Many people today carry a small (or big) container of pepper spray for self-defense. When traveling, your safety is essential; you may feel better knowing that you have this spray at your disposal. But taking your trusty can of pepper spray onto your flight may not always be allowed.
A passenger may have one small canister of pepper spray in their checked luggage when flying. The spray must be secured to prevent any leakage or discharge and cannot exceed 4 fl. oz (118 ml), and may not contain tear gas that is more than 2% of the mass. Check with your airline and declare any pepper spray in your checked bags.
Can You Bring Mace Pepper Spray On A Plane?
You usually have carry-on bags and checked luggage when you board a plane. You will probably be disappointed to know that you are not allowed to carry pepper spray in your carry-on luggage, and security will not let you through if you have mace pepper spray on you.
This rule is in place for flight safety reasons. Even a single can of pepper spray would be enough to incapacitate the pilots, especially in an enclosed and pressurized environment like a plane, so just like knives and other dangerous objects, pepper spray is a safety risk.
Flight security is very strict these days due to incidents that happened at airports before, like terrorists trying to board flights. Mace pepper spray is an easy way to control a situation, especially in a small space like an aircraft, where passengers should not be allowed to take control.
That’s why security will confiscate the self-defense spray and detain you for questioning if you look suspicious in any way. It’s not worth even attempting to take it through as a carry-on item as you will only be asked to discard it, wasting money.
The rules and guidelines of the FAA and TSA, covering all airlines, state that you are not allowed to bring self-defense spray as a carry-on item onto a plane. Most airlines allow you to have pepper spray in your checked luggage since you cannot use it on the plane.
But you should take a few steps to guarantee the spray stays safe during the flight. If any of these precautions are not in place at check-in, it could cause your flight to be delayed since the steps must be taken before the flight will be allowed to leave.
To avoid disappointment, the TSA advises you to contact the airline about the flight you will take. The TSA and FAA regulations set a baseline, but airlines may implement stricter rules if they choose, and some airlines chose not to allow mace pepper spray in your checked-in luggage, either.
What Are The TSA And FAA Rules And Regulations About Pepper Spray?
We need to take extra care if and when we really have to carry pepper spray on a plane. Let’s now look at some ways for you to ensure that your checked bags do not cause any problems when you check them in.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined the best way for you to travel safely is with mace pepper spray inside your checked bags and not in your carry-on bags or on your person.
As mentioned, the TSA and FFA recommend that you first find out from the airline if they permit mace pepper spray on the airplane, as some airlines do not even allow mace pepper spray as a checked bag item.
If the airline allows pepper spray on certain flights, it will only be for flights within the USA. If you were to travel internationally, then self-defense sprays are prohibited entirely, even if you have them in your checked-in baggage. That’s because different countries have different rules.
The rules and regulations can be broken down into four categories, namely quantity, size, safety, and percentage of gas.
The size aspect is very simple since the maximum allowed size is also the standard size that you can purchase as a keychain. It is comfortable enough to hold in the palm of your hand. The other factors are slightly more complex, though.
How Much Pepper Spray Is Permitted On A Plane?
If the airline allows you to carry mace pepper spray in your checked bags, then you are allowed to have only one self-defense spray; any attempt to carry more will be seen as a violation, possibly causing airport security to detain you for further questioning and threat assessment.
What Size Can The Pepper Spray Canister Be?
The size of the mace pepper spray should be no more than four fluid ounces (118 millimeters). It cannot exceed this by even one ounce or millimeter. If you have a larger can of pepper spray, they will confiscate it. The rules are very specific and clear about that.
Can You Bring Pepper Spray As A Carry On?
Is Pepper Spray Allowed In Your Checked Luggage? Pepper spray is regarded as a “defensive weapon” by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and is not allowed in your carry-on luggage during a flight. The TSA has a comprehensive list of items that are and are not permitted during a flight, which travelers should read through prior to a flight.
Can You Have Pepper Spray In Your Checked Luggage?
A passenger may have no more than one can of pepper spray in their checked luggage, provided they have secured it properly, and it is no more than forty fluid ounces. The contents list on the pepper spray needs to be looked at to determine whether or not the amount of tear gas is within TSA limitations.
Can You Have Pepper Spray In Your Checked Luggage On A Domestic Flight?
Pepper spray is permitted in your checked luggage for domestic flights, as long as it is within the rules set out by the TSA and the airline in question. But passengers should always mention that they are carrying pepper spray in their bags as some airlines may not allow it.
Can You Have Pepper Spray In Your Checked Luggage On An International Flight?
The TSA has not prohibited pepper spray in checked luggage for international flights. However, since the airline may be foreign, passengers should check in with the airline itself. They should also ensure that the country they are traveling to does not have a legal ban on pepper spray.
How Can You Keep Your Pepper Spray Safe On A Plane?
Safety is the most important factor and any decisions that airlines make will be based on the safety of their crews and passengers. So, please make sure that you follow the rules, as this can also have a severe impact on your travel plans.
The rules essentially expect of you to be 100% sure that there is no chance of an accidental discharge of the pepper spray during the flight. If the TSA, FAA, or the airline finds any fault whatsoever, you can be sure that there will be some kind of delay.
The safety measures also clearly state that the self-defense spray should have one more safety precaution to it, over and above the recessed button.
For example, the device could have an additional cap that must be manually flipped up by a person so that it cannot discharge by itself. You can also place it inside another sealed container. These are examples of double-safety mechanisms, so the spray doesn’t discharge accidentally.
What Percentage Of Gas May The Pepper Spray Contain?
The mace pepper spray canister cannot include the substances o-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) or chloroacetophenone (CN), and they cannot contain more than two percent mass of tear gas. This means that the self-defense spray should meet all the non-hazard criteria required for the safety of yourself, the passengers, flight attendants, and pilots.
The reason why these gases are prohibited is that they are combustible and can expand in pressurized cabins like planes. Chances of it happening are slim, but even the slightest chance of a problem mid-flight should be enough reason to avoid it altogether.
These guidelines and regulations are in place to keep everyone safe, which includes protecting passengers against devices that could potentially be harmful, cause irritation if it were to discharge itself, or could even have an incapacitating effect on the passengers and crew, placing their lives (and yours) in danger.
Traveling with Mace or Pepper Spray FAQ
Is Pepper Spray Pressurized?
As a spray (like other aerosols), pepper spray is pressurized. The air pressure in a plane is controlled, limiting but not excluding any leakage risks during flights at high altitudes. This is why the primary safety concern with pepper spray on board a flight is whether or not it has been safely secured.
Will Pepper Spray Explode On A Plane?
A pepper spray canister will not definitively “explode” on a plane. At most, it may leak or accidentally discharge. Pepper spray cans explode when exposed to extremely high temperatures, which is not an issue during flights. A Newsweek article reported a pepper sprat explosion during a flight, but no actual “exploding” occurred. It was later stated in the article that it “went off.”
Will Pepper Spray Set Off A Metal Detector?
Metal detectors will alert security to the presence of a pepper spray can if the passenger has it in their luggage. If, for some reason, it is missed by the metal detectors, further screening or “pat downs” will most likely flag it. Being found with concealed pepper spray will make a passenger appear suspicious.
What Happens If You Are Caught With Pepper Spray During A Frisk?
When a passenger is frisked and is found to have pepper spray on them, this will immediately be considered dangerous and suspicious. The passenger might have to undergo further screening even if it was accidental. The pepper spray will likely be confiscated and discarded if it is too late to pack it into checked luggage.
What If You Accidentally Brought Pepper Spray Onto a Plane?
Sometimes the smallest, most inconspicuous pepper sprays make their way onto a plane. If this is the case, the passenger must ensure the spray bottle is secured and won’t risk discharging. The passenger must bring it to the attention of a flight attendant who will advise them on what to do. Keeping it concealed may lead to more trouble if they are found out.
What Happens If Pepper Spray is Deliberately Discharged During A Flight?
When pepper spray is discharged during a flight, most passengers (especially once it hits the air conditioning) will be affected, resulting in coughing, watery eyes, burning throats, dizziness, and headaches. The person responsible will be detained and charged if the discharge was deliberate.
Will The Pilot Make An Emergency Landing If Pepper Spray Has Been Discharged, Mid-Flight?
In instances where this has been the case, the pilot has opted to make an emergency landing to allow time for passengers to get medical assistance (if required) and to clear the aircraft of any lingering spray. The spray will eventually dissipate, and the flight can continue without stopping. The final decision rests with the pilot.
Does Every US Airline Follow The Same Rules Regarding Pepper Spray?
The TSA has allowed pepper spray in your checked luggage, but some airlines prohibit it entirely. Each airline has its own specific policy regarding safety issues. United, Southwest, and JetBlue do not allow pepper spray in a carry-on on checked luggage.
Are All Pepper Sprays Made Up Of The Same Ingredients?
Most pepper sprays contain the same ingredients, the active ones being Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), and varying masses of other ingredients and gases depending on the manufacturer. The OC is what causes the inflammation.
Is Mace The Same As Pepper Spray?
Mace is not the same thing as pepper spray as it is classed as an irritant or tear gas and does not cause inflammation. The active ingredients in mace differ from that of pepper spray, and the amount of tear gas in it may not comply with the TSA rules.