Spring Break is coming up quickly (though not quickly enough for some of us). In your mad dash to catch a plane to Daytona, Cancun, Tahoe or whatever sunny locale is beckoning you this year, you may want to refresh yourself on one of the most common questions we hear around this time of year: “Can you bring a vape on a plane?” The short answer: yes, vape devices and vape gear are permissible on flights, but it’s more complicated than that. Now for the long answer…
In 2016, the TSA tightened the rules on flying with a vape pen since those being used to power cheap vaporizers were considered a risk in the cargo hold. Therefore, though vape batteries are still permitted on flights, they cannot be packed into your checked baggage. If your battery is built into your e-cig or vaping device, then the entire device must be kept either on your person or in your carry-on luggage.
Because of these tightened regulations, it’s a good idea to fully disassemble your vape devices prior to travel. Batteries should be removed from mods, atomizers should be detached, and your current vape cartridge should be emptied of e-juice. Don’t feel like emptying your e-juice? Then your tank is going to have to be packed in accordance with the 3-1-1 rule (listed in detail below). If you have your original e-cig or vaporizer packaging, it can be helpful to re-pack the parts into the box so that TSA can easily identify the device and its pieces during an inspection.
Your e-juice is subject to the general 3-1-1 Liquid Carry-On Rule established in 2006 by the TSA that basically dictates that:
The rest of your e-juice can be packed away as part of your checked luggage but should be packed well and secured. It may even be in your best interest to pack smaller bottles of e-juice so that the potential of accidental spillage doesn’t end in soaked, ruined clothing.
If you’re using a box mod, that and your batteries have to be removed before you can take a vape pen on a plane. You can even carry mods and batteries in your pockets when you board a plane but they’ll be subject to the same inspection as anything in your pockets. A high-quality carrying case for vape kits can come in handy for bringing your batteries and mods onto the plane with you.
This should come as no surprise but you are not permitted to actually vape on a plane even though you can bring a vape on a plane. The main reason you can’t expect to blow clouds among the clouds has to do with the battery being considered a potential fire hazard. Airlines want to make sure you keep your batteries well separated from your vape devices to prevent any unforeseen circumstances of a fiery nature. In the event that you have a fully disassembled vape pen on you and decide to sneak away to the bathroom for a quick puff, you could actually set off the ultra-sensitive smoke alarms with which planes are specially equipped. While sometimes a tackle from an air marshal seems like a reasonable risk to take for a quick puff, it’s definitely not worth it. Also, it’s straight up against federal law. So can you take a vape on a plane? Yes. But can you vape on a plane? Absolutely not.
While vaping on a plane may seem like no big deal, it became one for the passengers and crew of Air China flight CA106 when a co-pilot decided to shut off recycling fans to hide that he was using a vape pen. Instead of deactivating the recycling fans, he hit some nearby controls resulting in depressurization of the cabin and a drop in altitude of nearly 20,000 feet. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident, though the entire crew of flight CA106 was fired for the co-pilot’s error. While this incident was not a direct result of an individual vaping on a plane, it further solidifies the hard ban on actively vaping as a passenger or crew member.
Since these are just the TSA and airline rules, it pays to familiarize yourself with the laws of your destination. This is especially true when traveling internationally. Not all countries are vape friendly and it would be a shame to make it through a 13-hour trip only to have your vape pen confiscated at the destination or even find yourself promptly put back on a plane home. And while a lot of the vape devices that we discuss on this blog are 420-friendly, the airlines are definitely not. If you’re packing concentrates as opposed to e-juice, you will likely run into some trouble. But if you follow the above rules and research the e-cig laws and restrictions of your destination, you should be puffing on plumes again in no time. If you don’t want to deal with the rules, you can always sink a bit of cash into a disposable vaporizer. That way, if it should get confiscated or damaged, it’s no big loss. But people are traveling with vape devices every day without incident and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the same freedom in your travels. Long story short: Don’t be afraid to travel with your vape, be careful with what kind of e-juice you bring, and don’t vape on plane trips.