This is an important question for many smokers who wish to light up as soon as they are permitted when arriving at their destination.
TSA rules state that each passenger can take one book or box of safety matches in their carry on luggage or on their person but they are not permitted in checked baggage. Strike anywhere matches are not allowed in carry on luggage or checked luggage s as they are banned by the FAA.
Hopefully I will answer the question can you bring matches on a plane in carry on or checked baggage so you will be quite sure what you can and cannot bring with you.
Can you bring matches through airport security
There are TSA rules and restrictions on taking matches through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint at the airport.
TSA guidelines state that you can take one book or box of safety matches on a plane through security. You cannot bring strike anywhere matches at all as these are banned from being carried on a plane.
For some time after 9-11 even safety matches were not permitted but the rules were relaxed meaning small quantities are now allowed.
However the following types of matches are completely banned from being brought on board in carry on bags or checked bags:
- Fire starters (magnesium or flint)
- waterproof matches
Your one box or book of safety matches can be left in your carry on baggage when the bag goes through the x-ray machine so you do not need to remove them and place them in a tray.
If you have more than one box of safety matches, or any strike anywhere matches, then the TSA officer is likely to find them and confiscate them. You may be subject to additional screening too.
The TSA offers a very good service on Twitter and Facebook where you can ask a specific question about whether you can take something through the security checkpoint and they will respond quickly.
This passenger is being advised by the TSA that only one book or packet of safety matches is permitted in a carry on bag:
There is no definition of how large a matches box can be, just that only one box of safety matches is permitted. As you can see from this reply regarding kitchen matches it would seem that you can bring matches in a large box, not just a small box or book of pocket matches:
Can you bring matches in your carry on bag?
As you have seen you can bring one box or book of safety matches on a plane in your carry on.
One thing you must remember. If you get to the gate and the available space for carry on baggage has already been used by passengers in front, meaning your carry on bag now has to go in the baggage hold, you must remove the safety matches and take them on board with you before handing the bag to the agent at the gate.
Can you use safety matches while on board?
You will not be surprised to learn I am sure that you cannot strike a match during the flight.
I do remember the days when smoking was allowed inflight so it was permitted in the past. Fortunately, those days have gone. Being surrounded by smokers for 8 hours or more in such a confined space was not pleasant.
Can you put matches in a checked bag?
You are not permitted to pack matches in your checked baggage to travel in the aircraft’s hold, irrespective of whether they are safety matches or strike-anywhere matches.
Read the FAA’s regulation on taking matches on a plane – Matches (safety)
If you pack safety matches or other types of matches in your checked luggage when it is scanned as part of the baggage handling process and they are discovered your luggage will be opened and the matches removed. If this happens your checked luggage may miss your flight so when you arrive at your destination you will have no clothes etc which could be very inconvenient.
This passenger is asking a question regarding carrying souvenir matches back with them from a trip and the TSA advising that matches are not allowed in checked baggage:
What is the difference between safety and strike anywhere matches?
The chemicals that allow a match to ignite are contained in the bulb at the head of the match.
The difference between the two types of matches is:
- a strike-anywhere match contains chemicals that will ignite simply from the heat generated by friction
- a safety match has chemicals that require a much higher temperature to ignite. They must be struck on the side of the box/book which has a special surface.
You should have no problems taking one book or box of safety matches on a plane with you in your carry on bag when passing through airport security and on a plane.
Just make sure that you do not have any strike anywhere matches with you either in your hand luggage or your pocket. Have a good and stress-free flight.
Wondering whether you can bring lighters on a plane then read my article – Can you bring a lighter on a plane?
Flying into our out of the UK and a smoker? Read my article Can you smoke at UK airports?
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.