If you're checking a suitcase containing alcohol, the Federal Aviation Administration permits 5 liters per person of unopened bottles of alcohol by volume containing 24 percent to 70% alcohol by volume. If the alcohol by volume is less than 24 percent, you can carry more. Bottles having an alcohol concentration of more than 70% are not permitted in checked luggage or carry-ons, according to the FAA.
However, as most airlines require that your checked bag contain some form of container, it's possible to pack quite a bit in there. The most common method for carrying alcohol into the country is to pack it into empty wine or beer bottles and then have someone else check those bags. The person receiving the bag may be any age as long as they aren't being transported across state lines. They don't need to open the bottle or case, just put it in their baggage area up to $100 maximum per item.
In addition to packing bottles, people also carry alcohol in suitcases, plastic containers, and drum cases. Each carrier must comply with all federal laws regarding transportation of alcohol. Those who violate these laws can be fined or imprisoned.
Checked bags weigh about 50 pounds each, so it takes at least two carriers to carry a full bottle of alcohol. That means you'll need at least two people to transport the bag down to the city center or airport hotel room where it will be checked in. It's best to work with a group when transporting alcohol because it's easy to forget something when you're busy doing other things.
You can carry as much alcohol as you like as long as the ABV is less than 24%. (think wine and beer). As long as the bottles can be sealed and contain between 24 and 70% alcohol, you can bring up to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) in your checked luggage. If it's more than 5 bottles or if it looks like alcohol-based products such as mouthwash or hair spray, they will come off of your flight.
If you're traveling with a bottle of wine or beer that's over 5% alcohol by volume, you must declare it at the airport. The airline may charge you for any lost or damaged items, so make sure you include the receipt from the liquor store with your luggage.
The rules are different for high-proof alcohol (over 140 proof), which includes moonshine and brandy. You can only bring a maximum of 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) of high-proof alcohol on a plane provided it's in containers not exceeding 1 liter (35 oz.) each. It has to be transported in the same container as yourself or in a separate check-bag item.
Finally, some countries have drinking laws that limit how much alcohol you can take into a country. For example, Germany limits alcohol imports to 8% blood alcohol content (BAC), which is the maximum allowed for drivers. Check with your country's transportation agency to find out the BAC limit for drivers.
Travelers are not permitted to bring bottles containing more than 70% alcohol and are limited to five liters of alcohol containing between 24 and 70% alcohol. Fortunately, wine nearly typically has a lower alcohol concentration than 24 percent, which means there is no restriction on the amount of alcohol that may be carried in checked luggage.
However, any open containers of alcohol are not allowed on any airline, including in the cargo area. Also, if you have medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, you should not drink any amount of alcohol. If you do decide to drink, it's recommended that you only drink in moderation (one glass of wine or one bottle of beer per day for women, two glasses of wine or two bottles of beer per day for men).
Wine connoisseurs will appreciate knowing that most wines contain some level of alcohol, so carrying a few bottles of your favorite wine in your carry-on bag shouldn't be a problem. However, if you plan to make use of this rule more than once, you'll want to consider bringing your own case of wine from home.
The number one question we get asked at www.flyswinetravel.com is "Can I bring alcohol into China?"
The short answer is yes, as long as the amount you're carrying doesn't exceed what's allowed by law.