When I was first asked this question I thought “Of course, you can’t take shooters on a plane!” thinking the person was referring to a gun as a “shooter”.
But of course, they were actually referring to mini bottles of liquor, also known as airplane shooters, an alcohol nip (such as a vodka nip) or just miniatures.
The Quick Answer: Because shooters are normally in bottles that are smaller than the maximum 3.4 ounce liquids limit they are permitted through the TSA airport security checkpoint and on a plane in carry on or checked baggage.
Please continue reading to ensure that you do not break the rules and have your shooters confiscated.
Can you bring shooters through airport security?
You are permitted to take alcohol in the form of shooters through security at the airport provided they meet certain rules relating to the size of the container/bottle and the alcohol content.
TSA alcohol rules
The Transportation Security Administration rules apply to bringing alcoholic beverages through airport security relate to alcohol being a liquid, not to it actually having any alcohol content.
The TSA rules relating to liquids state that any liquids can only be taken through in containers that are no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces (100 ml).
All liquids (including shooters and toiletries etc) must be placed within a resealable one quart-sized clear plastic bag and be removed from your carry on bag to be screened separately. Only one liquids quart sized bag is permitted per person
There is one rule which relates specifically to alcohol. Only alcoholic beverages that are less than 140 proof (70% ABV – alcohol by volume) can be taken on board in either carry on or checked baggage due to FAA regulations (hazardous materials regulations). See FAA pack safe for full details.
Any liquids, including alcohol, which does not meet these rules will not be allowed through the security checkpoint and will be confiscated.
Can you bring shooters on a plane in your carry on bag?
You are permitted to take shooters on board your flight in your carry on, provided of course that you were allowed to take them through the security checkpoint.
If flying internationally, you may also be able to buy shooters from the duty free shop in the departure area after passing through security and take these on board with you.
If you are flying on a domestic flight you will not be able to purchase duty free goods as the duty free shop staff will want to see your boarding pass to check that you are flying internationally.
How many shooters can you bring on a plane?
If you are bringing shooters on a plane from home so taking them through airport security then you can take as many as will fit in your one quart liquids bag provided none are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces and none contain liquor that is over 70% proof.
If you can find any for sale in any of the aircraft stores or duty-free shop after passing through security then you can take as many as you wish.
Can you drink your own alcohol on an airplane?
Even though bringing shooters may be allowed, under FAA rules you are not permitted to open or drink your own alcohol during a flight, whether you brought it with you from home or bought it in a duty free shop at the airport.
It is the FAA that sets these regulations, not the airlines themselves. The regulations state:
“FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on board the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier.”
If a flight attendant notices you drinking your own alcohol on board then you will be reported and probably prosecuted too.
Jetblue state the following:
“You may bring wine, champagne or beer on a flight as long as it is in an unopened container. You are not allowed to consume your own alcohol while on board.”
Can you bring shooters on a plane if you are under 21
Generally this depends on what countries you are flying from/to and the country the airline is based in. As the legal drinking age in the US is 21 you are not permitted to take an alcoholic beverage on board with you if traveling with a US airline within or to/from the US.
If you are flying with, for example, British Airways, then as the legal drinking age for alcohol in the UK is 18 then it will be permitted, assuming you are not flying to/from the US. You would also be permitted to purchase alcohol from the flight attendants and drink alcohol on the flight.
If you are a US citizen under 21 and visiting the UK or other parts of the world, you will be able to drink whatever alcohol you wish. If flying back to the US, although you will be able to purchase duty free alcohol at the departure airport, if you take it into the US you will be breaking the law.
Can you bring shooters on a plane in checked luggage?
Fortunately the rules for taking liquids (and therefore also shooters) in your checked bags are much more relaxed than they are for carry on bags.
So you can take any size bottles of alcoholic beverages on a plane in checked bags, including shooters, subject to the following restrictions:
Drinks with less than 24% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 48 proof, for example, beers and wine. These are allowed in your checked luggage and there is no limit to how much alcohol of this strength you can bring. But remember, they will be heavy so watch your checked bag weight rules defined by your airline.
Drinks that contain between 24% – 70% ABV or 48 – 140 proof. These are allowed in your checked baggage but you are limited to up to five liters of alcohol per person. But they must be in unopened retail packaging so no home brew!.
Drinks that contain over 70% ABV or over 140 proof are not allowed on the aircraft at all, whether in your checked baggage or your carry on bag. Leave them at home.
Can you take alcohol on a plane?
What liquids do not go in a liquids bag?
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot. About Me