The best self-defense weapon is something you can carry anywhere and everywhere, even on planes.
Pepper spray is one of the most universally accepted forms of self-defense. Since January 2022, it’s been legal to carry pepper spray in every state, including Rhode Island and Hawaii.
However, if you’re heading cross country or even across the world, you could be stopped from taking your pepper spray with you.
Can You Take Pepper Spray on a Plane?
Yes, pepper spray is permitted on a plane in checked baggage, but it is not allowed in carry-on bags. It must be securely packed and declared to the airline. Regulations may vary, so it is advised to check with the specific airline and destination country’s guidelines before traveling.
The triple-action products from MACE are prohibited in checked luggage, as is any other self-defense spray that contains more than 2% tear gas.
These restrictions are understandable. Pepper spray in such a small space would cause sensitive passengers severe discomfort and potentially even respiratory distress.
You might want to consider packing your pepper spray into an airtight bag to prevent any nasty consequences should it accidentally discharge during the flight.
Airlines that Don’t Accept Pepper Spray
The following airlines have banned pepper spray on their planes, despite the TSA’s stance on the subject:
If you’re flying with any of these airlines, you could try and argue your case, pointing to the TSA’s website for support, or be more cautious and leave your pepper spray at home.
Can You Bring Pepper Spray on an International Flight?
Although pepper spray is perfectly legal in the US and Mexico, many countries ban it altogether, so taking it on an international flight is risky.
Most countries in Europe and Asia prohibit civilians from carrying pepper spray or bringing it into the country, so you could be on the wrong side of the law the moment you land.
Personal safety alarms provide a legal alternative to pepper spray and can give some level of protection wherever you are in the world.
Pre-Flight Checklist for Pepper Spray
Before you decide whether or not to take your pepper spray on board a flight, first tick off the following requirements:
- Does my pepper spray canister meet TSA requirements?
- Does the airline I’m flying with allow pepper spray in checked luggage?
- Is pepper spray legal at my destination?
- How will I protect myself if my pepper spray is in my checked baggage?
Although the TSS says you can carry up to 4 fl oz of pepper spray in your checked luggage, not all airlines are willing to accept it.
Numerous national and international flights prohibit self-defense weapons like pepper spray and MACE for safety reasons, making it difficult for frequent flyers to protect themselves.
Personal safety alarms and smart jewelry are safer to fly with and legal in most international destinations. Alternatively, you could read our article on improvised self-defense weapons.