If you haven’t been traveling a lot, you might not know the TSA’s (Transport Security Administration) rules on common flammables, like lighters, matches, cigarettes, batteries, and so on.
If you’d accidentally bring something that’s banned on a plane and the airline crew would find out, you could get in trouble. So it’s worth it to spend a few minutes learning the basics, especially if you’re a smoker.
In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about bringing flammables on planes.
Can You Bring Lighters on Planes?
In general, only the most basic lighters are allowed on planes, and each person can take only one lighter with them. Just remember that here we’re talking only about the U.S., so some of these rules might not work in other parts of the world. We’ll talk about the most common rules for other countries and airline regulators down below under “Lighters and Matches on International Flights.”
Disposable and Zippo Lighters
According to the TSA, disposable lighters (regular Bric’s lighters) and Zippo lighters are allowed in hand luggage, even with fuel inside. But if you’re planning on bringing disposable lighters or Zippo lighters in checked baggage, they have to be completely empty of any fuel residue. This usually means that only completely new and unused Zippo lighters will be accepted in checked baggage.
There is one exception, though. Two Zippo and disposable lighters with fuel are allowed in checked baggage if they’re properly enclosed in a DOT approved case.
Arc Lighters, Plasma Lighters, Electronic Lighters, E-Lighters, Torch Lighters
According to the TSA, electronic lighters, plasma lighters, e-lighters, torch lighters (lighters with blue flame,) and plasma lighters are banned from hand luggage and checked baggage.
Any type of lighter fluid – butane, gas, and fuel, is banned on airplanes in checked baggage and hand luggage. If you’re planning on using a zippo lighter, you can bring it with you, but you’ll have to purchase additional fuel only when you arrive.
Can You Bring Matches on Planes?
Matches seem less dangerous than lighters, so you might bet inclined to bring a pack of safety matches instead. Don’t be fooled by the appearance – matches are just as dangerous, and bringing the wrong type may get you in trouble.
According to the TSA, each passenger can bring one pack of safety matches in the hand luggage. You just have to make sure that you’re bringing safety matches, instead of strike-everywhere matches, because these are banned. Also, remember that one pack of safety matches per passenger is allowed only in hand luggage, not checked bags. All types of matches are banned in checked bags.
Can You Bring Lighters and Matches on International Flights?
Above we looked only at the U.S. regulations on lighters and matches on planes set by the TSA and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). But when you’re flying internationally, you’re flying through other airspaces, not only the U.S., which are governed by other airline regulators and government transportation branches. Here, we’ll take a look at the rules on lighters and matches in other countries.
A word of advice: Always, regardless of the airline regulator’s rules on lighters and matches, when going through the security, let the security agents know you’re carrying a lighter or matches. They’ll most likely ask you to show them to you, and they’ll determine whether they’re allowed or not. The final decision always rests with the security officer, because the airline regulators only provide guidelines.
IATA (International Air Transport Association)
IATA is the largest airline regulator in the world and governs about 82% of the total aerospace flights in the world. Their rules are as follows.
A single pack of safety matches per passenger is allowed in only in one’s person (in a pocket or purse.) Strike-anywhere matches are banned.
Each passenger can carry a small cigarette lighter on one’s person (in a pocket or purse,) if not already carrying a pack of safety matches. The lighter can’t contain any liquid fuel, except for liquified gas, so basically, only gas lighters are allowed. Any type of additional lighter fuel, and “blue flame” butane lighters are banned.
CAA (Civil Aviation Authority)
CAA is the main regulator in the UK. Their rules for matches and lighters are identical to IATA, except that on some flights, “blue light” butane lighters are allowed. That’s heavily dependant on the airline though.
CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China)
CAAC governs all airlines operating within China. From what we found, it looks like matches and lighters are banned from all flights within China.
Here’s a quote from CAAC:
Lighters and matches should not be carried on board civil aircraft
CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Administration)
CASA governs the Australian airspace, and their rules on lighters and matches are as follows:
Only disposable and zippo lighters that contain absorbed liquid fuel or absorbed liquid gas are allowed. Only one lighter is allowed per person and must be carried in a pocket or in hand luggage. Disposable and zippo lighters from checked luggage are banned.
Safety matches, strike-anywhere matches, lighter refills, lighter fuel, and all other types of lighters are banned.
TCCA (Transport Canada Civil Aviation)
TCCA governs the Canadian airspace. According to their website, non-refillable disposable lighters and non-torch zippo lighters are allowed in carry-on luggage but are banned from checked bags.
What About Bringing Other Common Flammables on Planes?
There are a lot of other flammable objects that are prohibited or limited on airplanes. On here we’ll cover the most common ones that a lot of people usually try to bring on airplanes, like cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, batteries, candles, and others.
Electronic Cigarettes and other Vaping Devices
Battery-powered electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices are only allowed in hand luggage and banned from checked bags. Never try to vape during a flight, because it’s strictly forbidden. It’s also prohibited even to charge your vaping device during a flight, so you might want to disconnect the battery completely.
Vaping liquids are allowed in hand luggage and checked bags, but when packed in hand luggage, have to follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids (must be in 3.4 oz containers or less and has to be stored together with your other toiletries.)
Cigarettes and Cigars
Cigarettes and cigars are allowed in hand luggage and checked bags, and no quantity or size limits are set by the TSA. That said, the U.S. customs limits each passenger to bringing 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars on each flight into the U.S. You can’t bring more if you don’t have the appropriate license.
Butane, Gas, Propane, and Fuel Cartridges (For Curling Irons, Hair Straighteners, Camp Stoves, e.t.c.)
All cartridges with flammable liquids or gases are banned from flights with a few exceptions. Empty camp stoves clean of any residue are allowed on flights and checked bags after performing an inspection. And butane cartridges full of butane are allowed only for curling irons and hair straighteners. Passengers are limited only to one butane cartridge, and no additional cartridges are allowed. They’re allowed only on flights and are banned from checked bags.
Batteries (Aa, Aaa, C, and D)
Regular dry batteries are allowed in carry-on bags and checked baggage, and no additional limits are set by the TSA.
Only lithium batteries are considered dangerous by the TSA. There have been many incidents where lithium batteries spontaneously ignited, which is why there are quite a few limitations for them.
Lithium batteries on personal portable devices, like laptops, tablets, phones, power banks are allowed in carry-on bags, but they must be able to turn on. They’re also allowed in checked bags, but the device must be turned off and protected from accidental activation.
Other lithium batteries with less than 100 watt-hours that aren’t on personal devices are allowed in hand luggage and checked luggage, but they must be safely secured in checked bags.
Lithium batteries over 100 watt-hours are banned from checked bags, and up to two batteries can be packed in hand luggage with the airline approval.
Firecrackers and Christmas Crackers
Firecrackers, Christmas crackers, and other items that may ‘pop’ open and cause a disturbance are banned from checked baggage and carry-on bags.
Spray paint is banned from hand luggage and checked bags because it’s flammable and stored in an aerosol container, which is too dangerous for flights.
Solid candles are allowed in checked baggage and hand luggage, and no additional limits have been set by the TSA. But if you’re planning on bringing liquid candles, remember that these are banned in hand luggage (even if under 3.4 oz) and only allowed in checked bags.
Can You Smoke on a Plane?
Inflight smoking was quite common a few decades ago but now is banned virtually everywhere across the world. We looked around, and we couldn’t find a single airline that still allows smoking on planes, so don’t even try to do that.
That said, quite a few people get arrested every year when trying to smoke in the bathrooms. All airlines have smoke detectors, and smoke is easily detected, so usually, when these people arrive, they’re bought in by the police and face the charges.
Can You Smoke on a Private Plane?
It appears that if you own a private aircraft, you’re exempt from the worldwide ban on smoking on airplanes. You see, smoking is banned only on commercial airlines, not on private aircraft.
Some private charter flights even allow their passengers to smoke, and that’s completely legal. However, if you do decide to smoke on your plane, you do have to follow detailed FAA rules, which require to have a specific amount of ashtrays and other things.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
We get questions about bringing stuff on planes all the time. So we’ve written a lot of other guides, where we answer the most commonly asked questions.
You can check them out over here:
- What Can You Take on a Plane in Checked Luggage?
- Can You Bring Laptops on Planes?
- Can You Bring Toothpaste on Planes?
- Can You Bring Umbrellas on Planes?
- Can You Bring Wine on Planes?
- Can You Bring Mini Liquor Bottles on Planes?
- Can You Bring Hairdryers, Curling Irons, and Hair Straighteners on Planes?
- Can You Bring Razors on Planes?
- Can You Bring Cologne on Planes?
- Can You Bring Scissors on Planes?
- Can You Bring Food on Planes?
- Can You Bring Plants on Planes?
- Can You Bring Knives on Planes?