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Is it possible for essential oils to leak from sealed bottles that are being transported by airplane in the cargo hold?

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    $\begingroup$ How are the bottles sealed? $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Jul 22 '16 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ They have the traditional black plastic screw cap with a clear plastic wrap around seal on the cap. $\endgroup$ – user124215 Jul 22 '16 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ Cargo holds on both passenger and commercial freighter aircraft are pressurized in the same way as the passenger cabin, unless there is a separate cargo bay behind the aft pressure bulkhead (usually only found on smaller aircraft types). Military freight transporters may not be pressurized. Whether a particular design of bottle might leak at the minimum cabin pressure, which is equivalent to 8000 feet altitude, is impossible to guess - I don't suppose many people take bottles of essential oils on mountaineering expeditions! $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jul 22 '16 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ Without knowing the strength of the seal, you can't know. If you're just taking a few home for yourself, put them inside a sealable plastic bag. If you're planning on opening up a business, hire a packaging consultant. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 25 '16 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ it seems obviously the airlines (and freight companies) would need to put restrictions on what you could pack if there was any chance of your stuff going into an unpressurized cargo hold. $\endgroup$ – agentp Jul 31 '16 at 15:16
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Oils absolutely leak out. (I found this link searching for solution) They leak out in the cabin (sometimes even during delivery, with the seal on) I always carry my "first aid kit oil set" with me, and every time some leaks out in the cabin luggage.

The worse experience: I took a few bottles up on a hike in Peru (up to 5200 altitude) They were all empty when I tried using them. I believe that the pressure pushes out the oil through the plastic (the small hole) and the black top doesn't seal enough to stop the liquid from coming out.

Can anybody advise me, how I could store my oils when I travel, please. I tried putting plastic under the black screw top. It may help a bit, but doesn't solve the problem. Thanks

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  • $\begingroup$ Make sure the bottles are vertical - cap at the top then only the air will move... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Feb 11 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ Change the bottles you are using. The 50ml liquor bottles, for example, do not leak on airplanes. $\endgroup$ – Tiger Guy Feb 11 at 17:53
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Definitely possible, air pressure varies with altitude. Air pressure at sea level (approximate pressure at which the bottles were sealed) is higher than the cabin pressure of a plane (correct me if I'm wrong but commercial cabin pressure is normally somewhere in the region of air pressure at 6,000ft, when flying at 36,000ft) so there will be a pressure differential that could cause the seal to fail, and the contents to leak out in order to equalise the pressure difference. If the bottles are upright the air should escape before the oil though!

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