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Planning a quick getaway or a month-long trip to Europe? Not sure if you can fly with your favorite e-cigarette? We checked what the airlines – and common sense – say, and have good news for you. Yes, vape devices are allowed on board of airplanes but there are certain rules that you need to follow for things to go smoothly. Read on for more information on how to safely fly with your vape devices and e-juices.
For all of you looking for a quick emergency tip while waiting in line at airport security, here are the basics:
- Yes, you can carry your e-cigarettes and vape juices on a plane.
- No, you CAN’T vape on an airplane!
- Your vape and batteries should be in your carry-ons, not in your checked bags.
- Always have safety cases for 18650 batteries.
- E-liquids in carry-ons need to be in containers less than 3.4oz/100ml.
- You should not charge your device on the plane.
- It’s prudent to empty tanks before boarding.
No, You Can’t Smoke Or Vape On An Airplane (Duh!)
For close to 20 odd years now, plane cabins have been blissfully free of cigarette smoke. And, although flight attendants still warn about the non-smoking policy on all aircrafts – and that little sign with a crossed out cigarette turns red – I’m pretty sure that even hardcore smokers don’t consider lighting one up mid-air.
They keep their cigarettes on them, and wait patiently for the plane to land, the disembarkment chaos to ensue and finish, and the luggage pick-up agony to be over and done with before they reach into their pockets and fish out that one nasty cigarette that they’ve been craving the whole flight.
If you’re a vaper, you do the same thing.
Airlines don’t distinguish between vapes and cigarettes, which is a good thing. Even though we all know that vapor from a vape pen is pretty much harmless, can you imagine being stuck on a plane with a cloud-chaser? Or worse yet, with someone whose idea of a delicious vape juice is something cinnamon-flavored? Thanks, but no thanks.
And, if you think you can game the system and have a sneak puff in the bathroom, think again. People have tried that and all it got them was a short-lived nicotine hit and a lifelong ban from flying with certain air carriers. And, if you try that on a Chinese carrier, you will also get a 5-day detention. I’m not sure what counts as detention in China but I know I’m smart enough never to find out, and I hope you are, too!
So in a nutshell – when on a plane, keep your vape device in your checked baggage, where it belongs!
Can You Take An E-Cigarette On A Plane?
The short answer here is yes – you can take your vape on an airplane when traveling in-country or abroad.
The long answer is a bit more complicated, though. While you can take your e-cig on a plane with you, there are limitations to what you can pack in your carry-on baggage, and what can be left in your checked baggage.
As per a mandate by the International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO), vapers need to follow a simple set of rules when flying with their electronic cigarettes.
If you don’t want to read that whole thing, here are the mile high club vaping rules abridged:
Vaping devices & e-cigarettes:
- Carry-on baggage – YES
- Checked baggage – NO
Vape juices & liquids:
- Carry-on baggage – YES (up to 3.4oz/100ml)
- Checked baggage – YES
It’s also worth a mention that you’re not allowed to charge your e-cigarette during the flight, and that all 18560 batteries should be either in their original packaging, or in individual carry cases that prevent contact (thus preventing accidental contact and battery explosions).
Vaping Devices & Batteries In Carry-On Baggage ONLY
The reason why air carriers don’t allow electronic devices and batteries in checked baggage is two-fold:
- Checking each piece of electronics in checked baggage is time-consuming and would cause flight delays, and
- Battery-powered devices, such as e-cigarettes, are button-activated. In the cargo hold, a button could be triggered, causing thermal runaway that results in a hard-to-put-out fire.
Imaging a lithium battery going berserk and blowing in the cargo hold of an airplane. First of all, it can explode with such strength that it could easily bust out of the bag and damage the airplane. Secondly, thermal runaway (or battery explosion) is always accompanied by fire. A fire in the cargo hold is not easy to put out – it’s much easier to contain a small battery-induced fire in the passenger cabin, where it will be noticed, and where the crew has access to fire extinguishers.
Here’s a good reminder that this does indeed happen, just (thankfully) not that often:
Fire just broke out on a Delta flight. I was sitting a few rows back but another person was sitting closer and caught video of the flames! Apparently a vape pen exploded and caught a bag on fire. @nowthisnews pic.twitter.com/DYdlfvTM0g
— Rex Sakamoto (@Rexamoto) February 13, 2019
Of course, even in carry-ons, vapes can be dangerous so you should pay extra attention when you pack them. I’ll add a small checklist to the bottom of this post that you can use to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prevent a vape accident on your flight.
Be Careful With Vape Liquids On A Flight
When it comes to your vape juice, there’s probably (looking at you, cinnamon flavors!) nothing so horrible about it that would merit an all-out ban from airplanes. You can’t really hurt anyone with PG or VG, can you?
That’s why there are very little limitations about what type of juice you can carry on a plane with you, and how you can carry it. While electronic devices and batteries have to go in the overhead bins, vape juices can safely be packed in your checked bag.
As with all liquids, though, you need to follow two rules when taking vape juice in the cabin with you:
- All liquids in carry-ons have to be in clear containers smaller than 3.4oz/100ml
- They should be in original packaging and clearly labeled
This second rule can be a bit of a problem for DIY vape juices makers. While I still haven’t heard that someone had to chuck their DIY juice when boarding, it can happen because the liquid is not in its original packaging. The good folks over at the TSA have no idea what you have in that clear plastic bottle and they just might ask you to leave it in the trash bin. I would err on the safe side here, taking a couple of pre-mixed vape juice bottles on the plane with me since they have the manufacturer’s label on them.
Also, if you’re flying with a full tank of vape juice, you can expect issues during the flight. As you gain altitude, the air inside the tank will expand, forcing out the vape juice. There’s not much you can do about it except perhaps to travel with an empty tank whenever convenient/possible. If not possible, store the full tank in a separate zip-lock bag and pray for the best!
PRO VAPING TIP – Some countries have rigid rules when it comes to nicotine vape juices. For example, you won’t find any in Australia. And in Israel (and a couple of other countries) the maximum allowable nicotine in vape juice is 20mg/ml. It pays off to do a quick vape laws Google search when traveling abroad, especially if you’re a more than 20mg/ml nicotine vaper so you can stock up on your favorite juice before heading out.
Can You Vape In Airports?
Generally, most airports are strictly no smoking and no vaping areas. Outside of cafes with terraces or the fronts of the buildings, you won’t see people using their vape devices.
That said, some airports still have designated smoking areas, even after you pass the security check. These areas are usually glass boxes where smokers congregate to smoke their last cigarette before boarding (it looks awful and is awful – I get a feeling of looking inside a fish tank when passing by one of these) but you can also use your vape device inside. Some will also have electrical outlets/USB ports where you can charge your e-cig.
Whatever you do, though, don’t try to vape in areas where smoking is prohibited. Because, guess what – vaping is also prohibited there. Regardless of your ninja-like stealth vaping techniques, it’s only a matter of time until you get caught with vapor streaming out of your sleeve, and escorted outside by the security. In this case, missing your flight might be the least of your worries!
Flying With An E-Cigarette Checklist
As promised, here’s a pretty thorough checklist that you might want to refer to when packing your vape stuff for an airplane ride. It’s got a bit more details concerning flying with e-liquids so you might want to read that section carefully.
- Empty all your vape tanks (but one) before heading for the airport.
- Make sure you have a carry case for your 18650 batteries.
- Pack enough zip-lock baggies so you can separate your vape devices, batteries, and e-liquids if needed.
- When packing your carry-on, make sure to place all devices, batteries, and tanks in protective packaging, and in separate zip-lock bags. Pack all these items in your carry-on bag.
- If you’re packing e-liquids into your carry-on, make sure they are in original, labeled packaging, and in bottles smaller than 3.4oz/100ml.
- E-juice packed in checked baggage (in larger bottles) should be opened. Empty a bit out of each bottle to prevent leakage (which can occur due to the expansion of the air inside the bottles).
- Avoid carrying coil-building equipment with you – if you rebuild, try making some coils before the trip. Pincers, spools of wire, and pliers are a difficult sell during a security check.
- Charge your vape devices before traveling – you might be asked to turn them on to prove that they are not explosive devices.
- Do not attempt to charge your vape device mid-flight – it’s against the rules. If you spook a passenger or a crew member, this can result in an emergency landing and a whole lot of trouble for you.
- NEVER VAPE WHEN ONBOARD A PLANE! Seriously. If no one ever died of not smoking on a plane, you will be fine if you don’t vape for a couple of hours.
Fly With Your Vape Devices – Just Be Smart About It
No one working in airline companies or in airport security has any beef with your vape devices. As long as you follow the (pretty simple and straightforward) rules, you will be fine.
Stick to the checklist that I’ve provided above, be polite, explain things when asked, and you’ll be boarding a plane with your vape in no time. Be cocky, disrespectful, or a smartass, and your vape gear will end up in the trash. The choice here is pretty simple.
If you have any questions about flying with your Kind Pen vape pens, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or via email. We’ll be happy to give you all the pointers we can to make your airfare with e-cigarettes as smooth as possible!