As you probably already know, it’s legal to carry pepper spray for self defense in all 50 states in the US. This means that many of us have become accustomed to relying on our trusty pepper spray to keep us safe and maintain peace of mind wherever we go.
However, the law regarding pepper spray gets complicated when you factor in plane travel.
Since pepper spray is not legal everywhere in the world and because of the specific conditions inside an aircraft, it’s easy for passengers to get themselves into trouble over a can of pepper spray.
In this article, we’ll be explaining whether you can bring pepper spray on a plane and under which circumstances this would be allowed. We’ll also be providing you with some potential pepper spray alternatives for plane travel.
Is Pepper Spray Allowed On Planes?
The answer to this question is basically ‘sometimes’. Ultimately, whether or not you can bring pepper spray on a plane comes down to what kind of pepper spray you own, how you’re planning to pack it, and where you’re traveling to.
Let’s break that down further in our next section about how to travel with pepper spray by plane without breaking the law.
Bringing Pepper Spray On A Plane Legally
Consider Your Destination
Just because pepper spray is legal in the United States doesn’t mean the use or ownership of this substance will be permitted in the country you’re traveling to.
Of course, if you’re traveling within the US, you don’t have to worry about this. Similarly, pepper spray is legal in France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
However, if you’re traveling to the United Kingdom, for example, you shouldn’t bring pepper spray with you.
That’s because while pepper spray is permitted for use by law enforcement in the UK, civilians are prohibited from owning or using it, so arriving in the UK with a can of pepper spray in your luggage could cause problems.
If you’re found to be carrying pepper spray in Thailand, you could face up to 10 years in jail. The substance is also illegal in Japan, China, India, New Zealand, and the majority of Australian states.
Other countries where the use of pepper spray is not as accepted as in the US include Portugal, Germany, and Switzerland. In these countries, you need a license to use pepper spray, and getting one is a laborious process.
Please do your research before traveling with pepper spray and do not bring any with you if the country you’re traveling to has restrictions in place.
Check TSA Specifications
Once you know that you’re allowed to bring pepper spray into the country you’re visiting, you will also need to check the specifications laid out by the TSA.
These instructions will tell you what kind of pepper spray is suitable for plane travel. You will not be allowed to board the aircraft with pepper spray that does not match these specifications, so be sure to follow the instructions to the letter.
Cans of pepper spray being brought onto an aircraft must have a capacity under 4 fluid ounces. The can must also have some type of safety lock to prevent it from discharging by accident.
You cannot bring pepper spray onto a plane if the formula contains more than 2% tear gas.
This is an extra precaution airlines take just in case an accidental discharge does occur since pepper spray with a high percentage of tear gas is more potent and may cause severe side effects.
Pack It In Your Hold Luggage
Please note that you can’t put pepper spray in your cabin baggage.
This is because accidents do sometimes happen regardless of precautions, and if your pepper spray were to discharge in the cabin, other passengers could potentially be severely affected, and this situation could force an emergency landing.
If you’re going to travel with pepper spray, it must be kept in your hold luggage and checked in before boarding the flight.
We recommend taking extra precautions to make your pepper spray even safer and ensure it doesn’t ruin the contents of your luggage. For instance, you could seal the can in an airtight plastic bag.
Pepper Spray Alternatives For Planes
If the idea of researching the laws on pepper spray at your destination and packing your spray safely all sounds a bit too much, you could rely on some flight-safe alternatives instead.
For example, if you don’t want to take the risk of your pepper spray discharging in your checked luggage and ruining your clothes, you could choose to pack a stun gun or taser instead.
However, you will still need to do your research if you bring one of these weapons on a plane since they’re not legal in all countries and the penalties for breaking weapon laws in some countries can be very severe.
Self defense options that don’t require you to do as much research before traveling include whistles, alarms, or non-irritating sprays (dyes or foams) that can incapacitate attackers without the use of harsh chemicals.
These are generally legal worldwide, and some can even be packed in your cabin luggage, which is ideal if you weren’t planning on bringing a larger suitcase.
If you need any further guidance on which substances can be packed in what bag, we suggest contacting your chosen airline directly.
If you’re considering taking pepper spray on a plane, you must first make sure that the possession and use of pepper spray is legal in the country you’re visiting.
You will also need to ensure that your can of pepper spray is less than 4 fluid ounces and has a safety lock. It will need to be checked in with your hold luggage, and should ideally be packed in an airtight plastic bag.
Flight-safe alternatives to pepper spray include whistles, alarms, or non-irritating defensive sprays. Tasers and stun guns can go in hold luggage but are illegal in some countries.