The first time I packed wine into my luggage to take an international flight, I too had this thought cross my mind: will wine explode on a plane?
It was a comical thought that quickly resulted in a, “but would it?” I wasn’t really sure what I needed to do to not end up with a blood-bath situation inside my suitcase, and how I could pack my bottle of wine so it would arrive safely to its destination.
Will wine explode on a plane during your flight? Nope! You can drink… I mean, breathe now. Your bottle of wine won’t explode because the cargo compartments in most commercial airlines are professionally pressurized and climatized (keep in mind: this is where animals go too!). And although the interior of the plane might experience some changes in atmospheric pressure (like the ones that make your ears pop), your bottle of wine will be perfectly safe.
There are a few other factors in play regarding the security of your packed bottle of wine and whether it’ll survive the plane ride: how you pack the bottle of wine, making sure that it’s sealed properly, and checking it for any cracks beforehand. But not to fret – if you follow these simple tips and suggestions described below, you won’t have to think through any of it!
How to pack wine in checked luggage to avoid baggage accidents
Now that you know that your bottles of wine won’t explode in the middle of a flight, it’s time to plan how to best pack them so they’re as safe as possible.
7 steps to packing wine in checked luggage
- First of all, check your bottle and make sure it’s in great condition: it has to be completely closed, crack-free, and devoid of leaking from the cork. Missing any of this could have your bottle break before you even get to the airport.
- Place your bottle in a self-sealing bag. Even though your bottle isn’t going to explode during the flight, luggage is mistreated at the airport every day – so if the bottle is not well protected and sealed, you’re risking a pretty messy accident. Considering the worst-case scenario of damaging practically everything in your luggage, you’ll want to start by protecting all of your stuff from possible leaking with an enclosed, self-sealing plastic bag.
- Now’s your chance to bottle of wine some love and clothe it properly. This means covering it in bubble wrap, using your SO’s shirt that you’d wish he/she would stop wearing, or a hefty towel. (Keep reading into the next section for more details on what to wrap the bottle with!) Additionally, if your wine comes with a box, you can place the wrapped bottle inside the box and use that for even more shielding inside your luggage.
- This step is crucial – find a strategic position inside your luggage to place the bottle of wine. Avoid the corners, bottom, and top of the luggage, all of which are likely to act as bumpers for your luggage as its tossed around. Your best bet is to create a cushion with your clothes to provide that last level of protection to your sealed-and-wrapped bottle.
- Greatly diminish the possibilities of anything else going wrong by strapping up the interior of your luggage. After placing everything where it belongs and creating an impenetrable castle for your royal bottle of wine, make sure to immobilize the interior as much as possible by using the bag’s included straps.
- Repeat this process (namely steps 1–4) with as many bottles of wine as you need.
- Enjoy your wine-full worry-free flight!
Wine Gear to protect your non-exploding bottle of wine
So we’ve determined that your bottle of wine won’t explode on a plane, and how to best package it to protect its delicious contents. But what exactly can you use to package and protect it?
Yes, you can now buy gadgets for your wine to ensure its safety during travel. In this section, I’ll be covering several of the options that you can buy if you want to be 100% sure that your bottle is secure through the length of your travels.
Inflatable bags are a convenient option for protecting wine bottles during travel. These bags can be used to wrap around the bottle and provide a layer of protection against impact. They are lightweight and easy to pack, making them a great choice for travelers.
To use an inflatable bag, simply place the bottle inside the bag and inflate it with air using the provided valve. The bag will then expand to fit snugly around the bottle, providing a cushion of air to absorb any shocks or impacts that may occur during the journey. Inflatable bags are a cost-effective and easy-to-use option for protecting wine bottles during air travel.
WineSkin is a flexible, padded envelope that is specifically designed for transporting wine bottles. It has a waterproof exterior and can be used to protect bottles from breakage and leakage during travel.
To use a WineSkin, simply place the bottle inside the envelope and seal it shut. The envelope will then provide a padded layer of protection around the bottle, helping to absorb any impacts or shocks that may occur during the journey. WineSkin is a convenient and effective option for protecting wine bottles during air travel.
The Wine Diaper is a padded bag that is designed to fit around a wine bottle and protect it from breakage and leakage. It is made of a soft, absorbent material that can absorb any spills or leaks that may occur during travel.
To use a Wine Diaper, simply place the bottle inside the bag and seal it shut. The padded exterior will then provide a layer of protection around the bottle, helping to absorb any impacts or shocks that may occur during the journey. The Wine Diaper is a practical and effective option for protecting wine bottles during air travel.
Using bubble wrap is one of my favorite and most affordable forms of protecting my bottles of wine. Nowadays, you can buy bubble wrap in all shapes and sizes, and its fairly easy to find in dollar stores or convenience stores.
You can opt for classically rounded bubble wrap that allows you to roll it as many times as you want around your bottle so that it becomes the shape you need it to accommodate.
Covering your bottle of wine in clothes is the DIY, at-home method that many travelers have used at least once. Unless of course you decide to go with the wine clothes in this picture, for a cuter, easier setup.
There isn’t much to this technique: roll your bottle of wine in as many layers of clothes as you can (ideally, not your favorite attire) and for extra protection, “seal it” with a large rubber band or hair tie so that the clothes don’t disassemble.
This is the riskier option for your clothes, but if you want to save money, it’s definitely better than nothing.
Will sparkling wine explode on a plane?
This is a specific question, but one we’ve seen and heard often: will sparkling wine explode on a plane?
No – when it comes to wine bottles breaking on a plane, there’s no difference between a sparkling bottle of wine and any other kind of wine.
As I mentioned earlier, airplane compartments are pressurized and climatized so that they maintain constant pressure and temperature. In other words, your bottle of wine (sparkling or not) does not need to fear spontaneously spilling its goods.
Also, don’t forget to weigh your bag! Adding liquids to your luggage might increase the weight considerably, so make sure you don’t exceed the limits. Here are a few options for weighing your luggage.
Wine and Planes: Related Questions
Can you take alcohol on a plane in hand luggage?
Although this might a bit obvious for frequent travelers, it’s important to keep in mind that there are limitations to the liquids that you take on a plane in hand luggage.
Travelers are limited to bringing small, 3.4 ounces bottles and no more than the amount that fit in a quart-sized, clear zip-top bag. So the only way to take wine with you onboard is to buy mini-size bottles of wine (1.7 ounces).
How many bottles of alcohol can you bring in checked luggage?
Good news! In the US, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), alcoholic beverages with alcohol levels under 24% are not subject to quantity limitations when in checked luggage. For reference, wine is often between 9% and 16%.
However, alcoholic beverages with alcohol content levels between 24% and 70% have quantity limitations, as per the TSA:
“Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol are limited in checked bags to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) per passenger and must be in unopened retail packaging. Alcoholic beverages with 24% alcohol or less are not subject to limitations in checked bags.“
Different countries have different rules in regards to the limitations of the alcohol you can carry in your checked luggage, so keep that in mind when you travel internationally.
Can I buy alcohol in duty-free stores and take it on the plane? (+ connecting flight warnings)
Of course! An option while you’re waiting for your plane is to simply your bottles of wine or alcohol in duty-free shops and bring them with you on the plane.
However, here’s something important to keep in mind: If you have a connecting flight and you need to pass through a TSA security checkpoint again, your bag will be subject to the normal carry-on restrictions and you won’t be able to access your checked luggage to pack it.
If you’ve got any kind of connecting flights, simply buy the alcohol at the last duty-free stop before arriving at your final destination.
Will Prosecco Explode on a Plane?
It’s highly unlikely that a bottle of prosecco will explode on a plane due to changes in air pressure. While it is true that changes in air pressure can affect the pressure inside a sealed bottle, it won’t cause the bottle to explode. However, there is still a risk of the bottle breaking or leaking due to rough handling during travel, so it’s important to pack it carefully.
Will Alcohol Explode on a Plane?
It is safe to travel with alcohol on a plane. While it is possible for a sealed bottle of alcohol to break or leak due to changes in air pressure or rough handling, it is unlikely to explode. As with other alcohols, pack it carefully to reduce the risk of breakage or leakage!
Can I Take an Unopened Bottle of Wine Through Airport Security?
Yes, you can bring an unopened bottle of wine through airport security as long as it is within the allowable limit for liquids, aerosols, and gels. The TSA allows passengers to bring up to 5 liters of alcohol with a volume of no more than 24% alcohol per bottle in their checked luggage. Alcohol with a higher volume of alcohol may be allowed, but it will be subject to additional screening.
Wine in Checked Baggage on an International Flight
Passengers are usually allowed to pack wine in checked luggage on an international flight. Check the rules and regulations of the specific airline you’re flying with, as well as the laws of the destination you’re traveling to, as some countries may have restrictions on bringing in alcohol. Also, pack wine carefully to reduce the risk of breakage or leakage during travel.
Can You Bring a Wine Glass On a Plane?
No matter how much you love your favorite wine glass at home, unfortunately, it is not recommended to bring it on a plane. Airlines do not allow passengers to bring glass items including wine glasses due to safety concerns. Even if the glass is packed with enough cushion to prevent breakage, the airport security checkpoints do not accept glass for travel and will have to be removed.
Will a Champagne Bottle Explode on a Plane?
While it is true that changes in air pressure can affect the pressure inside a sealed bottle, it is highly unlikely for a champagne bottle to explode on a plane due to these changes. However, there is still a chance that the bottle may break or leak due to rough handling during travel, so it’s important to pack it carefully to minimize this risk. In general, it is safe to transport a champagne bottle on a plane, but it is advisable to take extra precautions to ensure that it remains intact during the journey.