TSA rules for flying with alcohol

February 13, 2014 |

Maybe you’re flying home from a destination wedding on the French Riviera or a family vacation in Italy. If you’re a wine connoisseur, it’s likely you’ll want to bring a bottle or two home for yourself or friends. Previously, the Transportation Safety Administration had some pretty strict rules about flying with alcohol as part of their liquids ban.

For example, even if wine was purchased in a duty-free shop at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, on a flight to New York City before a final destination of Los Angeles, the TSA in NYC would require that travelers would have to pack those bottles of wine into their checked luggage before going through security. However, this can be a problem in the event that you did not check a bag, or in the event that there is no opportunity to place the alcohol in your checked bag at Customs. Another possibility is that your checked bag is already at the maximum weight limit. For many on international travel with a connecting flight in the U.S. on their way home, this often meant tossing out their duty-free purchases.

However, the TSA announced relaxed restrictions starting January 31, 2014. Now, if a traveler has liquids in excess of 100 milliliters in his or her carry-on, it will not need to be checked or thrown away in situations like the above scenario, provided it was purchased in a duty-free shop inside the airport and is sealed in a secure, tamper-evident bag – also known as a STEB in industry parlance.

So rest assured that your wine, whiskey or other libation souvenirs are safe in a carry-on, provided they were purchased at the airport in a duty-free shop and carried in a STEB. But keep in mind that the TSA still has the right to check all of your liquids. The safest place for them still might be your checked baggage since sometimes ceramic, opaque, metallic or other hard-to-scan containers must be thrown out.