We’ve all done it – turned up at the airport and not only second-guessed ourselves as to whether we’ve packed everything we need, but whether we’ve followed the airline’s rules on how we pack our belongings.
We know about the obvious prohibited items, but what about the other everyday items that we usually take for granted?
Flashlights (also known as torches) are one of these objects. They’re relatively commonly-used household items, and definitely very handy on excursions like camping or caving.
So, can you bring a flashlight on a plane? Have a look at this guide to see whether you can take one on board with you.
So, can you take a flashlight on board with you?
The short answer is yes; According to TSA, you can take flashlights on airplanes.
The Transport Security Administration (TSA) have set out guidelines detailing a list of items and tools passengers may make onto flights. They’ve given the okay to travelling with flashlights, both in carry-on bags and checked luggage.
However, their rules also state that tools – everything, not just flashlights – should not exceed a length of seven inches if they are being held in your carry-on luggage.
So make sure that if you’re taking a huge industrial-sized torch with you, you put it in your checked bag!
Are there any exceptions to this?
Tactical flashlights are a little more of a grey area. These are small, slim LED torches that are often used to temporarily blind attackers and illuminate dark areas as they generally possess extremely bright beams of light.
They are also those with jagged edges (which are usually used for breaking glass), which could also be considered a danger and be confiscated before boarding.
Household flashlights generally aren’t considered weapons, but some airlines may take a different view. After all, some of them are heavy enough to be used as blunt weapons.
Ultimately, the TSA do allow flashlights on airplanes with no explicit extra restrictions.
However, individual airlines may set their own rules regarding them. They may be restricted to being kept in your checked baggage, or even prohibited from the airplane completely if they perceive the flashlight to be a potential danger or hazard.
On top of that, the final decision, as with everything that goes through airport security checks, lies with the agent.
What about batteries for my torch?
Nowadays it is common for flashlights to come in both rechargeable and non-rechargeable varieties. Thankfully there are no restrictions and both are allowed on board your flight with you.
However, the majority of flashlights use lithium batteries, which are a restricted item. You are permitted to bring a torch with an installed lithium battery, as well as flashlights with non-removable (or rechargeable) lithium batteries.
Any spare batteries, though, are not permitted in checked luggage and must be placed in your carry-on baggage.
There may also be a limit on the number of spare batteries you can take with you so make sure to check with your airline. They are also limited to a rating of 100-watt hours per battery; any batteries exceeding this amount will be confiscated.
What other light-based objects can I take with me?
It’s possible to take a surprising amount!
As always, the final decision rests with the TSA agent, but there are no restrictions for the likes of LED disco lights, Christmas lights, and even a toy lightsaber with you – you won’t turn up to the Star Wars convention empty-handed!
Airlines may request that you store certain larger items in your checked baggage instead of your carry-on, but there are no explicit rules against taking these things on board.
Anything else I need to be aware of?
Modern flashlights can frequently double up as wider utility tools. It should be noted that extra functions on your torch may be scrutinized by the security officer, and refused if they deem anything to be a hazard.
Such functions may include penknives, scissors, screwdrivers – some even have built-in stun guns!
All of these things are either completely prohibited or restricted from carry-on luggage, so it is best to put them in your checked luggage.
To have even more peace of mind, it’s recommended to call ahead and check with the airline to see what their policies on utility tools are.
Got it… I think?
So just to recap on what we can and can’t take on board when concerning flashlights:
- Flashlights/torches are permitted on board in both carry-on and checked baggage. Any object longer than 7 inches will need to be packed in checked baggage
- Tactical flashlights may be confiscated if deemed to be hazardous (too bulky, sharp edges)
- Installed lithium batteries in flashlights are permitted. Any spare batteries must be taken in carry-on baggage, and must not exceed a 100 watt per hour capacity
- Utility flashlights with other functions such as knives, scissors and screwdrivers may be restricted, so contact the airline first. These will likely have to be placed in checked baggage if granted boarding.
- Other items such as LED lights and toy lightsabers are permitted so long as they don’t have any other functions they may put them on the prohibited items list.
And that’s it! You don’t have to worry about leaving your trusty torch at home for your next camping trip, just follow these rules and you’re good to go. Happy travelling!