Everything you need to know about flying with cigars

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Everything you need to know about flying with cigars

Smoking a cigar is one of life’s simple pleasures. But things get more complicated when you’re up in the clouds.

From correctly packing your favorite smokes to the number of cigars you can take on board, you need to be prepared when traveling with cigars on a plan. We’ve packed this guide with everything you need to know about flying with cigars. 

Are cigars permitted on a plane?

Your beloved smokes are welcome passengers on a plane, providing they are in your carry-on or checked luggage. While lighting up during the flight is out of bounds, you’ll have the satisfaction of enjoying your stogies once you’ve reached your destination. But is there a limit to the number of cigars you can bring on board?

How many cigars can you fly with?

If you’re elsewhere within the USA, you can bring up to 100 cigars without incurring taxes. Anything above and you’ll be paying a duty.

International flights require more research. You’ll need to find out the exact amount of cigars you can pass in and out of the country you are visiting on both legs of your flight.

Visiting Cuba? Don’t forget about the Cuban embargo, which prevents US citizens from home with Cuban cigars. However, if you find Cuban smokes in other countries, you can buy them there and bring them back to the US.

How to pack when flying with cigars

Once you’ve found out how many cigars you can travel with, you’ll need to start packing them.

Cigars rely on a stable environment that’s free from drastic temperature changes. It’s your job to ensure your smokes are protected and well-humidified so they don’t get crushed, damaged, or wet. 

You’ll first need to decide what luggage to place your cigars in. We’d always recommend your carry-on bag, as it prevents potential damage by baggage handlers.

On the other hand, your checked baggage is practical for longer trips and larger quantities of cigars. You won’t have to worry about carry-on restraints and will have space for more protective accessories like hard cigar cases or travel humidors.

Consider the conditions of each part of the aircraft. An airplane cabin is climate-controlled, while the cargo hold is much more hostile with its high temperatures and pressure changes.

Be mindful that your cigars can still suffer if carried on board. This typically applies to longer flights, where the pressurized air’s dryness negatively impacts a stick’s freshness.

Here are some helpful packing tips to keep your cigar secure during airplane travel.

1.   Protect cigars with a suitable cigar accessory like a travel humidor or Tupperware to keep them fresh and secure while cruising at 30,000 feet.

2.   Gently pack your travel case or humidor within a compartment with clothing or other soft items so it can’t be knocked around.

3.   Keep your cigars separate from shoes and socks to avoid absorbing the aromas and tastes of their surroundings.

4.   Only packing enough cigars to cover your trip saves space and alleviates stress on their condition.

How to keep your cigars fresh on a plane

Long flights, connections, and layovers can make it more difficult to keep your cigars fresh while travelling. However, if you plan ahead, you can work out the best way to transport your beloved smokes.

Let’s look at some handy cigar travel storage accessories to ensure your collection isn’t subjected to a turbulent experience.

Ziplock bag

A ziplock bag is practical when you plan to smoke your cigars within a few days of landing. Store the bag in a firm container for an extra layer of protection so your smokes arrive in good shape.


Sturdy tubos (Spanish for “tube”) are another excellent option for short flights. They are made from wood, glass, or, more commonly, aluminum and are designed to conveniently hold and protect a single cigar. The tube is usually cedar-lined to help maintain a cigar’s aroma, freshness, and humidity longer than if it was left out in the open.

Cigar cases

Cigar cases come in different sizes. You can get cases to hold a couple of cigars or larger options with capacity for up to 50 smokes.

Leather cigar cases are the most popular choice, but they are only suitable for short flights because the cigars will eventually absorb the smell and taste of leather. Leather cases and wooden cases also absorb moisture, which can cause your cigars to dry out.

Metal, wood, or a combination of all three materials are also used in their construction. As metal doesn’t absorb moisture in the same way, it has a strong case for use on longer flights.

Travel humidors

Frequent flyers should seriously consider a travel cigar humidor. They offer vast space for your collection and are usually lined with Spanish cedar wood to retain moisture and fight against mold. Some even feature foam inlays to prevent movement of cigars during transport.

Fill the humidifier before your flight and your cigars should stay fresh for a couple of weeks. It’s also worth throwing in a Boveda humidity pack to ensure the humidity is regulated to the perfect level.

Of course, a sturdy travel humidor with a hard shell and airtight seals will also offer added protection to ensure your cigars land in prime condition.

Can I bring cigar accessories on a plane?

No cigar (unless it’s a capless machine-made one) can be enjoyed without a cut and a light. But what are the regulations regarding bringing cigar cutters and lighters on a plane?

· The Transport Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t allow torch lighters on planes, both in carry-on and checked baggage.

· Disposable and zippo lighters without fuel are allowed in checked bags. If you try to take them on board, you risk losing them at security.

· A soft flame lighter or a single box of matches are generally permitted in carry-on luggage.

· You aren’t allowed to travel with a cigar cutter that has a blade four inches or longer.

· Even though punch cutters and v-cutters aren’t classed as sharp objects, they are still better off in your checked bags to avoid potential problems with airport security.

· Packing cheap cigar cutters and lighters is sensible in case they are confiscated.

How to fly with cigars

It’s time to close the cabin doors ready for departure. Using the insights of this guide, you’re primed to conquer the skies with your cigar collection in tow. Don’t forget to do your research, too, as each airline has its own set of rules that will dictate how you pack and carry your cigars. 

Whether it’s a short hop to see relatives or a flight to the other side of the world, be assured that your precious smokes can be your side every step of the way.

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