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Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane? The Comprehensive Guide!

  • Air Travel
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 15 minutes

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Are you about to board a long-haul flight? While flying, you may want to relax with a chilled beer, a glass of wine, or a strong mixed drink. Most airlines may sell you an alcoholic drink during your journey, or it can even be complimentary in specific seats and on some routes. But if you’re unaware of the complimentary drinks, you may pack a drink in your carry-on while flying out. But wait; can you bring alcohol on a plane?  

It is a question most of us ask ourselves before boarding a flight. In short, the answer is “yes,” but it’s a bit complicated. Well, you may be excited now. But all airlines don’t follow the same regulations on bringing alcohol into a flight. So, are you planning to have some fun at 35,000 feet? Then, we brief you on the dos and don’ts of bringing alcohol on your trip.  

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Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes. You can bring it on a plane but with some restrictions. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a passenger can only consume the alcohol the airline serves. So, there is no issue in bringing alcohol on the flight, but you can’t drink it! 

While you assume this allows you to request the flight attendants serve you the drinks you brought, it does not. While this has happened in the past, flight attendants will no longer serve the alcohol that you brought 

If you pack alcohol in your carry-on, you must follow the TSA liquids rule and the FAA laws on alcoholic content and drinking on the plane. If you’re bringing it in your checked luggage, be mindful of the limits imposed by the FAA on alcoholic content and the total quantity allowed, especially if you’re returning from an international trip. 


How Much Alcohol Can You Bring on a Plane? 

The answer to this question depends on whether you carry or put the bottles in checked luggage.    

  • If you pack alcohol in your carry-on, you must follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids limit, which applies to toiletries, too. Packing inside a carry-on should be like small bottles of liquor that are 3.4 ounces or fewer in a clear, quart-sized bag.  
  • But if you have alcohol in your checked luggage, it depends on the alcohol content, according to the FAA. For instance, if you’ve packed alcohol with a volume of less than 24 percent (beer and wine), there will be no limits on the quantity you can carry. However, if the volume is between 24-70%, the limit will be within 5 liters.  
  • If you plan to bring alcohol with a volume above 70% (more than 140 proof) in your checked baggage or carry-on, leave the thought now! The FAA prohibits that! 

can you bring alcohol on a plane Image courtesy: https://www.tsa.gov

Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane in Your Carry-on? 

Yes. But you must follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids limit. When packing it in a carry-on, you should pack it in small alcohol bottles that are 3.4 ounces or less in a transparent, quart-sized bag. 

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Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane in a Checked Bag? 

Yes. But the quantity you can bring depends on the volume of alcohol content. There will be no limits on the quantity of alcohol you can bring if you’ve packed alcohol with a volume of less than 24% (beer and wine). However, the quantity will be limited to five liters if the volume is between 24-70%. But no airlines will let you carry alcohol if the volume content is above 70%! 

Difference between Airplane Bottles, Nips, Mini Liquor Bottles, and Miniatures

can you bring alcohol on a plane

Before reading about the dos and don’ts of carrying alcohol, you must know about the various portable containers used for carrying alcohol on your flight.  

  • Nips: It is the smallest among the group, usually filled with rum, whiskey, or vodka. These bottles usually have 50 ml or 1.7 ounces of liquid.  
  • Airplane bottles: Slightly larger than nips, these contain 90-150ml or around 3-5 ounces of liquid. They are filled with popular spirits brands in several shapes and sizes. 
  • Miniatures: These are usually used as souvenirs and in gift baskets and contain around 150-210 ml or 5-7 ounces of fluid.  
  • Mini liquor bottles: The largest of the group, these bottles contain 210-240 ml or 7-8 ounces of alcohol. You can buy these from supermarkets or liquor stores, which is the best way to taste various alcohols without buying a full-size bottle. 

Can You Bring Any Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes, if the alcohol you’re bringing on board is unopened and has a proof of 140 or less. If the proof is above 140, the FAA won’t permit you to take the alcohol in your baggage.  

Can You Bring an Opened Bottle of Alcohol on a Plane? 

No. Ideally, you can’t bring an opened alcohol bottle on a domestic flight in the US. According to TSA, you must keep alcohol in containers that are 3.4 ounces or fewer per item and place it in a clear, quart-sized bag. If the containers weigh more than 3.4 ounces, pack the alcohol in your checked luggage and keep it unopened. It is always best to check with the airline to fix how much alcohol you can carry in checked bags.  

Can You Bring Unopened Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes. You can pack alcohol in checked luggage as long as it is unopened and in its original container. There is no limit on the alcohol you can carry if the volume of alcohol is less than 24%. You can bring a maximum of 5 liters of alcohol if the volume is between 24%-70%. But the FAA prohibits carrying alcohol if the volume is above 70%! 

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What Happens If You Get Caught Drinking on a Plane? 


If the flight officials spot you drinking your own alcohol on a plane, they will ask you to stop drinking immediately. However, the FAA can punish passengers who do so, especially if unruly behavior accompanies alcohol consumption. 

Can You Bring a 12-Pack of Beer on a Plane? 

Yes. Ideally, beers have an alcohol content of less than 24%. According to the FAA, there is no limit on the quantity of alcohol if the alcohol content is equal to or less than 24%. So, you can bring a 12-pack of beer, but you must check with your airline in advance. Since the weight and size restrictions may apply, you may have to pay extra fees for overweight luggage. 

Can I Put Beer in Checked Luggage? 

can you bring alcohol on a plane

Yes. You can put beer in checked luggage. As the alcohol volume is less than 24%, there is no restriction on the quantity of beer you can put in checked luggage.  

Policies by Various Airlines’

Now you know the amount of alcohol that you can carry on your flight. But most importantly, you must also know the policies various airlines follow in bringing alcohol to the flight.  

Carrier   Remark 
Alaska Airlines  You can’t consume it unless offered by a flight attendant  
American Airlines  Doesn’t allow opened containers 
Delta Air Lines  Should maintain the real unopened retail packaging 
Frontier  You can’t consume personal alcoholic beverages onboard the flight 
Hawaiian  You can’t consume it unless offered by a flight attendant 
Jet Blue  You can’t consume personal alcoholic beverages onboard the flight 
United Airlines  You can’t consume the alcohol you bring on the flight 

How to Pack Opened Alcohol in Checked Luggage?

It isn’t usually recommended to carry an opened alcohol bottle in checked luggage. Also, most airlines don’t let you. So, you must first check the guidelines of the airline carrier. If you can travel with the bottle, follow these steps to pack opened alcohol in checked luggage. 

Prepare Your Luggage  

You must first tightly seal all open alcohol containers. For added protection, cover each bottle with bubble wrap or clothes. To avoid spills, place the wrapped bottles in a strong zip-lock bag. To distribute weight evenly, place the zip-lock bag in the center of your checked luggage.  

Keep the Alcohol in a Safe Container  

Use a safe container to prevent spills or leaks when packing opened alcohol in checked luggage. To maintain the alcohol’s taste and quality, choose a leak-proof container, like a well-sealed plastic bottle or flask. As an extra care, it will be best to use a container exclusively designed for transporting liquids. Then, clearly label the container with the alcohol type and its contents. Pack the container separately or wrap it in clothing for extra padding to reduce the risk of breakage.  


Place the Alcohol in Your Checked Luggage  

To avoid leakage, tightly seal the alcohol in a leak-proof container. Then, put the container in a separate plastic bag to avoid leakage. Place the alcohol in the center of your luggage. Surround the container with soft objects like clothing or towels to decrease the damage chances. For additional security, use bubble wrap or cushioning. Check the airline guidelines to know if there are any restrictions on flying with alcohol in checked luggage.  

Check for Airport Guidelines  

Always check the airport guidelines requirements before packing opened alcohol in checked luggage. All airports may have different rules and quantity limits. Seal bottles tightly with plastic wrap or tape and store them in a leak-proof bag to prevent leaks or spills. 

Confirm the Flight Details

Check your flight details to ensure you’ve enough time to pack your items before placing opened alcohol in checked luggage. Always check the airline laws or limitations on carrying open alcohol. Keep factors like weight and size when you decide how much to pack in your luggage.  

Follow the Security Protocols at the Airport


Follow airport security protocols when packing opened alcohol in checked luggage for a hassle-free travel experience. Check your departure airport’s guidelines for transporting open alcohol. Ensure that the quantity you’re carrying is within the permissible limits. Declare the alcohol at the security checkpoint and be prepared for a check or confiscation. Following these guidelines ensures that your opened bottle of alcohol travels smoothly. 

Tips for Drinking Alcohol Safely on Your Flight

So, do you want to have some liquor during your trip? Then we have some tips. Follow these to make your drinking experience enjoyable rather than a nightmare.  

  • Always drink responsibly. The air pressure in the flight can intensify the effects of liquor. Also, be aware of the numerous drinking rules in the state or nation you travel to. 
  • Keep a  bottle of water to keep you hydrated. Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration.  
  • Try to limit to 1-2 drinks during the day of flying. Too much alcohol can lead to dizziness, discomfort, or nausea during takeoff and landing. You’ll surely want to avoid puking during your trip!  
  • Always try to have wines, beers, or spirits with lower alcohol volume content.  
  • If drinking while flying, ensure to put empty bottles or cans in the right containers after drinking. So it will keep the cabin clean and tidy for other passengers. 

How to Buy Alcohol from Duty-Free Shops?

So, now you know whether you can bring alcohol on a plane. Most of us would like to get some bottles from duty-free shops also. But you will have doubts about duty-free purchases of alcohol since those exceed 3.4 ounces. There are a few restrictions on purchasing alcohol at an airport duty-free shop, like the following. 

  • You can purchase up to a maximum of 5 liters of alcohol with an alcohol volume of 24%-70% (48 to 140 proof). 
  • The shop must pack the bottles in a transparent, secure plastic bag. 
  • You should always keep the bill safe and ready as you may have to prove the duty-free alcohol was bought in the last 48 hours. 


Can You Bring Alcohol on a Plane If You’re under 21? 

No! If you are under 21, you can’t drink aboard any US carriers. Though the FAA doesn’t monitor drinking inside flights, airlines do and normally adhere to the laws of the country where they’re based.  

Can You Bring Glass Alcohol Bottles on a Plane? 

Yes. You can bring glass alcohol bottles on the plane, but you have to follow the rules of TSA for carrying liquids on flights. So you should keep alcohol in a 3.4-ounce bottle wrapped in a quart-sized clear plastic bag. Every person can carry a maximum of one plastic bag.  

Can You Bring Mini Bottles of Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes. You can bring mini liquor bottles of alcohol on a plane.  

How Many Mini Bottles of Alcohol Can You Bring on a Plane? 

If you bring it in a carry-on, the containers must be 3.4 ounces or less and fit comfortably in one quart-sized, transparent, zip-top bag. You can only bring a bag. There are no limits on the number of bottles if you bring it in checked luggage.  

How Many Alcohol Nips Can You Bring on a Plane? 

Ideally, for a 1.7-ounce (50 ml) “nip” bottle, TSA lets you bring up to five bottles. So, if you’re traveling with another person, you can bring up to 10 nips on that single flight.  

Can You Bring Alcohol Shots on a Plane? 


Yes. Unlike checked luggage, there are no proof limits for alcohol in carry-ons. All liquids, however, must be limited to the 3.4 ounces (100 ml) limit.  

Can You Bring Alcohol Shooters on a Plane? 

Yes. There are no proof limits for alcohol if you bring it in carry-ons. But all liquids should follow the 3.4 ounces (100 ml) guideline. Mini liquor bottles ideally meet this requirement, which is typically 1.7 ounces. So, you can fill a quart-sized zip-top bag with as many mini liquor bottles as will fit comfortably. 

Can You Bring 50ml of Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes. Mini liquor bottles, which are typically 1.7 ounces, fulfill this requirement. Fill a quart-sized zip-top bag with as many mini liquor bottles as will fit comfortably. With airplane shooter sizes ranging from 50ml-200ml, you can fill the bag with 8-24 small bottles if you max it out.  

Can You Bring 70% Alcohol on a Plane? 

Yes. Alcoholic beverages having an alcohol content between 24%-70% are limited to 5 liters per person in checked bags and must be in unopened retail packaging. 

Can You Bring 75% Alcohol on a Plane? 

No. The FAA prohibits flying with any alcohol with a volume above 70% (more than 140 proof) in your checked baggage or carry-on.  


Can You Bring 100% Alcohol on a Plane? 

No. You can’t bring beverages having an alcohol volume of more than 70% (more than 140 proof) in carry-on and checked luggage.   

How Much Alcohol Can You Bring on a Plane to the US? 

Passengers aged 21 and above may enter the US duty-free with one liter of alcohol per person. You can bring additional alcohol bottles but may get subjected to duty and IRS taxes. 


Can you bring and drink your own alcohol on a plane? 

It is completely legal to bring alcohol on a plane through your carry-on or checked luggage. However, the FAA strictly prohibits consuming them while you’re flying. You’ll be in trouble if you try to consume them on the flight! 

Can you bring alcohol disinfectant on a plane? 

Yes. You can bring individually packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage. In carry-on or checked luggage, you can also pack hand wipes in jumbo containers. 

Can you bring alcohol hand sanitizer on a plane? 

Yes. Under the 3-1-1 liquids limit, the TSA allows hand sanitizer in a passengers carry-on bag. You can carry travel-size hand sanitizer containers limited to 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or fewer containers per item. 

Can you bring rubbing alcohol on a plane? 

Yes. The TSA permits rubbing alcohol in carry-ons or handbags if it weighs less than 3.4 ounces and is packed with other travel-sized liquids. Suppose you put your rubbing alcohol in a checked-in luggage. Then, the container must hold 18 ounces or less, with the overall amount within the bag not exceeding 70 ounces. 

Can you bring alcohol back from Mexico on a plane? 

There are no federal restrictions on the quantity of alcohol you can bring in your suitcase for personal consumption. But be ready to pay extra if you bring more than one liter of alcohol from Mexico 


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