Lighters are one of the most common tools people bring while traveling.
Unfortunately for air passengers, airlines and airport security personnel also highly restrict these flammable devices.
Travelers can bring Zippos, disposable, coil, and electric lighters on a plane; however, there are strict guidelines on how they must be packed. Zippos and disposable lighters with fuel must be put in carry-on luggage. Coil, plasma, and arc lighters are also allowed in carry-on but must be safely secured by removing the lithium battery, using a protective case, or locking the activation button. Torch lighters and all lighter fluids are prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage.
The following explains the rules for bringing lighters on a plane, including how to pack them and what types of flammable items are allowed or prohibited.
Types of Lighters Allowed On Planes (Quick Skim)
|Type of Lighter||Allowed in Carry-On?||Allowed in Checked Luggage?|
|Zippos||Yes||Yes, but with restrictions|
|Disposable (e.g., Bic lighters)||Yes||Yes, but with restrictions|
|Tesla coil||Yes, but with restrictions||No|
|Arc||Yes, but with restrictions||No|
|Plasma||Yes, but with restrictions||No|
|Electric||Yes, but with restrictions||No|
Read Also >> Can You Bring Safety Pins on a Plane?
Can You Bring Lighters in Carry-On Luggage?
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) tightly regulates the types of lighters permitted on aircraft leaving the United States and where they can be packed.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for enforcing all guidelines, and whether an item can pass through airport security is at the discretion of the officer on duty.
Generally speaking, TSA/DOT-approved lighters should be packed in your carry-on to avoid having your luggage flagged and your items confiscated.
If you have questions about your specific lighter, you can contact the TSA via social media, telephone, or email.
It’s also important to note that while the TSA allows certain lighters in a carry-on, other countries or international airlines may have different guidelines.
When traveling abroad, ensure you confirm all the rules and regulations for your trip before packing any potentially hazardous materials.
Disposable and Zippo Lighters
Zippos and disposable lighters (like a Bic) are the most commonly used lighters, and air travelers can bring them in carry-on bags.
Although it’s unnecessary, bringing a DOT-certified lighter on a plane is best.
Airport security is familiar with these lighter brands and typically doesn’t inspect them.
If you bring lighters that don’t meet this criterion, the TSA might pull your belongings aside for additional screening.
Tesla Coil, Arc, Plasma, and Electric Lighters
Rechargeable lighters powered by lithium-ion batteries, such as Tesla coil, arc/double arc, plasma, and electric lighters, are permitted in carry-on luggage, but passengers must take extra precautions.
To ensure your rechargeable lighter is packed safely for travel, you must:
- Remove the battery; or
- Use a protective case; or
- Ensure there’s a cover, safety latch, or locking mechanism on the lighter’s activation button.
The battery itself may not exceed 100 Watt-hours (Wh), and you may not charge your lighter while on the aircraft.
The TSA explicitly forbids torch lighters, such as blue-flame burners, cigar lighters, culinary torches, and jet lighters, from all aircraft.
Some companies claim their torch lighter carrying cases are TSA/DOT approved and that you can bring yours on a plane, especially if it’s new.
You may be able to bring the torch handle, but you won’t be able to bring any fuel on board an aircraft.
Moreover, transporting any items expressly prohibited by the TSA is risky, and you should confirm whether your torch is permitted before heading to the airport.
Read Also >> Can You Bring a Guitar on a Plane?
Can You Bring Lighters in Checked Luggage?
Generally speaking, no, you cannot bring lighters in checked luggage.
The only exceptions are empty Zippos or disposable lighters (no limit) and up to two lighters with fuel if properly enclosed in a DOT-approved case.
The TSA will scan your checked bags before loading them on the plane and may inspect or remove any items that alert their system.
Types of Lighters Not Allowed On Planes
Other than torch lighters, any lighter shaped like a weapon is prohibited in checked or carry-on luggage, regardless if it’s new and unfuelled.
The TSA will remove any realistic replicas of weapons (e.g., guns) or explosive/incendiary devices (e.g., grenades) from all luggage.
Read Also >> Can You Bring A Razor On A Plane?
Can I Bring Lighter Fluid or Matches On a Plane?
The TSA prohibits all flammable liquids, including lighter fluid, onboard aircraft.
If you decide to bring a refillable lighter, such as a Zippo, you’ll have to purchase lighter fluid at your destination and leave it behind when you head home.
Read Also >> Can You Bring Aerosols/Hairspray on a Plane?
Can I Bring Cigarettes or Cigars On a Plane?
The TSA permits cigarettes and cigars on planes; however, the amounts allowed on international flights depend on the customs rules at your destination.
Travelers over the age of 21 returning to the US from abroad may bring back 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars duty-free.
If you exceed your duty-free limit, you will have to pay import taxes/fees.
For more information on taxes and duty rates for tobacco products, contact your Port of Entry and speak to a customs agent.
Can I Bring Vapes and E-Cigarettes On a Plane?
Vapes and electronic cigarettes are permitted on planes but only in carry-on luggage.
Passengers must also pack their vaping devices and e-cigarettes so they cannot be activated during a flight.
E-liquids are also allowed in carry-on and checked bags; however, when bringing e-juice in your hand luggage, it must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule and cannot be in containers larger than 3.4 oz (100 ml).
The TSA allows passengers to bring lighters on planes, but certain rules and restrictions are in place.
Travelers cannot bring torch or gas lighters (or lighter fluid) in either carry-on or checked baggage.
You can only bring Zippos, disposable lighters (like a Bic), Tesla coil, arc/double arc, and plasma lighters in your carry-on bags.
You must also securely pack coil, arc, or plasma lighters so they will not accidentally activate mid-flight.
Most lighters are not permitted in checked luggage, especially if they’re full of lighter fluid or powered by lithium-ion batteries.
While there are certain exemptions for empty Zippos and disposable lighters, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and travel with your lighter in your hand luggage.
Table of Contents
- Types of Lighters Allowed On Planes (Quick Skim)
- Can You Bring Lighters in Carry-On Luggage?
- Can You Bring Lighters in Checked Luggage?
- Types of Lighters Not Allowed On Planes
- Can I Bring Lighter Fluid or Matches On a Plane?
- Can I Bring Cigarettes or Cigars On a Plane?
- Can I Bring Vapes and E-Cigarettes On a Plane?