Puzzle of the day: where can you fly with wine in the USA?

security Federal law currently prevents taking wine on board airplanes. Or does it?

As we are in a busy travel time of year, some wine enthusiasts may be wanting to travel with the juice (no, Barry Bonds, fermented grape juice) and most will be frustrated. But it is possible!

The puzzle of the day is thus: where (and how) can you bring your own wine into the cabin with you on a commercial flight in the US?

Comments are open.

Related: “Wine: you CAN take it with you when you go (home)

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20 Responses to “Puzzle of the day: where can you fly with wine in the USA?”


  1. Several airports allow you to purchase wine beyond security and bring it on the plane. I was in Portland this week and they actually had a nice selection of Oregon pinots.

    If the question is how do you bring a bottle that you purchased before coming to the airport, I do not know, but am interested if there is an answer.


  2. I second Jeff’s motion on purchasing after security.


  3. One word: mule


  4. Lets see…25.36 ounces in a bottle of wine. 3 ounce maximum size bottle allowed through security. So split your bottle into 8.45 – 3 ounce bottles. No problem ;-)


  5. I have a rather embarrassing story with regards to wine on an airplane. After spending a week’s time in Reno at a 4-day conference with 16h working days, I found a few moments to get together with a friend who co-owns a wine shop (place is Washoe wines, a surprisingly eclectic selection given that I was in Reno).

    Anyway, this friend was able to hook me up with an excellent 2005 White Chassagne-Montrachet at a not-so-reasonable but still good price (for a 1er cru Gagnard). So I spent my last few moments in Reno packing up for my flight back home, diligently placing my small liquid bottles in a quart-size bag and placing it in a quick access zipper on my luggage. I went through security worried mostly about exposing the most of my business traveler gear in the least amount of crates (oh, and wondering what the occasion will be to open the bottle). I was then surprised to be pulled aside and interrogated as to whether I had any liquids in my bag. To that, I answered “No, I only have these three ounce bottles”. After some back-and-forth and finally realizing the brain-dead mistake I’d made, I pleaded to go back to checking my bad in. I don’t know why security finally gave in — either because they somehow pitied my “Montrachet isn’t a liquid!” facial expression or salivated at the idea of lecturing me back out all the way through the security line.

    I got the lecture but I finally checked the bag in and was able to cellar the bottle. I like to try to convince myself that those 4 tiring days combined with my prize clouded my judgment but still, I must have been one odd character to airport security :-)


  6. When returning from Italy on a layover through Munich, I noticed people were allowed to bring sealed bags with liquids of all sizes from the shops after the checkpoint on to the plane. However, if you were going to switch planes again in the US. The items bought at the airport shops in Germany would have to be put in your checked luggage, they wouldn’t allow you to carry them onto your next flight.

    Also, I was with some friends, and we both had been given packets of jelly with a croissant while in the airport in Italy, I had stuffed my jelly packets in a zipper bag in my carry on just to get them out of my way. They had just dropped the packets in their luggage. When going through security in Germany they confiscated my friends packets of jelly and told me that since mine were in a zipper bag they were OK. How crazy is that? Apparently zipper bags keep all liquids from exploding.


  7. The Vino Volo wines stores (http://vinovolo.com) are in a few airports now, including Seattle, Sacramento, New York City, Baltimore and Washington D.C. And you can buy wine there and take them aboard the plane with you.


  8. If you get a syrofoam shipper you cab check with your bags up to 12 bottles of wine. Bring tape and leave the box open so they can inspect it at the airport. As far as I know that is the only legal way you can put wine on a commerical airline.


  9. A friend from medical school visited me after 9/11 (but possibly before the whole peroxide bomb thing) and he was allowed to take some (no more than 5 or 6 bottles of wine on board inside his backpack.

    I sent him home with 7 or 8 bottles. About 5 miles from the airport I got a call from him telling me he had to give me a few of the bottles back.

    Not sure what the current situation on on-board wine is…


  10. Dear Sirs:

    Most of the comments conform to my experience except for Mark V. Marino’s statement that a styrofoam shipping box is necessary to check in your wine.

    In fact, any old box or suitcase will do. Just pack the stuff well so it doesn’t get broken. I currently use a Rimowa Aluminum overnight bag that is big enough to handle 10 bottles or so. Don’t lock it, wrap it with a strap so it doesn’t accidently open, write the combination on the outside in case the dials get twisted and a note saying “Open This Side Up”

    I always find a little card inside when I get home saying “Opened by TSA for your safety.”


  11. Of course, you can bring an empty suitcase, but, in the 250 groups I have had from out of state this year in the wine country, only a couple have brought an empty one. Almost all the wineries here sell or give away shippers, which are mostly styrofoam and the airlines allow those to be checked with your bags. I have done about 400 wine tours since these rules have been in effect so I do have more experience than most people in dealing with this problem. Of course, if you prefer to carry an empty bag that is a solution, just necessary to be carried empty one way. I have had clients lose wine in an old box that I would not suggest. The styrofoam is not necessary but it is free from many wineries when you purchase the wine to fill it, or $10 if not, and it is designed for the purpose. Just an intelligent solution to a common problem. Oh, they are also designed so it does not matter which end is opened, thus avoiding another problem if the opener does not catch the message on the box.


  12. Check your wine as baggage in proper shipping boxes. Ship your dirty clothes via UPS etc. If there is a state or country in the world that bans shipping dirty clothes, I’ll eat a hat. Or something.


  13. You can bring as much wine as you want on private planes :)
    http://www.de-vino.com


  14. [...] email, or free monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting! Last week I posted a wine travel puzzle: how could you actually bring a bottle of wine onto a commercial flight in the [...]


  15. I ran across an article a week ago in the Washington Post about a wine bag designed for air travel. It looks like it’s made to secure your bottles in your checked luggage to keep it from breaking or leaking. I ordered one for my dad who travels a lot. Here is the link http://www.bottlewise.com for anyone curious.


  16. Thanks for all these comments! Bob and Christian, I admire your ingenuity! Sarah, hilarious. Richard Auffey, congrats on nailing the Vino Volo angle.

    In case you haven’t seen it, travel blogger Mark Ashley weighed in here with his reply.


  17. Here’s another idea or alternative to your airline dilemma carrying wine.

    I’ve read your article, and think there’s a good alternative to expensive wine carriers. Here’s my opinion, I recently purchased a cool, trendy and even ergonomically designed NeoBag wine tote which is totally capable of being thrown into my luggage for less then a third the cost of some of the hard carriers and I can tote it around in style to a wine tasting.
    This bag is a cross between a traveling bottle tote and something I’d take to a casual wine tasting. It eliminates completely that clinking around that normally results in luggage and I’m positive the breakage too.

    This traveling guy likes to fly but, I want to be assured my presious bottle is safely stowed away in the cargo hole. I think the Neo does it and for a good price too.

    Check out their website at: http://www.winebags.com. Email them at: wines@winebags.com.


  18. [...] Bringing wine home from your travels “Puzzle of the day: where can you fly with wine in the USA?” Permalink | SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Getting smashed: flying with wine, revisited”, [...]


  19. [...] “Puzzle of the day: where can you fly with wine in the USA?” “Poll: bringing wine home in an age of baggage charges“ Permalink | [...]


  20. Wineflite is dedicated to the serious wine tourist! Operating in all wine regions, Concierge service is FREE with every shipment.

    Pricing is available on the site. I have personally visited all of the major wine regions and have 30 years in the Logistics industry.


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