It’s perfectly legal to bring alcohol onto airplanes, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as long as the liquor is kept in containers of 3.4 ounces or less that can fit in one clear, zip-top, quart-sized bag.
The only catch: You can’t drink the booze you brought while you’re on the plane.
The U.S. government is clear as vodka on this point: “FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier,” decrees the official FAA website.
Note that this restriction applies on U.S.-based airlines even when the plane is not in the U.S.—or over the U.S., as the case may be—because the FAA governs the country’s airlines everywhere. “What happens in Cabo, stays in Cabo” was apparently only an ironclad law on MTV’s Laguna Beach.
But wait! Perhaps you’ve spotted a loophole in that bit in the FAA rule about how the alcohol must be “served by the air carrier.”
Maybe you’re wondering if you can skirt the rule by asking the flight attendant to open your own little 3.4-ounce Jameson bottle for you before pouring it into a cup and serving it to you.
Can you drink the stuff that way?
First of all, you should be a lawyer.
Second of all, the answer is probably not.
While that work-around might technically satisfy the FAA, many airlines remove the service aspect altogether, stating flat out in their onboard alcohol policies that, as United puts it, “You can’t drink the alcohol you bring on our aircraft.” Alaska Airlines and JetBlue use nearly identical language.
Similarly, American, Delta, and Southwest all stipulate that alcohol brought onto planes by passengers must remain unopened, which makes drinking the contents pretty difficult.
If you still see some wiggle room in the carriers’ policies, you could always try asking the flight attendant in your cabin. Asking for permission is better than getting caught, and they like it when you’re nice.
Airlines’ penalties for scofflaws range from simply discarding the forbidden beverage to assessing fines. A JetBlue customer on a December 2020 flight from New York to the Dominican Republic got slapped with a $14,500 fine for drinking his own alcohol and refusing to wear a mask.
That’s an awfully steep cover charge.
By Zac Thompson for Frommer’s
Source: Are You Allowed to Drink Your Own Alcohol on a Plane? | Frommer’s (frommers.com)