Because pepper spray can be beneficial for self-defense, many individuals keep a tiny canister of mace in their handbag just in case.
However, pepper spray might be used as a weapon.
So, is it legal to bring pepper spray on a plane?
This article discusses travelling with pepper spray, where to carry it, and how much you are permitted to bring on an airline.
TSA Pepper Spray Regulations
The Transportation Security Administration is in charge of keeping you safe when flying. They are the glum-looking people at the security checkpoint.
We went to their website to see what they had to say about pepper spray:
Is it possible to transport Pepper Spray in hand luggage?
Pepper spray may be employed as both a self-defense and an offensive weapon. A bad actor with a can of mace might create havoc and cause breathing issues for all passengers and flight attendants in an enclosed space like an aeroplane.
As a result, it comes to reason that you cannot bring pepper spray on an aircraft in your purse or hand baggage.
You will not be allowed to pass through the security checkpoint with a pepper spray aerosol in your handbag, so do not bring it with you.
Is it permissible to carry pepper spray in checked luggage?
Passengers may bring one can of pepper spray in their checked luggage, however there are size and strength restrictions:
The TSA is as follows:
In addition to the TSA allowing pepper spray in checked bags, your airline must also accept it, so I checked with the major US airlines to see what they had to say about it:
Alaska simply advises customers to check TSA standards so that they can bring self-defense spray in their checked baggage.
American Airlines Inc.
It appears that American Airlines sometimes get a little confused when it comes to travelling with mace.
According to their own website, you cannot:
And there are conflicting signals on Twitter.
Anna persisted and eventually got the correct answer.
If you arrive at the security checkpoint with your self-defense spray still in your hand baggage, you may be fortunate enough to obtain a courtesy check of your carry-on.
Of course, there is always the possibility that you will arrive at your location and your checked luggage will be misplaced by the airline.
If your carry-on luggage is in the overhead bin above you, it will not be lost.
You’ll have to consider how much you want to take that mace on vacation with you. The other option is to hand up the spray to the TSA at the checkpoint.
Another airline that appears to be puzzled about pepper spray is Delta.
They informed Chris that it was not permitted in either checked or carry-on luggage.
On other situations, however, Delta adheres to the TSA’s pepper spray guidelines:
Christina was travelling with Delta when the TSA confiscated her pepper spray and forced her to empty her drink.
Frontier Airlines Inc.
According to Frontier, the following items are permitted in checked luggage:
Two women on a JetBlue aircraft got into an argument in 2015. Someone had managed to get pepper spray on board and use it. Because pepper spray in a cramped environment is quite dangerous, several people were treated for respiratory issues. This highlights again again why it should never be permitted inside an aeroplane cabin.
JetBlue goes even farther, prohibiting mace or pepper spray in checked luggage.
Rachel was irritated when JetBlue took her mace from her checked luggage:
It’s difficult to argue with her logic that if weapons are permitted, pepper spray should be as well, especially given TSA standards allow it.
Southwest, like JetBlue, restricts the use of pepper spray in checked luggage.
And they are well aware that customers are irritated…
United Airlines Inc.
According to the United website, defensive sprays such as mace, pepper spray, and tear gas are not permitted in checked or carry-on bags:
On Twitter, there are conflicting signals. Bea received a retort:
They appear to be following the TSA pepper spray restrictions more recently. Taylor was given the standard TSA advice.
However, I believe there is some ambiguity. It’s difficult to predict how a United check-in employee would respond if they discovered you carried pepper spray in your carry-on.
If, on the other hand, the TSA investigates your checked luggage and finds pepper spray under 4 oz with a safety mechanism, they will just disregard it.
I can’t help but think that this is a more convoluted problem than it has to be. The TSA and the FAA collaborate to develop a uniform set of aviation safety and security policies. Individual airlines imposing their own rules does not benefit passengers.
One thing is certain: you cannot bring pepper spray on a plane in your handbag or carry-on luggage; the TSA will seize it at the security checkpoint, and no airlines allow it.
The TSA allows 1 tiny 4 oz self-defense spray in checked luggage if it contains a mechanism to prevent inadvertent discharge.
However, airlines often get it wrong and declare that pepper spray or bear spray is not permitted in checked luggage.
However, because the TSA is in charge of scanning and checking checked bags, their regulations will eventually apply. However, if you notify a JetBlue or a Southwest check-in agent that you have pepper spray in your carry-on, they may refuse to let you board.