How to Carry Wine on an Airplane

Wine is one of those must-haves wherever you go. Well, that is if you love your wine, and your wine travel! From intricate bottles that you can only get in certain places to your favorite bottle you can’t go without, bringing wine on a plane takes a little work. Here’s how to carry wine on an airplane, without accidentally making your suitcase look like it belongs on a television cop drama.

Whether you want to bring a memento from your trip to wine country home, or you booked your vacation in a dry county or country, at one point or another, you are probably going to need to need to know how to take wine on a plane. There are many regulations that you must abide by, and you still have the obstacle of a glass bottle to deal with. So, here’s the low down to carrying wine on an airplane like a pro!

You Will Have to Check It

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Thanks to travel regulations on liquid, the only way that you can take your beloved wine with you on an airplane is to check it. This means it has to be inside your checked baggage. So right off the bat, be ready to pay for a bag. All of the following are TSA regulations regarding traveling with alcohol on flights.

However, you can travel with 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of alcohol in your checked bag as long as each bottle is between 24% and 70% alcohol by volume, and it fits within the airline’s weight regulations. Wine is less than 24%, so the volume is not capped. So, wine is good to go!

You can also bring small bottles on your carry on that are less than 3.4 ounces, but if you want a full bottle of wine, you will need to check it. This means you can bring small, mini bottles of alcohol that are 1.7 ounces.

The only way it is possible to bring a full bottle of wine into the cabin of the plane is if you buy it after you have cleared airport security. However, it is against federal regulations to uncork it during take off.

No matter how much the kid screaming three rows up is getting to you, you can’t soothe your headache with your own booze. If a flight attendant sees you drinking from any bottle of alcohol, they will intervene and could alert the police upon your arrival. There’s ways to get priority deplaning, but a police escort isn’t one we recommend.

Pack it Right

watch, whisky bottle and sport shit in suitcase
Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

When you travel with wine on an airplane, you have to know how to pack wine in a checked baggage so that it stays safe. No matter what type of luggage you decide to use, you are going to want to make sure the bottles are as padded as possible. Here are some tips on how to successfully pack wine in your suitcase:

  1. Don’t pack the bottles near the sides of the suitcase.
  2. Line the edges of the suitcase with soft clothing.
  3. Put wine in the center of the suitcase or as close to as possible.
  4. Once the suitcase is lined with soft clothes, wrap each bottle with clothes and place it in the suitcase one at a time.
  5. Consider getting one or more of these accessories specifically designed for transporting wine on airplanes, instead of using clothing for padding:
    1. wine sleeves,
    2. wine skins,
    3. jet bags
  6. Consider a wheelie suitcase as wine bottles can get heavy to carry.
  7. If using a wine sleeve, do still add a layer of clothing around the bottles for extra protection.

Packing your wine with enough padding is crucial in them making it home safely without any breakage. No one wants to have a new suit ruined or have to buy all new attire.

How to Carry Wine in Your Luggage

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Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

After you have safely put your wine bottles into the luggage, now you have to carry your luggage out and through the airport. Again, I would suggest a suitcase with wheels as it makes it easier to tote around the airport. Just one drop and your bottles could be done for. Another option is a hard suitcase that can withstand drops onto the baggage claim.

Because you will have to check your bags, the first thing you want to do is politely speak with the airport’s friendly baggage handlers. Let them know there are glass bottles in your luggage and that it needs to please be handled with care. The jury is out on whether the “fragile” contents stickers help or act like a giant “drop me” label, but they are worth a shot.

You do not want to carry your wine in a canvas suitcase as those are risky and will mostly end with disappointment. Wine-soaked disappointment. The only thing you should soak with wine is your stomach.

TSA Rules About Bringing Wine on Airplanes and Customs Regulations

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You will also want to make sure that you are adhering to all TSA and U.S. Customs guidelines. There is a lot of misinformation going around about how you can travel with alcohol so you want to make sure you have the right information.

According to the TSA, Travelers can take up to 5 liters of alcohol with alcohol content between 24% and 70% per person as checked luggage. However, it must be packaged in a sealable bottle or flask. If you are bringing wine into the U.S. from another country, the TSA guidelines still apply, but then you will also need to make sure you are following U.S. Customs.

Carry on Luggage

The TSA does actually allow you to bring alcohol onto the plane in your carry on luggage. However, it can only be a 3.4 ounce bottle (this means a mini bottle of liquor that is 1.7 ounces). It must be able to fit comfortably in a one quart sized clear plastic bag.

However, 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.”

According to U.S. Customs, you can bring an unlimited amount of alcohol into the U.S. for personal use as long as it is under 24% alcohol. However, you will only get 1 liter of alcohol duty free. This means that alcohol over 1 liter you will be charged tax for. Tax is subject to 3%. So, if you bring in $1,000 worth of alcohol, you will have to pay $30 tax for it. So, keep in mind that if you are coming from another country, you are going to need extra money to get your wine into the U.S.

Have you ever taken wine on an airplane? What was your experience like?

Share any other tips you think may be useful to others traveling with wine in the comments below!

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