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Traveling With Cigar Lighters: Know before you go

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One of the most common questions we get asked regularly is can I travel with my torch lighter? I get it, I really do, because I wanted to know if it was possible for traveling with lighters. Apart from stories I have heard and some experience with having a lighter confiscated I decided to put together this simple guide.

For a quick reference here are the short answers for traveling with different lighter types as of August 2020 according to the TSA.

Disposable Lighters

carry on: yes
checked baggage: in an approved case

Zippos

carry on: yes
checked baggage: in an approved case

Torch Lighters

carry on: no
checked baggage: no

E Lighters / Plasma Lighters

carry on: no
checked baggage: no

Click here to read for yourself what the TSA has to say travel with lighters.
Click here to read for yourself what the FAA has to say about flying with lighters.

Before we go any further, I want to be clear that when I am talking about travel with lighters, I am talking specifically about air travel in the US unless otherwise noted.

There is a lot of information out there about traveling with lighters. Some is out dated and some is just plain myth. My goal with this post is to clear the air on what lighters you CAN travel with.

Before we get into any of that, I want to explain that there are two sets of regulations that cover traveling with lighters in the US.

The first is the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA for short. The second is the Transportation Security Administration or TSA for short. 

Let’s jump into this by breaking down what you can and can’t bring by lighter type.

Disposable Lighters 

First up we have disposable lighters.  According to the FAA and TSA you can bring 1 disposable absorbed fuel lighter in the cabin of the aircraft as long as it stays in your pocket or in a carry on bag.

You are also authorized up to 2 disposable lighters in your checked luggage under certain conditions. 

 They must be completely empty of fuel or they are in a DOT approved case.

In case you are wondering what constitutes a disposable lighter, think BIC lighters, clipper refillable, and gas station throwaway lighters. Next up we have Zippo lighters.

Zippo Lighters

When it comes to Zippo the same rules apply as disposable lighters. This is because Zippo lighters are absorbed fule lighters.

Understand that just because the TSA and FAA say Zippo lighters it doesn’t mean that if it’s not Zippo brand that it’s going to be taken away. They are simply talking about the style of the style of Zippo’s.

Ok so now you know Zippo lighters and disposable ones are good to go when traveling. Now let’s jump into electronic lighters.

Electronic Lighters

The TSA consider Arc Lighters, Plasma Lighters, Electronic Lighters, E-Lighters, flux lighters, tesla lighters, and coil lighters all the same thing.

According to the TSA, none of these types of lighters are allowed in carry on or checked baggage.

The FAA on the other hand says as long as it has a way to keep from being activated you can have it on a plane.

What this says to me is, if you are flying commercial and have to go through a TSA checkpoint you should not take an e lighter with you.

I have seen comments and posts where people have said they put their e lighters in an approved case in their checked luggage and had no problems. It was only a few years ago that flying with an e-lighter wasn’t a problem. I guess times have changed.

Torch Lighters

According to the TSA torch lighters are not allowed in carry on bags or checked baggage.

The FAA, as of May 2018, says torch lighters are ok in checked baggage as long as they are in DOT approved containers.

Again if you are flying commercial and have to go through a TSA checkpoint your lighter may be confiscated.

When it comes to traveling with torch lighters, you can find many posts of where people have taken their lighters with them without a problem. I do have to say that the information on the FAA site is older than the information on the TSA site. I would recommend that you follow TSA guidelines, or at least verify with them before you travel.

There is a PDF that the FAA put out in 2013 in reference to flying with lighters, but seems to be outdated. you can click here to see it.

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Traveling With Lighters Conclusion

Here’s the bottom line. In the US, the TSA has the authority to confiscate anything they think may be a security risk. Even if the item is normally allowed. Airlines also have the right to deny items in carry on and checked baggage regardless of what it is. My best advice would be when in doubt ask the airline or the TSA. If there is still a doubt in your mind just don’t take a lighter that might get confiscated.

We would love to hear from you! For any questions or comments, you can head over to the contact page.

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