Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Traveling With Alcoholic Beverages

Whether travelers are taking them on the road, or bringing them back from their adventures, alcoholic beverages are item that travelers often pack in their baggage. This is fine as long as a few guidelines are followed when packing. 
Carry-on Baggage

  • Travelers may carry as many 3.4 ounce bottles of liquid (mini bottles of liquor are 1.7 ounces) that fit comfortably in one, quart sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag. Comfortable means that the bag will seal without busting at the seams. One bag is permitted per passenger.
  • Liquids (including alcohol) purchased after clearing the security checkpoint are permitted on the aircraft.

  • FAA regulations state that “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage.”

Checked Baggage

  • Any amount of alcohol greater than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked baggage.
  • Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, cannot be packed in checked luggage. 
  • Travelers may take up to five liters of alcohol with alcohol content between 24% and 70% per person as checked luggage if it’s packaged in a sealable bottle or flask.
  • Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% alcohol content are not subject to hazardous materials regulations.

See you next Tuesday with more travel tips! 

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Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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Anonymous said...

So does this mean I can bring a liqueur back from Germany?

Anonymous said...

"...are item that travelers..."
Where is the copy editor today?

SSSS for Some Reason said...

So how come I can bring 7 three ounce bottles of stuff in a baggie through security, but I can't bring 1 twenty ounce coffee or 2 eight ounce waters?

What makes the three ounce bottles so magical? Or is it the zippy bag that makes the contents safe?

Anonymous said...


Its the "magic" zippy bag obviously!!

Anonymous said...

@SSSS and Anon the entire TSA enterprise is based on magical thinking, so it stands to reason that the zippy bag is magical, too. I would just shrug it off as another modern incovenience were it not for the fact that we've wasted billion$ on TSA's security theatre without making us one bit safer, and have never even counted the indirect costs to business, government, and the travelling public that have been incurred as a result. pathetic.

Sergio said...

As long as the "magic" zippy bag has the certification for explosive/radioactive/bullet proof, otherwise the magic comes from Zathura.

RB said...

So any person can have as many 3.4 ounce bottles of whatever that fit in a one quart zip top bag and once past what TSA calls security screening can empty those several bottles into one larger container exceeding 3.4.

Only in the minds of TSA could anyone make a claim that those several 3.4 ounce bottles are safer than one bottle containing the contents of all bottles combined.

TSA, it's time to drop the curtain on this silliness.

Anonymous said...

Why do you persist in your nonsensical 3.4-1-1 policy when there is absolutely zero scientific basis for it?

Anonymous said...

These are all reasons I don't fly anymore. I just take more time and drive. That way, I don't have to be concerned about the size of my toothpaste tube or whether I have an illegal quantity of mouthwash. Ridiculous. I just wish the government would stop "protecting" me from everything. Thomas Jefferson said "A government big enough to give everything to you is big enough to take everything from you". Think about it.

Richard said...

From 49 CFR 175.10(a)(4)(ii)

(4) Alcoholic beverages containing:

(ii) More than 24% and not more than 70% alcohol by volume when in when in unopened retail packagings not exceeding 5 liters (1.3 gallons) carried in carry-on or checked baggage , with a total net quantity per person of 5 liters (1.3) gallons for such beverages.

As you see above the third bullet point in Checked Baggage is incorrect. First it has to be in unopend retail packaging not a sealable bottle or flask, second it is not just for checked baggage as it can be carried on as well, it just turns out the limit is far beyond what can be brought through the checkpoint, but as the second bullet point in Carry-on baggage states that if you could buy such alcohol after the check point you could carry it on. Such alcohol can be purchased in duty free shops and can be brought back from Germany but only in the limits described.

It should also be noted that if alcholic beverages are carried on, they can only be served to a passenger by a working flight attendant so pouring your own drink with your own alcohol is Illegal, plus it is the policy of many airlines not to serve individuals their own alcohol, because they have no idea what proof it is. Airlines can always choose to be more restrictive than the regulations so they are not violating the regulation by not serving passengers alcohol they brought on board.

Anonymous said...

If this is the policy, then why was my unopened miniature of whiskey (safely ensconced in my zippy bag) confiscated? So I then took to decanting it into an unmarked small container, which was deemed suspicious, so I now use a small Listerine bottle. Jeeze, Louise....

And the undoubtedly failed chemistry major who declared my 2 oz. spray bottle of 10% bleach solution used for sterilization (that's about 1 tsp Clorox in 2 oz. water) a "hazardous substance" because it could be used to create chlorine gas. Seriously???

This is a farce.

Anonymous said...

But alcoholic beverages might be flammable! We can't have any alcohol on the plane. Sorry, First Class people.

Mike Wilson said...

Just because you are allowed to carry alcohol past airline security doesn't mean that it approve it's usage on board. It would be better if alcohol consumption is completely avoided on flight.

Rod Barnhart said...

Blogger Mike Wilson said...
"Just because you are allowed to carry alcohol past airline security doesn't mean that it approve it's usage on board. It would be better if alcohol consumption is completely avoided on flight."

Consumption isn't the question, possession is. And, according to the Anonymous that I assume you're replying to, (s)he has to use deceit to get it through the checkpoint, even though it's allowed.

Thomas said...

"Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, cannot be packed in checked luggage."

So if we're bringing back high-proof alcohol for making bitters, we need to ship it FedEx to ourselves rather than bringing it in checked luggage? That's unfortunate :(

Anonymous said...

Checked a bag from Seattle to LA with a full unopened bottle of St. Germain (750 ml). The bottle was opened, all the contents poured out, and the empty bottle was put back in the bag. None of it spilled inside the luggage. It would have had to been poured out. WHY would they do that? It was a Christmas gift.

Sheryl Mills said...

Checked a bag from Seattle to LA with a full unopened bottle of St. Germain (750 ml). When I arrived in LA I found that the bottle had been opened and all the liquid had been poured out. Not a drop was inside the bag, so it would have had to been poured out. WHY would TSA do this?

Laureen said...

My guess would be somebody drank it! I doubt it just got poured out. Still sux tho. One of the many reasons I try to never check a bag, always carry on.

Anonymous said...

a long time ago, if you tried to bring a bottle of liquid through security that thought was suspicious, they'd make you open it and drink from it. atleast that made a little sense.

Ron J said...

Hopefully someone that knows will respond to this shortly.

Is a factory sealed 5 litre Boxed Wine permissible to be in your checked luggage?

And yes, I am talking about the wine that comes in a box with a sealed heavy duty plastic bag filled with wine inside of the box which is dispensed via a spout or spigot you open the box to get at to enjoy the contents?

Hope to hear from someone soon and thanks in advance for the help!

Jillian said...

Yes, boxed wine is fine in your checked luggage. I do it all the time.