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Can You Bring Pepper Spray on a Plane? (According to TSA)

bringing pepper spray on a plane

Anyone who travels by airplane knows that there are many rules and regulations regarding the types of items allowed on a plane, especially in your carry-on luggage. 

Since pepper spray is a common item for many people to carry with them on a daily basis, my team often receives emails and messages with the question, “Can you bring pepper spray on a plane?”

We’ve decided to set the record straight and provide a clear answer regarding mace and pepper spray and the rules for traveling with these substances in your carry-on or checked luggage. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before your next flight. 

Can You Take Pepper Spray On A Plane? 

You can take pepper spray on a plane, but you must place it in your checked baggage. According to TSA regulations, airlines do not allow passengers to travel with pepper spray or mace in their carry-on bags. 

Even pepper spray packed in your checked baggage must adhere to certain restrictions regarding the size of the bottle, how you package it, and the chemical composition of the pepper spray. 

Therefore, if you’re bringing pepper spray to use for self-defense when you arrive at your destination, your only option is to take it with you in your checked baggage and make sure you do not pack more than the designated amount. 

Finally, ensure that in addition to the TSA guidelines, you also check with the guidelines of your specific airline. Some airlines do not allow you to pack pepper spray with you even in your checked baggage. 

TSA Guidelines for Pepper Spray

pepper spray

As mentioned, the TSA does not allow individuals to pack pepper spray in their carry-on luggage without exception and has specific guidelines and restrictions for those choosing to pack it in their checked baggage. 

If you choose to pack pepper spray or mace in your checked baggage, the TSA guidelines are as follows: 

  • Only one (1) 4 fluid ounce (118mL) container or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage per traveler. 
  • Each packed container of pepper spray must have a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge from baggage handlers or during the flight. 
  • Self-defense sprays (pepper spray, mace, etc.) cannot contain more than 2 percent tear gas (CS or CN) by mass. Sprays with more than this concentration are prohibited. 

Remember, although these are the standard TSA guidelines, some airlines have additional restrictions on these types of items, so you should check with your specific airline as well.

Is Pepper Spray Allowed In Carry-On Baggage?

TSA and all airlines prohibit pepper spray from being packed in carry-on baggage. Although primarily used as a self-defense item, the airlines classify pepper spray as a weapon.

If someone were to discharge pepper spray on an airplane, it could cause injury and even force an emergency landing.  

If you accidentally forget to remove your pepper spray from your backpack, purse, or other carry-on luggage items, the TSA agent at the security checkpoint will confiscate it from you.

They may provide you the option to return the item to your vehicle. However, you will have to return to the airport and wait in the security line again. 

Can You Pack Pepper Spray In Your Checked Baggage? 

checked luggage airport

The answer to “can I bring pepper spray on a plane?” is that it must be in your checked baggage, and even in your checked baggage, it must follow the specific TSA regulations

Also, passengers should remember that allowing this substance in checked baggage also depends on the specific airline’s rules. Some airlines do not allow pepper spray, mace, or other similar items in a passenger’s checked baggage at all.  

Also, note that some states have designated laws around carrying pepper spray (such as age, size, concentration of pepper spray, and criminal history).

You should always check to ensure that the location to which you are traveling does not have specific laws or regulations. 

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Our Tips And Recommendations

Some of our team members have successfully taken pepper spray on a plane. Here are a few tips and trips to help your experience run more smoothly. 

  • If you usually keep pepper spray in your purse or backpack, make sure that you double-check that you have removed it prior to entering the security checkpoint line. You will not get through security with this item, and keeping it in your carry-on bag will only slow down your process. 
  • If you plan to pack pepper spray in your checked baggage, we recommend purchasing a travel-sized and approved bottle ahead of time so that you know that it will pass the requirements and not cause any issues. 
  • If traveling internationally, we generally do not recommend packing pepper spray in your luggage at all. Although in certain countries, like U.S. and Mexico, carrying pepper spray is legal, many other countries have banned the use of pepper spray. Some countries require a special license, and others consider it illegal.