According to TSA regulations, you can take a flashlight in both your carry on bags and checked bags. However, if you intend to pack your flashlight in your carry on bags, it must not exceed 7 inches in length.
But does this apply to all flashlights, including tactical flashlights? What about when traveling with batteries? And do the regulations vary by airline?
Let’s find out.
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Brining a Flashlight in Your Carry On Bag
Even though it is not explicitly mentioned on the TSA’s website, you are only allowed to bring a flashlight on a plane in your carry on bags if it is no longer than 7 inches.
This is because a flashlight is considered a tool, which the TSA states must not exceed 7 inches when “measured from end to end when assembled”,
Bringing a Flashlight in Your Checked Bag
If you want to pack your flashlight in your checked baggage, that will usually be fine. The only thing to be aware of is if the battery in the flashlight is removable or not, and whether you intend to travel with spare batteries or not.
Bringing a Flashlight With Batteries
Flashlight Contains Batteries
If the flashlight you want to travel with has a non-removable lithium or lithium-ion battery, it is okay to pack it in either your checked or carry on bags.
Spare batteries for your flashlight should also be packed in your carry-on bags. Again, the same rules about battery wattage as above apply.
If your flashlight has a removable battery, it should be removed from the flashlight and placed in your carry-on bags.
The TSA also state that “Lithium-ion batteries that are less than 100wh are allowed in carry-on bags with no quantity limitations.
However, lithium-ion batteries that are between 101–160wh are allowed in carry-on bags only with prior airline approval.”
Related: Can You Bring Batteries on a Plane?
Can You Bring a Tactical Flashlight on a Plane?
Tactical flashlights fall in a gray area. Sometimes passengers have found that they are able to take them past airport security and onto a plane, while other times the flashlight has been confiscated.
This is because the TSA state that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”
However, as tactical flashlights are often seen as being weapon capable, it’s better to be cautious and pack them in your checked bags, so you don’t run into any issues.
Airline Flashlight Restrictions
Whether you are planning on traveling with Delta, Southwest, United, JetBlue, American Airlines, or any other airline, you’ll be pleased to know that all follow TSA regulations.
Therefore, you can take a flashlight in both your carry on bags and checked bags, though it must not exceed 7 inches in length if brought in your carry on bags.
Tactical flashlights should be packed in your checked bags, and any removable/spare batteries should be packed in your carry on bags.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).