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It’s hard to know what exactly can be taken on and off an airplane these days. There’s the TSA website that details specific items, but everybody knows there are things the TSA may or may not take that aren’t on the list, seemingly at random. Can you take cigars on a plane or is it a waste of time?
Fortunately, cigars aren’t on the banned list and usually aren’t on the TSA radar when they randomly decide on new items at the checkpoint. It’s always a good idea to keep your cigars stored in a humidor, but you have to be careful to avoid taking any kind of liquid with you.
Liquid, even if there is only a drop of it, isn’t allowed. TSA is known for confiscating ridiculous things people try to bring on planes. However, they’re also known for taking ridiculous things themselves, such as Sam’s Club Mayonnaise and a spork. Yes, a spork.
How to Travel with cigars
Cigars are more fragile than they look, so it’s a good idea to pack them securely and give it some extra thought if need be. Though some humidors are small, not all of them are convenient for travel.
Fortunately, there are other options, such as humidity pouches and travel humidors. If you’re only looking at a handful of hours or even the next day, keep your cigars in a three-finger cigar case or a carbon fiber cigar case.
Larger cases are available as well and they’ll fit just fine in your carry-on or your checked luggage. If at all possible, pack your cigars in your carry-on bag. The reason for this is twofold—TSA workers are not always kind to your luggage, and the temperature in the plane cabin is more cigar-friendly than the cargo area.
Carry-on vs checked bags
Honestly, you should always carry on your cigars, but it’s understandable if you want to keep them in your checked bags because there are simply too many. The problem with checked bags is that TSA employees are known for slinging, slamming, dropping, and throwing luggage around because they simply don’t care.
It’s also a good idea to bring your cigars in your carry-on bags because the temperature inside the plane is far more conducive to a healthy cigar than packed in the underside of the plane.
There may or may not be temperature controls in the cargo hold, and even if it’s a balmy 90° on the ground, doesn’t mean it will be the same temperature up there.
How to pack and transport them
We already talked about a few ways above and they are worth reiterating here. You can’t carry on a bottle of liquid for your humidor, that’s a certainty. For the vast majority of flyers, plane flights shouldn’t eat up the entire day.
The most immediate concern is keeping your cigars from being crushed. The good news is, you have an extensive list of options to pack them securely and avoid a terrible fate at the hands of TSA.
Any of the above methods will add a layer of protection and rigidity to keep your cigars from being crushed, whether you have them in your checked baggage or carry-on.
Are cigar cutters allowed on planes?
Cutters are allowed, but the TSA is allowed to confiscate them if you have an agent that woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. It pays to be careful and just put them in your checked baggage. It’s not like you can smoke on the plane anyway.
Are cigar lighters allowed?
Most torch lighters aren’t allowed, and even though there are some lighters that TSA allows in your checked baggage, you still have to deal with uncertainty at the checkpoint. A TSA agent may decide to confiscate a lighter that is completely inbounds.
Check the latest TSA regulations before you head out, and remember to put these items in your checked luggage. Don’t bother trying to carry them on.
Will TSA confiscate my cigars, cutters, or lighters?
According to the latest TSA regulations, you are allowed to bring most cigar cutters on your flight with you, so long as the blades are shorter than the 4” threshold. Disposable lighters and Zippos are allowed, as long as they are empty of fuel, while butane torch lighters are prohibited.
The best idea is to only bring cheap stuff. That way, if it’s confiscated, no harm no foul. If you’re heading out for a week-long vacation, consider shipping your favorite lighter and cigar accessories ahead of you so they’ll be there when you arrive.
Remember, no matter what the TSA website says, the TSA agent you have to deal with has the final say on the matter, and that person may be far more strict that the regulations on their website.
If you’re traveling by plane and you want to bring your cigars, that’s the easy part, and it’s not always that easy. TSA agents are not supposed to actively search for drugs but who is to say a TSA agent won’t decide that the material in your cigar needs to be checked?
Lighters and cigar cutters are more questionable, despite the clear, online guidelines. Your safest bet is to bring cheap lighters and cigar cutters and ship your expensive ones ahead of you, assuming you’re traveling for a prolonged stay at your destination.
Last but not least, be sure to have some adequate protection for your cigars, like a sleeve, case, portable humidor, or a small cigar case. Whatever your plans, check the latest TSA guidelines before you leave and prepare yourself for possible shenanigans at the checkpoint.