One of the many, many great things about travelling is the opportunity to bring home a part of your destination. For people travelling to places like France, Italy, California, and other famous wine destinations, this could be in the form of some wine. But how can you safely, and legally, fly with wine? Fortunately, flying with wine is quite simple. There are only a few regulations regarding flying with alcohol, making wine easy to accommodate on a flight, as long as you are prepared.
In almost all cases, it is best to check your wine while flying. You can check an unlimited amount of alcohol as long as it is under 24% alcohol by volume, as wine usually is. Anything over that percentage and up to 70%—like whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum—is only allowed in quantities that do not exceed 5 liters. All liquids must be kept in a sealed or sealable container. Alcohol can be taken onto the plane in a carry-on, but only in small quantities, so if you plan to bring more than a mini (50 ml) bottle, plan to check the wine with your luggage.
So, now that you know what you are able to fly with, how do you fly with it? Of course, you are going to want your bottles well protected when flying. Airlines aren’t very famous for its gentle handling of luggage. If you have a full case of wine in a sturdy, trustworthy box, that should suffice, as long as there is ample separation between bottles. Paper-thin sheets of cardboard do not give much cushion and you’ll likely end up with a mess of glass and liquid when you land. If you don’t have a sturdy box, you can always buy a specialized bottle shipper, but the most convenient way for most people to transport wine bottles on a plane is by using their clothing as padding. The best way to do this is to form a good layer of cushion as a base on all sides of your suitcase, using sweaters, pants, or anything else that gives good cushion. It is important to have enough padding between the bottles themselves as it is between the bottles and the walls of the suitcase. Wrap the bottles in shirts, sweats, scarves, or anything that will keep the bottles from clanging against each other. Finally, fill in the empty space with socks and underwear to ensure maximum padding. Don’t forget to put a final layer of clothing between the bottles and the lid of the suitcase.
Now that you know the rules and best way to pack your wine bottle for a flight, you are ready for boarding! Next gate is departing for…your favorite glass of wine, wherever you land!