Will Water Bottles Explode in Checked Luggage?

Many people wonder what happens to their bottles of water after they throw them away before check-in for their flight.

American and European aviation regulations forbid carrying any liquid over 100ml in the airplane cabinet.

Also, finding water is challenging, especially when you get to distant places. Some tourists may also face issues with spending too much money on water.

That is the main reason people try to get their sealed water bottles in checked luggage. It’s definitely against aviation regulations, but it’s a common practice among aviation travelers.

Today we will analyze what is going on with the water bottles when your airplane takes off.

It will be the last chance to know what to do with your water bottles and if it’s safe to have them on board, even in the luggage area of the airplane.

Checked Luggage Gets in a Low-Pressure Environment

What you need to know is that the luggage department of commercial airplanes is in a low-pressure state.

That means the area is not pressurized like the passengers’ and pilots’ cabinets.

When the airplane takes off and while it travels high in the sky, the temperature and pressure fall.

The air is less dense than 15,000 feet over the sea level, and that could affect anything that travels in that state.

This low-pressure environment can negatively affect every sealed bottle.

It’s not rare to see some shampoos or body lotions explode when you open your luggage after a flight.

The same could happen with bottled water, but it strongly depends on the sealing power and the endurance or rigidity of the plastic bottle itself.

Water Bottles Are Always Sealed

What you need to understand is that commercial bottles of fresh water always come sealed from the factory.

These are the safest types of bottled water you may carry with you in your luggage when traveling on an airplane.

Bottled water comes in plastic bottles of great flexibility and durability. That means you can suppress them, and they will not leak.

So sealed water bottles that are in your luggage while you are flying to your favorite destination are more likely to stay intact.

That, of course, provided that the plane flies at a normal height that will never exceed 30,000 feet above sea level.

Traveling at High Altitude Could Expose Bottled Water to Ice

One of the biggest issues when traveling over 30,000 feet is the cold temperature.

It’s not cold; it’s freezing temperature that could reach the lowest level of -48F, which is one of the most impressive temperature variations you can have between the passengers’ cabin and the luggage department of the airplane.

This high altitude could easily expose the bottled water containers to extreme freezing temperatures.

It will take a few hours for the water to freeze, and that could lead to a possible leakage in the water bottles.

You will not realize anything about the leak until you receive your luggage when you land.

However, most flights that are less than 3 hours away from the destination will not make your bottled water freeze.

Let us elaborate more on that issue that could get analyzed in the next few paragraphs of this short article.

Luggage Department in Commercial Airplanes Is Not Pressurized

We all know that commercial aviation companies are obliged to keep their passengers’ cabins at normal pressure. As the pressure goes down when the airplane takes off, it’s harder to keep the cabin pressurized so that people can breathe normally.

However, the same is not possible for the luggage room. The luggage will get exposed to extremely low temperatures and low pressures there.

The air in the luggage room remains cold as hell, and that could create issues with any liquid container in the luggage.

Depending on how exposed your suitcase is compared to the other luggage, it could get in touch with extremely cold air and let the bottled water inside freeze instantly.

Chances Are Water Bottles Will Not Explode on Domestic Flights

Domestic flights are usually less than a three-hour flight. That is valid for most European and American destinations.

However, when you travel a long distance in a plane that will take more than five hours to reach the final destination, things become more complicated.

You will have the bottled water exposed to lower pressure and even lower temperature.

When traveling a short distance to any domestic destination, bottled water will not freeze, and you can have the bottles intact when you land.

However, it all has to do with the altitude of the plane and the duration of the flight, so you need to closely monitor the situation to avoid spills on your clothes in your luggage.

When You Travel Long Distance Bottled Water in Luggage Could Explode

Long-distance flights are usually transatlantic flights that are more than five or six hours.

Sometimes planes ascend in altitudes more than 40,000 feet, especially when we are talking about the new Airbus A380, which is the biggest commercial plane of all time.

Chances are that your water bottles could easily freeze when you pass over the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s why it’s not a good idea to carry them in your luggage.

What to Do to Prevent Bottle Water from Exploding When Traveling With a Plane?

When traveling with a plane, it’s better to keep the water bottles inside your suitcase with proper insulation. That will keep the internal temperature of the water higher than 4 degrees Celsius which is the threshold of water ice forming.

To prevent water spills, you can place water bottles in durable pots and keep them warm for the biggest part of the flight.

Final Words

Bottled water is usually gets offered for free by aviation companies. It’s a lot better to get water from the flight attendants than to keep it in your luggage when flying.

Following this advice will prevent any unnecessary spills of water in your suitcase that could ruin your trip and cause you pain and distress when you reach your destination.



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