If you're planning to take a flight soon, it's understandable to be a bit apprehensive about bringing your vape with you through security at the airport and onto your flight. That's especially so if you're traveling abroad, and you don't know the vaping rules at your destination. If you're looking for information on whether or not you can carry your vape on the plane, you've come to the right place.
Most people aren't only unsure about carrying a vape on an airplane, but they also wonder if they can use a vaporizer during the flight or at the airport. Flying with vapes is like bringing electronics, liquids, and smoking substances on a plane—because, technically, vapes are all three. So while you are allowed to bring your vapes, cartridges, and oils, there are rules and restrictions that you have to follow when traveling. Once you’ve ticked everything off the TSA’s checklist, you’re free to carry your vape onto the plane and don't have to worry about leaving your vape devices at the airport.
In this article, we'll provide in-depth information about the vaping products that you can and can't carry while traveling by plane. We'll also cover how to pack your vape, liquids, and other accessories in your bag and how to conduct yourself at the airport and during your flight when you bring vape products on your trip.
Why You Might Want To Fly With A Vape
A vape can be an effective tool to bring for a calmer traveling experience. Instead of smoking a joint pre-flight or during stopovers, you can get a cleaner dose of your liquid or product from vaping. For example, some people stave off anxiety, tiredness, and other jet lag symptoms by vaping CBD oil before long flights.
If you're traveling abroad, your sleep cycle is likely to get disrupted. This may make you irritable and lethargic, something that vaping CBD oil can often help mitigate. This may be vital for people who are traveling for business, who need to stay in top shape, or for those who have conditions for which CBD has been prescribed.
But traveling with your vape is not just about health and comfort. It's totally okay to carry your vape around as a cool accessory. Maybe you're flying to attend a party or a photo-shoot. Whatever the reason, if it's legal, why not bring your vape? But the question is, when is traveling with a vape legal and where?
Traveling With Vape Cartridges
When traveling with a vape there are rules and guidelines that you must follow for legal and security purposes. In the United States, the rules are outlined by the TSA. The TSA guides on traveling with a vape state that:
“Battery-powered E-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems may only be carried in the aircraft cabin (in carry-on baggage or on your person).”
That means that all vape devices (cartridges, mods, pens, batteries, coils, chargers, etc.) should travel in your carry-on bags or your pockets—never in your checked luggage. This is because vapes are powered by lithium batteries which, under extreme heat or stress, could burst into flames. And you don’t want that to happen on a plane in a non-manned luggage hold.
How To Pack Vape Cartridges on a Flight
The most important thing to do when packing vape cartridges in your bag is to keep them spill-proof. Airplane cabin pressure can cause full vape tanks or cartridges to expand, crack, and then leak, possibly leaving you with a bag full of e-juice or oil. A good practice to avoid this is to empty the vape cartridges of any liquid (or at least only fill them partially, up to two-thirds of the container) before flying on a plane. For extra insurance, you can wrap your vape cartridges in bubble wrap or a soft piece of cloth, then keep them in a resealable plastic bag; you can also use a vape case.
How To Pack Oils and E-Juice
If you’re going on a long trip, you’re probably bringing extra vape e-juice and oils with you. But be mindful to follow TSA rules about flying with liquids. If you’re keeping your e-juice in your carry-on bag alongside the rest of your vaping devices, make sure that the liquid is in travel bottles that aren't larger than 100ml (3.4 oz) and that the bottles fit in a one-quart clear, resealable plastic bag with all your other liquids, gels, creams, etc. The same rules may apply if you’re keeping the liquid in vape cartridges, tanks, or pods.
That doesn’t mean you can only bring that much e-juice on the flight, though. Anything over 100ml—at no limit—can be stored in your checked luggage. Just make sure that the liquid you bring is sealed properly to avoid leaking. You could place them in plastic containers or bottles (not glass, since these might break), seal the tops, and place them in spill-proof bags.
What About CBD Or THC Cartridges?
Since vapes are allowed in a plane, that must mean that you can fly with cannabis vapes too, right; you just have to follow the same rules? Well, not exactly.
Although some people have traveled with their cannabis vapes and pens with no problem, flying with CBD or THC cartridges is still a big risk. In the air, you’re under federal jurisdiction. And since marijuana is still federally illegal, flying with anything related to it can end with you being fined, arrested, or jailed upon arrival at your destination if you bring CBD.
TSA doesn’t actively search for marijuana during pre-flight luggage checks. But if they do find anything suspicious and hand it over to local authorities, that’s a whole other story. So to be safe, it’s best to leave the cannabis at home.
Navigating TSA & Airport Security Checkpoints
If you’ve done your research well, then there’s no need to be nervous in the airport terminal and going through security. For the most part, TSA employees and airport security personnel will let you through with your vape if you remain aware of a few rules.
First off, you should be prepared to explain to the TSA agents what vaping equipment you're carrying. TSA agents are now quite familiar with most types of vaping kits. So, they aren't likely to bother you if you've packed your vape properly and you don't have any hazardous materials, such as batteries for your vape, in your luggage. However, if you have custom equipment that the TSA employees can't immediately recognize, you may have to help them figure out whether or not it's ok for you to bring the vaping items with you on the plane.
Another thing that many people don't do before traveling is charge their vape. If you're carrying a cheap, disposable vape, then TSA security isn't likely to give you any grief. If you have larger coils, tanks, batteries, or vape juice, on the other hand, you may attract more attention. It may be necessary to power up the vaping device and show the TSA agents that it's really a vape. You may also have to show that the vape device isn't explosive before you can carry it past TSA security. Having an uncharged vape device may make for a tough-to-explain situation at airport security. It goes without saying that it's better to leave any complex vape building kits with random coils, wire, screwdrivers, and specialized vape equipment at home.
Flying With CBD Or THC Cartridges
Risks understood, there are ways to safely bring CBD or THC cartridges with you on the plane. You can empty and thoroughly clean pens, vaporizers, and cartridges (to where there’s no cannabis residue at all), then take them as you would regular vapes.
Otherwise, you can take out the vape cartridge, liquid, or oil included (with any labels or packaging suggesting it’s CBD or THC removed to be safe), and throw it into your checked bag rolled into a sock or placed with other liquids before heading to the airport. Make sure that it’s only the cartridge, though, since batteries must be placed in your carry-on bag. This is easier done (and marginally less risky) when flying between two legal states.
Vaping During A Flight
Using your vape on a plane isn't just inconsiderate, but it's also illegal. Besides getting arrested, you can be banned from traveling with the concerned airline for life. Besides the risk of unintentionally starting a fire, you also expose other travelers to vapor that they may rather not inhale. And while vaping inside an airport is also illegal, some airports have designated smoking lounges where people will smoke a cigarette or vape. You can smoke your vape in these areas without any worries.
Traveling To Countries Where Vapes Are Illegal
It’s important to understand the laws of your destination country before you bring a vape onto the plane. In many places where you can't smoke a cigarette, you also can't vape. For example, you can't carry a vape to Thailand, as the country banned them in 2014. So, if vape kits, vape liquid, or vape accessories are found in your luggage at the airport, you may be imprisoned for up to ten years. Other countries like India, Singapore, and Brazil also don't allow you to carry, use your vape, or bring in any related vaping equipment.
Flying with vapes is okay, as long as you follow the rules set by the TSA and your airline. Flying with CBD or THC cartridges is risky and is generally discouraged—but there are ways to do it safely, too, if necessary. Before you travel, it is always good to check TSA rules. Make sure it's okay to carry a vape, cartridges, and other related products before you board the plane.