As smoking has been banned on flights for many years it is surprising that people still might ask can you bring a lighter on a plane. But as so many people travel with only hand luggage today, and may wish to smoke when they arrive, perhaps it isn’t so surprising.
You can bring a lighter on a plane but there are restrictions on where you can carry it and what type of lighter you can take. Disposable and zippo type lighters can be carried in carry on but generally lighters containing fuel cannot go in checked bags.
So it is important that you understand what the rules are so that you do not get yours confiscated. The rules can be different if traveling abroad and passing through airport security in another country too.
Can you bring a lighter on a plane in carry on?
Absolutely, you can bring a lighter on a plane but you are allowed to only take one lighter on board the aircraft with you. This can be carried either in your carry on bag or in your pocket. But … you must not remove it during the flight. Note: In most of Europe you can take a lighter on board with you but it must only be carried on your person, not in your carry on.
It is quite surprising in some ways that you can take one in the cabin at all as pretty much anything else that is potentially dangerous are either only allowed in checked bags or not allowed at all.
You cannot take all types of lighter in the cabin with you in your hand luggage though. Basically, you can take only take butane lighters and zippo lighters with you on board.
To be on the safe side I would always advise that you take a cheap disposable one. Then, if it were to be confiscated, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. After all, you wouldn’t want an expensive one, or one with sentimental value (your grandfather’s Zippo perhaps), to be taken away.
@ASKTSA Twitter replies lighters
ASKTSA have a very useful service on Twitter – https://twitter.com/AskTSA where you can ask a question about whether a specific item can be carried and they respond very quickly.
This is a recent reply to someone asking about carrying lighters on a plane:
1: You’re allowed one disposable or Zippo-type lighter in carry-on bags. Please note that disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel are allowed in checked bags.
2: Lighters with fuel aren’t allowed in checked bags unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT-approved case. For more on traveling with lighters, please see: http://bit.ly/2ShflvS
Can you take a lighter on a plane in checked bags?
You cannot carry lighters that have any fuel in them in your checked bags (see next paragraph). This applies to Zippo or disposable lighters. But why you would want to take an empty disposable lighter with you I cannot imagine.
According to the TSA website, the exception is that you may take two with fuel in them in your checked bags provided they are in a DOT approved lighter case. These are approved airtight cases designed for lighters which allow up to two lighters to be carried. You can buy them on Amazon – Exotac fireSleeve lighter case.
How many lighters can you take on a plane?
You are only allowed to take one lighter in your hand luggage or in your pocket. In much of Europe you must keep it on your person, in your pocket so it is probably best to always carry it there.
The reason for this is that, in the unlikely event of it lighting automatically, if it that happened in your pocket you would immediately be aware of it and stop it. If it happened in your carry on in the luggage locker above your seat then a bigger fire could start before it was noticed.
You can also take up to two lighters in your checked bags but they MUST be in a DOT approved lighter case.
What types of lighter are not allowed on a flight?
The following are not allowed in carry on or checked bags: arc lighters, plasma lighters, electronic lighters, chef’s torches, E–lighters, blue flame lighters or cigar lighters. It is perhaps nor surprising that you cannot take novelty lighters in the shape of a gun – although some do!
Can you bring a Bic lighter on a plane?
The most often asked question on Google regarding lighters is “Can you bring a Bic lighter on a plane?” The answer is yes. Because disposable Bic lighters are butane lighters so that is why you can take them.
Yes, as a Bic lighter is classified as a disposable lighter you may take one with you in your carry on, or on your person in your pocket, and also two in your checked bags, provided they are in a DOT approved lighter case.
Can you take lighter fluid on a plane?
Perhaps you will not be surprised to hear that you cannot take any form of lighter fuel on an aircraft, whether it is butane, some other gas, petrol or any other form of fuel.
This applies to taking lighter fuel in either carry on bags or checked baggage. Don’t even attempt it as the security agents will not be amused. Buy some at your destination our use disposable lighters.
Can you take matches on a plane?
You can take one box/book of safety matches in your carry on, or in your pocket, but they cannot go in your checked bags. Non-safety, strike-anywhere matches are not allowed to be carried at all.
Can you take cigarettes, cigars or vape on a plane?
See my full posts about these for further information:
What can smoker’s do to survive on a long flight?
Although I have never smoked, both of my wives have been smokers. Oddly both had given up when I first met them but started again soon after. It must be something about me! So I do have some experience of knowing what it is like for smokers to go so long without a cigarette.
Since the biggest problem is caused by nicotine withdrawal, chewing nicotine tablets seems to be the consensus of most people that helps the most. An alternative would be a nicotine patch. Others try sucking candy or mints.
Perhaps if you are going on a very long flight it might be the time to kick-start giving up completely. Well just a thought!
You may also be interested to know if you can vape on a plane? and if you will be flying out of a UK airport you may find my article “Can you smoke in UK and Irish airports? A full list of airport smoking areas” of interest.
A non-smoker’s observation
Actually, as someone who has never smoked, I find it quite interesting when I am at an airport waiting to meet someone arriving on a flight. I see so many people who come out of the arrivals hall, with their cigarette already between their fingers, and their lighter in the other hand, heading for the exit as fast as they can. They light up, literally, as they pass through the exit! I guess they do need their lighters.
If you are flying from a UK airport then you may find my guide to the smoking areas in all UK and Irish airports useful.