TSA: First time traveling with cigars


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I’ll be flying from Tampa to Pittsburgh this week for a short stay and plan to just carry on. It looks like I can’t bring a torch lighter or stick matches but what about a cheapo Bic or something? What about a cutter and a few sticks in a travel humidor?

 

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I travel with a punch cutter if I’m just doing carry on. I also picked up a 5 pack of cheap torches. If the torch gets taken, it’s only a few $$ lost. More often than not the lighter goes through with no problems.


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4 minutes ago, Jfeath74 said:

Bic lighters are fine. FoH lighters are great for traveling! I’ve had a nice lighter taken by TSA before, no bueno. Now I just use the FoH when traveling. 

Umm, I think you may want to check the TSA list of prohibited items: https://www.seatguru.com/articles/tsa_prohibited_items.php 

As far as I can tell, lighters are prohibited. Here is the fine print:

* All lighters are prohibited as carry-on items. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage, unless they adhere to the DOT exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case. If you are uncertain as to whether your lighter is prohibited, please refrain from bringing it to the airport.

** One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.

 

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I’ve traveled all over country with this Forge de Laguiole cutter. As well a Djeep Lighter, never had a problem. Always open cutter and explain it’s a cigar cutter. eb20bfc903a40459c48018709f0b1e5b.jpg


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I do plain security (when TSA is closed) and TSA about 10-12/month, international and domestic.  You are almost always safe with cutters that can't be disassembled.  However if you fly enough you'll eventually encounter an agent that didn't get that memo and you'll lose your cutter.  Over 10 years of this level of flying I've had a cutter taken off me at SFO international security screening once (and it was the exact same cutter that had been looked at and passed 100 times before at the same facility).  I've had two cutters taken at airport security in Cambodia.  So 3 over 10 years, just don't travel with anything too expensive (I buy mine for $5.00 in Saigon).  I still travel with a cutter.  A punch will never get challenged.

A soft flame lighter is legal everywhere I go in the US, Asia and Europe, but like the cutters you never know.  I used to travel with my antique Rollagas but have stopped that, it was just tempting fate too much.  The FOH torch lighter has been in my carryon for over 5 years.  In it's disassembled form it is safe and legal for travel.  Still, I had one taken at SFO International once.  Again it was just a different shift, someone who didn't know better.

TSA has never ever questioned my cigars or even asked to take them out of my carryon, so you're fine there.

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7 minutes ago, Philc2001 said:

Umm, I think you may want to check the TSA list of prohibited items: https://www.seatguru.com/articles/tsa_prohibited_items.php 

As far as I can tell, lighters are prohibited. Here is the fine print:

* All lighters are prohibited as carry-on items. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage, unless they adhere to the DOT exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case. If you are uncertain as to whether your lighter is prohibited, please refrain from bringing it to the airport.

** One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.

 

I think Seat Guru's quote is wrong.  The TSA website clearly allows soft flame lighters in both carryon and checked baggage (the latter depending on type of lighter):

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/disposable-and-zippo-lighters

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8 minutes ago, RPM said:

I’ve traveled all over country with this Forge de Laguiole cutter. As well a Djeep Lighter, never had a problem. Always open cutter and explain it’s a cigar cutter. eb20bfc903a40459c48018709f0b1e5b.jpg


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There's a conflict in the TSA regs where 'blades' of any kind are not allowed.  There is also a clear allowance for 'cigar cutters' that can't be disassembled.  The TSA manager who took my traditional double guillotine quoted me the 'blade' reg.  Wasn't worth arguing about but he would have certainly taken your Laguiole off of you.  Maybe by now he's been schooled and knows better.  Other TSA agents at this exact spot had inspected and passed my cutter for years, I just got unlucky that one time.  Perhaps if I had a printed copy of the cigar cutter reg with me I could have talked my way out of it, but who wants to drag that around for years? :P 

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I’ve never checked the policy but I’ve flown many times with a bic lighter and never had an issue. The torch lighter my father gave me is a different story... I’m still chapped about it a decade later. 

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 Perhaps if I had a printed copy of the cigar cutter reg with me I could have talked my way out of it, but who wants to drag that around for years?  


I carried a printout when I carried a flint and butane lighter. Dumba$$ still took my lighter. Reasoning with TSA is like debating with my 4 year olds
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I don't know if this is standard practice or not, but I was provided a clear envelope to mail my butane torch lighter to myself at Las Vegas Mcarran. It had forgotten to pack it in the checked baggage and made it to the gate with it.   I had to provide a credit card number on the form along with my address.  My card was charged and the lighter arrived about 6 weeks later via mail.  It appears they burned off all the butane as it arrived with the igniter button taped down and wrapped in aluminum foil.  Presumably due to the heat generated from burning off the butane.  Not ideal but at least I was able to keep it.  

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6 minutes ago, PapaDisco said:

I think Seat Guru's quote is wrong.  The TSA website clearly allows soft flame lighters in both carryon and checked baggage (the latter depending on type of lighter):

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/disposable-and-zippo-lighters

I hear you, but I've lost lighters and I know folks who have lost lighters... in fact I think we had someone recently on this forum that had their FOH lighter taken. I've personally lost two lighters... one was a cheapo torch lighter, which I had emptied of fluid, the other was a basic soft flame lighter. I complained in both cases, but I was not going to win that argument.

Cigar cutters are supposed to be permitted in checked bags too, but... I won't risk it any more, I already lost two of those too. Again, I pushed back, but they wouldn't give. 

Some overzealous agent also took my son's souvenir bullet keychain from Normandy. It was clearly not a live round, it had a hoop through the igniter, but that didn't sway them.

The moral of the story is, if they decide to take it, what can you do about it?   

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So easy these days to get a cheap lighter or matches anywhere in the world no reason to ever carry a torch on the plane. Cheap cutters can also be found fairly easily or a sharp knife. I lost a handful of nice lighters in the 2000’s to TSA and then I just stopped bringing them on the plane. 

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As most of my travel is International, you never know what is going to happen in security. I always pack my cutter and drained torch lighter in checked baggage, cigars are in my carry on TSA has never batted and eye. I was stopped by customs way back in 2000 traveling from Maui to Portland, OR through Canada. I had no Cubans with me, but at the time I smoked El Originals which I bought wheels of 50 and they came without rings... I told the agent what they were and he let me through no problems. Living now in SE Asia there are of course no issues with Cuban cigars, but returning last week from three weeks in Australia the Aussie security confiscated my Leatherman Micro -  I had forgotten to put in checked baggage.... Sad, that little tool had saved the day many times.

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Hey brother Stiller fan, TSA took one of my good torches. Careless or unlucky I was, cause I travelled with that same one at least a year. Anyways $50 is a lot more than $1.99. Punch’s have never been an issue. Say hello to Primanti’s. 

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I do plain security (when TSA is closed) and TSA about 10-12/month, international and domestic.  You are almost always safe with cutters that can't be disassembled.  However if you fly enough you'll eventually encounter an agent that didn't get that memo and you'll lose your cutter.  Over 10 years of this level of flying I've had a cutter taken off me at SFO international security screening once (and it was the exact same cutter that had been looked at and passed 100 times before at the same facility).  I've had two cutters taken at airport security in Cambodia.  So 3 over 10 years, just don't travel with anything too expensive (I buy mine for $5.00 in Saigon).  I still travel with a cutter.  A punch will never get challenged.
A soft flame lighter is legal everywhere I go in the US, Asia and Europe, but like the cutters you never know.  I used to travel with my antique Rollagas but have stopped that, it was just tempting fate too much.  The FOH torch lighter has been in my carryon for over 5 years.  In it's disassembled form it is safe and legal for travel.  Still, I had one taken at SFO International once.  Again it was just a different shift, someone who didn't know better.
TSA has never ever questioned my cigars or even asked to take them out of my carryon, so you're fine there.

China most definitely does NOT allow ANY kinds of lighters or matches in carry on nor checked luggage. This includes the Iroda (aka FOH) lighter and soft flame!
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