View Full Version : Exploding lighter causes suitcase to catch fire.

14th Apr 2001, 14:26
A report on Ceefax and Oracle states that free "exploding" lighters are being given away with packs of 200 cigarettes in Spain and the Canaries.

It also reports that these lighters will explode at the touch of a button, and that a suitcase being loaded on an aircraft caught fire when one of these lighters ignited.

Operators and airlines are, apparently, being warned.

Seems like they need to be a bit quick in doing it too.

14th Apr 2001, 15:12
IFR, I've dug out this post last year from 'Brain Salad'.

14th Apr 2001, 15:29
Very interesting BOAC. It looks like a nasty problem to me.

Hate the thought of one of these going off in the hold!

Captain Slack Bladder
14th Apr 2001, 17:16
The airlines have been working on this for months. Notices at check in on the outbound flight, notices on all seats outbound, PA's, notices at check in Spain/Canaries etc,etc. One lady on my flight yesterday admitted to the crew that her pack of 200 in the hold had the lighter still taped on, so we had to unload all the bags to find it. She was very sorry to cause a problem (she wasn't even a smoker) but better to be safe.

14th Apr 2001, 19:01
Just a point, Just returned from Canaries, and no one mentioned this at all. And I queued at checkin for two hours. So the message is not getting through.

Thought someone reading this from tourist/charter industry may like to know.

14th Apr 2001, 19:19
From the Foreign Office's travel advice for Spain:

"United Kingdom airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority are concerned about the serious fire risk in hold loaded luggage arising from promotions in Spanish holiday resorts in which cigarette lighters are attached to and/or packed in cartons of some brands of cigarettes. The lighters have a sensitive electronic ignition, which can be activated by movement within a suitcase as it is being transported. Travellers who buy such cartons of cigarettes are advised to remove the lighters and dispose of them prior to their return flight as these lighters should not be carried onboard an aircraft"


15th Apr 2001, 05:15
This has been going on all winter in the Canaries and in Spain in general from last year.
On a flight to the Canaries several months ago we were warned by our agent that these free lighters were in all the shops at the resorts AND Airport. The agent on duty was concerned that the passengers had not been sufficiently warned of the dangers at check-in.
We decided the risks were unacceptable and did a full baggage ID on the ramp asking pax who had such lighters to remove them.

We got nearly 100!!!

[This message has been edited by brookdale (edited 15 April 2001).]

15th Apr 2001, 09:32
I posted regarding this on the earlier thread (last November) referred to above, but then couldn't find it again to check on replies - thanks for the URL !

My question referred to the cheap "throwaway lighters" that sell for about 50p in UK and about 20p in the Middle East (thanks Tony :mad: ) Are these the same problem/type of lighter as the "freebies"?

Being poor (mean :)) I used to take several of these with me when I travelled to UK (in those days they were even dearer in UK) and never considered them a risk - and, yes, the "spares" were usually in my checked bagage.

What causes the lighters to explode? I know that if I leave one in the car under an Arabian Summer sun, it's likely to have burst by the time I come back to it - but what can cause it to ignite?

If these lighters are really a problem, us "self-loaders" don't know about it and need to have it well publicised - before it gets publicised on the front pages when an aicraft and pax are total loss due to an in-flight fire in the hold http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif . http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

In these days of non-smoking flights, my "fags" and lighter(s) are usually in the overhead locker with my carry-on, so as not to be reminded of them every time I go to my poskets http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/tongue.gif

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

[This message has been edited by ExSimGuy (edited 15 April 2001).]

15th Apr 2001, 10:26
Poolside in Canaries - guy picks up his lighter which has been lying in the sun.
Lighter detonates. Much wringing of hand with (fortunately) all fingers attached.
It's a worry http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

16th Apr 2001, 01:14
These lighters are a real concern. I am amazed that check-in agents aren't displaying some sort of notice at their desks. We go to the trouble of giving SLF pa's on foot & mouth and what food stuffs they can and can't take off the aircraft and then give short change to what essentially is a dangerous goods issue. V worrying.

16th Apr 2001, 02:07
Many steps have been taken to get rid of this problem. Most major UK charter players have been making PA's onboard, placing signs at c/in and getting tour ops to make PAs on coaches to/from resort. Obviously message is still not getting through.
Anybody have any more ideas?

16th Apr 2001, 10:15

It's not just the charter companies who need to do something (unless the scheduled carriers have something subtly different about their aircraft and holds etc!)

My recent flights have included:
BA and GF out of Saudi and Bahrain to UK,
US and AA out of UK to USA,
BA domestic (well, to the Independant State of Scotland to be accurate!)
SQ between Gulf and Dununda
SV domestic & "Gulf local" sectors
QF and Ansett domestic
UA from Dununda to USA
US domestic USA & Canada
- a total of maybe 50-60 sectors in the last 12 months

Not one of these flights as had clear notices at check-in (unless I missed the small print) and none had any PA about "throwaway" lighters (although by that time it would be a bit late for checked baggage!)

Now in future, I'm gonna have one, and only one, in my pocket - but how many of my fellow pax, especially travelling from the Gulf to UK where the price ratio on these is 2 or 3 to 1, and who sometimes have 4 or even 5 weeks holiday and so "stock up" before leaving, are gonna have 3 "spares" for themselves and 10 more to give to their mates in the pub back home, all stowed in the suitcase in the hold http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

16th Apr 2001, 12:20
ExSimGuy - suggest you read the inside of your ticket more carefully (as should all passengers, but it does seem they can't be bothered).
All airlines have a section after the contract of carriage in regard to Dangerous Goods In Passenger Baggage - BA even have it on the back of their boarding passes now as well.
This section details what you should not put in any baggage that you will check-in.
GF does supply its agents with similar placards for the check in desk - however you will rarely see them in BAH for some unknown reason.

16th Apr 2001, 14:45
If our employers take this threat seriously and I`m sure they do, then it should not be beyond the wit of catering and/or purchasing departments to apply the sort of pressure required to get this sort of promotion banned.

By this, I mean pressure on the cigarette MANUFACTURERS. Even though duty frees have gone to a large degree, airlines still carry fags on routes to non-EU destinations as well as the Canaries so we ought to have enough muscle to chop this at source. The bright spark (sorry) who invented this promotion surely had no idea of the potential for danger, so the manufacturers, who have no vested interest in flogging cheap lighters, shouldn`t need too much persuading.

It`s just a matter of getting the Safety Department and Purchasing to hold hands.

19th Apr 2001, 13:49
I have read, at one time or another, all the "interesting bits" on the insides of tickets. However, nothing "stuck in my mind" about cigarete lighters, throwaway! Perhaps it's not quite so obvious as it should be as I've been flying for 30 years without realising the danger of cigarette lighters http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

And it's no good just stopping the manufacturers doing this sort of "promotion" on charters - if this is a problem, it's a problem for the scheduled carriers as these lighters are available all over the world, usually a lot cheaper than they are in UK.

BTW - I have flown GF a couple of times quite recently ex-LHR and noticed nothing there either. I know there's the usual sign about hand-guns and explosive aerosols and cans of inflammable or corrosive chemicals, but nobody (unless it's just me that's thick) associates a tiny "innocent" cigarette lighter with a potential bomb!

If they are dangerous, the fact needs to be better advertised to the average SLF! (I guess the reduced hold pressure causes the things to break, like the increased pressure inside them if I leave one in the car in the sun - but what is the source of ignition http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif )

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

The regulators
19th Apr 2001, 16:30
The caa actually publishes millions of copies of a leaflet called travelling safely every year. it covers loads of stuff such as use of electronic items, effects of drink at altitude etc. It also has a lrage section on what you can and cannot carry on board. If tour operators will take them then the caa provides them free of charge and they are placed in people's ticket wallets. An electronic version is on hte caa web site

19th Apr 2001, 19:22
This topic applies to a batch of cigarette lighters specifically attached to cartons of cigarettes in Spain and the Canaries not to disposable lighters in general.
I came back from Arrecife two weeks ago and you would have had to have been blind and deaf not to have seen the warnings at check-in, Duty Free, or heard the announcements from Captain(twice) and Tour Operator(twice)

1 of many
20th Apr 2001, 00:23
Came out of 'somwhere in Spain' the other day. Some passengers responded to a PA and came clean that their cigarettes were in their baggage in the hold with the lighters still attached.

All the procedures FAILED to bring the dangers of these lighters to the passengers' attention - apart from the switched-on Cabin Crew.

The aircraft baggages holds were unloaded and the particular items identified and handed in.

While this was going on, a further 100 or so were collected from passengers sat in their seats!!

What is going on? Does there have to be a 'body-count' before big organisations like government bodies get involved?

Why can't the Press who are purported to monitor Prune, get hold of THIS one and do everyone a favour?

I suppose for them, its more newsworthy if somebody stoofs in with fire in the hold. Far more dramatic, followed by the witch-hunt, and 'the Public have a right to know'.

20th Apr 2001, 02:38
Lefthand--In Asia ANY disposable with something written on it such as duty free shop, karoke, restaurant, etc is likely to explode. They use extremely thin plastic in these things, not particularly safe for everyday use, not to mention air travel, etc.

20th Apr 2001, 19:30

Just to give the 'official' view, the DGR's, under Sefety Matches or Lighter, states -

'Safety matches or a lighter with fuel fully absorbed in a solid and intended for use by an individual when carried on one's person. However, lighters with a flammable liquid resevoir containing unabsorbed liquid fuel (other than liquified gas), lighter fuel and lighter refills are not permitted on one's person nor in checked or carry on baggage.'

In simple terms, you are allowed to carry a lighter but NOT allowed to put one in checked baggage. I agree with the comments that not enough is being done to ensure that the SLF are aware of the regs.

I'm not old, I was just born too early

21st Apr 2001, 10:43
Back to the top ;)

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">However, lighters with a flammable liquid resevoir containing unabsorbed liquid fuel (other than liquified gas), lighter fuel and lighter refills are not permitted on one's person nor in checked or carry on baggage. </font>

(my bold-face) - so it would appear that we can carry liquified gas lighters in our pockets or in the hold http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

Okay - perhaps this is just one batch of "duff" lighters that abound in Spain/Canaries or whatever. I'm certainly not too happy about the lighters that I buy in the Mid-East if "batch problems" can cause a danger - the "quality control" on these (15 pence) things out here is pretty crummy and you usually check that they work when you buy them (they sometimes don't) and they often run out of flint (or otherwise break) long before the fuel is used up.

I'm still in the dark as to the source of ingnition, even if the lighter explodes due to pressure differential http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

Interesting to hear that the CAA have a free leaflet detailing what I can and cannot carry on board; I'll check the web site. I'm not totally daft and wouldn't bring anything obvious on like a dirty great refill can of butane - paint stripper - solvent (apart from alcohol http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/tongue.gif ) but it's a shame that in all my 30 years of travelling I've never seen this CAA leaflet or had one offered to me at check-in!

Can we have some more facts about the incident that brought this to light (no pun intended!) and exactly what did occur?

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

1 of many
26th Apr 2001, 16:33
The point is, after all the publicity, rules, guidance and hard evidence of the danger.

NOBODY IS LISTENING - and WE can't make them.

Just a trifle frustrating what?