Is It Legal Or Illegal To Bring Your Own Mini Bottles Of Liquor On A Plane?


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Nips On A Plane

There is no greater feeling than getting one over on an airline. We’re not talking about secretly smuggling in a samurai sword or anything insane like that. We’re talking about the exact opposite of the feeling that washes over you as you watch a TSA agent throw away your four-ounce bottle of ridiculously expensive retinol anti-wrinkle cream because you forgot to pack it in your checked luggage. Sometimes, very special times, you can sneak (innocuous) things onto a plane. And we’re not sure about you, but our favorite contraband of choice is nips.

Before you start giggling, just a heads up: we’re not talking about anything nipple-related. We mean the “airport-sized” servings of everything from 99 Bananas to Stoli Vanilla to Jameson Irish Whiskey, packaged in tiny, adorable bottles that conveniently fit into our pockets and purses. Some of us — who shall rename nameless — used to take these bottles onto planes in our carry-on luggage. And it seemed fine, since they were under the 3.4-ounce limit imposed by the TSA after September 11. Except, yeah, it turns out it’s absolutely illegal. Whoops.

According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, “no person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.” Or her, ahem. Ladies like their mile-high buzz as well. It’s an odd rule, considering how much the airport seems to want us all to buy duty-free alcohol before boarding a flight. But it is indeed a rule (updated just this month) and it’s one we’ve been blithely disobeying for several years now. Yeah, whoops again.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be bringing anything alcoholic onto a plane. There are plenty of chances (“beverage service”) to get your buzz on when you’re high in the sky. And the risk of jail time is real. Basically, hit the airport bar, but don’t hit it too hard. And don’t try to escape airplane fees by bringing on nips. You’ll pay more in lawyers’ fees, and there’s no tiny bottle of rum or Scotch or whatever the hell you love out there that helps you get out of ridiculous court fees.

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