Whether you can take a lighter on a plane: how to pack and where to carry, what restrictions to adhere to and what to pay attention to travelers

By Tetiana PavlichenkoMay 3, 2024 19:48 PMBlog
Whether you can take a lighter on a plane: how to pack and where to carry, what restrictions to adhere to and what to pay attention to travelers
Not all types of lighters are allowed to be brought on board. Source: Image guillermo gavilla/Pixabay

Before air travel, passengers often wonder whether it is okay to take this or that item on board so as not to violate security rules. One of the most discussed items is lighters. Therefore, before packing a suitcase, it is worthwhile to find out in advance the details and lists of things prohibited for transportation on the airplane, so that the flight does not become a problem for you. The answer to the question of whether you can take a lighter on board an airplane and whether you can put it in your hand luggage or suitcase is determined by the airline's policy. Research this issue to avoid trouble at the airport.

Are lighters allowed on board an airplane?

The obvious reason that limits the permissibility of lighters on board an airplane is that they can be a flashpoint for fire. Most of them have a volatile fuel inside with a low combustion threshold. This is understandable, because their main task is to create fire. But agree, no one wants to be in an airplane that catches fire during flight.

Is it possible to put a lighter in hand luggage?

It is believed that lighters in hand luggage can be a source of danger on an airplane. Therefore, passengers should carry them with them, such as putting them in a jacket or pants pocket. Despite the fact that airplane cabins have full fire protection systems, it is not a good idea to take something flammable in your hand luggage. If you pack a lighter in your bag in the overhead compartment, it may cause a fire during turbulence.

In general, every passenger can take a lighter on board, and some airlines limit the transportation of such items, allowing only one lighter sealed in a transparent package. Therefore, study carefully the rules of transportation set by the airline you intend to fly with.

Can I put a lighter in my suitcase?

You will also find the answer to this question in the rules of your air carrier. Familiarize yourself with them so you don't pack things not allowed for transportation, or check with the check-in desk to see if you can take a lighter on the plane and how to pack it. For example, some airlines allow fully charged or empty lighters, while others allow only unused lighters. In most cases, you can only carry one commercially available lighter (i.e. not homemade) or one small box of matches.

But both of these items are prohibited in checked baggage: the passenger must carry them with him or her. So to avoid problems and delays at the airport checkpoint, make sure you don't accidentally put these prohibited items in your suitcase. During transportation, suitcases can get scattered and turbulence creates further movement. As a result, a lighter that is in a bag in the luggage compartment can crack, break, and spill. Therefore, most airlines stipulate in their rules that there should be no lighters in the passenger's luggage, and some stipulate that it should be exclusively empty. The fact is that some types of airplane do not have a fire suppression system in the hold. And in older airplanes, even with a fire containment system in place, boarding is required. But also important is that the hold with luggage is not under constant supervision, and fire detection depends on automation. Although these systems are well designed and tested with regular frequency, like any machinery, they can fail.

What kind of lighters can I take with me on an airplane?

Whether you can take a lighter on a plane: how to pack and where to carry, what restrictions to adhere to and what to pay attention to travelers
Image 5598375/Pixabay. Source: Take a regular disposable lighter on an airplane

When wondering whether lighters are allowed on board an airplane, consider the type of device you want to take with you. Usually only disposable lighters are allowed, but all others are considered potentially dangerous. These include gasoline lighters, storm lighters, jet lighters, plasma lighters, electric lighters, etc. Whether they are filled or not is a secondary issue that no one will deal with.

Can a Zippo be carried on an airplane?

Zippo lighters are classified as flammable items and are therefore prohibited from being carried on an airplane on most airlines. For example, German airport security defines them as potentially dangerous. Therefore, taking a Zippo with you in your pocket, carry-on baggage or checked luggage is prohibited. Otherwise, the passenger faces not only confiscation of the item, but also a fine. But some carriers allow such lighters on board. For example, according to the rules of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which decides on items allowed to be carried on U.S. planes, it is allowed to carry a Zippo without fuel in checked baggage.

How many lighters can I take on an airplane?

This question is also provided for in the rules of specific airlines. There is no general limit on the number of lighters allowed, but in most cases each traveler can take one lighter, but it is better to clarify everything in advance.

What if a lighter is found in your suitcase?

Most likely, a lighter hidden or forgotten in your suitcase will be found at the checkpoint by airport security personnel. Airline policies vary on how to proceed. In the best case, you will either have to leave it before boarding or take it with you as a personal item, provided that the lighter is of an authorized type. In the other case, there is a good chance that your luggage will be sent for a thorough check or delayed altogether. This situation could affect the entire flight if you are severely delayed and late, so it's hardly wise to break the rules for the sake of taking lighters on a plane.

How can you use a lighter on board?

Naturally, you must adhere to certain safety rules. Do not think that if you are allowed to carry a lighter or matches on board an airplane, you can use them there. Yes, in-flight smoking was once allowed, but after some tragic incidents, it was banned. What can be misleading is that some airplane lavatories still have ashtrays. But they do not mean that smoking is allowed there: this is designed more for unscrupulous passengers who do not follow the rules on board. But many toilets also have smoke detectors, so if you are caught smoking, at best you will be fined, and at worst you may even be arrested, escorted off the plane and blacklisted by the airline.

Rules for transporting matches at the airport

Whether you can take a lighter on a plane: how to pack and where to carry, what restrictions to adhere to and what to pay attention to travelers
Image Marco Carli/Pixabay. Source: One small box of matches is usually allowed to be carried on an airplane

The general rules about matches on an airplane are basically similar to the topic of lighters. Usually one person can take one small box of matches with them. It's worth noting that understanding of the size of the box can vary, so pay attention to this or get approval from airport staff.

There are also restrictions on the type of matches. They should definitely not have an ignition head, otherwise they will be identified as hazardous substances. To protect yourself from unnecessary problems and delays during the check, favor matches with brown or red heads.

Airline regulations are based on the safety of everyone involved in the flight, so they adopt strict, and sometimes too strict at first glance, restrictions. This also applies to safety precautions to prevent fire on board. That's why it is so important, before checking in at the airport, to locate and remove in your luggage or hand luggage all items that can easily ignite.

Not all matches are allowed on board an airplane

As mentioned earlier, there are restrictions on matches. For example, the so-called "strike anywhere matches", or "matches anywhere matches", are prohibited. They can be lit on almost any surface, i.e. literally anywhere. They are easily recognized by their green or blue heads. These items are fire-safe, so the ban is quite logical.

Conclusion: lighters on board

If you are going on a vacation or business trip and want to take all the necessary items with you, such as lighters or matches, so that you don't have to spend time and money buying them later, check whether they are allowed on the plane of your chosen airline. If the rules allow you to take a lighter with you, check their quantity, the need for packaging, type, filling, etc. Be careful not to throw prohibited or unnecessary lighters into your suitcase in a hurry and not to get into trouble at the inspection.

Also keep in mind that each country may have different import rules, so it's not just a question of whether you can take a lighter on the plane. There is a chance that you may have to throw away your lighter or matches on arrival. So it's best to take inexpensive disposable lighters with you on your trip, which you won't be sorry to get rid of in case of anything. They are usually easy to buy, so if you are denied the opportunity to spend a lighter at your destination, you can buy it on the spot for a little money. But expensive lighters or those that are of special value to you (for example, souvenirs or received as a gift) are better left at home.

What to look out for:

  • storm and gasoline lighters are prohibited;
  • the maximum allowed is usually one lighter or one small box of matches;
  • lighters are taken with you in the pocket of your jacket, pants, etc.;
  • lighters are usually not allowed in a suitcase or hand luggage;
  • as a rule, only lighters with liquefied gas are allowed on board;
  • check if you can bring a lighter with you in the country you are traveling to.
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