Everything You Need To Know About Drinking And Transporting Wine On An Airplane

If you have just taken a trip to Europe to sample the great wines they have on offer, you might be on holiday and wondering how much you can take back with you.

Everything You Need To Know About Drinking and Transporting Wine On An Airplane

On the one hand, it can be a really great gift to bring people wine from its original country and you might find you have a few bottles for friends and family but also for yourself, and might wonder how much you can take with you.

On the other hand, we might just want to bring loads of traits back with us from these countries as we might not be making the long trip again anytime soon.

No matter what your reason is, TSA have specific rules about carrying alcohol in airports, as well as transporting it through and out of other countries, and it is best recommended to check your haul doesn’t go over any limits to avoid hold ups in the airport.

Here’s our guide to transporting wine through security, on the plane, and more.

On The Airplane

The difference to bear in mind here is if you are planning on bringing your own alcohol onto the plane and drinking it, or you simply want to know if the wine you have bought can be carried on the plane

Opened Wine

First things first, you cannot bring open wine, or any open alcohol, onto a plane. Nor can you open a bottle of any alcohol, including wine, on one of these flights. It’s actually an illegal offense to open wine or any alcohol on a plane like this.

This is a rule so that you can’t get too blasted on the plane. Even if you aren’t going to drink loads of it it just makes life harder for your in-flight team.

Understand that there are loads of people on the plane and that if the attendants let everyone drink their own booze the plane would turn into a party pretty quick.

Put simply, the flight attendants need to have control of the alcohol so that no one gets too rowdy as this is a safety issue more than anything else. As a result no one can open any alcohol on the plane and you can see an offense for doing so.

In a general sense you are allowed to drink wine on the plane but this has to be bought and given to you by the flight attendants themselves.

Unopened Wine

If you have an unopened bottle of wine that you want to carry on your luggage or person on the plane, this is a different issue.

Put simply, carrying unopened alcohol on the plane that you don’t plan on opening can be totally fine and legal. There are a few guidelines and restrictions to be aware of as well.

The alcohol you are carrying has to fit into a clear bag so that it can be seen by staff, they hand out these clear bags all over the airport.

There is also a limit of 1 liter bottle of wine below 24% ABV per passenger, any more is taxable and will cost you. So if you have more than one bottle per person this could be an issue.

It’s generally considered to be fine to take alcohol in your carry-on so long as you don’t plan on opening it.

In summary, unopened wine on the plane is generally fine so long as you keep it in your on board bag and don’t plan on opening it on the plane.

At duty free they generally seal up any wine you buy, we recommend putting the wine you bought on holiday in your checked luggage.

Wine In Your Checked Luggage

Everything You Need To Know About Drinking and Transporting Wine On An Airplane

For the most part, unless you are buying it duty-free, most people will keep the wine they have bought on holiday in their check luggage.

Checked luggage is simply your suitcases, the stuff you checked in at check-in and the flight staff keep in the hold of the plane, which you can’t access until you have landed.

The rules for your checked luggage are different to your carry-on luggage, so pay attention.

Of course, you need to be 21 to have alcohol on you or in your bag. In checked luggage there is generally no limit to how much wine you can bring, this is because it’s below 24% ABV.

If your wine or alcohol has an ABV of 24% – 70% you are limited to five liters per passenger and must be in unopened retail packaging. 

For alcohol over 70% this isn’t allowed in check-in or on carry-on bags and should be left at home. If your wine or bottles are not in unopened retail packaging this could be an issue.

In other words if your Uncle has given you some of his homebrew stuff and it doesn’t have a label, it could be best left at home, or checked with TSA staff.

Quick Advice For Transporting Wine On Airplanes

Can I Drink Wine On A Plane? – Leave the pouring to the pros and simply order from the menu on the plane.

You aren’t allowed to drink your own alcohol on a plane, all alcohol has to be in sealed and clear plastic bags which will be sorted before you embark on the plane.

How Much Wine Can I Bring Home With Me? – If you are talking about wine, or any alcohol, below 24% you can bring as much as you like in your checked luggage. Any alcohol between 24% – 70% will limit you to 5 liters per person.

Alcohol From Countries Outside US – Alcohol from outside the US can be subject to some different restrictions, but this can change per country so it’s best to ask TSA or Airline staff about this.

Does Wine Deteriorate On The Plane? – There isn’t evidence to suggest your wine will become worse by carrying it on the plane.

An airplane’s hold is pressurized which generally means nothing should go wrong with the wine itself UV light can damage the wine, and seems to fuel this rumor, but this won’t affect your win on the plane, nor will wine cork or explode in a pressurized environment.

Final Thoughts

What should eb clear is that you can bring wine on an airplane. If it’s in your carry-on it must remain in the sealed and clear plastic bag you are given, you aren’t allowed more than one bag per person.

Air stewards like to control alcohol so that they can ensure no one gets really drunk on the plane.

If you want to bring more wine in your checked luggage, so long as it is below 24%, you can bring as much as you want. Wine or any alcohol above 24% is generally limited to 5 liters per person, which is still a lot.

While any alcohol above 70% is not allowed on the airplane.

Sarah Perez
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