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Flying With Cigars: The Dos and Don'ts

We’ve designed The Hemingway Edition travel cigar case to help aficionados take a few sticks with them wherever they go. But flying with cigars comes with its own pitfalls and traps. If you’re not careful your cigars can get damaged in transit, or your lighter/cutter could be confiscated by security.

It seems that what’s allowed or not allowed on a flight changes weekly these days, so keeping track can be confusing. In this blog we’ve pulled together a couple of important tips if you plan to get on an airplane with your cigars and tools, and we will update it in future if anything major changes.

Protect your sticks

The first thing to say is that you want to ensure your cigars are still ship-shape and Bristol fashion on arrival. This is true whether you are checking them as luggage or keeping them in your hand luggage/carry-on (we’d generally recommend checking them in with your luggage to avoid a hassle at security).

It’s highly likely your luggage will be thrown around, stepped on, crushed, squeezed and thrown again. You’ve therefore got to ensure your travel humidor or travel case is sturdy enough to withstand this kind of treatment, and yet light enough to not have too much of an impact on your weight allowance. That’s why we designed The Hemingway Edition in robust, high quality leather – it’s not going to shatter under pressure, and will keep cigars safe from even the clumsiest baggage handlers.

It’s also true that the dryness of the pressurised air on a plane can negatively impact the freshness of a cigar, especially on long flights. That’s why if you’re going to buy a travel case, you need to be sure that it has some capacity for maintaining humidity. That could mean you go so far as to get a fully functional travel humidoir, but these can be heavy and incredibly inconvenient. A cedar wood, sealed rack should do the job for most flights.

Be careful about what lighter you bring

The general rule is lighters are not allowed at all in checked luggage. They’re considered dangerous and if found will be confiscated.

Beyond that, you are usually allowed to bring one soft flame lighter or box of matches with you on your person. Lighters will be considered part of your liquid allowance and will need to be put in a plastic bag and screened. Generally, torch lighters are not allowed at all and will be confiscated – although it’s worth checking yourself depending on where you’re flying from. You can find out more about UK restrictions here.

Check your cutter into the hold

It’s often argued that you will be allowed to take a cigar cutter onto the plane in your hand luggage. The TSA in the states generally stipulates that blades smaller than four inches are fine, and you can even buy cigar cutters in some duty free areas. You’ll generally be okay with a punch cutter or V-cutter, and according to the rules most scissor-style cutters should be fine.

But be aware; you’re really putting yourself at the mercy of the security team you encounter when you bring blades on board. They may still confiscate it and no amount of arguing on your part will get it back. So we’d recommend bringing a less valuable cutter with you in carry-on/hand luggage and if you value your cutter, check it into the hold. You’re not likely to need it to cut a fresh smoke on the flight these days!

In general we’d recommend checking your cigars and your cutter into the hold in a sturdy, robust case, and try to avoid taking a torch lighter with you. However, it may be that the country you’re flying from will allow it or that the specific airline will make allowances. If you’re not sure, have a look on their website or give them a call to check what they’ll allow you to bring. Happy traveling.

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