Cigarette Lighters To Be Allowed Back On Airplanes

Starting August 4, cigarette lighters will no longer be banned from airplanes, according to the New York Times. The two-year-old rule was enacted after authorities claimed that the shoe bomber (Richard Reid) might have managed to detonate his feet if he’d had a lighter instead of matches.

From the NYT:

Lawmakers said that if Mr. Reid had used a lighter, instead of matches, he might have been able to ignite the bomb, but Kip Hawley, assistant secretary for the Transportation Security Administration, said in an interview on Thursday that the ban had done little to improve aviation security because small batteries could be used to set off a bomb.

Matches have never been prohibited on flights.

“Taking lighters away is security theater,” Mr. Hawley said. “It trivializes the security process.”

The policy change, which is to go into effect on Aug. 4, applies to disposable butane lighters, like Bics, and refillable lighters, like Zippos. Torch lighters, which have thin, hotter flames, will continue to be banned.

The times says the TSA had been collecting 22,000 lighters per day at various US checkpoints. By lifting the ban, Hawley hopes that agents can spend more time looking for bombs and not cigarette lighters. In addition, breast milk will be allowed on airplanes in quantities greater than 3 ounces as long as it is declared for inspection.

Hey Hawley… what about sippy cups and water bottles?

U.S. Will Allow Most Types of Lighters on Planes


Edit Your Comment

  1. FLConsumer says:

    Glad to see the TSA is “protecting” us from dangerous items that you wouldn’t let your kids play with and allowing water, soft drinks, and baby formula back on the plane.

    /saracsm off

  2. shoegazer says:

    And all thirty frequent flying Zippo users rejoiced.

  3. shoegazer says:

    Does anyone else think “security theater” and get a picture of burly men in Kabuki costume doing high kicks? No? Anyone?

  4. Plaid Rabbit says:

    @shoegazer: Dude, I promise you – there are way more than 30 of us. There used to be more of us, until this “security theatre” stripped us of them the first time we forgot to leave them in our shaving kit in the checked baggage, or at home before we left.

    Its really sad that they are able to see that this particular thing is “security theatre”, but not be willing to admit to the other, more obvious things that are not even theatre, but blatant security pantomime (NYC Subway frisking, anyone?).

  5. EtherealStrife says:

    In addition, breast milk will be allowed on airplanes in quantities greater than 3 ounces as long as it is declared for inspection.

    Would that be pre or post pump?

  6. sleze69 says:

    @EtherealStrife: There is going to be a rush on job applications at the TSA for “breat milk container inspectors”

  7. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    “But I don’t even have a baby!”
    “Sorry, ma’am, it’s the rules.”

  8. fargle says:

    It’s about time they got rid of that insanely stupid rule. I’ve been smuggling lighters on the whole time anyway (underneath a Seagate external 2.5 hard drive with a metal case works great!) but it’ll be nice to not have to mess with that anymore.

    So, in conjunction with that, can we stop the moronic shoe removal requirement as well now?

  9. CreativeLinks says:

    True Story.

    After managing to sneak my lighter through security (we all do it, if they find it on us we just shrug and say we forgot) I was in the smoking section.

    A TSA agent who was on break asked me for a light, and (doh!) I gave him one.

    Then he confiscated my lighter!

    So glad that this rule is changing back.

  10. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Let me correct Mr. Hawley’s quote:

    The TSA away is security theater.

  11. When will they get rid of the ban on liquids and gels over three ounces? I don’t want to have to buy miniaturized versions of every product I use. The ban on nail clippers and whatever else seems equally stupid.

  12. LionelEHutz says:

    So when will the dumbasses at TSA get rid of the 3oz liquid ban. Wasn’t that “plot” discovered to have been bogus.

  13. DashTheHand says:

    The 3oz liquid ban was perfectly mocked on that SNL TSA skit where the TSA Trainee guy asked “What if a bunch of people all put their 3oz of material together?” To which the TSA instructors for the class paused and then promptly skipped over the question.

  14. camille_javal says:

    I thought one already could take breast milk on the plane in amounts larger than 3 oz., if declared (and if the person was traveling with a small child, and not carrying it around as a conversation starter, I suppose)? I seem to recall noticing that when I flew last, and it says that they’re allowed on the TSA page (while it still says that lighters are not allowed in carry-on luggage, so it’s not as though it’s been updated already).

  15. beyond says:

    Should we really allow lighters in an enclosed space full of cloth fabric where they serve alcohol?

  16. overbysara says:

    So lighters are okay… but lotion! THAT is a threat!

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    Thank the gods. Sanity has FINALLY returned to the TSA. Oh, wait.

  18. yg17 says:

    @LionelEHutz: Yes. More bogus than the shoe bomber in fact. Doesn’t make sense…lighters are OK, but a bottle of water is banned……DAMMIT PEOPLE!!!! GIVE ME CONTROL OF THIS PLANE OR YOU ALL ARE GOING TO GET WET!!!

  19. banned says:

    I guess the lighters don’t sell well at auction! Now its time to pull out those Maxwell Smart/James Bond gunslinger zippos, you could totally hijack a plane with one of those.

  20. Pelagius says:

    Here’s the TSA list of allowed items. You might be surprised by what’s allowed. For example, a 7″ screwdriver is A-OK!

  21. LTS! says:

    Brilliant. Now, if I could just bring home that bottle of wine from France I would be all set. Of course I can bring my scissors on board, you know, something with a blade just as sharp as a box cutter and longer… in case I want to make snowflakes while flying.. that’s it. Screw the wine.


  22. These rules are so convoluted, it’s like someone didn’t use their brain. You can’t look for both lighters AND bombs? It’s not like the lighters are distracting you from the bombs… it’s called poor training and TSA is just coming up with BS crap to distract you from the fact that in red teaming tests they can still get BOMBS through. Not scissors that can be used as weapons, not fancy guns separated into 8 nondescript pieces a la mission impsosible, but a freaking bomb that is designed to look exactly like a bomb. They could print Looney Toons TNT on it like Wiley Coyote and they’d still get through.

    alright i’m done being angry, thanks for reading. :)

  23. yg17 says:

    And Sony’s patented ExplodoBatteries are allowed on board too. And thank goodness, no way in hell would I put my laptop in checked luggage

  24. cindel says:

    And the ban on liquid???

  25. Thrust says:

    Ok. Let me figure this one out. LIGHTERS, which entail the ability to burninate things, are allowed. Everyone is in this nice fire-loving cotton stuff we call clothing, and they allow lighters. Now they DON’T allow water. Our one defense against Carrie’style terrorism is not allowed because it is apparently FAR more likely someone will try to bring a plane down by drowning everyone or rusting parts of the jet, than simply burnifying us all to death.

    Oh, and @LionelEHutz: TAPT or whatever it was called was not only impossible to create while on an airplane, it was one of those things where IF he COULD have made the binary liquid explosive from it, he would need to be on a flight from sydney to tokyo, but flying the LONG way (over North America/Europe) because it required over 20 hours of sitting once mixed… So yeah, beware liquids on a plane retarded TSA.

  26. banned says:

    @this whole water thing
    I haven’t flown in a long time so correct me if I’m wrong, but do they not give you water free on a plane? and if so, then why do you need to bring your own water? Denying water would seem to be a serious breach of human rights. I know where I live it is illegal for anyone to not allow you to bring water or offer it free.

  27. zolielo says:

    @DashTheHand: I thought that I read that even if everyone on the plane 100+ with three ounce packs were in cahoots, it would not be enough. And the likelihood of a mass combination of that size is improbable.

    But if the ounce per person limit was increased six to forty-two fold it would take far less people, making it more feasible, to coordinate to combine to form a quantity that could bring down an airplane.

  28. dohtem says:

    How about letting me take my Gatorade so I don’t dehydrate in your freakin’ dry cabin? Are you guys scared of the lightning bolt on the bottle?

  29. dohtem says:

    @rocnrule: They do give you water. But it works like this;

    – You push the call button.

    – Wait till has the time to come over (remember its like 10 stewardesses to the whole plane).

    – They find out what you want.

    – Wait for them to go get your water.

    – Wait for them to help the other passengers that hit the call button before you.

    – When those narrow aisles are clear, they can come by.

    – You then get a little clear plastic cup that holds like 4 sips.

    Now what’s easier? Bringing your own water or doing it their way?

  30. banned says:

    I can see the hassle, but concerts, bars, sports, restaurants, anywhere that serves food really doesn’t allow you to bring in food or drinks. We all put up with it willingly there. I do understand the irony, I just fail to see why people get so angry over this one specific item.

  31. dohtem says:

    More from me:

    I hate to triple post but I need to clarify something.

    Water *is* allowed on the planes (well the last time I flew it was). But the catch is you can’t bring it in from the outside. It has to be purchased after the TSA checkpoint from the airport stores. This is where they rip you off and one small Aquafina bottle retails for like $3.50.

    Now the amount of liquids/gels allowed varies by country. In the E.U., each container must hold at most 100ml max, and all your containers must fit in a small ziplock bag. Funny enough, I can’t remember the U.S. restrictions. But I remember them being just as zany.

  32. acambras says:


    The U.S. rule is “3-1-1”

    Meaning that you can have containers that hold up to 3 ounces (but not 3 oz. of product in a half-empty 6-oz. container).

    Then you can cram as many of those little containers as you can into a clear, 1-quart ziptop plastic bag (a sandwich-sized bag, for you metric folk). So theoretically, if you want to pack 12 ounces of shampoo, you can divide it into four 3-oz. bottles).

    The last 1 stands for 1 bag per passenger.

    They encourage passengers to have the bag in your hand and ready for inspection. It’s just another player in the Security Theatre that is TSA.

  33. zolielo says:

    Even a full quart of liquid is not enough as it is roughly 10x, 3 oz. Plus one has to take into consideration packing volume used for the little bottles. I believe that the problems would start to become more probable in the gallon or 42x, 3 oz.

  34. eli_b says:

    what’s really weird is, i flew last month and carried matches the whole time. i mean…i’m pretty sure that can start a fire too…

  35. zolielo says:

    Nothing good to light with matches, which I believe have never been banned.

  36. Lancer24 says:

    Anyone interested in freedom anymore? What about personal responsibility? Go Libertarian! []