Hotel rooms or vacation rentals might not have everything you need – and wine drinkers know the pain of opening a bottle without a corkscrew.
To avoid this unfortunate situation, some tourists travel with their favorite wine opener.
Given that corkscrews are sharp, metal tools, it’s important to pack them correctly when going on a plane.
Corkscrews/wine openers are allowed onboard aircraft in carry-on and checked luggage with some limitations. The TSA requires all corkscrews with blades to be packed in checked bags, while bladeless wine openers can be kept in hand luggage. Airport policies can differ between countries, so it’s best to put corkscrews in checked bags and leave expensive wine openers at home.
This article explains the best practices for bringing wine openers on planes and provides some recommendations for acceptable corkscrews to travel with.
Can You Fly With a Corkscrew?
The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows corkscrews/wine openers in carry-on and checked baggage; however, where you pack yours depends on what kind it is.
In other words, the TSA is less concerned with the corkscrew itself and more about whether it has a small knife attached.
The TSA also does not have a clear policy on electric, lever, or air-powered wine openers, but it might be better to pack these devices in checked baggage regardless.
Security checkpoints outside the United States may have similar policies to the TSA; however, it’s not always the case.
To avoid having an item confiscated, research the regulations for the country you’re traveling to.
No matter the airport, all final decisions about what’s permitted on a plane are left to the security officer on duty.
Travelers are advised to leave specialty or expensive wine openers at home and pack less expensive, collapsible corkscrews instead.
Can You Bring a Corkscrew in Carry-on Luggage?
Corkscrews without blades are permitted in carry-on bags.
Passengers can bring collapsible single or double-hinged corkscrews, winged corkscrews, and pull corkscrews in their carry-on, assuming they are bladeless or have a TSA-compliant foil cutter.
That said, even travel-approved corkscrews can be confiscated if the security officer has any reservations about it.
Passengers only traveling with hand luggage can tweet a photo of their wine opener to the TSA at @AskTSA and see if it will be allowed through.
What Are TSA-Compliant Wine Openers?
Travelers can purchase TSA-compliant wine openers at home goods stores, big chains (like Walmart), or online through Amazon.
For example, the True Jetsetter Black Double Hinged TSA Compliant Corkscrew is a collapsable, double-hinged wine opener with a bladeless foil wheel instead of a small knife.
To earn this designation, products like this are made to comply with TSA guidelines and have gone through checkpoints in carry-on without issue in the past.
However, please note that the TSA does not officially endorse any products.
Just because something is labeled “TSA-approved” doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to make it through security.
Whether or not an item can fly is up to the security officer’s discretion.
Additionally, international travelers will encounter similar security checkpoints that may have tougher regulations on bringing corkscrews in a carry-on.
Passengers concerned about their corkscrew being confiscated are advised to pack them in checked luggage whether they are TSA-approved or not.
Can You Bring a Corkscrew in Checked Luggage?
Corkscrews with or without blades can be packed in checked luggage, including large, specialty wine openers that are automatic or electric.
Corkscrews attached to multi-tools, like a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman, should also be packed in checked bags.
When packing your corkscrew, make sure all sharp points are sheathed, covered, and wrapped to prevent damaging your belongings or injuring anyone who transports the bag or needs to inspect it.
What Is the Best Type of Wine Opener to Travel With?
The best travel corkscrews will be compact and bladeless, allowing them to be easily packed in carry-on or checked luggage.
Collapsable, double-hinged corkscrews without a blade are a great option that doesn’t sacrifice function.
Pocket wine openers are also good for international travel, as their low cost lessens the heartbreak of (potentially) being confiscated.
Seasoned wine drinkers often have a favorite corkscrew, so it’s best to pack it in a checked bag to ensure it arrives safely.
Air travelers can pack corkscrews in their carry-on and checked baggage; however, only bladeless corkscrews are allowed through security checkpoints.
Any wine openers with foil-cutting blades must be packed in checked luggage.
Passengers can purchase TSA-compliant corkscrews that are known to pass through US security without much issue.
However, these products are not officially endorsed by the TSA and are still subject to individual inspection.
Additionally, regulations may be different in other countries, and travelers returning to the United States may have their corkscrew confiscated if it’s in their hand luggage.
Ultimately, when traveling with a wine opener, it’s probably best to pack it in your checked bags.