Bringing candles on a plane is not something I had ever considered. After all, you don’t generally get too many power outages when you are flying! I joke of course but it seems many people do want to bring candles on a plane with them anyway.
People often buy candles when on vacation to take home as gifts for friends and relatives or are traveling to stay with friends or relatives for Christmas or Thanksgiving so want to take a special candle for the table with them.
Naturally, it is not surprising that you may want to check that they can actually bring candles on a plane, rather than get them confiscated by airport security.
So can you fly with candles or not?
The quick answer: You can take candles on a plane, with a few exceptions where particular types of candles such as gel are treated as being a liquid by the TSA.
Types of candles that are allowed in carry on and checked bags
Obviously, it should go without saying, you are not allowed to actually set the candles alight while onboard the flight though! But the obvious is sometimes not so obvious for certain people.
You may bring all of the following different types of candles with you almost without restriction, provided they will all fit in your carry on or checked baggage:
Solid wax candles
These solid candles or regular candles include:
- Taper candles – tall solid candles which narrow upwards and must be held in a candle holder as they cannot stand on their own.
- Pillar candles – these are the thicker solid candles that can stand without the need for a holder.
- Birthday candles – the small thin ones we light on top of a cake that actually can also come in the shape of a number or a letter these days.
- Religious/church candles (also known as votive candles)
- Scented candles
These are the type of solid wax candles that come in a glass jar. (Note – gel candles in a glass jar are not allowed)
These are similar to the glass jar candles but in a ceramic or earthenware or terracotta pot
Tea light candles
These are the little candles that come in a small metal container.
Lightweight and usually made of paraffin or palm oil wax which floats in a bath or a bowl.
Flameless LED candles
These are designed to look like candles but have a small led light inside together with a battery to power them.
Types of candles that are only allowed in checked bags
You cannot take a large gel candle on a plane in your carry on luggage as gels are considered to be liquid by the TSA airport security liquids rule.
If they are smaller than 3.4oz/100ml then they are allowed and must go in your clear, resealable, quart-sized liquids bag but larger than that are prohibited. They can however be carried in your checked luggage without a problem.
This is the TSA’s reply regarding taking gel wax candles when flying:
These are normally in a glass container and inside is liquid paraffin and a taper or wick. Since they contain a liquid they fall under the TSA liquids rule so must be smaller than 3.4oz or 100ml in order to be taken on board in a carry-on bag and must go in your clear, resealable, quart-sized liquids bag.
Candles that cannot be taken on a plane at all
These cannot be taken on a plane either in hand luggage or checked baggage as they contain some explosive materials. They are therefore considered hazardous so they are not permitted.
Can candles go through TSA airport security?
TSA candle rules permit candles through the security checkpoint, provided they are not liquid or gel candles and are larger than 3.4 ounces.
Candles in your carry-on will pass through the x-ray machine at the security checkpoint. A TSA agent may wish to carry out further screening but the final decision rests with the TSA agents.
This is an example of a reply to a passenger’s question on Twitter about does TSA allow candles in carry on and the TSA’s reply:
How many candles can you bring on a plane?
Provided they are the type of candles that are allowed to be carried (ie not gel, liquid or sparkler candles) there are no restrictions on how many candles you are permitted to take with you, except perhaps the airline’s weight limit on your baggage.
Unless you are a traveling candle salesman you are unlikely to want to take a suitcase full anyway.
Can you bring Bath and Body Works candles on a plane?
You can take Bath and Body Works candles on a plane in either carry on or checked bags as their entire range are wax solid candles.
Obviously if they were to bring out a range of gel candles these would be subject to the TSA liquids rules if taken through airport security in carry on.
Airline candle restrictions
The airlines I have checked do not have any further restrictions on the type of candle you can carry onboard with you when you fly with them, provided the airport security rules have been followed of course.
You may wish to check with your particular airline to get complete clarification that you can fly with candles on their aircraft.
Can you bring candles on a plane internationally?
The restrictions that apply to domestic flights also apply to international flights.
I can find no restrictions on taking candles into another country. Even Australia, which in my experience is one of the strictest, allows candles, including beeswax candles.
Why are candles allowed when they are flammable?
It is true that candles are flammable, well they are designed to be just that of course. But they are actually no more flammable than paper, some plastics, wood, clothes and any number of other materials that could be set alight using a match or some other form of flame.
The main difference between candles and some banned flammable materials, such as petrol or certain gases, is that they are not explosive. Basically, they have to be deliberately set on fire.
Once you are through airport security and in the departure lounge you would be able to buy gel or liquid candles (assuming any stores there sell them) and take these on the flight with you.
The TSA rules state that you can bring candles on a plane, either in a carry-on bag or in checked baggage. However, due to the TSA liquids rules, you cannot take gel candles or liquid candles in your carry-on.
Do candles count as liquids?
Gel candles are considered to be liquids by the TSA. All wax candles are treated as solids so can be packed in hand luggage.
What size candle can you take on a plane?
Solid (wax type) candles can be any size, provided they will fit in your hand luggage or your checked bag. Gel candles must be no larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) in order to be packed in your carry-on luggage.
Can I bring Yankee Candles on an airplane?
Yes, you are permitted to take Yankee candles on a plane in either your carry-on luggage or your checked bag provided they are the solid type (not gel).
Can you take citronella candles on a plane?
You can take citronella or any other type of scented candle provided they are solid candles and not gel candles (which are treated as being a liquid).
Can you take soy candles on a plane?
You can take soy candles on a plane in your carry on provided they are of the solid type and not made of gel. Soy gel candles are treated as liquids so they can only go in a checked bag unless they are smaller than 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot. About Me