The holiday booking season is in full swing following the relaxation of Covid protocols. Many electronic cigarette users will be flying abroad with their vape kits for the first time. This article covers the things you need to be aware of and how you can do it with a minimum of fuss.
The History, Smoking on Planes.
Some of us are old enough to remember ashtrays on every seat armrest and cabins flooded with cigarette smoke. Those days are long gone, but vaping being safer than smoking doesn’t mean you can do it on flights.
As vaping became popular some people began vaping on flights. Airline companies didn’t know how to treat it, they had no policies in place, but these events forced airline companies to act, and their response was cemented by aviation authorities.
By 2015, most companies had banned onboard vaping, some had banned carrying kits onto flights. Incidents were still occurring, and an example in 2016 was when an e-cigarette sparked an emergency landing on a flight carrying 128 passengers when a fire broke out in the cargo hold.
Then there’s the example of the man who plugged in his vape to charge and went to sleep on a Norwegian flight. He tried to sue the airline company for not banning him from doing what he did.
More recently, a flight’s smoke alarms were triggered by a passenger attempting to have a sneaky vape in the toilet. He ended up regretting it as he was subjected to a number of the punishments listed below.
What Is Current Plane E-Cig Policy?
It is best to check your airline’s position on vape products before you get to the airport. All carriers now ban vaping on flights but some of them differ in other aspects of travelling with e-cigs.
Batteries should never be stored in luggage that is going to be carried in the hold. Instead, batteries should be placed into safe insulated containers and placed in hand luggage.
Spare juice can go into hold luggage but is limited to marked 100ml bottles. If it doesn’t have a manufacturer’s label stating the volume of the bottle it will be confiscated.
The thing to remember is that juice bottles and e-cig tanks leak at altitude. Airlines specify the type of bag juice bottles should be placed in – but it is worthwhile having an additional sealable bag to place them in after security checks to prevent the juice from leaking over your luggage contents.
How Do I Cope Without My Vape on a Flight?
People thinking they can get away with vaping in the toilet or stealth-vaping may be shocked to discover that others have been caught doing so because they have triggered alarms on the flight.
The solution is to either go without or rely on nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or tobacco-free nicotine-containing snus for the duration of the flight.
While at the airport, some places have designated areas where you are allowed to vape. You might want to consider using a low-cost disposable e-cigarette and junk it before departure so that you can travel with an empty tank on your usual device.
What Happens If I Vape on the Plane?
If the alarm goes off, the flight will immediately descend to a lower altitude – it is possible it may make an unexpected landing. You can be arrested, but you will receive a lifetime ban from the airline company.
Airline companies can share their no-fly lists with other companies and you can find yourself unable to travel in future.
What Happens at the Destination?
Some countries have long-standing bans, some ban the importation of personal kits, some will confiscate on search, some will jail you on arrival if they find your vape kit.
Thailand, for example, criminalised the possession of electronic cigarettes and e-liquid. The law is being relaxed, but people have been jailed for vaping and there is no change in position at present.
Policies differ from country to country and frequently change at short notice. The best way of knowing what to expect is to check the UK government’s site for up-to-date information: Foreign Office Travel Advice.
If your destination has taken a harsh line on vaping then maybe you should plan to use nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or tobacco-free nicotine-containing pouches for the duration of your visit.