Carrying Wine on an Airplane
Millions of tourists visit wine areas each year, and want to bring back bottles of wine to enjoy at home. Just what are the rules and regulations about carrying wine aboard an airline flight?
First, remember that you should check that it's legal to bring wine TO YOUR HOME. Every state has its own legal requirements for hand-carrying alcohol from elsewhere into your house. Many states limit the amount of alcohol you can bring in from elsewhere for tax reasons. If you're planning on bringing more than a bottle or two, it pays to check this out beforehand on your state's or region's website.
Few if any airlines would allow you to bring open containers or home-made containers. So leave the open containers behind and ship the home-made stuff another way. Don't forget to leave your corkscrews in your checked luggage, too. Those can't be in the cockpit.
So let's assume that bringing in the alcohol is legal in the first place. Now you have to worry about actually carrying it on the plane.
NOTE: AS OF SEPTEMBER 2006 NO LIQUIDS - INCLUDING WINES - CAN BE CARRIED ONTO A PLANE. THE NOTES BELOW ARE HISTORIC NOTES IN CASE THEY REMOVE THIS RESTRICTION
In checking with American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways, all five allow you to carry on wine bottles. Your carry on container must of course fit within the normal size guidelines. This means you could wrap 2 bottles to bring in a backpack, or maybe bring on 4 bottles in one of those cardboard containers.
If you have a sturdy enough checked bag, consider putting the bottles in there instead. Wrap them securely in sweaters or bubble wrap and keep them towards the interior of the bag. That way the security desk people don't have to examine your port and wonder if that is something dangerous to have in the cabin.
There is no FAA regulation about the quantity of actual bottles you can bring. The question is solely about the wine fitting into the carry-on or checked baggage size and weight requirements, and being packed well enough that the bottles will not shatter and make a mess.
So enjoy your trip to the wine country, and if at all possible, ship your bottles home so they meet you at your house safe and sound. If you must bring the bottles on the plane, pack them well and follow the regular rules for baggage. And then enjoy!