Many items seem like they wouldn’t be allowed on planes, but they are under certain circumstances. And some items aren’t allowed, and many people don’t understand why. One of these confusing items is matches.
Can you bring matches on a plane?
Safety matches are allowed on a plane, but only in carry-on bags, and you are limited to one book.
Here is what the TSA website says about bringing matches on a plane:
One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.
Strike anywhere matches are not allowed on planes. These matches are easier to light than safety matches, so they pose a higher safety risk and are therefore not allowed.
We will explain the difference between safety and strike anywhere matches in this article and how to pack matches for a flight. Then we discuss whether or not you can bring matches through airport security.
What is a Safety Match?
There are a few types of matches, but only safety matches are allowed on planes. A safety match is a small wooden match that needs to be struck against a specific surface to light. Without this rough surface, you will not be able to light the matches.
Safety matches are also called “strike on box matches.” This name comes from striking the match on the box’s surface to light it.
And remember, when you bring safety matches on a plane, you can only bring one book. A book of matches is one little folder-like item that holds your matches. A matchbook or box comes with the surface used to light your matches.
However, according to AskTSA on Twitter, you are allowed a book or packet, and other tweets state you can bring a box, so as long as you have them in a smaller container, you can bring them through security. If you have any other questions about what you can bring on a plane, you can tweet @AskTSA.
The other type of matches, which are not allowed on planes, are strike anywhere matches. The difference between strike anywhere and safety matches is that strike anywhere matches, as the name suggests, can be struck anywhere to light them.
Strike anywhere matches are not allowed on planes because they are dangerous. These matches light from friction, so they light easily. If the matches light on a plane, there is a huge safety threat, and a fire might break out on the plane, especially if they are in someone’s bag and the fire goes unnoticed at first.
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How to Pack Matches for a Flight
Packing your matches properly is important if you want to ensure they are allowed on the plane.
Here is how to safely pack matches according to the FAA:
One book/packet of matches in carry-on or on the person. When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or at planeside, any matches in the carry-on must be removed from the bag and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin.
Strike-anywhere matches are forbidden.
So, your matches must stay with you on the plane, whether in the overhead bins or on your person. You will have no issues bringing safety matches on through airport security, which we will explain in the next section, but make sure they are accessible in your bag.
You want to be able to reach them in case your bag needs to be checked at the gate. Bags need to be gate-checked when there is not enough space in the overhead bins.
When your bag is gate-checked, you need to remove prohibited items not allowed in checked bags, including matches. If you can easily reach these items, you will not have to dig through your bags at the gate to get your matches out.
Your bag may also have to go through additional screening, and the TSA officers will have to inspect your matches. If they are buried in your bag, the screening will take longer, and you will have to repack your bag.
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Can I Bring Matches Through Airport Security?
You can bring matches through airport security as long as you follow two rules. You can only bring one book or box of safety matches, and strike anywhere matches are not permitted.
If you break either of these rules, you will not be allowed to pass through the security checkpoint. If you bring these items to the security checkpoint, you have a few options.
You are not allowed to put matches in your checked bags. So, when you have too many matches or prohibited strike matches, you need to dispose of them before going through security.
If you really do not want to get rid of your matches, you can put them in your car or take them home before your flight. Neither of these are very practical options, especially if you do not have much time to get to your gate or you do not live near the airport.
Boarding times for planes can vary, making figuring out when you need to be through security tricky. You can learn more about boarding a plane here.
So, your best option is to make sure you meet TSA guidelines for packing matches. If you follow their rules, you’ll have no issues bringing matches through airport security.