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Cigar 101

TSA Rules for Bringing Lighters & Cutters on a Plane

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Bringing your cigars on vacation is always a great idea, but traveling on a plane with your cigar lighter and cutter may cause hesitation. No one wants to get flagged by TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents or have an expensive lighter or cigar cutter confiscated, especially when you’re trying to make it through an airport on a tight schedule. If you’ve got a trip planned, here is the latest guidance for bringing a lighter and cigar cutter on an airplane, but it never hurts to consult the TSA website for the most up-to-date rules and regulations. Carrying prohibited items can cause delays for you and other travelers and result in costly civil penalties.

TSA Agents Have Final Say

Before you review the rules around bringing a cigar lighter or cutter on a plane, know that the TSA officers have the final say on whether your lighter or cigar cutter will be allowed through a security checkpoint. Be courteous and patient if you’re flagged at a checkpoint. Your lighter and cutter may be confiscated and not returned if it is deemed unsafe by a TSA agent. The agents are not out to harass travelers and tourists, but it’s their job to identify prohibited items and prevent them from making it onto aircraft in the interest of public safety.

Bringing Cigar Cutters on a Plane

Cigar cutters are generally permitted in checked bags. TSA officers can restrict items at their discretion, though. If you’re packing a cigar cutter, it must be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. Consider traveling with an inexpensive or disposable cigar cutter and review our tips on how to cut a cigar without a cutter to avoid traveling with your accessories altogether.

TSA Approved Lighters: Disposable & Zippo

You are allowed to carry disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel in your checked baggage. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked bags unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters provided they’re enclosed in a DOT-approved case. Different rules apply to electronic lighters, arc lighters, and plasma lighters. Certain types of electronic lighters are allowed in carry-on luggage provided they’re secured according to FAA regulations, which require battery removal and storing the lighter a protective case.

Torch Flame Lighters Are Prohibited

You cannot carry torch flame lighters in carry-on or checked bags. As much as you love to light your cigars with a sporty triple-flame torch, you’re better off leaving it at home or purchasing an inexpensive butane torch to use after you reach your destination. Flammable substances like butane are strictly prohibited. Review the TSA’s list of what you can bring for the most current regulations before flying.

Accidentally Brought a Lighter

It’s easy to rush to the airport without realizing your favorite lighter is in your jacket pocket. In some airports there are kiosks like MailSafe Express where you can ship your valuables, such as pocketknives, cigar cutters, scissors, lighters, and liquids, to yourself for a fee. You simply fill out your mailing information, swipe your credit card, and place your items into the kiosk to be shipped home safely. The cost varies and is higher than what you’ll pay at the post office or a UPS facility, and it may take several weeks before you receive your items. However, if you spent a lot of money on a nice cigar lighter or cutter, it beats having to toss it out or risk confiscation. Empty your lighter of fuel before shipping it.

Ship Your Lighter & Cutter before Traveling

If you’re attached to your lighter and cigar cutter and can’t live without them, or if you purchase new accessories during your travels, ship them to your destination before you leave. Eliminate the worry of having a nice lighter taken away at the airport by shipping it from the retailer or at the post office before you’re headed to the airport.

Traveling with Cigars

If you’re bringing cigars with you or you buy them on vacation, review our tips for traveling with cigars. It’s best to pack them securely in a carry-on bag so they’re not exposed to drastic temperature changes in the luggage compartment of an airplane. Invest in a travel humidor to keep your cigars perfectly fresh. Cut out the stress of carrying a nice lighter with you by lighting your cigars with matches when you reach your destination. And if you’re trying to bring back Cubans, remember Cuban cigars are still illegal in the U.S.

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