Traveling with Wine

Regulations on packing your prized bottles


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Traveling with Wine Somehow, we're already finding ourselves in August and that means the high point of summer traveling. Here at Snooth, it seems like every week somebody different is out of the office. So for all of you who are traveling, domestic or abroad, we have put together a roundup of regulations on flying with wine (c'mon, you are all Snooth subscribers, we know you aren't taking a vacation without trying to transport some goodies back home).

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airplane passengers flying in and out of the US can travel with an unlimited amount of alcohol in their checked-baggage, as long at it's under 24% alc/volume (48 proof) and fits within standard weight regulations. Seems simple enough, but when it comes to packaging that wine or beer (most are below 24%), things can get a bit trickier. Here are few different packaging regulations from various airlines.

Remember, when flying internationally, wine regulations will differ according to each individual country's customs. Be sure to look into the regulations of the country you are visiting before flying!

Photo courtesy Jeff_Werner via Flickr/CC

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  • Snooth User: Leah Mansback
    Hand of Snooth
    555565 1,298

    Thanks Kate, this is an extremely helpful guide. Since flights are so expensive these days, we always pick the least expensive carrier. So knowing which restrictions apply for each carrier makes transporting wine a whole lot easier.

    Aug 22, 2011 at 12:08 PM

  • Snooth User: gkuntz
    890854 18

    When in France this summer we bought 32 bottles of very nice reds in Burgundy. Eight returned with us in checked luggage (in cardboard wine carriers), the remainder we sent via WineFlite. It is expensive, but they handle all packing, shipping, customs and insure for full value. The wine arrived very securely and it was nice to not have to worry about losing our precious cargo.

    By the way, when traveling internationally, the 1 liter per person limit is just for duty free imports - additional quantities carry a very small duty (something like 3% of the value - check the Customs site to be sure). A bargain!

    Aug 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,989

    Your information is a start, but isn't enough for international flights, even into the US. A few questions:
    --What's the deal with alcohol over 24% (such as whisky)?
    --Are limits safety-driven or customs driven?
    --What are the customs duties on wine or other beverages brought into the USA?
    --What pointers can you provide for packaging within checkin (or as independently checked-in items)

    Also, pointers towards information sites for France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece would be useful, since that's where most people will be headed on their wine jaunts.


    Aug 24, 2011 at 12:12 AM

  • Snooth User: Kate Statton
    Hand of Snooth
    853836 1,080

    dmcker - thanks for the great suggestions. Because our site focuses primarily on wine, I searched mostly for wine related information (under 24%). For more information on higher proofed alcohols, you can check the links to each carrier's page from their slides. Because most of these flights are coming into/out of US, all carriers must abide by TSA packaging and liquid regulations. Otherwise, the rules vary by each individual country's customs on importing and exporting. As for how to pack, we recommend wrapping bottles in bubble wrap and securing them in the bag with old/unimportant clothing. The suggested Wine Mummy or WineSkin are also very helpful for packing bottles.

    As you can see, this is a lot of information!! Luckily for us there is a potential second half to this article which would clarify customs laws for popular vacation areas.

    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:40 PM

  • Thanks for the great suggestions for traveling... Pack light, Lots of Wine!

    Sep 02, 2011 at 6:34 PM

  • Kate - take a look at The Wine Check - - it's the only portable wine luggage (foldable) with wheels and handles that allows a full case (12 bottles) and remains under the weight limit of 50lbs imposed by the airlines. It uses existing shipper boxes/inserts and turns them INTO luggage.

    Jan 02, 2012 at 4:30 PM

  • Snooth User: EBGB
    902774 24

    Also available: trains!

    Oct 15, 2014 at 8:59 AM

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