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Can You Bring a Lighter on a Plane? (According to TSA Rules)

zippo lighter

Lighters serve many purposes, even for non-smokers, and even though the TSA has banned smoking on airplanes for many years, people still often ask the question, “Can you bring a lighter on a plane?”

It’s a good question considering that lighters are considered flammable items. 

I know that when I’m traveling, especially when I’m going somewhere that I’ll be camping, I like to bring a lighter to have on hand when I reach my destination.

Because of this preference, I’ve done all the research necessary regarding the rules and regulations for lighters on an airplane.

Here I’ll share everything I know about whether or not you can fly with a lighter. 

Can You Take a Lighter On A Plane? 

zippo lighter allowed in checkin luggage

Yes, in your carry-on and checked luggage, certain kinds of lighters are allowed on the plane. According to the TSA, both disposable and Zippo lighters are allowed in your carry-on luggage, either empty or with fuel in them.

Lighters with fuel are prohibited in your checked baggage unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption rule and you enclose the lighters in a DOT-approved case. 

Certain airports have designated smoking areas, which would explain the reasoning as to why passengers can bring specific types of cigarette lighters in their carry-on baggage.

Smokers may need to avail themselves of this item to smoke at the airport before boarding their flight or after landing. 

Can You Put A Lighter In A Checked Bag? 

You can only put a lighter in your checked baggage if it does not contain any fuel. This rule includes disposable and Zippo lighters. These lighters must not contain even any traces of fuel in them. 

Lighters with fuel in them are prohibited in checked bags unless they follow the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows a passenger to bring up to two fueled lighters (disposable or Zippo-type) if the passenger properly encloses them in a DOT-approved case.

These cases are airtight travel containers that reduce the risk of transporting lighters with fuel. You can purchase these cases online, but you must make sure that it includes the DOT special permit number on the case (usually on a special sticker). 

Types Of Lighters NOT Allowed On A Plane

Certain lighters are never allowed on a plane in checked or carry-on baggage. These types of lighters include: 

  • Torch lighters/Blue flame lighters—lighters that create a thin, needle-like flame that is hotter and more intense than regular lighters. They are often used for lighting pipes and cigars.  
  • Gun lighters —larger lighters that look like an actual gun.
  • USB-powered lighters —lighters that need a USB port to run including plasma lighters, arc lighters, and electronic lighters. 
  • Lighter Fluid —lighter fluid is highly-flammable and never allowed on a plane. 
gun lighter
Gun lighters are NOT allowed on a plane

Can I Bring a Lighter In My Carry-On? 

Yes, you can bring a disposable lighter or Zippo lighter in carry-on luggage with or without fuel inside. These two types of lighters are the only kind allowed in carry-on baggage.

You are only allowed to bring one lighter of this type in your carry-on baggage and cannot remove it from the bag while you are on board the airplane.

If you go through security with your lighter in your pocket instead of your carry-on bag, you will need to remove it from your pocket and deposit it in the plastic bin before completing your security screening.  

Can You Bring a Torch Lighter On A Plane? 

No, TSA prohibits torch lighters on airplanes both in your checked and carry-on baggage. You are not allowed to travel by aircraft with these types of lighters.

These lighters are hotter and more intense than regular lighters, and the flame is thin and needle-like.  

What Is a DOT Approved Case, And When Do You Need It?

A DOT-approved case is the only way that you can travel with a disposable or Zippo lighter that has fuel in it in your checked baggage. These airtight cases reduce the associated risks of transporting lighters that have fuel in your checked baggage.

Only cases that specifically state that they are DOT-approved and include the special permit number on the outside of the case are allowed. The TSA will confiscate lighters with fuel in them packed in any other type of case.    

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Our Tips And Recommendations

Many of our team members have successfully traveled by air with lighters in our carry-on and checked baggage. Here are a few recommendations to help make your experience a success. 

  • If your carry-on bag needs to be checked at the last minute while at the gate, make sure that you remove the lighter from the bag and put it somewhere on your person (in a pocket, purse, etc.) 
  • We recommend not traveling with expensive lighters. As with any item, the TSA security agent has the final say in whether or not it can pass through the gates. Stick with disposable lighters that are easily recognizable and see-through for your best chance of getting through security without any issues. 

FAQs

What Happens if You Bring a Lighter on a Plane? 

If you bring a disposable or Zippo lighter on a plane in your carry-on luggage, you will have no issues with it but may have to show it to the agent at the security checkpoint. If you bring these items in your checked baggage, they will either need to be empty of fuel or transported in a special DOT-approved case. 

Can You Bring a Bic Lighter on a Plane? 

Yes, you can bring a BIC lighter on a plane in your carry-on luggage, either with fuel in it or empty. If the BIC lighter is in your checked baggage, you must first empty the fuel or place the lighters inside of a special DOT-approved case.