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Can You Bring A Lighter On A Plane?

Taking a lighter on a flight is a strict no-no, or at least most people think.

This poses a serious crisis for smokers since they usually have their lighter in their pocket and can very easily forget to remove it before boarding a flight.

Here is something: 

Well, you might not have to remove it, to begin with. 

Yes, you read it right, you CAN carry your lighter on your flight under certain exceptional circumstances as directed by the TSA and is applicable for airports located in the USA. 

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But can you bring a lighter on a plane for real? 

The answer is yes, but this exception only applies to certain lighters, and it has to be in your carry-on baggage. 

What sort of lighters can you bring? 

As per the Transport Security Administration (TSA), you can carry a butane or Zippo lighter in your check-in baggage. 

However, the butane torch lighters that have a blue flame are not allowed inside the cabin as per the rules set by TSA. 

Generally, lighters that have fuel are not allowed in the check-in baggage. However, if you are carrying a Department of Transportation approved case, then your lighters are safe to travel with. 

Apart from your blue torch flame lighter, you can also bring along two more lighters in your checked baggage, but it has to be only under the right circumstance. 

Carry on vs checked luggage: 

This can be very confusing. There are just too many things to keep in mind while taking a lighter on a flight. 

The confusion rises even more since there are a separate set of rules for taking the lighters in the carry bag and the checked luggage. 

So which one is more effective? 

To that end, this table might be able to help you:

Carry-on Checked luggage
Butane or Zippo lighters are allowed. You can also keep them in your pocket It might not be easy to get your lighter through the airport security in your checked baggage
Only disposable cigarette lighters like Zippo are allowed As per the TSA, two lighters can be carried under specified guidelines. Plus they have to be cased properly in DOT-approved bags. 
DOT approves of BIC lighters and thus they are allowed on flights  Colbi and Zippo lighters in their manufacturer’s cases might require some work to pass through security
While taking the lighter in a carry-on, store it properly till you have landed safely  It is advisable to get approval from a TSA agent right at the checkpoint 

As can be seen, the carry-on bag is a better option than the checked-out luggage. So you might as well have your lighter there. But you cannot use it until you reach your destination safely. 


The brands that are allowed on a flight are:

All these brands are DOT approved and can be carried in DOT approved cases. So, if you are a passionate smoker, dying to take your partner in crime with you, get one of these cases from Amazon. 

Check the detailed guide by Federal Aviation from here.

Lighters that are strictly not allowed in your suitcase:

Just because you can bring in your Zippo and butane lighter does not mean all sorts of lighters are allowed on the flight!

You definitely cannot bring chef torches, micro torch, or utility torches. Additionally, you can’t even bring their fuel onboard. 

If you are carrying any of the above-mentioned items, it is completely against the rules. 

Note: Please avoid any lighter that has a blue flame. 

Empty lighters:

Theoretically, yes, but you have to read all the instructions to the core lest you forget some of the loopholes. 

In fact, the empty lighter idea is a loophole in itself. Since this is not hazardous, there are no regulations as such against them. 

But there might be one concern. 

What DOT considers as empty and your definition of empty may not be the same (loophole)

Maybe, for you, the lighter is empty when you cannot light it off anymore. But for DOT, on the other hand, it is empty when it is completely devoid of any fuel. 


Oh no, you cannot bring any fuel with you to refill your lighter. There are no special circumstances for this, and bringing any form of fuel on the flight is an offense. 


While lighter has a wide set of rules revolving around it, carrying matches on a plane is much easier. 

As per TSA, matches are approved in the carry-on bags, but yes, they are not without restrictions. 

One restriction can be on their type. 

Mostly, matches are of two types: 

Safety matches:

These matches use red phosphorus, which does not combust like phosphorus sesquisulfide used in fiction matches.

However, these matches need to be lit by striking on a hard surface. So, if you don’t cause any fiction, these won’t ignite! Thus, these are safe for travel. 

Fiction matches:

These matches contain phosphorus sesquisulfide. As the name suggests, they require some sort of fiction to ignite. Thus they are also called strike anywhere matches and are prohibited on the flights. 

So, if you have safety matches (one box) with you, you can place them in your carry-on bag. 

But please do flow the guideline while packing the same. Also, you cannot remove them until you land. 

Now, all the questions about matches and lighters arise for one thing -cigarettes. 

So what does the TSA say about that?

Cigarette as per TSA rules: Can You Bring Cigarettes On A Plane?:

The number of cigarettes you can carry varies from one country to another. Plus, they must be packed properly as per rules, be it for a domestic flight or an international one. 

If you are planning on carrying e-cigars and vapes, you can put them in your carry-on baggage. 

Cigars, however, can be in your handbag as well as in your checked bag.

However, you cannot use any of these on the flight, always remember that!

Your safety while flying lies in your hands. You can always have a smoke on landing, so be very safe with your lighter and matches and have a safe journey.

We have written a detailed guide here. Please check it out.


Smoked well over 4,000+ cigars in a lifetime, still trek to mountains, traveler, husband to Carry, and father to two boys.

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