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TSA international alcohol: 3-1-1 rule relaxed, duty-free privileges in US shops

TSA checkpoint lines in a busy airport
TSA checkpoint lines in a busy airport
Twitter (Jill Liphart), AMSVANS News

TSA international alcohol rules are changing in the near future, and overall policies seem to be a bit more at ease, especially with the 3-1-1 guideline relaxed. The policy update at national U.S. airports is to be put into effect this Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, NewsOxy confirms this afternoon. Duty-free privileges will also be allowed in airport shops for people coming into the U.S. from abroad.

The TSA international alcohol regulations will still be strict, no doubt, but even a relatively minor policy change such as this may be a significant alteration for travelers coming into the U.S. With the small relaxing of the 3-1-1 rule and duty-free privileges being provided, travelers will be able to bring certain amounts of alcohol beverages into American territory on an international flight, and then continue to carry them while boarding a connecting flight.

It is important to note that this revision to the 3-1-1 guideline will only affect those coming back to the U.S. after visiting other countries from around the globe.

According to the press release on the TSA international alcohol rule change:

"For example, before January 31, 2014, a specific traveler who purchased wine at the Paris airport duty-free shop before flying to New York and on to Omaha, Nebraska, faced a dilemma. Once he cleared U.S. Customs in New York, the TSA required him to pack any liquids into his checked luggage before clearing TSA security to fly to Nebraska.”

Under the new provision, the TSA will allow these international travelers to hold onto liquids in excess of a recorded 100 ML within their personal items or carry-on luggage, as long as “they were purchased in duty-free shops and placed in secure, tamper-evident bags (STEBs),” according to the TSA website.

Regardless, these alcoholic liquids are still to be screened and cleared by approved checkpoint security officials. The same liquid scanning technology that is already used to check medically vital liquids exceeding the allowed 3.4 ounces will be utilized in these cases.

Remember, even if you can bring duty-free booze with you, don’t drink it on the flight itself (even if celebrating the relaxed 3-1-1 rule or for any other reason). It is still strictly prohibited. The report concludes that it is always one's safest bet to check one’s liquids beforehand, as TSA still has the legal right to not permit any drink to pass on within carry-on baggage.