If you want to bring alcohol on a plane on your next flight, you might be wondering what the rules and regulations are.

In short, there are limitations depending on the volume of alcohol, the quantity you want to bring, whether you are planning to pack the alcohol in your carry on or checked bags, whether you are travelling domestically or internationally, and more.

In this article, we state how much liquor you can bring on a plane as simply and clearly as possible, including bringing wine on a plane, so there will be no chance of getting into trouble or having your alcohol confiscated.

Bringing Alcohol in Your Carry On

If you want to bring alcohol on a plane in your carry on bags, the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule applies.

This rule states that any single container of alcohol must be no larger than 3.4oz/100ml and comfortably fit into a single quart-sized bag.

However, alcohol over 70% ABV or over 140 proof is not allowed.

Bringing Alcohol in Your Checked Bag

If you want to bring alcohol on a plane in your checked bags, it’s slightly more complicated:

  • If the alcohol is less than 24% ABV or 48 proof, there is no limit. This covers most beers, wine, and champagne.
  • If the alcohol is more than 24% but not more than 70% ABV (48 – 140 proof), you are limited to 5 liters (1.3 gallons)
  • If the alcohol is over 70% ABV or over 140 proof, it isn’t allowed in either your carry on or checked bags

All alcohol must also be in unopened retail packaging.

Related: Can You Bring Beer on a Plane?

International Flights Have Different Regulations

When flying internationally to and from any country, you are limited to containers of alcohol that are no larger than 3.40z/100ml in your carry on bags.

The rules can vary by country when packing alcohol in your checked bags, though.

  • Mexico: You are allowed to carry up to 5 liters of alcohol. The alcohol must not exceed 70%.
  • Canada: According to CATSA, if the alcohol is 24% or less, there are no limits; if the alcohol is between 24% and 70%, you are allowed 5 liters. Alcohol over 70% is not permitted.
  • UK: According to Gov.uk, you can bring up to 42 liters of beer or 18 liters of (still) wine. When it comes to spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol, you can bring up to 4 liters. Sparkling wine, fortified wine and other alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol are limited to 9 liters.
    • The EU: According to EU regulations, when travelling within the EU, you are limited to 10 liters of spirits, 20 liters of fortified wine, 90 liters of wine (including 60 liters of sparkling wine), or 110 liters of beer.
      When entering the EU from a non-EU country, you are limited to 4 liters of non-sparkling wine, 16 liters of beer, 1 liter of spirits or 2 liters of fortified or sparkling wine.

The Rules When Buying Duty-Free Alcohol

Alcohol bought at a duty-free shop in an airport are packed in security tamper-evident bags (STEBs).

This means that the alcohol is not allowed to be opened once purchased until after your flight.

You are also usually only allowed to bring one liter of duty-free alcohol into the USA, though this can vary by where you are coming from and the state you are flying into.

No Problem Bringing Duty-Free Alcohol on Connecting Flights

When you have a connecting flight, you may once again have to go through airport security.

This means that the TSA 3-1-1 rule will apply, which forbids you from bringing any liquid in a container that is greater than 3.40oz/100ml.

However, as long you have a connecting flight in the United States, alcohol is allowed in your carry-on bag as long as:

  • The bottles are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer.
  • You have the receipt to show that the alcohol was purchased within the last 48 hours.

If this does not apply, you should pack the alcohol in your checked luggage if you don’t want it to be confiscated.

Don’t Drink Your Own Alcohol on the Plane

According to federal regulations, you are not allowed to bring your own alcohol and then drink it on a plane:

“FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier.”

You can only drink alcohol that is served by a flight attendant.

You Might Have to Declare Alcohol When Coming Back to the U.S.

If you are traveling to the USA from most destinations, you are only allowed to bring up to 1 liter (0.26 gallon) of duty-free alcohol.

If you bring more than 1 liter of alcohol, you must declare it and then pay any duty and federal excise taxes that are required.

If you are travelling to the USA from certain destinations, including the Caribbean, you are usually allowed to bring a higher quantity of alcohol.

Packing Alcohol is Still Illegal If You’re Under 21

In the USA, you are not allowed to possess or drink alcohol if you are under 21.

So this means that you are not allowed to bring alcohol in your checked bag if you are under 21.

While it’s very unlikely that you will be caught, keep in mind that it is still illegal, so is not recommended.

How to Pack Alcohol in Checked Bags

If you want to bring alcohol on a plane in your checked bags, you should:

  • Place the bottle in a plastic bag
  • Wrap the bag in soft layers of clothing to provide cushioning
  • Position the bottle in the center of your suitcase

If you want to be absolutely sure that your alcohol will make it home in one piece, the Jet Bag is your best option.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).