Post-Covid Airline Vaping Rules You Need To Know
With Covid restrictions relaxed or scrapped completely, people are looking towards enjoying a holiday abroad. Many of those travelling will be going with their vapes for the first time, so we look at what the current situation is with flying and e-cig kits – from the types of devices you may wish to consider to how to pack your kit.
The days of being able to smoke on flights, sitting with an overflowing ashtray on the arm rest in a cabin flooded with cigarette and cigar smoke are behind us now. Increasing numbers of people have swapped out tobacco for electronic cigarettes – but just because they are much safer and offer no secondhand risk (according to Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians), you aren’t going to be able to kick back and enjoy a fruity custard as you loom over an ocean at 25,000 feet.
The problem for airline companies
Initially, the companies operating flights didn’t understand what vaping was. They realised they had no policies in place and so they differed from one operator to the next. Slowly but surely, they have come to a common approach.
Almost all companies banned in-flight ecig use by 2015, some even prohibited carrying electronic cigarettes and e-liquid onto flights. The issue was two-fold, firstly vaping looks like smoking and causes other passengers to get upset. Secondly, e-cigarettes have been linked to in-flight fires.
Some vapers packed their equipment into their check-in hold luggage. At altitude, some batteries began venting and triggered fire suppression systems, causing the flights to make an unscheduled landing.
There have been other issues caused by people storing their batteries incorrectly in the hand luggage, charging their devices through the seat USB socket, and having juice leak onto the batteries and devices.
Finally, there are those people who believed they could con the smoke alarms in the toilets because vapour isn’t smoke – and have gone on to pay the price.
What is airline company policy these days?
Because some of the finer details can vary from operator to operator, you would be advised to check on the website of the company you are flying with before you reach check-in.
No flight company allows vaping on the plane and batteries are not allowed in checked-in hold luggage.
Where do I pack my devices and batteries?
Spare batteries should be stored in specialised boxes, typically made of plastic. They can be transported in your hand luggage. Batteries are allowed in vape devices, but the device must be turned off.
How much e-liquid can I take?
You will be limited to the volume of e-liquid you can take in your hand luggage. The bottles must be labelled by manufacturers and not exceed 100ml. Check with your company how much they will let you take.
You can take more juice in your hold luggage. Again, check with the operator if they have a maximum bottle size.
*Remember, the air gets thinner at altitude, ecig tanks and e-liquid bottle will leak.
Make sure anything in your hold luggage is securely wrapped to prevent your clothes being covered with Lemon Meringue Pie juice.
Checked in luggage: Your operator will specify the type of bag you should carry your juice bottles in for checking. It is advisable to carry a spare plastic bag to put them in after security checks to prevent them leaking in your bag.
I can’t vape while flying?
No. And you can’t vape at the airport either except for in the designated areas (commonly the smoking huts). The advent of cheap disposable e-cigs means that some are travelling with empty tanks and relying on a disposable during departure.
While flying, some people lick some e-liquid off their hand, some use nicotine gum or patches, and an increasing number are now opting for the new tobacco-free nicotine pouches (snus).
But what if I do?
Vaping can and has triggered toilet alarms. Your flight will immediately begin an emergency descent. You face arrest once the flight has landed and will receive a lifetime flying ban from the airline operator. Companies now share their no-fly lists, you could find yourself banned from flying with multiple operators.
Are all countries treat ecigs the same?
No, and this is a very important thing to remember – always check the Foreign Office Travel Advice before you pay for your holiday. Also, check again just before you fly as legislation can change at the last moment.
Some places are happy for you to vape even if they have banned the sale of electronic cigarette products, but others (recently Thailand) have arrested and deported travellers for using their ecig. Some places will search your luggage and confiscate any vape kit.
You may decide just to travel to the stricter countries with some cheap disposables, patches, gum, and snus to save losing your favourite pieces of kit.