag, you can put other liquids in there so that you have plenty of room in your carry-on.

Wait to Drink Duty-Free Purchases

As mentioned, you need to follow specific rules when flying with duty-free alcohol. You can’t tamper with the packaging if you want to take it on the plane.

Save the alcohol until you get home or to whatever your next destination is. If you open the bottle, you may have to toss the rest of it, thus wasting money and alcohol.

Don’t Fight TSA Agents

It may be frustrating if a TSA agent tells you they have to confiscate your alcohol. However, you should be as calm as you can.

Making a scene won’t change anything because taking away alcohol is a matter of safety. Plus, they could kick you out of the line.

To help avoid getting your alcohol confiscated, review the rules before you pack. That way, you can make sure to pack just as much alcohol as you can and in the right bag.


Stop by the Airport Bar

Maybe you really want some alcohol but don’t want to pay for it on the flight. You can’t drink your own alcohol on a plane due to safety reasons.

However, you can browse the airport terminal and look for a bar. Then, you can grab a drink well before your flight is set to take off.

You’ll still be able to fulfill your craving for a drink. But you can avoid opening your own alcohol and risk getting hit with a massive fine.

Ask for Clarification

When you’re at the airport or on a plane, don’t be afraid to ask someone when you have a question about alcohol rules. You can ask the TSA agents, flight attendants, and airport bartenders certain things.

Not everyone will be able to answer every question, so find the best person based on what you want to know. Whatever it is, it’s better to ask for clarification than to inadvertently break the rules.