It’s that exciting time of year again! Your thoughts turn to your summer holidays and the list of essentials that you need to pack. Sun cream, flip flops, swimming costume, sunglasses, passports….vape gear? Air travel is a little bit more complicated if you’re a vaper, but just by following a few simple rules and using some common sense, travelling with your vape will be much less stressful. In this blog, we’ll give you some good advice about packing your vapes, what to expect at airport security and the best way to store your vaping gear on the plane.
E-Cigs and Luggage
Batteries. You should carry all devices that contain lithium-ion batteries in your hand luggage. This includes mobilephones, laptops, tablets and of course e-cig batteries and mods. Battery safety is the reason for this; unless stored safely, lithium-ion batteries can overheat, start to vent and even explode (see our battery safety article here). A fire in the aircraft cabin is relatively easy to extinguish, but if a passenger’s suitcase catches fire in the plane’s hold, the consequences could be catastrophic. Remember to carry all batteries, spares and mods in your carry-on baggage- don’t pack them into your case to be put in the hold. Just make sure your travel vaping kit is well protected in a carry case and that spare batteries are stored in a battery case. Never carry loose batteries in your bags or pockets or you’re asking for trouble.
E-Liquids. Make sure you pack enough e-liquids to last you for your entire holiday, because there might not be many (if any) opportunities to buy supplies at your destination. You can pack a good supply in your hold luggage where there are none of the usual restrictions on carrying liquids. Try to avoid taking glass bottles, as these can easily break when your suitcase gets thrown around by the baggage handlers. Do make sure that your e-liquids are well wrapped up in a plastic bag in case of leakage or spillage during transit. I once had an entire 60ml bottle of Lemon Tart leak in my suitcase, covering all my clothes with sweet citrus aromas (it could have been worse). If you decide to take e-liquids in your carry-on hand luggage, remember that there are strict rules in place for liquids going through security (see below).
At The Airport.
Generally speaking, if you want to vape before your flight, you’ll need to do it outside the airport in a designated smoking area. Some airports are totally no smoking and these rules also include vaping. Other airports do allow smoking/vaping in restricted areas. A few even have designated smoking/ vaping areas in departures, meaning that you can have a vape after passing through security. We recommend that you check the POTV list of UK and EU airports here to see what restrictions are in place at the particular airports you’ll be passing through.
Going Through Security.
Nobody enjoys passing through airport security. You have all the hassle of trying to stop your pants from falling down after you’ve removed your belt. You’ve cleared your pockets of keys and loose change. Everybody dreads being that person who sets off the alarm. You’re the one who causes delay for everyone else just because you forgot to take off your watch.
You also need to make sure all your carry-on liquids are in the regulation clear plastic bag- and don’t forget the one in your pocket. Your bottles must be placed in a single, transparent, resealable bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm. Make sure that your e-liquid bottles don’t exceed 100ml in size. We also recommend removing their labels so that security staff don’t mistake them for lethal poisons after spying the mandatory warning signs on the label; there’s always an outside chance of them confiscating that new bottle of Deeply Whippy you treated yourself to for the hols. If you’re worried, play it safe and pack any premium liquids in your hold luggage. We recommend that you remove tanks that contain any juice and put them into the clear plastic bag alongside your e-liquid bottles and toothpaste.
When you’re actually passing through security, make sure you switch off your mods. Remove the batteries and place them in the plastic tray along with your phone, tablet, battery charging packs and anything else electronic. Don’t do what I once did and attempt to take coil-building equipment through security; my best pliers, wire cutters and kanthal were all confiscated by the staff at Manchester Airport. It was my own stupid fault, I hasten to add- it should have occurred to me to pack my kit in my hold luggage; don’t even think about taking a SMOK Mag on your holdays either.
On The Plane
Unfortunately, you won’t be allowed to vape once you’re actually on the plane. As tempting as it might be to sneak a vape in the aircraft toilet, don’t even try it. According to Boeing’s website, smoke alarms on aircraft are extremely sensitive. In 2014, businessman Rory Sutherland spent a night in jail for using an e-cig on Qatar Airways. This might be an extreme example, but you could easily be given a fine or get blacklisted by the airline if you attempt to have a stealth vape in the aircraft toilet and set the smoke alarms off. My advice is to avoid all the potential embarrassment and inconvenience of having your e-cig confiscated and just wait until you have landed.
One more potentially embarrassing hazard that all flying vapers need to avoid is the problem of leaking tanks. Changes in the cabin air pressure causes tanks to leak. Your e-liquid will slowly force itself out of your tank and it will make a terrible mess. The best way to avoid this is to empty your tank before flying. I’ve tried leaving the tank open until the plane reaches cruising altitude, but this method is a little hit or miss. Bottles of e-liquid will leak their contents into your trouser pocket too, causing embarrassing dark stains to spread around your crotch area. To avoid this, remove the bottle caps and leave them open on your fold-down table until the cabin pressure becomes normal.
When You Reach Your Destination
So you’ve successfully got through airport security without having your vape gear confiscated and you’ve survived a flight without nicotine. Then you find out that your holiday paradise doesn’t allow vaping! You really need to do your research before you travel, because vaping is actually an illegal activity in certain countries. In Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai, possession of vaping equipment and e-liquids could land you with a hefty fine or even imprisonment (while cigarettes remain legal). You will be ok in all EU countries, but be sure to look up the e-cigarette regulations for your destination before you travel further afield. Have a nice holiday!