TSA: First time traveling with cigars


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Last year I boarded a domestic flight in the US about 150 times, which is fairly typical for me. I never check luggage and I always travel with a Bic-type lighter and a pair of plastic frame cutters (as well as about a dozen cigars, just in case). The only time I was ever asked was three years ago at MIA while (in a rare one-off) trying to take a Cartier lighter (soft flame, a gift for my father in law) through TSA and once they saw it was soft they let it pass. Never had a problem with a plastic frame cutter or a plastic lighter, though, and I always keep one right in the top pocket of my bag. 

I'd say bring a pair of plastic frame cheapo cutters and a Bic and if it gets taken it gets taken. I'd use a fingernail and matches if I needed but I have never had a problem w a plastic cutter and soft plastic lighter so might as well bring it. 

As mentioned, international...all bets are off! 

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I always travel with a Bic lighter and a cheap cutter in my jacket pocket, never had a problem.  

I also always have more cutters and lighters in my checked luggage, also never had a problem.  

Remember, this is the TSA that back in 2015 failed to detect fake bombs and weapons in 67 out of 70 tests conducted by Homeland Security...

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Lighters can be a crap shoot, but I've flown hundreds of times with my cutter and never a problem.  

Funny story: I'm a semi-pro musician and when traveling for business or pleasure I always take my sax with me.   I carry the mouthpiece in my carry on bag, and the bag and sax case go through the xray machine.  I was stopped going through on one flight by the TSA folks who wanted to know what the sharp thing in my bag was.  They have me open it up, they reach in to where my cigar cutter is sitting next to my metal sax mouthpiece, and they pull out the mouthpiece!  "What is this?", they demanded to know.  Had to explain it to them. They completely ignored my cutter. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm glad someone posted this thread cause I've learned a but from reading a few of the responses so far, but incase I missed something I figured I'd ask. So I'm traveling domestic US from Pittsburgh to Florida at the begining of March and wanted to bring cigars. I was going to pack my lighter and cutter in my luggage and the cigars inside a travel humidor in my carry on. Has anyone ever been harassed bringing habanos cigars in carry on? I don't see why it would be a problem but I wanted to check with all you fine and knowledgeable folks out there as I don't fly too often.

 

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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
Thanks for posting that link that'll definatly come in handy.

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I'm glad someone posted this thread cause I've learned a but from reading a few of the responses so far, but incase I missed something I figured I'd ask. So I'm traveling domestic US from Pittsburgh to Florida at the begining of March and wanted to bring cigars. I was going to pack my lighter and cutter in my luggage and the cigars inside a travel humidor in my carry on. Has anyone ever been harassed bringing habanos cigars in carry on? I don't see why it would be a problem but I wanted to check with all you fine and knowledgeable folks out there as I don't fly too often.
 
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I’m doing it today, 8 Habanos in a Xicar, cutter, and matches going in my checked luggage.
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6 hours ago, jtfrizzy said:

I'm glad someone posted this thread cause I've learned a but from reading a few of the responses so far, but incase I missed something I figured I'd ask. So I'm traveling domestic US from Pittsburgh to Florida at the begining of March and wanted to bring cigars. I was going to pack my lighter and cutter in my luggage and the cigars inside a travel humidor in my carry on. Has anyone ever been harassed bringing habanos cigars in carry on? I don't see why it would be a problem but I wanted to check with all you fine and knowledgeable folks out there as I don't fly too often.

No problem with the cigars, regardless of the country of origin, when flying domestically. TSA is concerned about security, not enforcing customs laws.

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I never worry about it. The TSA is largely a non-issue. I take a cigar case, cheap plastic cutter and soft-flame in my box. No issues. If they take the cutter or lighter, no big deal. Never had them do that and flown around 30 times in the last 2 years. I will put my torch in my check-baggage if I'm going to be gone for long. Other than that, don't worry about it. 

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The cabin air will be very dry. IMHO it is better to carry cigars in sealed tupperware container or double ziplocks. That way they will keep the same water content as they have now. The travel humidor might not seal well enough to keep them humidified. Also don't put bovida or other humidifying agent in the box. Temperature changes might mess up what it does to the humidity.

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16 minutes ago, Mycroft said:

The cabin air will be very dry. IMHO it is better to carry cigars in sealed tupperware container or double ziplocks. That way they will keep the same water content as they have now. The travel humidor might not seal well enough to keep them humidified. Also don't put bovida or other humidifying agent in the box. Temperature changes might mess up what it does to the humidity.

To key off this. I use a cigar case of various sizes that seals excellently (water proof/air tight) then simply dry-box my cigars within if I'm going to be gone for a week or two. Opening the box for a minute isn't going to significantly affect the cigars. I wouldn't worry about humidity packs either. Cigars are more durable than we give them credit for. We over-baby them.

 

Cigar cases I use look like this. You can take them white-water rafting with this and have dry smokes when you're done.

 

HUM-CC5_03.jpg.d6cc398c850241a470937977fa681bdb.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Ethernut said:

To key off this. I use a cigar case of various sizes that seals excellently (water proof/air tight) then simply dry-box my cigars within if I'm going to be gone for a week or two. Opening the box for a minute isn't going to significantly affect the cigars. I wouldn't worry about humidity packs either. Cigars are more durable than we give them credit for. We over-baby them.

 

Cigar cases I use look like this. You can take them white-water rafting with this and have dry smokes when you're done.

Yes exactly, something airtight with no humidity packs. Humidity packs can do weird things under extreme conditions. I once flew with cigars (sealed up with Bovidas) in the hold of a flight to a very hot place (over 40 C without ac). They became totally unsmokeable until I dried them out. I assume it was the high temperatures but maybe it was the plane hold. Anyway, I never use humidity packs when I travel now. Just seal the cigars up in an airtight box and they are always fine.

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Yes exactly, something airtight with no humidity packs. Humidity packs can do weird things under extreme conditions. I once flew with cigars (sealed up with Bovidas) in the hold of a flight to a very hot place (over 40 C without ac). They became totally unsmokeable until I dried them out. I assume it was the high temperatures but maybe it was the plane hold. Anyway, I never use humidity packs when I travel now. Just seal the cigars up in an airtight box and they are always fine.

Interesting...what about a small Boveda in your airtight case in a carryon? I can understand why being in the hold of a plane could have some extreme temp changes but cabins are a little more stable.


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I use plastic Tupperware as my travel humi with one or two bovedas and I’ve never had an issue. I leave cutters and lighters at home. Never once had an issue finding some sort of light at my destination and if I can’t find a cutter I’ll use a sharp knife or my teeth like they did in the old days.

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I have never had a Bic lighter taken from my carry on; I wouldn't shed a tear if they did.  I take a cheap plastic molded guillotine cigar cutter and that's never been taken either.  I have had a waiter's corkscrew taken because of "the blade" that is dull as can be.  Now, I just ask the bartender at whatever hotel I am staying to open the wine buy outside the hotel or bring with me. I'd think a punch or deep v cut would be the most safe to bring.  I don't like pre-cutting as I never know how many if any cigars I will smoke.  I do roll each cigar in cellophane as they stay humid much longer and easier to just grab one cigar.

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Like El Hoze, I went through TSA and international Security about 130+ times last year. Each time with the set up in the pic. V-cut Xikar (version 1) and the Cigar Traveller lighter from FOH. Only stopped 1 time that I forgot to breakdown the lighter and put the fuel in my liquids bag. Sticks no problem at all. 

CB767491-35D0-482D-B526-CA67F0317CB5.jpeg

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No problem with the cigars, regardless of the country of origin, when flying domestically. TSA is concerned about security, not enforcing customs laws.
That's what I fugured but you never know so I figured I'd ask. Thanks for the reply.

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No issues going down or back with the Xicar stuffed with a cutter, matches, and CC’s.
Glad to hear. Hope your trip went well as well. I can't wait to leave the tundras of Pittsburgh for Florida the begining of March and it's such a relief knowing all you guys on here have already done what I'm going to be doing for the first time (bringing habanos, cutters, matches, lighters, etc. on a flight) and have shared your experiences.

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