The Rules of Bringing Alcohol onto Your Flight

So you love your alcohol, and you think, what could make a better souvenir? Thanks to Duty-Free shopping, we can keep our souvenir shopping to the very last minute. But many travellers are still unsure about how many bottles you’re allowed to bring back, so here’s a guide we’ve put together based on the rules set by the Transportation Security Admission (TSA).

Read also: The 10 Types of Passengers You Meet on a Flight


The general rule still applies. Whether it’s alcohol or not, all liquids above 3.4oz (or 100mL) are not allowed inside your hand-carry baggage. Unless it doesn’t exceed the limit, you’re fine. Place your alcohol comfortably in one, quart-sized, clear plastic, zip-locked bag, and make sure the bag seals without bursting at the seams.

rules of bringing alcohol onto flight

If you’ve purchased alcohol in one of the duty-free shops passed the security checkpoint, then you’re fine too. However, this could be a problem during a connecting flight that requires passing through security checkpoint again. Just to be on the safe side, we recommend purchasing the booze at the last airport stop to avoid the unnecessary inconvenience.

Also, keep in mind that it’s against federal rules to open and drink your newly purchased beverage. There’s a reason why airlines that have a skybar are the only ones allowed to have their flight attendants serve you a bottle of wine during that long-haul travel.

Check-in Luggage

rules of bringing alcohol onto flight

Unlike carry-on baggages that depend on the amount, the rule here is determined by your liquor’s alcohol content. Unopened drinks that exceed the 3.4oz limit must be placed here, and you won’t have much of a problem if it has less than 24% alcohol content. Passengers who are carrying drinks that have an alcohol content between 24% to 70% are restricted to 5L internationally and 10L within the European Union. Meanwhile, those carrying more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, are generally prohibited.

To start packing the bottles in your suitcase, place them individually in sealed plastic bags that can keep your clothes dry in case it breaks. Wrap them in heavy materials such as your jeans and add a barrier in between bottles, flip-flops for example, for that added protection. You can also use bubble wraps as long as everything is padded in full to make sure nothing severely breaks when tossed around.

Other Individual Airline Regulations and Country Laws

rules of bringing alcohol onto flight

Like a good nomad, it’s best to consult the specific rules adhered by flights and countries we are travelling to. Although the general rules apply, some airlines might be specific on how to pack alcoholic beverage such as the use of styrofoam packs. Other countries will also have different duty-free alcohol allowance that may or may not get you to pay any duties, tariffs or taxes.

Either way, when you’re risked with bringing back limited alcohol, why not bring the best?


Photo Credits: Main1, 2 and 3.

Shar Aguilar

Shar describes herself as a traveler, marketer, photographer, designer, and possibly everything else in between. But mostly, she splits her time between local volunteering and her online blog that documents her attempt to travel around the world (plus other misadventures).

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