If you’re traveling, you might want to bring along your candles. Whether it’s for your own relaxation or as gifts, making candles your traveling companion can be a good idea. But can you bring candles on a plane?
Well, the good news is that the TSA doesn’t mind you traveling with solid wax candles on a plane. You can put candles in your carry-on bags or checked bags, and there won’t be any problem.
Note, that the TSA specifies that solid wax candles are okay to carry. That means some types of candles are not okay. Generally, this would mean gel-type candles, but any candle where the wax isn’t solid can risk the ire of the TSA. However, gel candles are allowed in checked luggage.
Let’s get into the details.
Can Candles Go Through TSA? Things To Know
Candles can go through the TSA (Transport Security Administration). On its website, TSA makes clear that solid wax candles are okay. Since most candles are made from solid wax (paraffin, beeswax, soy wax, etc.), they can go through easily.
TSA doesn’t really care about the type or shape of the candles, so whether you have tealights, pillar, candles, votive candles, or other types, they can be a part of your carry-on luggage or checked-in luggage. Scented candles are allowed as well.
The containers for such candles are acceptable as well, including glass and metal.
Of course, this assumes you have no desire to light the candles during the flight.
However, the TSA does make it clear that the final decision on the matter rests with the officer at the checkpoint. By and large, this is a perfunctory specification, to account for unforeseen circumstances.
For example, someone might have a decorative candle with various materials embedded in the wax. In such a situation, it might be for the TSA officer to decide if these materials are acceptable to be carried onto the airplane.
Quick Tip On Putting Candles In Carry On Luggage
If you intend to take the candles as a carry-on, you may want to be careful in a way to reduce trouble for yourself and the TSA agent. This can make things easier, especially when traveling during a busy or holiday season.
My suggestion is to pack the candles lightly and carefully and have them easily accessible. Place them in the bin when going through security.
Carry on baggage gets a bit more scrutiny compared to check-in luggage. The agent at the checkpoint might want to have another look at the candle for a visual inspection.
If you intend to carry the candle as a gift or have it wrapped for protection, it is a good idea to do it in a way that’s easy to unpack for a visual inspection.
Generally, the automated or x-ray scan should be enough, but it is better to be prepared. This way, if the agent wants a visual examination, it will not be a hassle for you, or hold up the passengers in line behind you for too long.
How Many Candles Can You Bring On A Plane?
Technically, there is no restriction on the number or size of candles that you can fly with. They can be safely in your checked-in luggage or even the carry-on luggage.
However, this can be abstract at times. As we know, the TSA officer/agent at the checkpoint has some authority to decide on matters like this.
Generally, they don’t care much as long as things are within general guidelines. But if the agent isn’t entirely satisfied, or feels that the number, type, or design of candles is problematic, you might have a problem in taking them on board. It is rare, but it can happen.
For most passengers, there shouldn’t be any trouble getting any number of candles on a plane, whether checked-in or in carry-on luggage.
Gel Candles Aren’t Welcome As Carry-On Luggage
The TSA allows solid wax candles in carry-on luggage without a problem. However, if your preference lies with gel candles, be prepared to put them in checked-in luggage as they won’t be allowed in carry-on luggage.
Gel candles aren’t solid. And as every person who has taken a flight in the USA knows, the TSA is infamously squeamish about liquids on a plane.
The TSA website says that gel-type candles are acceptable in checked bags, but not allowed in carry-on bags.
Can Electric Or Battery Operated Candles Go Through TSA?
Many electric or battery-operated candles are available in different designs to mimic conventional candles. I do like those electric tealights, they add a nice touch!
The TSA or airport security is okay with these candles being in checked-in luggage or as carry-ons. The type of battery used in these devices is an important concern here.
If your candle uses conventional disposable batteries like AA, AAA, etc., it can go into the carry-on bag or be checked-in. However, if you have one of those fancy candles with rechargeable lithium batteries, things are different.
The FAA, and therefore, the TSA, would prefer that it goes into your carry-on bag. However, there can be exceptions based on the battery and device, etc. Any spare lithium batteries also need to go into the carry-on luggage.
At this point, the TSA is more concerned about the batteries in such candles, rather than the candles themselves. You should be able to carry them in carry-on luggage without a problem. However, the agent might want a visual inspection.
Carrying Candles For Religious Or Cultural Activities
Menorah And Hanukkah Candles At The Airport
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah features a menorah (candelabrum with nine branches) and candles to go on each branch. Usually, people will put the menorah at a prominent spot in their home, or even display it with lit candles at the window. It’s a beautiful scene and a wonderful sight at home.
But what if you need to travel and would prefer to take the menorah and candles along?
It’s always possible to carry it in your checked-in baggage. However, you can also bring the menorah and the candles in the carry-on luggage.
In the event you have a menorah that uses oil rather than candles, consider placing it in the checked-in luggage. Should you want to place it in the carry-on bags, make sure to follow the TSA’s rule for liquids.
Kwanzaa – Carrying The Candles And Kinara
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American culture. Amongst other things, the celebration involves lighting seven candles on a Kinara candle holder. In some ways, this is similar to the menorah and candles we’ve already discussed.
As such, the TSA allows the Kinara and the associated candles to be placed in the carry-on luggage or checked-in luggage.
Other Religious And Cultural Activities
Candles and related insignia are often carried through airports during the holiday season. However, the TSA does realize that different religions or cultural groups can have important religious or cultural events at any time of the year.
So, if there is a religious or cultural item that is delicate and requires special care, the agency encourages travelers to talk with a supervisor to clarify matters and deal with concerns.
Ideas On Properly Packing Candles For Your Flight
Packing Candles For Checked-In Luggage
Putting candles in checked-in luggage will require some attention to the packaging. It’s always a good idea to start by putting candles in a clear plastic bag.
This way, any possible leaks or melting wax will not stain your clothes or other items. This is especially important if you’re carrying scented candles.
Put the bag with candles somewhere in the middle of the luggage. At this point, you might want to place some 1-3 inches of bubble wrap or packaging around the candle bag. This helps keep the candles relatively safe from breakage, especially if you have candles with glass or ceramic containers.
Fill up the luggage as much as possible. Basically, eliminate any extra room, so the bag with candles stays in place and doesn’t shuffle or shift around during travel.
A snug packaging reduces the risk of damage or the candle jar cracking. Besides, you never know how the luggage is being handled at the airport, so it’s better to be careful.
Packing Candles For Carry-On Luggage
Candles, especially scented candles in containers can be fragile and expensive. It is much more desirable to carry these items in carry-on luggage, rather than put them in the checked-in suitcase.
While the TSA allows candles as carry-on luggage, you should be prepared for a situation where the TSA officer or agent wants a visual inspection.
To make things easy, start with putting the candles in a clear plastic bag, so there is no risk of spilling or melting wax. Solid wax is very unlikely to melt in carry-on bags, but it’s good to be careful anyway.
Besides, having candles packed nicely in a bag will make things easier for traveling.
It is preferable to put the packet/bag containing the candles at the top of your carry-on luggage. So, should the TSA want a visual inspection, it can be handled quickly and with ease.
Better yet, you may want to get the candles out of the luggage before going through security. Put them in a bin when going through security, to allow for easier inspection beforehand to save some time.
Avoid wrapping these candles (gift wrap etc.) or wrap them loosely. This will make things easier in case a visual inspection is necessary.
Take Your Candles With You On The Plane!
Now we have the full picture. You can bring candles on a plane when traveling from the United States. The TSA allows solid wax candles in carry-on luggage as well as checked-in luggage. However, gel candles are only allowed in checked-in luggage.
The TSA also makes allowances for cultural and religious reasons, thus making it easier to carry related insignia on a flight without any problems.
However, if you’re traveling internationally, it is better to check regulations for individual countries and airlines. While TSA guidelines are acceptable in most locations, there might be differences. Asking the airline or checking local regulations for the country you’re traveling to can make things easier.
If you’re traveling within the United States, taking candles along shouldn’t be a problem. This article also includes tips to make the packaging and the overall process easier.