Cigar Aficionado

Zippo Cargo Case by OtterBox

At the airport's security checkpoint, you watch in horror as the poorly informed passenger in front of you is forced to plunk his high-end lighter into a plastic bucket with all the other jettisoned disposables in accordance with measures that keep all such devices off airlines and subject passengers to loss of valuable equipment. But your dismay turns to delight when you remember that you are carrying the Zippo Cargo Case by OtterBox, which will allow you to pass scot-free and have a light waiting at the baggage claim.

The Cargo Case lets you take full lighters on your flight in checked baggage. Last year, the Zippo Manufacturing Co. pursued a compromise to the provisions in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act that ban lighters anywhere on airplanes. The 74-year-old, Pennsylvania-based company secured the consideration by teaming up with Otter Products, a Colorado company that makes rugged plastic cases for products like laptops, iPods and cigars. The partnership produced a virtually indestructible polycarbonate container that is waterproof to 100 feet. It has a dedicated design specific to the iconic Zippo shape and a silicone gasket that seals in vapor. These security measures were enough for the U.S. Department of Transportation to deem the box safe to carry Zippos on airplanes, provided they are packed in luggage that is stored in the cargo hold. The price for this privilege is a mere $12.95 a case (guaranteed for life).

However, the exemption, which was granted on June 23, pertains only to Zippo lighters, and only two such fueled lighters (one per OtterBox case) are permitted per passenger on an airplane. Those who prefer a butane torch may also transport the Z-plus insert from Blazer, which also fits snugly in the box. We hear that other lighter manufacturers, including Prometheus, are working on similar cases and pursuing their own special dispensation from the lighter regulation.

The Intelligence Reform Act now allows new lighters that have never held fuel to be packed in checked luggage (no protective case is needed). Of course, that begs the question: how do you transport the lighter home if you fill it in your travels? Lighters that don't comply with regulations will still be confiscated and destroyed-an expensive proposition when carrying luxury brand accessories.

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