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.

Carry On Bags

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”,

Checked Bags

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.

Flashlights With Batteries vs. Removable Batteries

With 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.

Removable Batteries

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.”

Spare Batteries

Spare batteries for your flashlight should also be packed in your carry-on bags. Again, the same rules about battery wattage as above apply.

Tactical Flashlights

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.

By Airline

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.