If you have an upcoming flight, you might be wondering if you can bring some alcohol with you and pack it in your checked bag.
The TSA state that you can pack alcohol in your checked bag, but how much you can bring will depend on the ABV/proof of the alcohol, and if you’re flying domestically or internationally.
You may also have to declare any alcohol you are traveling with, depending on the amount you have packed.
In general, alcohol must be transported in its original, unopened container.
Can You Pack Alcohol in a Checked Bag?
If you want to pack alcohol in your checked bag, the TSA states that the following applies:
- If the alcohol is less than 24% ABV or 48 proof, there is no limit. This covers most beers and wine.
- 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
Domestic vs. International Travel
The above applies when flying to and from the USA, but if you are flying internationally, then countries will have their own rules for how much alcohol you can pack in your checked bags.
- Mexico: You are allowed to carry up to 5 liters of alcohol. The alcohol must not exceed 70%.
- Canada: 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: 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.
- The EU: 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.
You only need to pay attention to TSA guidelines when flying domestically and what we have written above when flying internationally.
This is because all major and regional air carriers abide by the regulations set out for them by the various aviation and security authorities in each country.
How Many Bottles of Alcohol Can You Pack?
How many bottles of alcohol you can pack in your checked bags will depend on the type of alcohol, where you are flying from/to, and any weight restrictions the airline has.
Refer to the above sections, so you can calculate how much alcohol you can pack in your checked bags without running into any problems.
Do You Have to Declare Alcohol in Checked Luggage?
If you are traveling to the USA from most destinations, you are only allowed to bring up to 1 liter (0.26 gallons) 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.
Can You Pack Alcohol in a Checked Bag if You’re Under 21?
As we are sure you are aware, you are not allowed to possess or drink alcohol if you are under 21 in the USA.
The rules do not change when you’re flying.
So this means that you are not allowed to bring beer in your checked bag if you are under 21, even when flying to a country where the legal drinking age is lower.
While it’s very unlikely that you will be caught, keep in mind that it is still illegal, so it is not something that we would recommend.
Will Alcohol Explode in Checked Bags?
If you are worried that your alcohol will explode in your checked bags, don’t be.
The cargo hold is pressurized, just like the cabin is, so cans and bottles of alcohol won’t explode.
What you should be concerned with is packing any alcohol you want to bring in your checked bags safely and securely with adequate padding, so the glass and cans do not break.
How to Pack Alcohol in Checked Bags
If you want to bring alcohol on a plane in your checked bags, you should:
- Place the bottles or cans in a plastic bag
- Wrap the bag in soft layers of clothing to provide cushioning
- Position the bottles and cans in the center of your suitcase
This is even more important when packing bottled alcohol, like wine and bottled beer.
If you want to be absolutely sure that your alcohol will make it home in one piece, the Jet Bag is your best option.
Can You Pack Alcohol in Your Carry on Bag?
You won’t have much luck packing alcohol in your carry on bags due to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.
This rule states that any single container of alcohol (or any other liquids, gels, and aerosols) must be no larger than 3.4oz/100ml and comfortably fit into a single quart-sized bag.
Note that this rule applies worldwide, so you won’t be able to pack alcohol in your carry on bags regardless of where you are traveling to and from.