Stogie Guys Free Newsletter

Subscribe today for a chance to win great cigar prizes:


Presented by:

Stogie Tips: The Amazing Flying Cigar Man

21 Apr 2009

In addition to all the smoking bans and tobacco taxes, today’s cigar smokers, particularly those who often travel by air, are confronted with a relatively new nuisance: the growing number of air carriers that charge for checking luggage.

O'HareI experienced this unfortunate burden this weekend when my travels took me from DC to Minneapolis. Liquids aside, I had a hard time figuring out how to avoid that $15 fee for the first checked bag due to my love of the leaf and desire to bring along cigars.

Torch lighters, you see, are expressly prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration as a carry-on. And, while the TSA makes no specific mention of cigar cutters on its website, it does ban other similar items like scissors and box cutters.

So what’s a frequent-flying cigar enthusiast to do? Here are a few tips that might make your trips a little easier and a lot cigar-ier.

Light cheap. Since they may or may not be confiscated, don’t pack expensive cigar paraphernalia in your carry-on luggage. In lieu of a fancy lighter, for example, bring along a Ronson Jetlite. I haven’t had mine taken away yet but, if it is, I’ll only be down a few bucks. Or, better yet, skip bringing a lighter altogether and instead take a few wooden matchbooks from a restaurant or hotel in your destination city.

Punch cut or plastic. When it comes to cutters, opt for a simple keychain punch cutter or a plastic guillotine. Either is easy to get past TSA officials and, if confiscated, will set you back next to nothing. And don’t sweat it if you end up without a traditional cutting implement at your destination; everyday items like fingernail clippers, while imperfect, often get the job done without incident if handled with care.

Ziploc to the rescue. While good for the golf course or the trunk of your car, those cigar travel cases that are sold online and in magazines can be too bulky for a simple weekend plane trip—especially since overhead storage space is at a premium these days. Instead, I pack my goodies in a simple Ziploc bag with one of those little humi-packets that often come in shipments from retailers. And I prevent damage to the sticks themselves by wrapping the bag in softer items (i.e., clean boxer shorts) that I planned to bring along anyways.

You can go a long way with these three rules of thumb but, as always, I don’t have all the answers myself. Feel free to share your own airport travel tips below.

Patrick A

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

9 Responses to “Stogie Tips: The Amazing Flying Cigar Man”

  1. CWS Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    HumidiPak makes a great Ziploc bag for all sizes of cigars.

    http://www.humidipak.com

  2. Mike Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    Cigar cutters are permitted by TSA. Its Web site used to say that explicitly, although it does not now for some reason. But if you look it up in the federal register, they are permitted.

    However, you will probably lose an aregument with an agent. Leave the expensive Xikar at home and bring a plastic-housed cutter.

    I say skip the torch lighter. They have long been forbidden in checked or carry-on luggage, even before 9/11. If you bring one and it's caught, it will delay your luggage and everyone behind you in the security line.

    Djeep disposables work well with cigars.

  3. BubbaGene Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    For protection, recycled aluminum or glass cigar tubes work well. I save the large ones that will hold most cigars. Many come with a sponge in the cap for humidifying. I don't recommend using it as such for obviou reasons unless the cigar being stored is still in the wrapper.

  4. Moro Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    For lighting ye can also get the cheap Zippo insert and, since Zippos ARE allowed, then ye've got little to worry about. Or just bring a soft-flame butane lighter. I haven't tried this, but have heard good things of the XiKar scissors getting through as when folded and attached to yer keys, it looks like a simple keychain.

  5. Marcus Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    I did a lot of reading before I went to the Big Smoke last November and it was legal to bring a cigar cutter but not the jet(tourch) lighter like most butane lighters. As long as it's like a Bic type lighter, you are good to go. I have an old low profile cigar box that I use for trips and I can fit ten toro sized cigars in it. Not at bit of metal so I can put it in a carry on without an issues.

  6. Marcus Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    I did a lot of reading before I went to the Big Smoke last November and it was legal to bring a cigar cutter but not the jet(tourch) lighter like most refillable butane lighters. As long as it's like a Bic type lighter, you are good to go. I have an old low profile cigar box that I use for trips and I can fit ten toro sized cigars in it. Not at bit of metal so I can put it in a carry on without an issues.

  7. CWS Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    You can check(not carry-on) your torch lighter if you place it in a special case. Most online retailers carry the case and it's about $15. Mine is bright yellow with a TSA & DOT seal of approval.

    Every time I've checked my luggage, I've never had a problem . . .

    http://www.elighters.com/tranzpack.html

  8. dmjones Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 9:30 am #

    I ditto CWS on the issue of bringing a torch in a "legal" container. I have one that I've used a couple times and I loaned it to a buddy to use as well. No problems getting checked baggage through with the DOT/TSA-approved container. If I remember correctly, they say you're legally allowed to put two lighters in said container, but I've never been able to get two of them to fit.

  9. Padronnie Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    I've snuck my Ronson through in my checked luggage a few times without a problem. What's the worse they will do? Confiscate it? Then I'm only out four bucks…