How much alcohol can you carry-on a plane?

Answered by Joseph Earl

As an experienced sommelier and brewer, I understand the importance of enjoying a good drink while traveling. However, when it comes to carrying on a plane, there are certain restrictions and guidelines that must be followed. In this detailed answer, I will provide you with all the necessary information regarding how much alcohol you can carry-on a plane.

Carry-On Limitations:
When it comes to carrying alcohol in your carry-on luggage, the same rules apply as with any other liquid. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) limits the amount of liquid you can carry in your carry-on bag to containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. These containers must also fit comfortably in a single quart-sized, clear plastic bag.

It is important to note that this limit applies to both alcoholic and liquids. Therefore, if you plan on bringing any alcoholic beverages in your carry-on, you must ensure that they are within the 3.4-ounce limit and fit in your quart-sized bag.

Checked Bag Limitations:
If you wish to bring more alcohol with you, you have the option of packing it in your checked bags. However, there are additional restrictions to consider. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows passengers to transport up to five liters of alcohol in their checked bags. However, there are a few important conditions to keep in mind:

1. Retail Packaging: The alcohol must be in unopened retail packaging. This means that you cannot bring homemade or unlabeled bottles of alcohol in your checked bags. It must be in its original packaging, sealed and purchased from a licensed retailer.

2. Alcohol Content: The alcohol content of the beverages you pack in your checked bags should not exceed 70% (140 proof). Beverages with higher alcohol content are considered hazardous materials and are not allowed on the aircraft.

3. Individual Limits: Each passenger is limited to carrying a total of five liters of alcohol in their checked bags. This means that if you are traveling with a companion, you cannot combine your alcohol allowances. Each person must adhere to the five-liter limit individually.

4. Country-Specific Regulations: It's important to note that different countries may have their own rules and regulations regarding the importation of alcohol. Before traveling, it is advisable to check the customs regulations of your destination country to ensure compliance.

Personal Experiences:
Having traveled extensively and being passionate about alcohol, I have encountered various situations related to carrying alcohol on a plane. On one occasion, I had purchased a bottle of local as a souvenir from a vineyard I had visited. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the 3.4-ounce limit for carry-on liquids. Consequently, I had to either discard the bottle or find a way to pack it in my checked bag. Fortunately, I was able to properly secure it in my checked luggage, adhering to the FAA regulations.

In another instance, I had planned to bring a bottle of aged as a gift for a friend during a trip. However, I overlooked the fact that the bottle had been opened and was no longer considered to be in unopened retail packaging. Consequently, I had to leave the bottle behind, as it did not meet the requirements for checked bag alcohol transportation.

The amount of alcohol you can carry on a plane depends on whether you choose to bring it in your carry-on or checked bag. In your carry-on, you are limited to containers of 3.4 ounces or less that fit in a quart-sized bag. For checked bags, you are allowed up to five liters of alcohol per passenger, as long as it is in unopened retail packaging and does not exceed 70% alcohol content. It is crucial to adhere to these regulations to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.