How To Transport Wine Bottles on an Airplane?
Shipping wine internationally has a lot of restrictions, but what about carrying wine on the plane?
When it comes to the rules and regulations of wine bottle airplane travel, many people are a bit confused:
- Will my airline permit alcohol to be brought on the plane?
- Will I need to pay duty and taxes?
- How can I safely transport the wine bottles to ensure none of them break?
Believe it or not, it’s far easier to take wine bottles on a plane that most people think.
And, it’s actually often the least expensive and safest way to bring back a little of your favorite wine region home.
What Rules Do You Need To Follow To Safely Bring Home Your Wine Bottles?
You are permitted to bring wine back on an airplane.
However, there are several important details to keep in mind before doing so.
- Wine and alcohol bottles must be packed in checked (aka hold) baggage. The reason is that carry-on (aka cabin) luggage have liquid restrictions – no containers over 100 ml / 3.4 ounces.
- There are no quantity limits for bottles with an alcohol content of 24% or less, (which is all regular and fortified wine), 5L per person for bottles between 24% and 70%. Bottles with an alcohol content exceeding 70% prohibited.
- Standard airline baggage weight limits apply. This is typically 23 kg / 50 lbs for most international airlines, or 32 kg / 70 lbs if you are in business class or pay an excess baggage fee. Airlines allow you to check as many pieces of luggage as desired pending additional fees. You may be eligible to check in a second piece of luggage for free. Read these tips on how to minimize your baggage fees. Low cost airlines may have different baggage weight limits depending on the airline and what you purchase. Read about how to take alcohol in checked luggage on low cost carriers in Europe here.
On average a wine bottle weighs 1.4 kg / 3 lbs. A full case of 12 scales about 17 kg / 38 lbs.
Are There Any Alcohol Duties?
Most countries have a duty-free alcohol allowance, under which you don’t pay any duty.
One large point of confusion is between duty-free allowance and what happens if you bring alcohol quantities beyond that allowance:
- In Europe, when flying between two E.U. countries (including the U.K) you have a staggering duty-free wine allowance of 90 liters per person, per trip.
- The US allows one duty-free litre of alcohol per person. However, the duty over the 1 litre, for wine destined for personal consumption, is a measly $0.35-$2 per bottle. Being so low, most customs agents do not bother to collect it regardless of the number of bottles you bring in. Check out this handy Flying with Wine and Alcohol 101 guide for alcohol duty rates in other countries.
How To Safely Transport Your Wine in an Airplane
If you feel uneasy at the prospect of transporting your wine bottles by wrapping them in your clothes, and are imagining broken bottles and red stains everywhere, there are several wine travel products to ease your worry.
Lazenne carries a full range of wine travel products that will put you at ease – from single bottle protection sleeves, to polystyrene shippers for larger numbers of bottles, to a specialized wine suitcase.
Wine geeks will appreciate the Wine Check luggage. It’s an easy-to-transport case that includes both a strap and wheels, and can hold up to 15 bottles of wine in the replaceable cardboard and styrofoam container.
This Guest post was written by Paul Budny exclusively for Social Vignerons.
Paul Budny is the co-founder of Lazenne, a European company, which enables wine loving travellers to transport wine safely, conveniently, and economically.