Stressed Out By Holiday Travel?
The holiday travel season is here. I love to vape, find flying stressful and welcome every opportunity to partake. Crouching in a stall, above a public commode, flushing to hide the hiss of my device, risking a fine and zeroing out clouds by blowing them through my coat lapel does not hold much appeal. My desire not to be branded a buffoon and to represent vaping in the best possible light also play a role in my aversion to this sort of sneakiness.
The unpleasant truth is indoor smoking is so taboo that it has negatively impacted our ability to vape discretely and in peace. However, stringent public smoking bans only began to take hold in the middle of the last decade and there are still a number of states and that provide exemptions to certain businesses. This hodgepodge of state and local laws has resulted in “vaping friendly” airports or at the very least have provided “safe harbors” for e-cigarette use.
Vaping Friendly Also Means…Second Hand Smoke
You will notice a trend with this list. Vape friendly also equals smoker friendly. You may get a hearty dose of second hand smoke
when you duck into these lounges. It is unfair that vaping and smoking are linked to this extent but this is the reality in 2018. If your goal is to avoid cigarette smoke entirely, then this list is not going to be of much use.
The Best Airports for Vaping
Here are the best airports for vapers in the US. Whether you want to route your flights through these airports is a personal decision which will probably be determined in large part by logistics and location. But these are some of the busiest airports in the country and well worth looking into if you have a lengthy layover or if they are a local travel hub.
Atlanta Hartsfield Is the Best Airport for Vaping
The busiest airport in the United States is also the most vaper friendly. Atlanta Hartsfield smoking lounges
are found throughout the facility and it is easy to find a place to vape. How you feel about air quality will influence how much you enjoy the experience. An augmented ventilation system is in place in all of the lounges but it is severely tested by their sheer popularity with smokers.
The lounges are so heavily trafficked that the hard pressed staff cannot be expected to clear the ashtrays more than a couple times an hour. A pall of heavy smoke fills these rooms during peak travel times. Most of the lounges have plenty of seats but these fill up fast, especially if you don’t want to sit elbow to elbow with chain smokers.
If you are on a business trip, consider protecting your garments from the smoke smell. Also, there are no posted signs and you may need to ask for assistance locating some of the lounges. They are not always clearly visible.
During my many trips through Hartsfield, I have found that the restaurant and bar affiliated smoking areas are often less foul than the glass fishbowls located near the gates. Terminal 2 has two of these locations. The Gordon Biersch restaurant, located on the mezzanine level of the food court, and the gastropub Tap near gate A3 welcome smokers and vapers alike, although you may be shuffled to an adjacent room if you don’t feel like ordering from the menu
There is little rhyme or reason to the placement of the other lounges. Concourse D has no lounges and Concourse E has three. The Concourse E lounges were notably nicer than the other gate adjacent lounges when I visited the airport last year. At least one has televisions mounted on the wall. They are located near gates 9, 17 and 29.
Concourse F has a single lounge on the mezzanine level of the food court. Concourse B has lounges near gates 7 and 24. Concourse C also has two lounges and these are by gates 16 and 26. Now a shameless plug for the commuter airport in Augusta, Georgia. It has a beautiful outdoor garden area where you can vape with impunity. It may not get many flights each day but the facilities deserve an honorable mention.
My Personal Vaping Journey
It was in Augusta that I stopped smoking forever by giving my remaining carton of cigarettes to an employee who was taking a smoke break after Christmas 2012. I was new to vaping and worried that unpredictability of winter travel may require analogues. By the end of the holiday, I realized I preferred my Vapor Zeus in every scenario and had no need to keep cigarettes on hand. The unbelievable smokiness of my layover in an Atlanta Hartsfield lounge an hour later confirmed the wisdom of the decision to switch from smoking to vaping but this did not lessen my appreciation of vaping friendly airports.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
There are a number of states where smoking is mostly banned indoors except at adult entertainment facilities such as casinos. Whether this is just a cynical move to keep gamblers at sitting at the table or because the modern casinos are capable of handling second hand smoke is a different debate entirely.
The result of this link between gambling and smoking is that McCarran Airport smoking lounges
are found at every gate but A. You can vape at Barney’s Lounge at the C gate, and in the enclosed gaming lounges at B, C, D & E gates. The Bud 29 Track Lounge and T1 Esplanade also permit vaping.
Washington Dulles International Airport
The phrase Dull, duller, Dulles was not coined with this airport in mind, although it not intended as a compliment to the man the airport was named after. This airport is the most surprising entry on the list. Washington D.C. banned smoking in bars during the “smoke free” wave of 2006-2007 but the same rules do not apply to Dulles as it is located in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Dulles International smoking lounges
are located throughout the H shaped facility. Concourse A is the smallest concourse and does not technically have a lounge, but there are two on the adjacent B Concourse, the one at the far end of B Concourse being the nearest for those flying out of A. The B Concourse lounges are located by Gate B37 and by Gate B73. The Concourse C lounge is located at the far end by Gate C2 and at the other end of this wing is Concourse D’s lounge at Gate D30.
The Future of Airport Vaping Is Pay to Play
The obvious issue with the vaping friendly airport lounges is that they are shared with smokers. This may not bother many of the readers but this is a serious negative for some former smokers. They probably are not a great place to stop if you are suffering from a respiratory ailment.
Perhaps someday soon an entrepreneur will open an airport vape shop where smoking is not permitted. There is a trend towards to “pay to play” with smoking areas. Quite a few of the airport smoking lounges left in the US are also restaurants or smoke shops. Purchase is required at these locations, so this is not an inconceivable scenario. Unfortunately, we are still left with the butt end as of the writing of this article.