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In the near future I'll be travelling DUB-ORD-PDX and I was wondering if I can make liquid duty-free purchases in Dublin and bring them through security as carry-on luggage in Chicago O'Hare.

I will be changing terminal in O'Hare (T5 -> T1), so I have to re-clear security. In some EU airports the security people treat sealed, clear duty-free bags as "safe" for the purposes of the liquids ban. Do they do likewise in Chicago?

I won't have the opportunity to re-pack anything I buy and put it in my hold baggage since that will be checked through (I clear US customs in Dublin).

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

As you're going from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1 you will need to re-clear security, and your duty free liquids will not be allowed through regardless of how they are packaged.

Normally the solution to this would be to put the duty free in your checked luggage after clearing customs, but given that you're on a "pre-cleared" flight you are correct in that your luggage will be checked all the way through to your final destination.

The two options I can think of are :

  • Ask the airline to "short-check" your bags to Chicago. You can then collect them in Chicago, put the duty free into them, and then re-check them to PDX. Many airlines will not "short-check" bags, but in a situation like this they may.
  • Carry-on a smaller bag (in addition to anything you check) and then in Chicago put the duty free into that bag and check it ORD-PDX. You'll need to make sure that you have sufficient padding in the bag to protect the duty free and avoid it breaking.

Depending on your status with the airline for the domestic route (United, I presume?), the biggest issue with both of these options is that you'll likely be charged baggage fees for the ORD-PDX route.

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Thanks, that confirms my suspicions. No nice whiskey (at least for a reasonable price) for my US colleagues. :( –  Conor McDermottroe Jan 7 '13 at 9:34
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