I was recently tipped off to one of the most unbelievable travel tricks ever. In this day and age of insane security, invasive procedures and removal of freedoms, here’s a bright ray of sunshine. With an unintentional loophole (maybe intentional with some of the drinking habits in Congress), you have the freedom to take the alcohol (or non-alcohol) of your choice on your flight with you.
I first had a discussion with a TSA supervisor about this a couple of months back. My clarifying question was in regards to the 1 qt bag of liquids you are allowed to take through security. The rule is that you can take as many containers that are less than 100ml (~3 oz) each that you can fit in a 1 qt Ziploc style bag. I then specifically asked if alcohol was allowed. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” In fact, he was enthusiastic about it.
To test this, I waited until Amy and I took a recent trip to Vegas. I drove to the Missouri border liquor store, Macadoodles, and purchased ten 50 ml bottles of liquor. Arkansas liquor stores don’t offer the tiny buggers. They were $2.50 each, compared with $7 each on American flights. I decided to fore-go my Listerine and cologne and was able to fit all ten bottles in my liquid bag.
The moment of truth came when I went through the TSA security checkpoint at XNA. I pulled my computer out of my bag, took off my shoes, then reached in and grabbed my 1 qt dream bag. I put it into its own bin, skittishly looked around to see if Tasers we’re being drawn, then moved to the full body scanner. As I walked by the TSA Agent at the scanner, he smiled at me and said, “I like your liquid bag.” I smiled back, more in relief than joy.
I then moved through the scanner, collected my computer, shoes and 500 ml of fun. I asked another Agent if I could take photos and he gave me permission.
So, there you have it. At least for now, you are allowed to take bottles of alcohol that are 100ml (~3 oz) or less through security, as long as they fit in your 1 qt bag.
Some quick tips:
- Bottles cost around $7 on the flight, but around $2.50 at a liquor store.
- The variety offered at a liquor store will far surpass that on the flight, so you can get the brand you prefer.
- Once you buy and use the 50 ml travel bottles, save them so you can refill them later. The refill will cost you around $1 each, based on a $20 1L bottle of alcohol.
- There are 88.7 ml in 3 oz. Therefore, you can actually buy 3 oz travel shampoo containers and get more liquor per container, but not necessarily more per bag. The 50 ml travel size is the largest standard size that meets the < 3 oz criteria.