Rules for Flights in the USA
In general, laser pointers and laser devices are allowed both in carry-on and checked baggage on flights in the United States without any restrictions. The US, contrary to many other countries, doesn’t prohibit using and owning lasers of any power, so even class 3 and 4 lasers are allowed through the TSA.
Laser toy guns, however, should travel only in checked baggage. Laser plasma lighters, on the other hand, should only travel in carry-on luggage.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
On flights within Canada, laser pointers and tools aren’t mentioned specifically as banned or allowed. This means that most likely, lasers are allowed, but the final decision always rests on each security officer. Most commonly, people don’t have any issues when traveling with lasers there.
However, only class 1, 2, and 3R lasers are legal to own for regular consumers, which are under 5 mW in strength. Stronger classes, such as 3B (5-500 mW) and 4 (500 mW+), are illegal to own because they can cause serious eye injuries. So if you travel with class 3R lasers or stronger over there, the security agent will most likely ask you to step aside, you’ll be taken for private questioning, and they might even get in touch with the local police.
Europe and New Zealand
European and New Zealand flight authorities don’t list laser pointers and tools as allowed or banned in luggage, but generally, they’re allowed on planes in hand and checked luggage. Just keep in mind that only lasers with class 1 and 2 strength outputs are legal to own over there, which are under 1 mW. So if you’ll be traveling with class 3R lasers and stronger, you might get in trouble.
United Kingdom flight authorities also don’t specify if laser pointers are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage in airplanes. But overall, class 1 and 2 lasers (under 1 mW) are considered safe for consumers, so they’re allowed on planes. Authorities might confiscate lasers over Class 2 (1 mW) if you’re carrying them without a justification. Sometimes they’ll also ask you to explain why you’re carrying at all, even if it’s below 1 mW. Although owning a laser isn’t totally illegal, pointing a laser at other people is.
Laser pointers are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage in Australia with certain restrictions. Laser pointers shouldn’t surpass an emission level of 1 mW and even then, the carrier should have a reasonable excuse to have a laser (i.e. a teacher, astronomer, etc.). Laser pointers over 1 mW are considered a weapon, and so the importation of such lasers is illegal in the country.
China and India
Chinese and Indian flight authorities don’t specify if laser pointers are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. But, due to multiple cases of lasers being pointed at aircraft, some airports have banned laser use inside or nearby their facilities. As result, carrying a laser, particularly a high-power one, might involve further inspection and questioning. So avoid traveling with lasers there.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring laser tools onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Laser Tools on Planes
Can I take single-use battery-powered laser tools on planes (AA, AAA, etc.)?
Travelers can take single-use battery-powered laser tools on planes in the United States. Most portable devices with dry batteries are allowed on planes in carry-on and checked luggage. But, if your laser pointer doesn’t have cover to prevent it from activating itself, it’s best practice to take it on your carry-on.
Can I bring laser tools on planes that contain lithium batteries?
Yes, you can bring laser tools that contain lithium batteries in planes in the United States. But, they should be packed in a carry-on, particularly if there is no way to prevent them from activating in checked baggage. Lithium-powered battery laser lighters should travel in carry-on only.
Do I need to take out my laser pointer when going through security?
Theoretically, you shouldn’t have to take out your laser pointer when going through security in the United States if it’s smaller than a cellphone. But, as laser pointers aren’t as common as portable electronic devices like phones and laptops, they might be subject to additional inspection, depending on the security agent.
Is it better to pack a laser pointer in hand or checked luggage?
Overall, it’s best practice to pack all electronic portable devices in a carry-on on flights in the United States, including laser pointers. This prevents any incidents with the batteries and fire in the cargo baggage. But, high-powered laser pointers might provoke questioning when traveling, so it’s best to pack them in checked baggage as long as they don’t have a chance to get accidentally activated.
What’s the best way to pack a laser pointer in my luggage?
Travelers that have a high-power laser, should pack them in checked baggage when traveling on flights in the United States, as long as they can’t activate accidentally. While laser pointers are allowed both in carry-on and checked baggage, ultimately high-power lasers might be considered a potential threat by a security agent, particularly if you can’t justify carrying them. Carrying it in its original box with its labels and instructions is the best way to pack it in case it needs additional inspection. If you don’t have the original package, use a protective case or a padded bag that prevents your laser pointer from getting activated.
Can I take rotary laser levels and laser line tools on planes?
In theory, taking rotary laser levels and laser line tools is allowed on hand and checked baggage on flights in the United States. But, regardless of the laser type, rotary and line levels are construction tools, and according to TSA, tools above 7 inches/ 17.78 centimeters when assembled should go in the checked baggage.
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Can I bring skin laser tools on planes?
Overall, skin laser tools like laser hair removers are allowed both in carry-on and checked luggage on flights in the United States. But, passengers should consult with their airlines ahead to see how they should pack laser tools.
Can I bring laser caps on planes?
In theory, laser caps are allowed on flights in the United States, but they might be subject to additional inspection in airport security. It’s also best practice to pack them in your carry-on to prevent them from getting activated in checked luggage.
What happens if I aim a laser pointer at a plane?
Lasers aimed at planes could monetarily blind or disorient pilots due to the flash. More severe damages also include temporary or permanent eye damage due to the amplification of the beam through the cabin windows. Travelers should never aim laser pointers at planes, otherwise, they may even face jail time.
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