Thursday, January 02, 2014

Oh No, Not The Lighter! Oh Yes, The Lighter!

Let's go "lighter" talk.

Yes, that thing you always look for to set the birthday cake candle afire. Same thing most wedding coordinators usually panic for at church ceremonies because "candle sponsors" did not bring matches! Yep, that thing that always comes in handy when a thread comes dangling out of your shirt or pants while you're already out painting the town red.

THE Lighter!

One of the most popular brands proliferating on this planet is as pictured above. The nameless ones are cheaper, usually referred to by Pinoys as "Made In China" for indeed, almost all of them are!

So, is it really not allowed in the airplane? Yes... BUT!

"Ano nanaman ang BUT na yan" you may ask? That is our topic this time.

In all the world, it is 'supposedly' not allowed BUT not so much taken seriously by the authorities. Why? Because indeed, the risk factor is too negligible! Try asking around if you find any airline passenger carrying disposable lighters if they have ever been lately apprehended at the NAIA, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod or Iloilo Airports. None, right? Unless pinag-tripan sila nung mga authorities - which happens! Or unless their disposable lighters looked so fancy or beautiful that they want to keep - which is even the most usual!

But why was my disposable lighter (a very expensive one at P15 hehe) taken by this security officer at one airport? The answer: because he (security officer) is a damned apprentice. A student actually from some school or college where graduates become one of those security people that man this area of an airport. Was he correct doing this? Technically yes. Even legally!

What was wrong however was: after groping me, he asked me to remove the lighter from my pocket, took it from my hand and placed it atop the 'dead' x-ray machine with eyes flickering as if he won the lotto!

What did I do? I took the lighter from where he placed it and said "You don't get that from me yet, I am just going to check in and will still go out of this airport to smoke. You can confiscate that if I am already entering your security check going to the pre-departure area. Besides, when you take anything from a passenger, you should explain why you are taking it".

Stunned ang kalbo, whahehehe! And when I looked at the real police officers in charge of this place who were just sitting nearby (because these apprentices were 'overly' doing the job for them), I saw some smile as if saying "wag mo nang patulan yan"! Yes, these real officers are already too familiar with my face having been in front of them almost every week since April 2013 - even earlier!

Where/What airport was this? Ah you don't wanna know hehe. That which was almost completely wiped out by Yolanda! This actually happened a few days before the storm, just a day or two after the sementeryo holidays, I think! And here's my wicked news: after smoking outside, I went back inside the airport, waited for my flight, boarded, and arrived home still with my expensive fifteen peso lighter hehehe! How did I do it? Seeeecreeeet!

Anyway, let's talk about how dangerous this thing is, and here we go...

Butane. Yep, that is (supposedly) the contents of every disposable lighter or any of its isomers like methylpropane, and I hear (or did I smell that?) that some use methane. All are highly flammable liquids (reason they're being used to light a cigarette). Katakot ba?! However, for a conflagration to take effect, you must have a lighter big enough not fit in your pocket hahaha!

Oh yes, if you were planning to burn something inside a plane with your lighter, you probably will be successful. But someone else can do the same with a match and other igniters. But if you were just carrying that disposable lighter because you need it to light a cigarette once you're out of the airport, what are the chances that it will accidentally cause harm? Very slim!

Here's an example to show a point --- many smokers who have accidentally or ignorantly placed their lighters on a car dashboard on a hot sunny day will tell you that the lighter just bursts with a very soft "pffft" sometimes even inaudible and that's it, the lighter is already empty of any liquid gas with a hole on the side and useless! That is on a very hot sunny day in this country, where you even have to leave the automobile doors open for a while before getting in. When does an airplane become as hot as that, aber?! And note that there becomes no fire, because there is no fire! The gas contents of a lighter is just fuel not fire. That's why there is a flint that you have to flick so that fire is created.

Okay now, let's take the scenario of your lighter inside the aircraft. Let us say you break it (which is hard to do by the way ha?) whether accidentally or willfully. Then what? Wala! It will just vaporize and suctioned to the air vents together with all passengers' exhalations and farts! Why would it en-flame when there is no flame, right?

If at all you wanted to burn something in an airplane with your lighter, chances are, before you even get successful to flick a fire, someone will have already seen and restrained you! But why would you? You are also inside that flying metal in the first place. Ano yan, harakiri? How many lighter-carrying smokers who ride airplanes would want to do that?

So in general, that disposable lighter is not such a cause for alarm - reason why many airport authorities ALL OVER the world ignore it!

Well, you might want to know about this twist... did you know that in some countries (like the UK), disposable lighters cannot be placed inside a checked-in nor hand-carried baggage BAGKUS it should be carried by the person in his pocket? Yes, ganun! The reason is that, when the little thingy is inside a bag, it might keep moving causing friction to let the flint ignite a spark and burn nearby items like your clothes and other materials to produce a real dangerous fire.

That said, so what are these newby, apprentice policemen confiscating my expensive fifteen-peso disposable lighter for? Haay naku, let's just call that as 'laws not keeping up with the times'. But mind you, once another"air-incident" happens with these pesky lighters involved, that law will naturally be strictly enforced hehehe!

Lastly, let us say it is indeed dangerous and must not be allowed on any airplane. So why are most airports all over earth not confiscating it?! Yep, almost every airport that uses x-ray machines to scan your things won't give a hoot if your checked-in or hand-carried luggage contained one or two or three disposable lighters! Wag naman sangkaterba hehe. Did you know that even as cargo, these things, especially in large quantities are categorized as DG? Yep, Dangerous Goods! Then again, the authorities of so many big airports don't mind if you were carrying one or two or three!

BUT, watch out for small, feeder, rural, barriotic, manual airports (not only in the Philippines but in many other such airports worldwide), they will confiscate it!

Okay okay, I said "Seeeecreeeet!" above on how I conceal the pesky thing during over-acting screenings at mano-mano security areas. Do you wanna know? Ah, I do a whole lot of tricks like placing it in the very middle of a folded shirt, wrapping it with my "used" underwear, placing it inside my "used" socks, at the bottom of my toiletry kit and other parts of my backpack (internal and external) or parts of my body that those guards don't usually grope at.


In a lot of cases, I "hide" my lighter in the most obvious place where they just don't look - my hand! Yep, I carry it with some papers and the likes, sometimes even with a glass of cold coffee, while I raise my arms to allow them to frisk my royal body! Haay naku hahaha!


Anonymous said...

I honestly just needed to know if cigarettes were cool to bring on an airplane. There was an abundance of superfluous anecdotes and opinions which was bearable at first, but towards the middle it just got annoying. It was like talking to someone with ADD.

This article, if written properly, could have been cut to a third of the original length. Good luck on your blogging venture. Cheers.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Heyyy listen,tomorrow's my flight im quite paranoid on bringing my pricey lighter. Im flying with my mom. She doesnt know that i smoke. So what do you think? Should i bring it with me? Or not? Or should i hide it on my check baggage or just simply put it in my pocket

Anonymous said...

Only in Manila .. they confiscate Lighters ,,, shame shame shame

Lakwatserang Mommy said...

oh well.. I am still bitter at tagbilaran airport, I was able to pass by the security scanner with my lighter then I went out to smoke ,after I came back my disposable lighter from japam, confiscated by this airport woman and I told her why and because I was able to pass by already, she said because I saw it.. my gosh shame on her! lol

Anonymous said...

Anonymous w pricey light. Hope u left yr lighter at home. No need to take it if your mom doesn't know u smoke. U won't light up when u deplane in front of her, buy a bic when u get there, knowing your nice lighter is safely waiting for you at home. Not worth getting busted by security and mom.

lucatoscani said...

I got two cricket lighters confiscated at manila airport by security . I had them
In my pocket and alarm
Didnt sound but the guy searched and found them and put them
In his bin. I actually discovered i risked being prosexuted with the mew
Laws. This is ridicolous. Its getting to a point where the world is becoming a prison and the stupid useless laws abound. Nice article
i agree with you. I hope stupidity will not prevail

Unknown said...

How about rechargeable lighter? Or electric lighter ? Still not allowed ?