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Can I Bring My Own Alcohol on a Flight?

Did you know that the TSA has absolutely no problem letting passengers carry size-compliant liquor through security? Seriously, as long as the liquor is under 3.4 oz, it just cruises past the checkpoint. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to read the TSA’s official statement here. So, to answer the question, “can i bring my own alcohol on a flight”, we have to go airline by airline.

If getting airside with your own mini-bottle (or bottles) isn’t a problem, are you actually allowed to drink it in flight? As it turns out, maybe. It’s actually up to the individual air carrier as to whether or not you’re allow to self-indulge while flying on their metal. In no cases that we’re aware of are you actually allowed to pour your own. Apparently, that would constitute a threat to aviation safety, as it would impair the flight crews ability to monitor passengers consumption and subsequent inebriation. There is, however, one airline (and kinda a second) that will pour on your behalf! To get an airline by airline breakdown, we took to the center of all things customer service, Twitter, and asked each US domestic carrier the same question:

if I bring my own liquor on-board, am I allowed to drink it? Will a FA pour it for me?

The Quick Answers:

Airline Answer Replied On
Alaska No 11/19/2016
American First/Business Only 11/20/2016
Delta No 11/19/2016
Frontier No 11/20/2016
Hawaiian No 11/19/2016
Jetblue Yes 11/19/2016
Southwest No 11/19/2016
United No 11/19/2016
Virgin America No 11/19/2016

The Full Answers:

Virgin Response

Conclusion

Unfortunately, unless you’re flying Jetblue, or sitting premium on AA, you’re not allowed to actually consume the alcohol you were allowed to bring on board. I have to admit, I’m a little surprised by Southwest and very surprised by Virgin America. Both airlines seem very “customer-centric”. In some ways, I view both of their customer friendly policies on par with JetBlue’s. Furthermore, Virgin’s response was very muted. I had to DM them to even get a straight answer. It’s almost as if they didn’t want to go on record. I find American’s policy pretty pointless from the passengers point of view. I mean, drinks are already complimentary, so you’re not really gaining anything. I suppose the traveler who really only drinks “their” brand of whiskey might find it useful.

I’m not at all surprised by the other legacy carriers responses. Interestingly, even their responses seemed to mimic their overall attitude towards service. Delta for example, which is my favorite legacy carrier, was very polite, even if it was while delivering an unfavorable answer. On the other hand, United, just like their overall service, was hasty and delivered with absolutely zero fanfare. I’m fairly certain they would have put a middle finger emoji on the response if one were available.

Finally, if you find yourself flying JetBlue, or just want your favorite liquor at your destination, give the refillable mini liquor bottles from Amazon a try. Sometimes I fancy a late-night Hochstadter Slow and Low while overseas, good luck finding that in Asia.