Besides the unforgettable faces, places, and memories, bringing home a bottle of champagne often tops our souvenir list. You’re probably one of the many travelers tempted to bring a bottle or two. Before you take off, a very important question to ask is: Can you put champagne in checked luggage?
Tucking the booze into your checked bag is generally allowed. You can carry champagne on board as long as you follow the TSA champagne rules.
However, the bigger concern is whether the bottles can survive the journey intact.
In this post, we will walk you through the different ways you can protect your champagne from atmospheric pressure and sometimes rough handling. We’ll also delve into the different guidelines to follow so that you can bring your champagne safely with you.
Flying With Wine and Champagne According to TSA
You don’t want to end up gulping the wine you meant to bring to your vacation spot while standing on the side before boarding the plane (please, don’t do this), or handing expensive champagne over to the TSA and never seeing them again, do you?
Before the 9/11 attacks, travelers could bring bottles and cases on the plane. You still can now. But it is not without some limitations. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set rules for travelers who intend to bring champagne bottles with them on the plane.
Traveling with wine, alcohol, and champagne is allowed. But only if you put it in your checked-in luggage. According to the TSA, you can put up to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of booze in your luggage provided that the alcoholic beverage contains more than 24% but no more than 70% alcohol.
Anything above 70% alcohol (over 140 proof), including grain alcohol and 151 proof rum, isn’t allowed in both your carry bags and checked luggage.
The good news is that since champagne is only 12% ABV, there are no limitations on how much champagne you can put in your checked luggage. Alcoholic beverages containing 24% alcohol or less are not restricted in checked luggage.
With carry-on bags, you must follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule to get through the checkpoint. You can bring liquids, creams, aerosols, or in this case, alcoholic beverages of size less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml.
If you want to put small bottles of alcohol in your carry-on luggage, make sure that it can fit in a one-quart-sized plastic bag. And, note that only one quart-sized bag is allowed per passenger. You must also check that all bottles are in original packaging and unopened.
The same rules apply whether you’re bringing back champagne into the US and from France. Don’t forget to visit the TSA’s website before your travel as they could change their policies anytime.
Tip: Purchase from duty-free shops at the airport after passing through the security so that you can carry the champagne on a plane. Beware of the airline’s set weight limitations on your baggage. You may use up all the weight allotment provided to you but keep in mind that not all bottles weigh the same. Keep your receipts.
Will Champagne Explode on a Plane?
You might be worried about your Dom Pérignon champagne exploding mid-air. Don’t overthink it because no, it’s highly unlikely for the champagne bottle to explode, burst, or anything of that sort. If you’re concerned about the atmospheric pressure, you can rest assured that it won’t affect the quality of the champagne that much.
Most airlines’ cargo holds are pressurized and heated since they also carry pets so don’t worry about your precious champagne bursting. And besides, champagne bottles are engineered to handle the pressure inside the bottle due to carbon dioxide buildup.
Their caps and corks are also rigid. Your champagne will be fine.
But this is not to say there is no risk of leakage or damage. Changes in cabin pressure and temperature can affect the champagne’s carbonation levels and it can raise the internal pressure that’s already within the bottle. Luggage handlers might also mishandle your stuff and they could get tossed around the conveyor belt.
The best way to avoid damage or leaks is to pack them properly and securely.
How To Pack Champagne in Checked Luggage
Imagine being excited to open the bottles upon arriving at your destination, only to find them broken. Packing alcohol and just about any other liquids securely can make a lot of difference.
While it’s very unlikely that champagne will explode or burst in your checked luggage, the risk is still there due to the factors mentioned above. If your sparkling wine leaks and it’s tucked in with other items in your checked bags such as clothes, you’re in for a bigger problem. The liquid can stain other items in the suitcase.
Such a bummer but you can minimize this problem.
- Tuck bottles in the middle of your suitcase or you can wrap them in a cushioned bag. You can also wrap them in clothes like pajamas, shirts, towels, or socks.
- Layer a bubble wrap. This will provide insulation and extra protection.
- If you don’t want to go through the hassle of wrapping, invest in a wine sleeve. They are usually sold in packs and don’t weigh anything. Wine sleeves are also leak-proof.
- Don’t pack opened and leftover champagne and ensure that the bottles are tightly sealed. Positioned them in a way that minimizes motion or impact.
- Investing in a wine travel suitcase is also a good idea if you’re carrying multiple bottles. The wine suitcase usually has 12 compartments suited for wine bottles and has a hard shell. It also doesn’t exceed the usual 50 lbs weight limit with most airlines even if you place 12 bottles in it.
Airline baggage handlers may not be able to notice it even if you mark it fragile. You must pack the bottles really well. Many wineries also offer packing services for a fee, so you may want to consider this.
Drinking Your Own Champagne During Flight
It’s tempting to have a dose of alcohol on a flight, but you can’t unless it’s served by a flight attendant. Yes, for some passengers, it may be a good way to kill hours of boredom at 42,000 feet. But even the cabin crew doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages most of the time.
Cabin crew are responsible for passengers’ safety while on board and making sure you don’t become a liability once the booze settles in your head. You just can’t pour it. It’s a bad idea. The effect of alcohol can also intensify at high altitudes.
Although you can’t be kicked out of the plane mid-air, you may face legal consequences.
Can I Put Drinks in My Checked Luggage?
You could put drinks in your luggage. However, you must check TSA’s liquid bans. Make sure to find out the quantity limits, packing requirements, and customs regulations. If you’re worried about the sparkling wine bursting, most airlines have pressurized cargo holds.
Can You Put Champagne in Checked Luggage UK?
It depends on the airport and airline. According to British Airways, for example, you can bring up to five liters of booze as long as the alcohol content is between 24% and 70%. If you purchase champagne from a duty-free shop at the airport, you can just put it in your cabin bag or checked baggage.
Can Drinks Be Packed in Checked Luggage?
Absolutely. If you’re bringing champagne with you on the plane, pack it in your checked luggage. Liquids contained in more than 3.4 ounces are generally OK to pack in your checked luggage but make sure to check the weight limit. If you purchase the drink from a duty-free store, you may put it in your carry-on luggage.
How Many Bottles of Champagne Can You Bring on a Plane?
In general, there is no limit on the quantity of alcohol you can pack in your checked luggage as long as the alcohol volume is less than 24%. In the EU, it’s fine to pack up to five liters per person, with alcoholic volumes of between 24% and 70%.
Does Champagne Taste Better on a Plane?
Wine can taste more acidic, thinner, and harsher on board. With altitude and pressure in a plane’s cabin, it can alter how food tastes. So, it’s always better to hold off on uncorking the champagne bottle until you land at your final destination.
Packing champagne in checked luggage is generally allowed, as long as you adhere to the TSA guidelines and regulations for liquids and containers. When traveling with champagne, wine, or any other alcoholic beverage, make sure it’s unopened, securely packed, and sealed to minimize any leaks or damages.
If you want to carry bottles in your handbag, keep the quantity limits in mind. But don’t carry them before re-entering security during connecting flights. And, remember to keep up with the latest policies set by the TSA before your flight.
If you have more questions about carrying champagne on a plane, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’re here to help. Have a safe flight!