Is it Legal to Bring a Pepper Spray On a Plane?

Means of self-defense have changed over the years and nowadays there are quite a few ways to protect yourself against anyone who means you harm. Whether it is a mugger, an overly rude individual, or just somebody who refuses to leave you alone, you have the right to protect yourself. If everything else fails and there is nobody else there to protect you, the situation may call for the use of a certain tool to help you. While some people take self-defense classes where they learn the basics in martial arts designed specifically to counter the usual attacks and problems, others opt for items as pepper spray that are both useful in any given situation and can act as a scare tactic to repel the attacker.

Women are the most common customers and carriers of pepper spray since they tend to experience more unpleasant situations on average. Perpetrators believe them to be easier targets for mugging so they exclusively choose ladies walking on their own as targets. This is why more and more women refuse to walk alone, especially at night and in questionable parts of town. But what about business and pleasure trips overseas or to far away states? Can you actually bring your can of pepper spray with you no matter where you go? Well, in this article, you will learn all the necessary information regarding this useful self-defense tool. If you are looking to learn even more about the subject matter at hand, make sure to check out and browse through the list of best pepper sprays available in 2023.

About Pepper Spray

If you are to use it something that can be as dangerous to you as it can be for the attacker if not handled properly, you have to know a thing or two about it. Also known as oleoresin capsicum, OC, capsaicin, or capsicum spray, it acts by irritating the eyes and causing pain, burning sensation, and temporary blindness. The effects last between 30 and 45 minutes, more than enough for you to react, run away, defend yourself, and call 911. Since the attacker has no vision for a long time, the whole situation becomes easily diffusible. Some sprays also affect breathing and the lungs, causing breath shortness.

Originally, the tool was used to repel wild animals like bears and wolves, as well as stray dogs. Although it seems like one, it is not actually a chemical weapon meaning it does not fall under the prohibition of the chemical weapon convention and its laws and regulations. Some of the first occasions in which it was used on humans included riot control, where police officers wearing protective gear would use it to disperse the masses. It requires training to use properly, and the same goes for private use of modern pepper spray bottles. Each product comes with a short manual with tips and tricks, and you should definitely pay close attention to it so as not to spray yourself.

For commercial use, pepper spray comes in small canisters that can easily be carried around and concealed in bags, pockets, and purses. Various types exist, some in the shape of everyday items like jewelry. What is more, spray is not the only state it comes in. Fog, gel, and foam also exist, but the term pepper spray act as an umbrella term for all the different iterations of this self-defense tool.

Carrying it on a Plane

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Finally, it is time to answer the titular question of this article. Carrying a canister of pepper spray on a plane is possible, but not in the way you imagine. While you will be able to carry it on the plane and transfer it alongside your luggage form one border to another, it will have to be under certain rules and guidelines.

For example, it is absolutely illegal to have pepper spray in your carry-on bags. These bags are the ones you bring along into the cabin and store in the overhead compartment dedicated to each set of seats. Since it is practically a form of weapon and that it can cause a lot of commotion in the plane, it definitely has no place inside the plane where numerous other passengers could get injured apart from the potential attacker. What is more, since it is liquid after all and in a pressurized aerosol state, it is prohibited from entering the cabin.

On the other hand, you are usually allowed to carry a 3-ounce canister of pepper spray in your checked baggage. Most airlines allow it since there is no real harm in this. Some airlines even allow bottles of 4 ounces, while others do not allow any kind of disabling chemicals in the luggage, period. If you really want to carry it with you and have it at ready once you arrive to your destination, ask the airline company and do some research on the general rules of the airports and planes you will be using. After all, things like swords, taser and stun guns, throwing stars, saws, ice axes, and meat cleavers are allowed in the checked bags. Of course, you can carry pepper spray too.

Last but not least, you cannot have pepper spray on your body nor among the things you put through the scanners at airport security. First of all, there are many metal parts on each canister so the metal detectors will pick it up. Then, the security will probably confront you and ask you about it. This will be a problem if you generally look suspicious or if you fail to act naturally. Missing your flight due to such misunderstandings is not uncommon.

Conclusion and Final Advice

Now that you know everything about air travel and pepper spray, you can plan your trips better and prevent any inconveniences and bad experiences. A general piece of advice to all traveling pepper spray users is to find a place where you can buy a fresh new canister once you touch down and leave the airport. You will not have to worry about laws and regulations regarding the carrying of a small container with you, but you will stay safe nonetheless. Be smart about it and you will never have to feel unsafe nor go through all the trouble with airport security.