Travel Tips

5 min read

Flying with Booze: Unveiling TSA's Mini Bottle Policy

Ever been mid-air with a craving for your favorite tipple? Let's uncork the mystery of flying with nips and navigate the skies of TSA regulations together. Buckle up, beverage buddies!

Tobi Miles
August 7, 2022

When you’re headed on vacation, it’s common to want to get the party started as soon as possible. For some, that can mean as soon as they’re through the security checkpoint. It’s common knowledge that alcohol is allowed throughout the airport, but can you bring nips on a plane?

Nips, airplane bottles, and mini liquor bottles all refer to the same thing and are allowed on a plane. Nips less than 140 proof are limited to containers of 3.4 ounces or less and must fit in a quart-sized bag. For checked bags, there is no limit if less a 48 proof; for 48-140 proof, you are limited to 5 liters.

While nips are allowed on a plane, that doesn’t mean you can take them out of your carry-on and start drinking. The TSA has specific rules, so before you pop a bottle, you should know what you’re allowed to do.

A Quick Look At The TSA’s Rules For Alcohol 2022

Nips are allowed on an airplane, according to the TSA, but you must follow specific rules and regulations.

  • Nips refer to any type of airplane bottles or mini liquor bottles, so keep this in mind when reviewing airline rules.
  • For carry-ons, alcohol less than 24% alcohol by volume (ABV), or 48 proof, is limited to 3.4-ounce containers. They must fit in one quart-sized, Ziploc bag. This rule applies to each passenger.
  • For alcohol 24% to 70% ABV or 48 to 140 proof, carry-on rules are the same as above.
  • For checked bags, there is no limit if the alcohol is 24% ABV. Alcohol 24% to 70% ABV, 48 to 140 proof, checked bags are limited to 5 liters per passenger. It must be unopened and in its original packaging.
  • Any alcohol over 70% ABV, or over 140 proof, is prohibited in carry-on or checked bags.
  • If you’ve purchased duty-free liquor inside of the airport after you’ve gone through security, it can be larger than 3.4 ounces. Anything larger than a liter will be charged with a customs duty.
  • Those under 21 cannot bring nips onto a plane with a United States destination. This rule applies regardless of the age limit of the country you are from.

Can I Bring Nips On A Plane In My Carry-On Bag?

Yes, you can bring nips on a plane in your carry-on bag. Nips brought in carry-on bags are limited to containers of 3.4 ounces or less. They have to fit comfortably in a quart-sized Ziploc bag.

Any alcohol brought in a carry-on must be less than 140 proof. Any alcohol over 140 proof is strictly prohibited on airplanes. It’s always a good idea to check your airline for specific rules when flying with alcohol.

Can I Consume Alcohol I Bring On A Plane?

One of the main reasons people choose to bring alcohol on a plane is because they want to drink it. While this would be cost-effective in theory, it’s illegal to drink nips on an aircraft. This is enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and all U.S. airlines and airlines operating in the U.S.

While you can’t drink your own alcohol that you’ve brought on an airplane, you can purchase alcohol on most airlines. According to the TSA, alcohol must be served by a flight attendant when consuming alcohol on an aircraft. Another thing to remember is flight attendants are not allowed to serve alcohol to a passenger who is intoxicated.

Related Read: Can You Bring Vapes on a Plane?

How Many Mini Alcohol Bottles Can I Bring On A Plane?

When bringing mini alcohol bottles on an airplane in your carry-on, you’re limited to how many you can bring. Nips brought in a carry-on must abide by the liquid rule. They must be less than 3.4 ounces and fit inside of quart-sized Ziploc bag.

Any other liquid toiletries you bring must fit in the same quart-sized bag as the nips. If you’re utilizing the bag for only nips, you can probably fit 7 to 12 bottles, depending on how large they are.

Can You Buy Alcohol On A Plane?

Yes, you can buy alcohol on a plane. In 2020, many airlines suspended food and beverage service to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As of April 2022, all airline carriers have resumed the sale of beer, wine, and spirits.

On most airlines, first-class passengers typically receive complimentary alcoholic beverages. For others, beer, wine, and spirits usually cost $5 to $16, depending on the type of alcoholic beverage you purchase.

When drinking alcohol on an airplane, you should always act appropriately and respect other passengers and flight attendants. If you are intoxicated or unruly, you can face steep fines and even criminal charges from the FAA.

Related Read: Can You Bring Puff Bars on a Plane?

What Happens If You Try To Drink Nips On A Plane?

It is illegal to drink your own alcohol on an airplane, regardless of airspace. If you do not obey these rules, you can face steep fines and criminal charges from the FAA.

Even if you’re flying over another country, you can’t drink your own alcohol on a domestic airline. The FAA states that no person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless it has been served to them.

Can You Pack Nips In Your Checked Luggage?

Yes, you can pack nips in your checked luggage. The TSA website gives specific rules on packing nips in checked baggage, so make sure you follow them closely.

Per passenger, any alcoholic beverage between 24% to 70% alcohol is limited to 5 liters in checked baggage. Alcohol in checked bags cannot be opened and must be in its original packaging. If your alcoholic beverage has 24% alcohol or less, checked bags have no limitations.

Related Read: Can You Bring Cigarettes on a Plane?

Can You Bring Nips On An International Flight?

You can bring nips on an international flight. The same rules for nips apply to international flights as they do to domestic flights. Before you pull out your nips for your trip to Greece or anywhere else international, know the rules.

If you purchase alcohol at the airport after you’ve gone through security, it’s duty-free. Duty-free liquors can be larger than 3.4 ounces, and there is no limit on how much you can bring. However, you should refer to your airline in case there are any additional rules.

You may have to pay a customs tax if you purchase a large number of nips or other types of alcohol. Anything over 1 liter, combined with any other alcohol you bring, will be charged with a customs duty. If the amount you purchase is deemed unreasonable for personal use, you may require an additional license.

What’s The Best Way To Pack Alcohol For Air Travel?

If you know you’ll be bringing alcohol home, pack air mailers with you; the bubblewrap will help your alcohol make it home safely.

If you don’t plan ahead, try to pack your bottle in a plastic bag and wrap it in a piece of clothing. The bottle can be rolled in jeans or a sweater and then surrounded with additional clothes to protect all four sides.

When traveling, it’s common to find alcohols that are popular in a specific region and not available at home. If it surpasses the 3.4-ounce rule, you must pack it in checked luggage. This can leave it vulnerable to being smashed and ruining any belongings in your bag.

Related Read: Can You Bring CBD Gummies on a Plane?

Still Not Sure If You Can Bring Nips On A Plane? Ask the TSA

The TSA has many rules when it comes to alcohol. If you are still unsure of the rules about bringing alcohol on a plane, ask the TSA. There are various ways to contact the TSA before departure: social media, email, or phone.

Any automated information you need is available anytime you call the TSA. You can tweet, Facebook or Apple message with a TSA officer live from 8 AM to 6 PM ET. If you’re requesting information, submitting a compliment or complaint, or have a TSA PreCheck issue, it’s best to email.

Live TSA representatives are available from 8 AM to 11 PM ET on weekdays or 9 AM to 8 PM on weekends and holidays. The TSA website has a list of commonly asked questions by travelers and answers from the TSA. The list of questions includes disabilities and medical conditions, ID requirements, lost or damaged items, and permitted and prohibited items.


Alcohol is allowed on a plane as long as the specific rules set by the TSA are followed. When bringing alcohol in a carry-on, it must be less than 140 proof and no more than 3.4 ounces. The containers must be able to fit in a quart-sized Ziploc bag.

When packing alcohol in your checked baggage, there is no limit if the alcohol is 24% ABV. If it’s 48 to 140 proof, checked bags are limited to 5 liters per passenger. The alcohol must be unopened and in its original packaging.

Any alcohol over 140 proof is prohibited on airplanes. As always, it’s best to check with specific airlines if you’re unsure about the rules regarding alcohol.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

You may also like...


Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes