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Flying on a Plane with Vape Pens: The TSA Rules and Guidelines

Packing for travel, no doubt you want to bring your trusty vape pen. Whether you're flying to a legalized state or just plan to puff some CBD to ease the travel stress, a vape pen is the single more travel-friendly way to enjoy cannabis, nicotine, or just flavored e-liquid on the go. At VESSEL, we specialize not just in great vape pens, but in vape designs that are built and reliable to travel. From the Expedition to the Compass, just the way we name our devices shows how much we care about transport-worthy design.

So, if you're planning an airplane trip, can you take your favorite vape on the plane?

Answer: Probably. But first, you'll need to memorize the strict and kind-of finicky rules regarding federal law and TSA policies. VESSEL is ready to answer all the most important questions you have about flying on a plane with your vape pen - and how to do it right. 

Can You Take Your Vape Pen on an Airplane? 

Yes, but only in your carry-on.

The first and most important question is whether your vape pen or box mod can come on the plane at all. The answer, generally, is "Yes".  But only on your person or in your carry-on.  This is because most vape pens, like many small personal devices today, are powered by lithium-ion batteries. The rules that apply to your vape apply to every lithium-ion device  - from smartwatches to electric skateboards. However, because vape pens are likely to have an especially powerful and rechargeable battery, they are particularly closely regulated.

Under no circumstances should you pack a vape pen or box mod in your luggage. Why? Because it can/will explode in the cargo hold.

Lithium-Ion batteries explode in airplane cargo

Vape pens cannot go in your checked luggage because airplane cargo holds are not temperature-regulated. The temperature can drop to freezing or rise to toasty based on weather and flight patterns, and lithium-ion battery explosions have actually been brought down, and people have been hurt, by fires started from exploding lithium batteries in the cargo hold. These chemically started fires also release toxic fumes, making it dangerous for crew to even fight the fire.

So on this one, we're with the TSA. Keep your vape pen in the temperature-regulated passenger compartment by carrying it your pocket or carry-on.

Can You Fly with Vape Carts?

All Airspace is Federal Airspace

Can you fly with cannabis? Can you bring any vape carts on the plane at all? This is a three-layer question. The most important thing to understand is that all airspace is federal airspace. Legally, this means that between your TSA entry checkpoint and your destination baggage claim is all one national border. So federal law applies.

Yes (mostly): CBD, Nicotine, and Juice Carts

Just like taking a road trip across state lines, there are vape carts you can safely fly with, and those you can't. Federally legal substances including CBD, nicotine, and e-juice-only carts are fine, but you might get hassled and have to throw them out if the TSA can't prove that it's not THC cannabis. So, we wouldn't advise stocking up before your trip. At most, bring one CBD cart to help you make it through your day of travel.

If you pack any non-THC carts, keep them in the sealed and clearly labeled packaging until you're past the security checkpoint.

No: THC > 0.3%

You absolutely cannot bring any THC into the airport and especially not past the TSA checkpoint. If the TSA decides to go hard and finds trace THC in a device, like the bong packed in your luggage, you could get in some serious trouble. Do not try to bring THC vape carts onto an airplane, it likely will not be a fun experience.

However, because you are not actually piloting the plane, you can pre-game a THC one-hitter in the last smoking section to help you make it through the airport and flight experience, then pick up more THC at your destination if you land in a legal state.

Synthetic THC: Don't risk it

Can you bring Delta-8 or THC-0 on an airplane? We wouldn't risk it. The TSA is not known to be lenient on the side of gray-area law and are more likely to confiscate legal CBD carts than to allow synthetic THC through security. If you want to avoid a long arguement about legal gray areas from the TSA holding area, leave your Delta-8 at home.

Interestingly, you can legally pack Delta-8 and THC-0 in your luggage under most circumstances, but this also increases the risk of your luggage being searched if the carts are scanned and suspected as contraband. Be careful. 

Can you Safely Vape Cannabis on an Airplane?


After you have successfully brought your vape pen on the plane, the next important question is: Can you vape? If you got through with some packaged CBD carts, can you use them to ease your on-flight nausea or airplane-chair bach ache? 

Unfortunately, no. There is no vaping (or smoking) permitted on any US airliner, and you are also responsible for preventing your vape pen from "firing" (button press, heating up) while in the air. With or without a cart screwed in.

We advise keeping your cart and vape pen separate so that if you do pocket-tap your vape button by accident, nothing happens except a little power is lost.

You can vape in airport smoking lounges

If you need some CBD to help you get through a flight, you're not totally out of luck. You can actually vape in most airports - in smoking lounges. Many airports still have a few smoking lounges - or airline lounges with a smoking terrace. You can often gain access just by signing up as a lounge member online, paying a small fee, or finding the rare free access smoking lounge.

In a smoking lounge, you are free to fire up any federally legal cartridge in your vape pen and pre-load your body's supply of CBD (and even low-spectrum THC below 0.3%). This can help you get through shorter flights.

Final Tips on Flying with Your Vape Pen

Now you know all the essentials for safely flying with your vape pen. Of course, vape travel has it's little nuances, and we're here to help. Let us leave you with a few parting words of wisdom from vape pros with a penchant for travel.

1. Keep Your Vape Pen On Your Person

First and foremost, always keep your vape pen with you. You can tuck it safely in your carry-on if your pockets are the "drop everything" type, but we advise the inner pocket of your jacket or a buttoning pocket of your pants just in case. This ensures that your vape pen is not only nearby, but also that it can't accidentally "fire" when your carry-on is packed into other baggage in the overhead compartment.

2. Don't forget Your Charge Cable

As with all small devices, don't get caught without a charge cable, or you'll be kicking yourself on day 2 or 3 of your trip. Or, more likely, making an emergency run to the store for another cable.

3. Pack Backup Batteries Safely

If you are bringing more than one vape pen or backup lithium-ion batteries for a box mod, pack them tightly in your carry-on. Never, even accidentally, allow a lithium-ion battery or vape device to wind up in the cargo hold with the checked luggage.

4. Bring CBD Gummies for a Long Flight

We know it can be tough to go your entire flight without hitting the vape, especially if you use it for the stress, nausea, or physical discomfort of travel. Whether or not you can find a smoking lounge on either end of your flight, a packet of CBD gummies can help you tide over those vape-free hours on a long and painful flight.

5. Know Your Cart Source Upon Arrival

Finally, know where you're going to stock up on carts when you arrive. Because it's best to travel light and you are always at risk of the TSA taking even legal carts, make plans for a trip to or delivery from a local dispensary at your destination to ensure your vape pen is fully enjoyed on your trp.

Flying with Vessel Vape Pens

At VESSEL, we love travel, exploration, and new horizons - with your vape in hand. That's why we designed durable vape pen and box models that fit perfectly in your pocket and can survive some awesome activity. For more insights on how to travel by air, land, or sea with your vape, reach out or stay tuned! To find the perfect vape for your next adventure, check out our adventure-ready devices.