Monday, November 18, 2013

Drinking On Planes Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

Have mini liquor bottles, will travel
Rolling into an airport can either be an easy day and one in which you have plenty to read or it could turn into a nightmare of flights. The TSA restrictions are always tight as a noose and if wasn't for the idiotic terrorists and their agenda of vengeance, we could all travel much easier again. 

This is where the travel ninja has come in to save the day. Many have surely employed this tactic, but if you are a penny pincher or just don't feel like you need to keep airline CEO salaries above the seven figure mark, dig into this great write up below.

Check out the travel ninja

I was recently tipped off to one of the most unbelievable travel tricks ever. In this day and age of insane security, invasive procedures and removal of freedoms, here’s a bright ray of sunshine. With an unintentional loophole (maybe intentional with some of the drinking habits in Congress), you have the freedom to take the alcohol (or non-alcohol) of your choice on your flight with you.

I first had a discussion with a TSA supervisor about this a couple of months back. My clarifying question was in regards to the 1 qt bag of liquids you are allowed to take through security. The rule is that you can take as many containers that are less than 100ml (~3 oz) each that you can fit in a 1 qt Ziploc style bag. I then specifically asked if alcohol was allowed. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” In fact, he was enthusiastic about it.

To test this, I waited until Amy and I took a recent trip to Vegas. I drove to the Missouri border liquor store, Macadoodles, and purchased ten 50 ml bottles of liquor. Arkansas liquor stores don’t offer the tiny buggers. They were $2.50 each, compared with $7 each on American flights. I decided to fore-go my Listerine and cologne and was able to fit all ten bottles in my liquid bag.

Mini shot bottles wrapped up and ready for travel
The moment of truth came when I went through the TSA security checkpoint at XNA. I pulled my computer out of my bag, took off my shoes, then reached in and grabbed my 1 qt dream bag. I put it into its own bin, skittishly looked around to see if Tasers we’re being drawn, then moved to the full body scanner. As I walked by the TSA Agent at the scanner, he smiled at me and said, “I like your liquid bag.” I smiled back, more in relief than joy.

Airport bin with liquor ready for travel
I then moved through the scanner, collected my computer, shoes and 500 ml of fun. I asked another Agent if I could take photos and he gave me permission.

So, there you have it. At least for now, you are allowed to take bottles of alcohol that are 100ml (~3 oz) or less through security, as long as they fit in your 1 qt bag.
Some quick tips:
  1. Bottles cost around $7 on the flight, but around $2.50 at a liquor store.
  2. The variety offered at a liquor store will far surpass that on the flight, so you can get the brand you prefer.
  3. Once you buy and use the 50 ml travel bottles, save them so you can refill them later. The refill will cost you around $1 each, based on a $20 1L bottle of alcohol.
  4. There are 88.7 ml in 3 oz. Therefore, you can actually buy 3 oz travel shampoo containers and get more liquor per container, but not necessarily more per bag. The 50 ml travel size is the largest standard size that meets the < 3 oz criteria."