For the smokers in the group, you might be wondering, can I bring a lighter on a plane? It’s easy to assume you can’t take a lighter on a plane since fire is dangerous, but it’s not as simple as that.
There are certain TSA guidelines you must follow. Keep reading for details about lighters in hand luggage and lighters in checked luggage, plus info about the types that are prohibited in both places.
The short answer is that yes, in many cases you actually can take a lighter on a plane, BUT there are some exceptions you need to be aware of, so keep reading. And of course, remember that smoking is never allowed on board and could land you in jail.
Note: This post is written referencing TSA rules for travel from airports in the USA. Some countries may have different rules, so if you’re flying from an airport in another country, please look up the rules for the authority in that country.
So can you take a lighter on a plane?
The surprising answer to this question is yes. But only certain types of cigarette lighters are allowed on a plane, and only in some circumstances.
There are differences between taking a lighter in carry on and bringing a lighter in checked luggage, so make sure you know the rules to avoid having your lighter confiscated.
Bringing a lighter on a plane in carry on
Cigarette lighters are allowed in carry on bags as long as they are disposable or Zippo type lighters. They can still have fuel in them as well.
However, TSA has special rules for different types of lighters, including some that are actually not allowed in your cabin bag.
Arc Lighters, Plasma Lighters, Electronic Lighters, E-Lighters
Technically arc lighters, plasma lighters, electronic lighters, and e-lighters are permitted in carry on luggage, but only with special precautions. Here’s what TSA says:
Each lithium ion battery must not exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh; or for lithium metal batteries, a lithium content of 2 grams.
Recharging of the devices and/or the batteries on board the aircraft is not permitted.”
Other prohibited lighters
They also don’t allow torch lighters, gun lighters, or any kind of lighter that looks like a weapon. Stick to the basic disposables, like Bic lighters, or Zippo lighters.
Are Bic lighters allowed on planes?
Yes, Bic lighters are permitted on planes in hand luggage. This goes for other brands of disposable lighters, too.
Are Zippo lighters allowed on planes?
Yes, you can take Zippo lighters on a plane in hand luggage. Any similar brand is allowed too.
Can you pack lighter fluid in cabin baggage?
Lighter fluid is not permitted in carry on luggage in any quantity beyond what’s in the lighter itself. This is because it poses a fire risk.
If you need more than the amount in your disposable lighter or Zippo lighter, you’ll have to buy more once you arrive at your destination.
Can you take out your lighter on a plane?
You’re also not allowed to take the cigarette lighter out while in flight. Either keep it in your pocket or in your bag. Taking it out while in flight could pose a fire risk or be seen as a threatening act, so don’t remove it.
Taking a lighter on a plane in checked baggage
Due to fire hazard, you can’t take a lighter on a plane in checked baggage, unless the have no fuel in them. Keep in mind that even one drop counts, so even if you think it’s empty, security might think differently.
If you do want to take a lighter in your checked bag, you are allowed to take a maximum of two, but only if they are packed in a DOT approved lighter case.
Note: I’ve looked for DOT approved lighter cases on Amazon with no luck. So ultimately I’d say the answer is no, you can’t pack a lighter in checked baggage.
Arc lighters, plasma lighters, electronic lighters, e-lighters, gun lighters, and torch lighters are not permitted in checked luggage at all. So even if you have a DOT approved case, these types of lighters are still not allowed on an airplane.
Can you pack lighter fluid in checked baggage?
Lighter fluid is not permitted in checked luggage in any quantity. This is because it poses a fire risk.
Can you have a Bic lighter in checked luggage?
Technically you can bring a Bic lighter in checked luggage if it is completely 100% empty of lighter fluid AND only if they are packed in a DOT approved lighter case.
But since it’s nearly impossible to completely empty it and those cases are like finding a unicorn, you’re better off packing it in carry on so it doesn’t get confiscated.
Or since Bic lighters and other disposable lighters are cheap, save yourself the hassle and buy one when you arrive at your destination.
Can you take a Zippo lighter in checked luggage?
This is the same as with a Bic lighter. According to TSA, Zippos are allowed in checked bags only if they’re 100% empty AND in a DOT approved lighter case.
But it’s unlikely you can fulfill either of those requirements, so I wouldn’t recommend trying. Pack it in your carry on bag to be safe.
Can you bring other flammable items on a plane?
I think this goes without saying, but flammable liquids, gels, gases, and other items that could easily ignite are too dangerous to take on an airplane.
Here’s a list of items that are NOT permitted in either carry on baggage or checked baggage, and keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list:
- Fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers
- Liquid bleach
- Fire extinguishers and other compressed gas cylinders
- Fuel, gasoline, propane
- Flammable paint or spray paint
- Recreational oxygen
- Turpentine or paint thinner
- Anything else that could easily catch on fire or explode
They will get confiscated, and you could even get in trouble for trying to travel with these kinds of things. Even replicas of explosives, such as toy versions or fakes, are also prohibited on airplanes.
Don’t bring these at all, not in carry on bags or checked bags.
Gel candles are not allowed in carry on luggage, but you can pack them in your checked luggage. Normal wax candles can go in either carry on or checked baggage.
Flying with a lighter
The rules surrounding flying with a lighter are there to keep you safe. The very purpose of these items is to make fire, so the limitations help prevent an emergency situation.
If you’re worried about a special lighter being confiscated, I’d recommend flying with a Bic lighter or a simple book of safety matches. Otherwise, you could easily pick up a lighter once you land at your destination to avoid the hassle completely.
And remember, these are just the TSA rules for flying in the US. Other countries around the world could have stricter rules and not let you take lighters on a plane at all.
Hopefully this answers all your questions about bringing a lighter on a plane!
You might also enjoy:
- What NOT to Pack in Your Carry On Bag
- Best Carry-On Luggage
- Carry On Toiletries: Non-Liquid Options for Carry On Travel
- Or check out the rest of our packing tips here