Home Travel Packing Can you carry alcohol on a domestic flight – Rules Explained!

Can you carry alcohol on a domestic flight – Rules Explained!

Domestic travel is in season, and the one question that gets Googled pretty frequently is – can I carry alcohol on a domestic flight in India. Whether it was while flying from Goa to Mumbai or for our flights within Croatia, we have looked this up too! 

That’s precisely why I have decided to compile the information that I collected through my research in this article.  

Here’s what I found when I researched whether you can carry alcohol on domestic flights. As per the TSA guidelines, for carry-on luggage, you can only carry liquids (including alcohol) not exceeding 3.4 oz or 100 ml in a single quart-sized, clear bag. In checked luggage, you are allowed to carry five liters (1.3 gallons) per passenger subject to certain conditions based on the percentage of alcohol content. 

Continue reading this post to know how exactly you can carry alcohol on domestic flights, how much alcohol you can carry in your carry-on luggage and your checked luggage, as well as other significant conditions that you must know about when bringing alcohol on domestic flights. 

Note that the rules governing domestic travel and international travel are almost identical. However, when carrying alcohol in an international flight, you will also be required to take into consideration the customs laws prevalent in the country of arrival. This article is intended to clarify the position with respect to carrying alcohol on a domestic flight.

Key factors to consider when taking alcohol on a domestic flight

Note that most of the information provided in this post is based on the TSA rules. The TSA rules are followed by airports in the USA and by most leading airlines worldwide. However, some airlines and airports in some countries may have different policies regarding taking alcohol on a plane. Therefore, if you have specific doubts, it is best to check with the airline or refer to locally applicable laws. 

How much alcohol can you carry in your carry-on luggage on domestic flights?

Most airlines across the world follow TSA 3-1-1 rule when it comes to carrying liquor on domestic flights. 

This means that alcohol being a liquid is subject to the total liquid limits of 3.4 oz or 100 ml packed in a transparent, quart-sized zip lock bag together with all the other liquids such as gels, shampoos, lotions, etc. 

Thus, if you are carrying mini-bottles of alcohol in your carry-on, make sure that the bottles fit in a quart-sized zip-lock bag. 

How much alcohol can you carry in your checked luggage on domestic flights?

The rules about carrying alcohol in your checked luggage are a bit more lenient and depend entirely on the percentage of alcohol in the beverage. Thus for – 

Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% percent of alcohol – no limit. 

This means that you can carry any number of bottles with you, provided your total luggage weight is within your airline’s baggage policies. 

Alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content between 24% and 70% – 

If you are considering carrying alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic content between 24% and 70%, you can only take 5 liters or 1.3 gallons with you. Note that this limit is per passenger. 

Here is a table with average alcohol content in popular types of liquor – 

Type of AlcoholAverage percentage of alcohol content
Breezer4
Beer5
Cider5
Wine11
Mead12
Fortified Wine15
Vermouth16
Sherry17
Gin37
Rum40
Vodka40
Brandy45
Whiskey45
Tequila50

Note that the alcohol content changes based on every brand. The above list only contains an approximate average of the alcohol content. 

How should you carry alcohol in checked luggage?

Alcohol carried in checked luggage must be in unopened (sealed) retail packaging only. Thus partially consumed, opened bottles are strictly forbidden.  

When packing alcohol in your checked luggage, make sure that the seal on the bottle does not look tampered with or broken, as, in such situations, you risk your bottles being confiscated. 

To ensure the safety of your alcohol, pack them in padded containers, or place them between layers of clothes. 

>>> Also check: Can you carry a hair straightener on a plane?

Frequently Asked Questions about bringing alcohol on domestic flights. 

Beer in a domestic flight
Me drinking beer on a flight!

Gee! There are going to be lots of common questions that will be answered in this section! So make sure you read them all unless you want to miss out on some essential information! 

Can you drink alcohol carried in your hand luggage on the flight?

Carslberg in Malaysia Airlines

I know that alcohol is rarely served on domestic flights, and therefore, you may be tempted to carry some for consumption along with you. However, remember that most airlines strictly prohibit the consumption of alcohol that is not served by the airline. This means that you cannot drink the alcohol that you carry along with you in your hand luggage on the flight. 

There are some exceptions to this rule, though. Some travelers claim that dry airlines or airlines that do not serve alcohol on board sometimes allow passengers to drink their own alcohol provided they stay sober. But these are unwritten practices followed by specific airlines, and therefore do not carry alcohol for your journey without checking with the airlines in advance.

Can you carry alcohol bought at a duty-free shop on domestic flights?

In most cases, you will not have access to a duty-free shop on your domestic journey. However, you may be carrying duty-free alcohol bottles with you if you have shopped on one of the international legs of your journey. 

However, note that alcohol bought at a duty-free shop is not allowed on domestic flights in your hand luggage that your board after immigration. 

Any domestic flight that you take after immigration in cases where you have access to your checked luggage requires that you pack alcohol in your checked luggage only. Also, remember that the rules specified above with respect to taking alcohol in checked baggage will apply. 

Are the rules about taking liquor on domestic flights the same all across the world? 

The rules concerning bringing alcohol on domestic flights are not standard and are entirely dependent on the airline’s policies as well as the law of every nation.

Thus, you must remember that alcohol is illegal in several countries across the world, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran. Therefore, the rules specified above will not apply when traveling within these countries. You can check a full list of countries where alcohol is illegal here. 

Similarly, when traveling within India, carrying liquor to and from dry states such as Gujarat and Bihar is also not allowed. 

Is any type of passenger allowed to carry alcohol on a flight?

While most domestic flights are not subject to scrutiny by customs officials, the laws of most countries specify that only adults can carry alcohol on flights. 

Thus, in Europe, alcohol cannot be carried by a person younger than 17 years of age, while the USA may insist on the person bringing alcohol on domestic flights being at least 21 years old. 

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of passengers that carry alcohol while flying. However, to ensure that the alcohol you carry on domestic flights is not confiscated, make sure you follow the below-mentioned practices – 

  1. Check airline-specific policies on carrying alcohol on domestic flights.
  2. Check if any national laws are prohibiting or restricting bringing alcohol on domestic flights. Do not carry liqueur-based chocolates or other products too in countries where alcohol is illegal.
  3. If you are carrying alcohol in carry-on luggage, carry small bottles that can fit inside a quart-sized clear zip-lock bag. 
  4. Do not consume your own alcohol on the flight.
  5. If carrying alcohol in checked baggage, check the alcohol content of the beverage you intend on taking to determine the permissible quantities that you can take along with you. 
  6. Make sure the alcohol bottles are sealed, unopened, do not look tampered with. (Ideally, it is also advisable to keep the receipt of the bottles with you for proof)
  7. Transfer any alcohol bought at duty-free shops to checked luggage before the start of the domestic journey. 

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