Can You Put Cans In Checked Luggage? Is It Safe? Find Out Here! 

Alcoholic beverages have always been popular, through out all of human history. So if you're looking to bring some beer or liqour past the security checkpoints of an airport, you'll need to know the rules concerning alcoholic beverages, and the safety of packing them. 

Can you put cans in checked luggage? Yes! You can take as many liters of alcohol as you like in your checked luggage, as fluid restrictions only apply to hand luggage. However, cans and other poorly pressurized containers have been known to explode, potentially covering your other luggage in alcohol content.

Can You Put Cans In Checked Luggage?

As for carry on luggage, you may be permitted to take some mini bottles. Carry on baggage has many rules however, especially concerning flammable liquids such as hard liquor and electronic devices. As such, you may be better off NOT take bottles of alcohol as your personal item. 

All kinds of common items face restriction from airport security, and your carry on baggage is no different. On top of liquid limits, you may struggle to take alcohol on board due to weight limits. While a can of grain alcohol lager may not weigh much, high percent alcohol like bourbon or wine can be hefty. 

Packing Cans and Tins

As previously stated, poorly pressurized containers are prone to exploding open during a flight thanks to the pressure of the cabin. This doesn't just stop at cans of beer of tinned food, but also something as simple as a bag of potato chips may explode. 

If packing booze into your checked luggage, try to keep the retail packaging. This original packaging can act as a make shift barrier between your alcohol and your clothes, which could save you a lot on dry cleaning bills. 

While air pressure is the main concern for your goods during air travel, you should also use your common sense when packing goods. Both checked and carry on luggage will be subject to movement, vibration, and generally being upset over the course of a flight. 

For a litre of alcohol, this should be fine, although even a sealable bottle may end up leaking. Leaking is more of a serious concern for lithium batteries however. Unless you specifically pack non-spillable batteries, leaks can cause the release of carbon dioxide, toxic fumes, and even start fires. 

While airline rules say no more than five litres per person for alcohol, they also say no more than two spare batteries per person. This is because a lithium ion battery can pose as much of a security risk as someone drunk on the plane. 

Packing Bottles

If you are packing bottles on budget flights, you will need to be cautious. Glass bottles must be stored in checked luggage, as required by most airports security departments. This is to prevent the glass being smashed and used as a weapon. 

However, if you're taking booze on board with a guest's carry on luggage, you are unlikely to have glass. Most miniature alcohols are small plastic bottles, no more than 100ml and ideal for fitting into your luggage allowance. 

Any larger bottles of alcohol will have to be stored in checked luggage, as well as other checks. Checks for the percentage of alcohol volume, total volume of liquids being transported for customs and duties, and any other of the airline's privacy policies. 

Professional packaging is suggested if you plan on flying this travel season. Keeping bottles in boxes or wrapped in something leak proof can keep your luggage nice and dry for when you get home. This is especially important if you're transporting an alcohol which stains, like red wine. 

Operator approval can vary for different alcoholic beverages, so always check airline guide lines if you are uncertain or confused about transporting liquids on a flight. Although difficult sometimes, the process has been streamlined over the years to be relatively straight forward. 

Can I Take Beer in my Hand Luggage?

You may want to take beer in your carry on bag, but even with the original packaging you are unlikely to get it past security. Liquids in hand luggage must be kept in 100ml bottles, which are then packed in a quart sized, clear plastic bag.

Every passenger gets one bag to themselves, and the containers have to fit comfortably inside the bag. While you can keep lithium batteries in a jacket pocket, beer will have to fit these airline security standards. Something which is impossible, and very impractical as you couldn't drink the beer on the plane anyway. 

Can I Take Beer in my Hand Luggage?

Pressure variations may still lead to your beer exploding anyway, and this would be far worse than in your checked luggage. After all, you'd have the beer either with you or above your head in the cabin hold. This would mean you would cover yourself in alcohol, or potentially ruin someone else's luggage. 

Unless you want to pay compensation for damage in situations of a cabin leak, it is best you leave beer and other canned beverages in the checked luggage. Even non-alcoholic beverages are better left there, ideally in a leak proof bag. 

Cabin hand luggage allowances are really designed for personal care items, grooming products for the physical person rather than alcohol. The security process is designed around this, for the safety of everyone on the flight. 

There are limits on how many spare batteries you can take in checked and carry on luggage, so trying to sneak alcohol on board is very difficult. Even the most unsuspecting and innocuous items may pose a security threat, and not be permitted onto the flight. So flammable alcohol? It can be something of a long shot. 

Air Travel Rules Concerning Alcohol

While you can take miniatures on board your carry on bag, you can't drink beer or alcohol on the plane. Well, you can't drink your own at least. Almost every airline and flight provider forbids the consumption of alcohol unless provided by a flight attendant. 

Whether in your carry on or checked bags, you may also face duty fees. These are fees accrued when flying on international flights, and moving goods like a bottle of wine. Domestic flights do not produce customs fees, giving you duty free alcohol. 

However, most countries do have a duty free limit, which marks the barrier between what is deemed as reasonable personal use and what is considered excessive or for business and tax purposes. These apply mostly to specialized goods, such as alcohol and tobacco. 

Five liters of 25 to 70 percent alcohol by volume can be taken duty free, by each passenger on board a flight. Exceeding this, you will often have to declare your goods and face additional screening, and additional payments. 

The beverage policy varies from airline to airline, and the duty free limit will vary from country to country. The duty free limit in Costa Rica is nothing like the duty free limit in South Africa. Regardless, most every where requires bottles of liquid to be stored in quart sized bags.

Other fluids may just be out right banned. Lighter fluid for lighter refills, liquid nitrogen, and camp stoves which can cause internal combustion are not permitted on most flights. Other chemical items such as toner cartridges may be subject to airline approval. 

Can you get Drunk Whilst Flying?

While there is nothing preventing you from getting drunk on a plane, cabin crew have the right to refuse the sale of alcohol to any individual. This is the same right shared by any bar team member across the world, and is largely done to avoid security concerns. 

If you become one of these security concerns, you may end up facing another screening process when you land. Almost 400 people get arrested on flights to Great Britain each year for being too drunk, and their behaviour getting too rowdy and uncontrollable. 

Even the most budget flights have security, so don't expect to get away with acting up on a flight just because you think its cheap. When you land, you'll still be surrounded by airport security, more than happy to put you in hand cuffs and drag you away for disorderly conduct. 

Can you get Drunk Whilst Flying?

Other restricted baggage items may also stop you even getting on the plane. The aforementioned glass bottles, box cutters, liquid nitrogen, camp stoves, or a fuel container can't be taken into the airplane cabin for safety reasons. 

Checked and carry on luggage both have to face rigorous security protocols. This is done to protect everyone on board the plane, in the departure airport, as well as those at the destination. You should always be considerate to other people, and getting drunk on a plane is not the way to do it. 

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On July 10, 2022
Reading Time 
8 minutes
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