lighter petrol

Can You Bring a Lighter on a Plane? [10+ Types Checked]

I was transiting through Abu Dhabi airport last week when I passed a small cubicle which was for smoking, not something I’d seen in a few years. It got me wondering – given everyone in this area must have come off of an aeroplane, how did they they light their cigarettes? Given its dangerous nature, I assumed anything that could make a fire must be on the banned list! So, can you actually bring a lighter on a plane?

Yes, you can bring a lighter on a plane though only in your carry-on luggage, they cannot go in checked bags. Disposable, butane ‘BIC-type’ lighters and ‘Zippo-type’ lighters containing lining absorbed flammable liquid are the only two types allowed. No torch lighters, refills or weapon-shaped lighters are permitted.

In this post I go into more detail about taking lighters on a plane, look into specifics of different types of lighter and give some suggestions of the best lighters for travel.

Can You Bring a Lighter on a Plane?

As covered above, yes you can bring a lighter on a plane but there are only two types allowed.

1) Disposable lighters containing flammable gas such as butane (BIC-type)

pomorie, bulgaria december 03, 2019: bic lighter classic isolated on white background.

2) Lighter than contains flammable liquid, which has to be absorbed in a lining (Zippo-type).

can you take a zippo lighter on a plane depositphotos 19558293 xl

Lighters have to be carried on your person or in hang luggage, they can not be put in the hold or checked baggage.

There are also many types of lighters and fluid which are not allowed on a plane which include:

  • Torch lighters (also called jet lighters, cigar lighters or blue flame lighters) though these can be carried in hold luggage in approved cases.
  • Lighters which contain unabsorbed liquid, often found in antique or larger lighters
  • Lighter fluid and gas refills
  • Lighters which are shaped like a weapon
  • Chef’s torches and utility torch (though you’d be brave to light a cigarette with one of those if you ask me!).

Types of Lighter

Can You Bring a BIC Lighter on a Plane?

Yes you can bring a BIC lighter on a plane, but only in your carry-on luggage, they cannot be packed in checked luggage.

Can You Bring a Zippo Lighter on a Plane?

Yes you can bring a Zippo light on a plane, but it cannot be packed in the hold. It must be of the type where the liquid is absorbed on the inside, no lighters with unabsorbed liquids are allowed on the plan.

Can You Bring a Butane Lighter on a Plane?

Yes and no.

Both BIC and Zippo style lighters are powered by butane gas, so from this perspective yes.

The phrase ‘butane lighter’ is often used to refer to a specific, higher end lighter which compresses a piezoelectric crystal after a button is pressed. The compressed crystal creates a voltaic arc that ignites the gas. These more powerful lighters are not allowed in hand luggage on planes but are often allowed in approved cases in hold luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling.

Can You Bring a Cigar Lighter on a Plane?

Cigar lighters tend to be more powerful than regular lighters, often having three of more flames. Due to this extra power they are not allowed in hand luggage on planes.

Can You Bring Matches on a Plane?

A good alternative to a lighter, but are matches allowed on a plane.

As with so many of these answers – it depends.

From my research I can see that most airlines accept one small box of safety matches or a book of matches in hand luggage only. Safety matches are the type that can only be lit from the strip at the edge of the box – being different to ‘strike anywhere’ matches which can be lit from many different surfaces.

This does seem to differ a little around the world though as I can see, here in Australia for example, that matches aren’t allowed on a plane at all.

Quick Guide to Lighters Allowed on a Plane

A thought I’d put together a quick table to help you understand exactly which lighters are allowed on a plane.

Type of LighterHand Luggage?Hold Luggage?
BIC style lighter containing flammable gasYesNo
Zippo type lighter containing absorbed flammable liquidYesNo
Lighter containing unabsorbed liquidNoNo
Torch lighterNoNo
Cigar LighterNoNo
Torch lighter in approved caseNoYes (in USA)
Lighter shaped like weaponNoNo
Lighter gas refillsNoNo

Finishing Up

I’ve hoped you’ve found the research on this page useful and you got the information you needed.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the section below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Find 100+ of my favourite travel tips, tools and resources here.

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