It was only a matter of time before airlines started to give vapers a hard time. While vaping isn’t allowed on board any flight in the United States, it has always been okay to pack ecigarettes in both checked bags and carry on luggage. Now that’s all changed according to Monday’s announcement from the Department of Transportation.
After two fires sparked by improperly packed ecig batteries, the DOT is now prohibiting ecigarettes in all checked luggage. “Transportation of battery-powered devices that are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat is prohibited unless they are packaged in such a manner to preclude such an occurrence,” the DOT said in the announcement.
For vapers that travel frequently, this new policy could cause some frustration. Luckily, you are still free to bring your electronic cigarette when you fly, but you just have to keep it in your carry on bag or in your pocket. Interestingly, the is the opposite of the usual policies for items that flight authorities find questionable. For instance, firearms cannot be stored in carry on bags, but they canned be packed in checked luggage.
While explaining the reasoning for the new rules, the DOT pointed to two fires in checked baggage tied to ecigs. In August of 2014, a piece of luggage in the cargo area under a plane caught on fire at Boston’s Logan Airport. Authorities later found the charred ecig inside. In a second incident in January 2015, a bag caught in fire at Los Angeles International Airport.
“These incidents – and several others occurring outside of air transportation – have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or left on,” explained the DOT.
Do you think banning ecigs in checked baggage is the best way to prevent accidental fires? Should passengers be allowed to store ecigs in their luggage if the batteries are stored properly?