Alcohol & Travel: Fact vs. Fiction–What are we really allowed to do?

Do you know whether or not it is legal to bring alcohol through airport security?  Do you know whether you are allowed to drink your own alcohol on the plane?

I did a survey of travelers and came up with this infographic explaining what they thought vs. reality.

Edit: Keep scrolling for more content past the infographic.  I don’t know why it’s creating so much white space.

The results I got were surprising!

52% of travelers believed that alcohol is not allowed through the security line.  That’s actually false.

The limit alcohol is the same as any liquid–it must be in freedom sized bottles.  However, if you had a bunch of minis, those are completely allowed through security.  You are also technically allowed to drink your over-sized bottle of liquid in the presence of a TSA line, but that is not recommended.

Through a technicality, you are also allowed to transport alcohol through security in your bra.

36% believe it is legal to consume alcohol you brought with you on the airplane.  That’s also false.

Whether you got it at the duty free store, brought it in through little 3 ounce bottles, or transported it through your bra, it is illegal to serve yourself on a plane and is a violation of federal law.  A loophole: flight attendants are allowed to serve you your own alcohol, but due to airlines’ own rules, you’ll never get them to do that (so don’t ask!)

Whiskey was the least popular in-flight beverage out of the group–which surprised me!  I used to be a whiskey and ginger ale person myself.

I also learned that over half those surveyed do not spend much money on drinks in the airport itself.  Though, I should have also asked how many drinks they consumed.  I have lounge access, so the only money I spend are from tips.

What’s your drink of choice in the air?  Do you do more drinking in the air or on the ground?

(In case the embedded dynamic version does not work on your browsing device, here is a copy of the infographic:)

drinking-and-travel (1)

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. It shocks me that more people don’t think to fill their quart-sized ziploc with mini bottles of alcohol, considering the prices airlines sometimes charge for beverages on-board. Plus you get to drink the stuff you actually like, as opposed to “whatever they have.” What, like they’re going to call the feds on you for that? As long as you don’t get blind drunk and do anything stupid, shouldn’t be a problem to get an empty glass (or one with some ice).

  2. I’m also surprised that Whiskey isn’t more popular. I also noticed that beer didn’t top the list.

    This is a good post. I’d like to know more about duty free liquor in comparison. From my understanding you can take it through TSA checkpoints if it’s in a sealed duty free bag.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      That’s complicated and the rules have changed, so I’ll write on that tomorrow!

      Are there more frequent flyer stats you are interested in? Surveying is part of my day job, so I enjoyed doing this.

  3. One key item: just because the FA had to serve it doesn’t mean you can’t drink your own. If the FA is willing to serve your own booze to you then you’re good to go.

  4. You do have to be a little careful about transporting alcohol into certain states. I recently learned that it is illegal to bring alcoholic beverages into the state of Utah unless you meet criteria for three exceptions. The state is a “controlled state” and so you can’t even bring a bottle of wine given as an ammenity at a hotel back into the state to give as a gift or to consume yourself.

    Not sure how they would plan on catching you but still something interesting to consider.

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