Can You Bring Drinks On A Plane?

Every year, millions of passengers board airplanes with carry-on luggage containing items for personal comfort and entertainment. However, the transport of liquids, including drinks, is subject to strict regulations due to security concerns that became particularly pressing after the 2006 thwarted terror plot involving liquid explosives on aircraft traveling from the UK to North America. This event led to the introduction of new air travel rules, notably the 3-1-1 liquid rule implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and similar organizations around the globe.

These regulations have reshaped passengers’ approach to bringing drinks on planes. For domestic and international flights, understanding the specifics of what is and isn’t allowed aboard is essential for a hassle-free travel experience. Prior to the 2006 incident, passengers enjoyed relatively few restrictions on carry-on items, including liquids. In the years following, security protocols have heightened, and now travelers must carefully pack their drinks to comply with the guidelines that allow for small quantities of liquids in carry-on baggage, typically limiting containers to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller, all packed within a single, quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag.

The rationale behind these measures balances security with convenience, aiming to prevent the introduction of liquid explosives onto aircraft while still allowing passengers to carry essential items such as medication, baby formula, and small amounts of personal beverages. Special allowances and exemptions are provided under certain circumstances, and knowing these can make the process smoother. Passengers are also given the option of bringing larger quantities of drinks in checked luggage, albeit with certain limitations to prevent spillage and damage during transit.

In sum, the evolution of security protocols for carrying drinks on planes continues to influence how travelers prepare for their journeys. While the measures may at first seem restrictive, they have been largely accepted and have become a routine part of air travel, ensuring safety for all passengers and crew aboard an aircraft.

can you bring drinks on a plane

Can You Take Drinks On A Plane?

When it comes to taking drinks on a plane, the rules can be quite specific. Generally, you are allowed to take drinks through airport security, but they must adhere to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) liquids rule. This rule states that all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and must fit comfortably in one quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag. At the checkpoint, you must remove this bag from your carry-on luggage for screening. Beverages purchased after the security checkpoint can usually be taken on the plane without restrictions. For those interested in bringing alcoholic beverages, there are additional rules regarding the volume and alcohol content that can be taken on board. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the guidelines for carrying drinks on a plane, ensuring you can stay hydrated and enjoy your beverages while flying.

Beverage Regulations for USA Domestic Flights

Traveling within the United States entails understanding the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) guidelines regarding beverages. Staying hydrated or enjoying a drink en route is permissible, but travelers must adhere to specific regulations to pass through airport security without incident.

Carry-On Restrictions

  • Liquids in carry-on bags must conform to the 3-1-1 rule.
  • Containers should hold no more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of liquid.
  • All liquid containers must fit into one quart-sized, clear, resealable plastic bag.
  • Only one plastic bag is allowed per passenger.

Checked Baggage Guidelines

  • No limit on the volume of liquids that can be packed in checked baggage.
  • Alcoholic beverages over 24% but not more than 70% by volume are limited to 5 liters per passenger.
  • Alcoholic beverages must be in retail packaging.

Drinks Purchased After Security Checkpoint

Once past the security checkpoint, passengers can purchase beverages from airport vendors without adhering to the 3-1-1 rule. Those beverages may be carried onto the airplane.

Onboard Beverage Service

Most airlines offer some form of beverage service on domestic flights, which may include complimentary and paid options, subject to current service adjustments due to health and safety concerns.

Bringing Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Passengers are permitted to bring their own non-alcoholic drinks onboard but must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule if the beverages are carried through the security checkpoint.

Traveling with Alcoholic Beverages

Passengers can travel with alcoholic beverages in their carry-on and checked luggage with attention to volume limitations and alcohol content restrictions.

TSA Guidelines for Specific Types of Drinks

  • Alcoholic beverages (TSA guide to traveling with alcoholic drinks).
  • Non-alcoholic drinks that are medically necessary (exemptions apply).
  • Breast milk and infant formula are allowed in reasonable quantities.

For detailed and up-to-date information regarding the transportation of drinks on USA domestic flights, please refer to the official TSA website page on transporting liquids: TSA Liquids Rule.

✔ Pros ✘ Cons
You can stay hydrated, especially during long flights. Liquids over 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) are not allowed through security in carry-on bags.
Having your own drink can save you money compared to purchasing onboard. Carrying drinks can be inconvenient and add extra weight to your luggage.
Bringing a refillable water bottle can be environmentally friendly. Any opened drinks might spill and create a mess during the journey.
You have the choice of your favorite beverages from home. Some airlines may have restrictions on consuming personal alcoholic beverages.

This table provides a straightforward comparison of the pros and cons of bringing drinks on a plane, with a green tick for pros and a red cross for cons, formatted within an HTML table.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

When flying internationally with drinks, passengers must adhere to the guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These regulations are designed to ensure safety and compliance across international flights. According to IATA, passengers are generally allowed to carry alcohol in their checked luggage under the following conditions:

  • The alcohol content must not exceed 70% by volume (140 proof).
  • For alcohol content between 24% and 70% (48 – 140 proof), up to 5 liters per person is permitted in retail packaging.
  • Alcohol with less than 24% alcohol content is not subject to restrictions in checked luggage.
  • Alcohol in carry-on baggage must be in containers of 100 ml (3.4 ounces) or less and fit comfortably in a single, transparent, resealable 1-liter plastic bag.

For more detailed information, passengers should consult the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations or visit the IATA website for guidance on traveling with alcoholic beverages.

Country Specific Regulations

Travelers must also be aware of the country-specific regulations that apply to the importation of alcohol. These rules can vary widely from one country to another and may include restrictions on the amount of alcohol that can be brought into the country, as well as taxes and duties that may apply. It is crucial for passengers to check the regulations of their destination country before traveling.

United Kingdom

For the UK, visit the UK government page on duty-free goods for information on bringing drinks into the country.


Within the European Union, regulations can vary, so it’s important to check the specific country’s customs website. For general EU guidelines, refer to the European Commission’s page on entering the EU.


The Canada Border Services Agency provides information on bringing alcohol into Canada, which can be found on their website.


For Australia’s regulations on alcohol importation, travelers should consult the Australian Border Force website.

New Zealand

Guidelines for bringing drinks into New Zealand are detailed on the New Zealand Customs Service website.


Asian countries have their own set of rules regarding the import of alcohol. For example, for Singapore’s regulations, check the Singapore Customs website.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Drinks

Different airlines may have their own policies regarding the transportation of alcoholic beverages. It is essential for passengers to review their airline’s specific regulations to avoid any inconvenience during their journey. Below are the regulations for flying with drinks for ten international airlines:

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

United Airlines

British Airways


Air Canada



Singapore Airlines

Cathay Pacific

Passengers should always check the latest information as airline policies may change and may be subject to additional security measures depending on the route and destination.

Packing Drinks in Your Carry-On Luggage

When it comes to packing drinks in your carry-on luggage, security regulations are your primary concern. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that you’re allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

  • Place your small containers within a single, clear, quart-sized, zip-top plastic bag.
  • Consider purchasing travel-sized versions of your preferred drinks if available.
  • Remove the plastic bag from your carry-on and place it in a bin for X-ray screening at the checkpoint.

Keep in mind that beverages purchased after the security checkpoint can typically be brought onto the aircraft without restriction.

taking drinks through airport security

Packing Drinks in Your Hold Luggage

When packing drinks in your checked baggage, you have more leeway when it comes to quantity, but there are still precautions to take to ensure your beverages and belongings arrive intact.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Most airlines allow you to bring alcohol in your hold luggage as long as it’s under 140 proof. Check your airline’s policies beforehand.
  • For bottles, consider using wine sleeves or bubble wrap. Seal them further with plastic bags in case of breakage.
  • Center the bottles in your suitcase, surrounded by soft clothing to provide additional padding.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Non-alcoholic drinks may be packed in hold luggage without quantity restrictions, but they should be secured well to prevent damage.
  • Use leak-proof containers, double-bagging them for added security.
  • As with alcoholic beverages, ensure they are cushioned by clothing and placed in the center of your suitcase.

When packing any kind of drink, ensure you check your airline’s specific luggage weight limits to avoid excess baggage fees. Moreover, consider the possibility of liquids expanding due to changes in air pressure. Tight seals are imperative to prevent unwanted leaks.

Travel Snacks and Comfort Items

When preparing for a flight, consider packing non-liquid snacks such as nuts, granola bars, or dried fruits to keep hunger at bay. For comfort, a travel pillow and a light blanket can make your journey more pleasant. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are a must for those sensitive to the sounds of travel. Don’t forget to bring a good book or download movies onto your device for entertainment. Lastly, pack any necessary medications and a small first-aid kit for unexpected minor health issues.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Drinks On A Plane?

For many travelers, staying hydrated or enjoying a beverage is an important part of the flying experience. However, there are numerous regulations and rules that govern what types of drinks you can bring on an airplane and how to pack them. To help passengers navigate these rules, we have compiled a list of common questions and answers addressing concerns about bringing drinks on a plane.

Can I bring my own water bottle on a plane?

Yes, you can bring your own water bottle, but it must be empty when you pass through airport security. Once through, you can refill it at a water fountain or purchase water before boarding your flight.

Are there any restrictions on bringing alcoholic beverages on a plane?

You can bring alcohol in your carry-on luggage as long as it is in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller and fits comfortably in one, quart-sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag. However, you cannot consume your own alcohol during the flight.

Can I pack drinks in my checked luggage?

Yes, you can pack drinks in your checked luggage, but they should be sealed to prevent spillage. If they are alcoholic beverages, they must be unopened and there may be limitations based on alcohol content and quantity.

What are the limits for bringing powdered drinks on a plane?

For international flights to the United States, the TSA limits powders in carry-on bags to containers of 12 ounces (350 milliliters) or less. For larger quantities, you should place them in your checked luggage.

Am I allowed to bring baby formula, breast milk, or juice for my infant?

Yes, reasonable quantities of baby formula, breast milk, and juice are allowed in your carry-on bag. These are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag, but you should declare them for inspection at the security checkpoint.

Can I take beverages purchased after security on the plane?

Yes, drinks purchased after you’ve gone through security can usually be taken on the plane. These can include bottled water, coffee, or other beverages from airport vendors.

Is there a limit to the quantity of drinks I can bring on the plane?

Drinks you bring in your carry-on must adhere to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, meaning each container is 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, all containers must fit in one quart-sized bag, and each passenger is limited to one bag. There is no limit for personal beverages purchased after security.

What is considered a liquid by airport security?

Airport security considers any substance that can conform to the shape of its container as a liquid. This includes beverages, gels, aerosols, creams, pastes, and similar substances.

Will my drink be allowed through security if it is frozen?

If a drink is frozen solid and not melting when you go through security, it can be allowed. However, if it is slushy or partially melted, it must meet the 3-1-1 liquids rule to be allowed in your carry-on.

Are there any exceptions to bringing larger quantities of liquids for medicinal purposes?

Yes, medications are exempt from the 3-1-1 rule. You can bring medically necessary liquids in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces; however, these should be declared to security officers at the checkpoint for further inspection.

Packing It All Up

When it comes to bringing drinks on a plane, there are clear yet manageable restrictions set by security protocols, primarily the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule for carry-ons. This means you’re allowed to transport liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item, packed neatly within a single, quart-sized, zip-top, clear plastic bag. It’s crucial to note that this rule applies to passengers flying within or departing from the United States and may vary slightly with other countries’ regulations. For those looking to bring drinks purchased after security clearance, there’s more freedom. Those beverages can be larger and are not subject to the 3-1-1 rule, allowing travelers to indulge in their favorite drinks from airport stores or restaurants during their flight.

Beyond carry-on regulations, checking in drinks is more lenient, offering passengers the ability to pack larger quantities and sizes, but it’s important to secure them properly to prevent spills and breakage. Alcoholic beverages carry their own set of rules; under 24% alcohol by volume (like most beers and wines) can generally be checked in without restriction on quantity, while those over 24% but under 70% are limited to 5 liters per person. The high altitude and pressurized cabin can affect both carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, so packing them appropriately is essential to prevent any in-flight messes. Following these guidelines ensures a smoother journey and helps avoid the inconvenience of having drinks confiscated or luggage damaged.