You can bring flashlights on a plane in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage.
However, you may run into issues with tactical flashlights and flashlights with an installed lithium battery.
If you’re going camping or traveling anywhere where you might end up in dark areas, you may want to know if you can bring a flashlight with you before you start packing.
Well, luckily, most airlines allow passengers to bring ordinary flashlights.
But, you should know that the TSA can confiscate any item they deem dangerous from carry-on or check-in bags.
So, there is always a possibility of them taking your light.
Can I Bring a Flashlight on a Plane?
Overall, you can bring most regular flashlights on a plane in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage.
There is nothing dangerous about a regular flashlight, so the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) does not see a problem with them.
Can I Bring a Flashlight With Lithium Batteries?
In February 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement saying that lithium batteries are dangerous since they can and have caught fire on airplanes.
Thus, the FAA and TSA have certain rules about bringing these power units on the plane.
First of all, you should pack flashlights or anything else with non-removable lithium batteries, like a cell phone, in your carry-on baggage.
Your carry-on bag is better for these cells because if they catch fire in the air, a flight attendant can deal with the situation immediately.
The same goes for spare lithium flashlight batteries.
These cells should always go in carry-on baggage.
But, you can pack a flashlight with a lithium battery in checked baggage as long as the device is powered off and you have ensured there’s no way it can accidentally turn on.
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Can I Bring a Tactical Flashlight on a Plane?
The rules for tactical flashlights aren’t very clear.
The TSA states that you can bring a tactical flashlight in your carry-on, but any TSA agent has the right to confiscate it if they deem that it’s a threat.
The reason that the TSA can sometimes classify tacticals as a threat is that they are meant to blind attackers.
Thus, a TSA officer might consider one of these items to be a self-defense flashlight and not allow it on the plane.
They can even take it from a checked bag if they feel it’s unsafe.
Can I Bring a Flashlight Stun Gun on a Plane?
You can not bring any type of self-defense weapon in the plane’s cabin.
But, you can pack a stun gun in your checked baggage as long as it is off and it can not accidentally turn on.
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How to Pack Spare Lithium Batteries
If you have a rechargeable flashlight, you may want to bring spare batteries on your flight.
But, remember that spare power units can not go in checked baggage.
You have to bring all spare cells with you in your carry-on.
If you need to bring multiple power cells with you, it may be best to get a case designed for these batteries.
These battery cases will contain any ignition and keep the risk of fire to a minimum.
The Final Decision Rests With the TSA
Above, we mentioned that whether you can bring tacticals depends on the opinion of the agent at airline security.
Well, in fact, the final decision for any item always rests with the TSA officer on duty.
Thus, airport security personnel may take a flashlight if they believe it could be a weapon.
Some examples of flashlights that the TSA may not allow in hand luggage include:
- A flashlight heavy enough to break glass
- A larger flashlight, most often one over seven inches long
- A flashlight with a larger beam, which you could use to blind someone
- A flashlight with sharp edges
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How to Find Out if Your Flashlight is TSA-Approved
Since the ultimate decision is up to the TSA officer on duty, there is no way to ensure that a security agent won’t confiscate your flashlight.
But, there are a few ways to determine the likelihood of the TSA taking your light.
First off, you can go to the TSA website and search for current rules about flashlights since regulations may have changed since the writing of this article.
Or, you can read the airline’s rules to find out if yours prohibits the carry of certain types of flashlights.
You can also directly ask the TSA or airport a question with a phone call or sometimes even through Twitter.
But, remember that the TSA can always take a flashlight during the screening process, even if you got approval beforehand.
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