Flying 101: Packing Wine

packing-wine

There’s nothing like passing the time of a long flight – or a short flight for that matter – with a drink in hand.

Unfortunately that drink is purchased off a cart and and usually gone in a couple sips. If only you could drink the Burgundy you’re returning to the States with, or the cute little bottle of Captain in your liquids bag. Or can you? What exactly are the rules for traveling with alcohol on an airplane?

 

Carry On

Because of that lovely thing called TSA, liquids – including alcoholic beverages – must be in checked baggage if the container is larger than 3.4 oz (or you’ve already maxed out your quart-size bag).

We think you’ll be hard pressed to find small enough wine bottles like you can other alcohols, but we’re sure a shampoo container or TSA-approved bottles could come in handy.

So yes, you can have alcohol in your quart-size bag in your carry on, but here’s the real buzzkill — if you decided to crack open one of your 3.4 oz bottles, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get caught. It’s against federal regulation to open or drink alcohol that was not served to you by a flight attendant. But, this may be up to the airline’s discretion. JetBlue says you may bring wine, sparkling wine, or beer on a flight if it is an unopened container, and you can give it to flight crewmember to serve to you.

 

Checked Luggage

On a more definite note, you can fill up your checked bag with wine or alcohol, or just check a case of wine if that’s more your style.

But there are rules you’ll need to follow. The FAA limits alcohol with an alcohol content between 24% and 70% to five liters per person. Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof) are never permitted, carry-on or checked baggage.

Wine is typically around 12% ABV, so we’re in luck. In general, there is no limit on the amount of alcoholic beverages containing 24% or less alcohol that a passenger can have in checked baggage (but keep in mind weight restrictions).

Additionally, bottles of wine you purchase from shops beyond the TSA checkpoint are good for you to put in your carry on — still can’t open it on the plane though. (And this would be a little harder to hide from the flight attendant).

 

Airline Rules

Beyond TSA and the FAA, airlines may have restrictions of their own. In general, assume that your wine should be in its original unopened packaging. American Airlines says that opened containers are only allowed in checked baggage if they are re-closed and packed properly. If you’re worried your wine might get taken away from you for whatever reason, it’s always best to check with the airline you’re flying to see what their rules are.

 

State by State, Customs, International Laws

Import laws and alcohol regulations are different from country to country. US Customs only allows for 1 liter of alcohol per legal-aged person to be carried into the United States duty-free, (free of local import tax). If you bring more, you may be subject to paying duty and taxes for the rest of the bottles. If you have a bottle of wine in your carry on that you purchased beyond security and have a connecting flight, keep in mind that you will be subject to TSA liquids rules again if you have to go through security.

If you’re flying internationally, or flying back into the US from another country, it’s always best to check the regulations and laws of TSA, your airlines, any countries you’re flying into, airline security in those countries, US Customs and even state import laws.

 

Wine Protection

But most importantly, if you’ve made sure you can get to your destination with your wine still in your possession, you’ll want to fly with ease knowing your wine will get there in one piece. Some airlines, like Southwest, sell wine and alcohol packaging to secure your wine in your checked luggage. Here are some other cool buys to keep your sacred juice safe.

 

JetBag

This reusable padded bottle bag is also super absorbent. In case a leak should occur – you’ll be saving your clothes from a lot of red wine stains.

 

WineSkin

Throw a pack of these leak-proof WineSkins in your suitcase and you’ll be all set when you find some vino to bring home.

 

Styrofoam Shipping Cooler

If you’re more of a whole case person, these shipping cooler boxes come in different sizes and keep your bottles snug on the trip.

 

Air-filled Wine Wrapp

These Wrapps come with a pump to give your bottles added cushion and shock absorbency in your suitcase.

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