If you’ve been vaping for long enough, there will come a time when you’ll have to travel with your vape or e-cigarette. Thankfully, the majority of airline and airport security now know how to accommodate vapers, but it’s still important to do your own due diligence before flying with any vaporizer. In his article, we’ll break down some things to consider when flying with your e-cigarette and e-liquid, as well as flying with any herbal vaporizer.
Flying with a Vape?
To put it simply, yes and no. Generally speaking, most airlines now allow all customers to fly with e-cigarettes, but there are still some that may not allow users to fly with vapes. For those that do allow it, it’s important to keep in mind any and all regulations they may have. These rules will often apply to how the mod /battery is stored, as well as how much e-liquid you can bring in your carry-on luggage. So long as you follow these regulations there shouldn’t be any issues when flying with your vape and e-liquid.
Flying With an E-Cigarette
Battery Rules and Safety
For the sake of simplicity, in this article we’ll be referring to the guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as these regulations have become almost standard around the world. That being said, our advice to vapers is to check with the airline they’ve chosen. While the rules set by the TSA are somewhat universal, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when flying with something you wouldn’t want to lose.
Looking first at the battery, this is perhaps the biggest concern airlines have with vape devices. In recent years, the concern over lithium batteries have become greater and the ways in which they are carried have been regulated even more. Essentially, all lithium batteries can no longer be packed in checked baggage and must be stored in the cabin with the user. This regulation is mandated worldwide by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and is upheld by all airlines. If you do place your batteries in your checked baggage, they will be picked up by an x-ray scanner and you will be liable to lose the mod and extra batteries, as well as having your luggage a little roughed up. In a worst case scenario, your luggage may even be taken off the plane and left at the departure airport.
While almost all airlines will not allow you to fly with checked batteries, here are some airline policies for flying with e-cigs and batteries:
- Air Canada
- Air France
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Unlike batteries, e-liquid can be stored in checked baggage, as well as on your carry-on. If you are putting e-juice in checked baggage, along with any clothes, we recommend double bagging the bottles in a Ziploc-type bag to ensure your clothes don’t get ruined by any leakage. This may be a concern for some, but the advantage to keeping e-liquid in check baggage is the absence of a size limit for the bottles you carry.
If you are travelling with e-liquid in your carry-on, keep in mind liquid restrictions your airline may have. Generally speaking, almost all airlines will not allow flyers to carry more than 100mL of any liquid on a flight. So if you are travelling with e-liquid, be sure to account for all other liquids in your bag to ensure you do not exceed that 100mL restriction. When travelling with e-liquid in your carry-on, we recommend taking new and full sealed bottles, because the pressure change in the cabin will expand the e-liquid and can cause leaking if the plastic seams split.
It should also be noted that this pressure change can also cause tanks to leak as well. To prevent this, or at least reduce your chances of it occurring, close off the airflow of your tank, or empty it completely. Pod systems or cigalike devices should be safe from this issue, but it is still best to be cautious.
Passing Through Security
Thankfully, as more people fly with e-cigarettes and vape mods security has become more accustomed to seeing these devices and know how to deal with them properly. Remember that all electronics, including e-cigarettes, must have their batteries carried onto the plane, and must accompany the traveller as they go through security screenings.
For TSA, the majority of vape pens and mods are viewed as basic security threats, meaning they will get no more attention than a laptop or tablet. In some cases, TSA agents may ask you to prove your vape mod isn’t and explosive, which generally means they want you to turn it on. Because of this, ensure your batteries are charged and your device is functioning properly. This check is generally not done for vape pens or pod systems, but you should keep some charge on them before passing through security.
After you have gone through security, we recommend removing your batteries from mods to prevent accidental firing while in transit. If you do remove your batteries, or carry extra batteries, be sure to keep them protected in a plastic battery case to prevent them from making contact with each other or any other pieces of metal.
Lastly, if you do insist on carrying a coil-building kit when you travel, be prepared to explain why you’re carrying spools of wire, screwdrivers, and wire cutters — all of which may look somewhat suspicious. If you want to avoid this, but still want to use a rebuildable device, we recommend brining pre-wrapped coils if you’re flying. This is even more important if you are travelling to a place where vaping may not be as common.
Can You Vape in an Airport?
In most airports across the US and Canada, smoking in common areas and restrooms is strictly forbidden. This applies to airports and in some cases this law is upheld federally and can result in dire consequences if you are caught smoking or vaping in undesignated areas. Breaking the rules could result in a ticket, or even being ejected from the airport — which will mean missing your flight and defaulting on the price of your ticket. Even if you are a master at stealth vaping, we do not recommend vaping in an airport at all, because of the possible consequences and to respect the people around you.
In some cases, you may find yourself in an airport with a designated smoking room, which is your only legal option for vaping in an airport. While not the most welcoming environment, seeing as these enclosed spaces are usually filled to the brim with cigarette smoke, if you truly need to vape this really is your only option. In some cases, you may even be able to find a smoking lounge with an electrical outlet, meaning you can charge your devices while using them.
Vaping on the Plane?
Please do not ever attempt to do this! Just because you can bring your device on a plane, and just because vaping isn’t smoking, does not mean you can do it on a plane. If you do decide to vape on a plane and are caught, you could be arrested and fined, or even jailed when you reach your destination — in some extreme cases you may force an emergency landing, which will cause the fire department and emergency responders to meet the plane on the tarmac.
While there are some stories of people getting away with vaping the washroom of a plane, this is just another stupid idea. Unlike smoke detectors in the home, the ones used in airplanes are remarkably sensitive and are built to detect any particulate matter that is denser than air.
To put is simply, do not ever vape on a plane and do not try to work around the systems in place. You will be caught and the penalty is not worth the effort.
Flying With an Herbal Vaporizer
For the most part, flying with an herbal vaporizer is a lot like flying with e-cigarettes and vape mods. All batteries must be removed and must pass through security with you, but the major difference comes in the substance that it vaporizes. Generally speaking, cannabis is still illegal in most countries, so keep that in mind when you fly with your herbal vaporizer and if you are asked why you’re travelling with it.
Clean Your Herbal Vaporizer
As we mentioned before, marijuana is generally illegal around the world and so are its various concentrated and edible forms. In many cases, even the residue of the cannabis flower is illegal to posses, which is incredibly important to keep in mind when flying with your herbal vaporizer. That means if you want to take your herbal vaporizer with you, it better be absolutely spotless and odourless. Going through the device with Q-Tips and isopropyl alcohol can help make cleaning the device easier and be sure to scrub every millimeter of the vape, including the herb chamber, mouthpiece, air path, and even the outer surfaces. Loose pieces should be soaked in alcohol, especially the screens.
If you are still concerned that a drug-sniffing canine can still detect a molecule of cannabis in your vaporizer, don’t take it with you. You should also keep in mind that you will have to repeat this whole process when you fly home, especially if your home country is not friendly towards marijuana. If you do decide to bring you herbal vaporizer to a country where cannabis is not tolerated and is illegal, your dry herb or oil vaporizer may be viewed as contraband, and even bringing it in the country could result in a criminal charge. Even if you are allowed to travel with and keep your herbal vaporizer, you may be opening yourself up to a lengthy and uncomfortable search and a long interview with security staff or police.
Flying with Cannabis
This section really only pertains if you are flying within Canada, where cannabis is completely legal. In this instance, travellers are permitted to transport 30g of cannabis on a plane within Canada. It is still completely illegal to take cannabis from Canada into another country, including US states with legal cannabis laws. If you are caught trying to cross the Canadian border with marijuana you will be committing a crime in Canada, and if you’re headed to any American state you will also be prosecuted under the US Federal System.
Thankfully, vapers have become quite accepted as part of travel culture, and many airlines and airports now have proper training to deal with travelling vapers. Aside from that, the tips outlined in this article should help you travel better with your vape gear, allowing for a smooth and seamless travel experience.