Can You Bring a Flashlight on a Plane?

Traveling today often involves careful planning and preparation, especially when packing carry-on items that could raise security concerns. Among the myriad items travelers might consider essential, flashlights are a common tool for emergency preparedness and convenience. Initially perceived as a simple handheld light source, flashlights have evolved over time into sophisticated devices that use incandescent bulbs or LEDs and can vary widely in size and intensity.

The question of whether you can bring a flashlight on a plane is a reflection of larger post-9/11 security concerns. In the wake of heightened security protocols, air travelers face strict regulations on what items are permissible on aircraft. Historically, before increased airport security measures, passengers could travel with a range of items with fewer restrictions. Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States and similar bodies worldwide have specific guidelines regarding carry-on and checked luggage. The considerations regarding flashlights center around their size, battery type, and potential use in disrupting the peace on a plane. Understanding the regulations can help travelers ensure they remain compliant while maintaining a level of personal preparedness.

can you bring a flashlight on a plane

Can You Take a Flashlight on a Plane?

When preparing for air travel, many passengers wonder about the items they can take with them on a plane, including flashlights. Generally, flashlights are permitted on planes by most airlines and security agencies like the TSA. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind, such as the size of the flashlight and the type of batteries it uses. Small, personal flashlights are typically allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage, while larger, high-powered flashlights may need to be packed in checked bags. It’s also important to consider the battery type; lithium batteries, for example, have specific regulations due to their potential fire risk. For a detailed discussion on the rules and tips for traveling with a flashlight, continue to the next section where we delve into the guidelines provided by airlines and security authorities.

Regulations for Carrying Flashlights on USA Domestic Flights

When preparing for a domestic flight within the United States, it’s essential to understand Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations regarding personal items, including flashlights. As a traveler, you must adhere to specific rules to ensure a hassle-free boarding process.

TSA Rules on Flashlights

The TSA does not explicitly prohibit flashlights on flights. However, there are guidelines concerning the size and type of flashlight you may carry in your checked baggage or carry-on bags.

  • Small personal flashlights are typically allowed in both carry-on bags and checked luggage.
  • Larger flashlights or those that resemble weapons or contain hazardous materials may only be allowed in checked baggage.
  • Check the TSA website or contact the administration directly for the latest rules on specific flashlight models or features (e.g., lithium batteries).

Packing Flashlights in Carry-On Bags

Careful packing is necessary to avoid any inconvenience during the security check process:

  • Ensure that the flashlight fits within the permitted size and weight limits for carry-on items.
  • If the flashlight uses lithium batteries, it must be under 100 watt-hours to be allowed in carry-on bags.
  • Be prepared to remove the flashlight from your bag if requested by TSA officers for closer inspection.

Packing Flashlights in Checked Luggage

When packing flashlights in checked luggage, more considerations come into play:

  • Despite fewer size restrictions, it’s important to protect the flashlight from potential damage by wrapping it securely or placing it in a hard case.
  • If your flashlight is particularly expensive or valuable, it may be safer to carry it in your hand luggage to prevent possible loss or theft.
  • Large flashlights or those powered by unusual or large batteries should be packed in checked luggage, following the airline’s guidance on hazardous materials.

Battery Considerations for Flashlights

The type of battery used in your flashlight influences how you can travel with it:

  • Spare lithium batteries are only permitted in carry-on baggage, not checked baggage, due to the risk of fire.
  • Ensure all spare batteries are properly protected to prevent short circuits, such as by placing them in original retail packaging or insulating the terminals with tape.
  • Flashlights with non-lithium batteries have fewer restrictions but still need to be packed in a way that prevents accidental activation.

TSA Security Screening

Detailed below are steps to take when going through TSA security screening:

  • Declare any flashlight, especially if it’s large or has significant weight, to the TSA officer for proper assessment.
  • Be ready to separate the flashlight and batteries if required for a more thorough examination.
  • Follow any additional instructions provided by TSA agents regarding the scanning of electronic devices.

Tips for Traveling with a Flashlight

To ensure compliance and ease of travel with a flashlight, consider these tips:

  • Recheck the latest TSA updates close to your departure date as regulations can change (TSA website citation).
  • Remember to charge or replace batteries before packing to avoid the inconvenience of a non-working flashlight upon arrival.
  • For multi-tool flashlights that include blades or other potentially dangerous items, check with the TSA on current regulations that may affect the ability to carry these on board.

For the most current regulations on carrying flashlights on domestic flights in the USA, refer directly to the TSA website or contact the administration:

✅ Pros ❌ Cons
Flashlights can be used in case of emergency or power outages on the plane. Large, powerful flashlights may be considered as potential weapons and may not be allowed in carry-on luggage.
Handy for illumination when traveling to destinations with uncertain or poor lighting conditions. Flashlights, especially those with lithium batteries, have specific restrictions and might require additional security checks.
Small, portable flashlights are generally allowed in both checked and carry-on bags. Batteries may be subject to airline regulations, and spare batteries must be properly packaged.
Can provide a sense of safety and security during nighttime activities at the destination. If not packed properly, a flashlight could accidentally turn on and drain the batteries or create a security concern.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides comprehensive guidelines for passengers traveling with batteries and battery-powered devices, including flashlights. According to IATA regulations, travelers can carry flashlights in their carry-on or checked baggage, but there are specific rules concerning the batteries that power them:

  • Batteries installed in a flashlight must be securely fitted to prevent accidental activation.
  • Spare batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage only.
  • Spare batteries must be protected from short circuit by placing them in original retail packaging, by taping the terminals, or by placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch.
  • For lithium batteries, the lithium content must not exceed 2 grams for lithium metal batteries, or 100 watt-hours (Wh) for lithium-ion batteries. If the rating is higher, special approval from the airline is required.

For the most current information on IATA guidelines regarding flashlights and batteries, please refer to the IATA Baggage Tracking page.

Country Specific Regulations

When flying internationally with a flashlight, it’s crucial to be aware that regulations can vary significantly from one country to another. Each country may have its own set of rules regarding the transportation of battery-powered devices and the types of batteries allowed. It is important for travelers to check the regulations of their destination country as well as any countries they may transit through.

United Kingdom

For specific UK regulations, please visit the UK Government’s guidance on electronic devices and electrical items in hand luggage.


European regulations can be found on the European Commission’s page on lithium batteries.


The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority provides guidelines at CATSA’s page on flashlights.


For Australian regulations, refer to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s advice on traveling safely with batteries.

New Zealand

Check the New Zealand Aviation Security Service’s advice for travellers for details.


Asian countries may have varying regulations; it’s best to consult the specific country’s civil aviation authority for guidance.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s regulations can be found on their Baggage Information page.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with a Flashlight

Airlines often have their own set of rules that may be more restrictive than general country regulations. It is essential to review and comply with the airline’s specific policies regarding flashlights and batteries to avoid any inconvenience during travel.

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

United Airlines

Southwest Airlines

Air Canada

British Airways

  • British Airways’ regulations for batteries and electronic devices are available on their Prohibited Items page.




  • Emirates’ policy on traveling with batteries and electronic devices can be found on their Prohibited Items page.

Singapore Airlines

Please note that airline policies are subject to change, and it is always recommended to check with the airline directly for the most current information before traveling.

How to Pack a Flashlight in Your Luggage

When traveling, a flashlight can be an essential item, whether for safety during outdoor adventures or simply for convenience in low-light hotel rooms. Packing a flashlight in your luggage requires consideration of airline regulations, accessibility, and protection to ensure it arrives undamaged and is ready to use. Here’s your guide to packing a flashlight, whether in carry-on or hold luggage.

Packing a Flashlight in Carry-On Luggage

Packing a flashlight in carry-on luggage is permissible, but it’s essential to adhere to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines to avoid any issues during security checks.

  • Check Battery Type: Verify whether your flashlight uses lithium batteries. If so, it must be packed in carry-on baggage only, as spare lithium batteries are not allowed in checked baggage due to fire risk.
  • Remove Batteries: If possible, remove the batteries from the flashlight to prevent it from being accidentally turned on. Store them in a separate battery case to avoid short-circuiting.
  • Size Matters: Opt for a small to medium-sized flashlight that won’t take up much space and is within the permissible size and weight restrictions of your airline’s carry-on policy.
  • Secure Placement: Ensure the flashlight is easily accessible and not buried beneath other items. This will help when you need to quickly retrieve it for security inspections or use during your flight.

taking flashlight through airport security

Packing a Flashlight in Hold Luggage

For those choosing to pack a flashlight in hold luggage, there are different considerations to keep in mind to ensure it arrives intact and undamaged.

  • Protect the Flashlight: Use a hard case or wrap the flashlight in clothing to cushion it against the knocks and bumps during transit.
  • Secure the Switch: Engage any lock-out modes your flashlight has, or secure the switch with tape to prevent it from turning on accidentally and draining the battery.
  • Adhere to Airline Regulations: Check with your specific airline for any restrictions about packing flashlights, especially those with powerful lithium batteries.
  • Label Your Batteries: If you leave the batteries in your flashlight, place a note or label indicating that the batteries are installed for device operation. This can assist airport security in understanding why the batteries are packed as they are.

Whether you choose to pack your flashlight in your carry-on or hold luggage, always ensure that you’re familiar with and follow airline and security regulations to ensure a smooth journey. Packing your flashlight properly not only complies with these regulations but also protects your equipment so that it’s ready to use when you reach your destination.

Additional Travel Essentials for Your Flight

When preparing for a flight, alongside a flashlight, consider packing a portable power bank to keep your electronic devices charged during long trips. Noise-cancelling headphones are a traveler’s best friend, allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes or podcasts without the distraction of engine noise. A comfortable travel pillow and a compact blanket can make your journey more comfortable, especially on longer flights. Don’t forget a good book or an e-reader loaded with literature to pass the time. For personal hygiene, a travel-sized hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and a face mask can help you maintain cleanliness and safety. Lastly, a collapsible water bottle is convenient for staying hydrated while saving space in your carry-on luggage.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring a Flashlight on a Plane?

Traveling by plane often comes with numerous regulations and restrictions that can be confusing for passengers. Among the common questions is whether or not you can bring certain items, like flashlights, on a plane. To help clarify this for travelers, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding traveling with flashlights on commercial flights.

Can I bring a flashlight in my carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can generally bring a flashlight in your carry-on luggage. However, make sure that the size and the type of battery comply with the airline’s regulations.

Are there any restrictions on the size of the flashlight?

Airlines typically do not have restrictions on the physical size of a flashlight, but it’s advised to keep it reasonably small due to space limitations in overhead bins and under seats.

Can I pack a flashlight in my checked luggage?

Yes, flashlights are allowed in checked luggage. Make sure that the batteries are properly installed in the device or safely packed to prevent activation.

Are lithium batteries allowed in flashlights on planes?

Lithium batteries can be carried on a plane in flashlights, but there are restrictions. Batteries should not exceed 100 watt-hours (Wh), and spares must be in your carry-on, in manufacturer packaging or have their terminals taped over.

Is it okay to bring a tactical flashlight on a plane?

While tactical flashlights are often permissible, they may be scrutinized due to their appearance. As long as the flashlight doesn’t contain any prohibited features, such as spikes or the ability to be used as a weapon, it should be allowed.

Will I need to remove my flashlight from my bag during security screening?

It’s not typical to be asked to remove a flashlight from your bag during screening. However, if a TSA agent cannot determine what an item is through the X-ray, they may ask you to present it for further inspection.

Are high-powered or high-intensity flashlights allowed on planes?

High-powered flashlights are generally allowed, but security personnel might inspect them due to their potential use as a blinding device. Always check with the airline before flying with high-intensity flashlights.

Can I bring a flashlight with rechargeable batteries on a plane?

Yes, you can bring flashlights with rechargeable batteries. However, spare rechargeable batteries must be carried in your carry-on, and it’s advisable to keep them in a battery case to prevent short circuits.

What should I do if I’m traveling internationally with a flashlight?

When traveling internationally, check the regulations of all the countries you’ll be traveling to or transiting through, as regulations might vary. Always comply with the strictest regulations you find.

Should I declare my flashlight when going through airport security?

There’s no need to declare a flashlight when going through security unless you’re asked about it by a security agent. In general, flashlights are considered personal items and don’t need special declaration.

Packing It All Up

In summary, travelers can indeed bring flashlights on a plane, but there are specific regulations that must be followed to ensure safe and secure travel. Flashlights, depending on size and type, are generally allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage. However, it’s essential to remember that any flashlight containing lithium batteries must adhere to airline restrictions concerning battery capacity. Handheld flashlights are usually permitted without much fuss, but high-powered, tactical, or large flashlights could potentially raise concerns due to their size and intensity.

When packing a flashlight in checked luggage, it’s advisable to remove the batteries to prevent accidental activation and potential fire hazards. For those carrying flashlights in their hand luggage, ensuring easy accessibility for security checks can aid in a smoother security experience. Additionally, staying informed about the airline’s specific policies and any changes in safety regulations can help travelers avoid any unexpected complications. By being mindful of these considerations, one can confidently include a flashlight as part of their travel essentials, ready to illuminate their path no matter the destination.