Guidelines for Flying with Wine – Carry on and Checked Luggage

OK, after 3 days of glorious wine tasting you have finally found the perfect Cabernet and wish to share it with friends back home.

Can you bring wine bottles onto a plane?

Yes, with a few rules. Here are some guidelines regarding;

1. Bringing wine on board your flight in your carry bag and

2. Packing and checking wine in your luggage for the flight home.

Can You Pack  Wine in a Checked Bag on a Plane?

Yes, the TSA permits you to bring wine in checked bags on your flight with the following guidelines. The rules are dictated by the alcohol content.

  • Anything over 70 percent alcohol by volume is not allowed on U.S flights.
  • Up to 5 liters of alcohol that are within 24 percent to 70 percent alcohol are allowed in checked bags, as long as they are in unopened retail packaging.
  • There is no limit on the amount of wine or spirits that contain less than 24 percent alcohol by volume that you can bring. Most wine contains 11 -14% alcohol or less and falls into this category.
  • You must be 21 years of age.

Be sure to check with the airline because some may have different rules than the TSA.

Airline Luggage Weight Restriction

Although you can check an unlimited amount of wine in your baggage, don’t forget about the airline luggage weight restrictions. Wine is heavy and weighs between 2 and 4 pounds

A rule of thumb is when flying economy in the U.S., the luggage weight limit is likely 50 lbs. (additional fees if you go over).  If you are flying business or first class, the baggage allowance is typically 70 lbs. per checked bag.

Will Wine Freeze During Travel?

Typically no, unless you are traveling to unusually cold climates. Wine does not freeze until it is about 15 or 20 degrees F, and because of the alcohol content, it will take time to freeze, especially if it is insulated by the clothes in your suitcase.

If you do travel to extreme cool climates check if the cork has been pushed out which indicates freezing.

Will Wine Checked in your Luggage Explode During Your Flight?

No. Your bottle of wine will not explode because the cargo compartments in most domestic airlines are pressurized and climatized.

Packing Wine in Your Suitcase to Fly

Make sure the bottles are well-padded to handle any impacts your bag may encounter.

Hard-sided suitcases are significantly better than canvas bags to protect your wine during potentially ruff handling at the airport.

We have good luck by slipping the wine bottle in a sock, wrapping a piece of clothing around the bottle’s neck until it’s as wide as the bottom of the bottle, and then adding additional clothing as padding around the bottle. Place the battle in the middle of your suitcase to minimize movement.

You can also use bubble wrap or you may wish to purchase a wine carrying case or inflatable wine bag.

Can you Bring Wine on Board the Plane in Your Carry Bag?

Yes, you may bring wine on board in your carry bag but in limited quantities. Like all liquids, wine is subject to TSA’s size restrictions. Each passenger is limited to containers of 3.4 oz or less that can fit comfortably in one quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag.

The only restrictions in this category relate to alcohol content, which is capped at 70% or 140 proof. The wine typically falls around 11-14% alcohol so you will be fine.

Overall, the best way to transport wine on a plane is through checked baggage or have the Winery ship the wine to you.

Carrying Wine Purchased at the Duty-free Shop onto a Flight

Planning on buying wine at the overseas duty-free store after the security checkpoint? No problem, but you’re limited to 750 milliliters of alcohol between 24%-70% alcohol content (48 – 140 proof). If you purchased the alcohol overseas and have a connecting flight in the United States, the alcohol is allowed in your carry-on bag if;

  • The bottles are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the shop. Don’t open the sealed bag, if it looks like it’s been opened, the Airlines will not allow the wine onboard your flight in your carry-on bag.
  • Also, remember to keep your receipt. You must prove the wine was purchased within the last 48 hours.
  • Be aware that duty-free rules differ depending on the country. Check before purchasing any alcohol to fly home with.
  • Check with the airline’s policies because they have their own allowances and guidelines that may differ from the government’s.


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