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Can I Take Pepper Spray on an Airplane?

Can I Take Pepper Spray On Airplane

I get a lot of questions about taking pepper spray on an airplane.  Is it legal?  Can I check it in my bags?  TSA has a list of what can and can’t be taken on an airplane.   Regarding pepper spray or mace on an airplane TSA says “One self-defense spray (pepper spray or mace) not exceeding 4 fl. oz. may be carried in a checked bag if it has a positive means to prevent accidental discharge.”  As long as pepper spray is small – 4 oz or below and checked it’s ok to take it.  There must be a locking system on it – and most pepper or mace has this.  The whole list from TSA is listed below:

TSA 7-02 

April 30 2002 

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today issued some reminders to help travelers pass through security checkpoints at airports and an updated list of items that passengers may not bring into the aircraft cabin. The TSA will be reviewing the list periodically and any changes to the list will be announced and posted on the TSA web site at

Allow extra time: Heightened security measures require more time to properly screen travelers. Travelers should contact their airline to find out how early they should arrive.


  • A government-issued ID (federal state or local) will be requested. Each traveler must be prepared to show ID at the ticket counter and subsequent points such as at the boarding gate along with an airline-issued boarding pass.
  • Curbside check-in is available on an airline-by-airline basis. Travelers should contact their airline to see if it is available at their airport.
  • E-ticket travelers should check with their airline to make sure they have proper documentation. Written confirmation such as a letter from the airline acknowledging the reservation may be required to pass through a security checkpoint


Screener checkpoints:

  • Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the security checkpoints. (Arrangements can be made with the airlines for non-travelers accompanying children and travelers needing special assistance to get to the gate.)
  • Each traveler will be limited to one carry-on bag and one personal bag (such as purse or briefcase). Travelers and their bags may be subject to additional screening at the gate.
  • All electronic items (such as laptops and cell phones) are subject to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case so that each can be X-rayed separately.
  • Limit metal objects worn on your person or clothing.
  • Remove metal objects (such as keys cell phones change etc.) prior to passing through the metal detectors to facilitate the screening process. (Putting metal objects in your carry-on bag will expedite the process of going through the metal detector.)


At all times:

  • Control all bags and personal items.
  • Do not accept any items to carry onboard a flight from anyone unknown to you.
  • Report any unattended items in the airport or on an aircraft to the nearest airport airline or security personnel.


Items permitted in aircraft cabins:

  • Pets (if permitted by airline check with airline for procedures)
  • Walking canes and umbrellas (once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed)
  • Nail clippers with nail files attached
  • Nail files
  • Tweezers
  • Safety razors (including disposable razors)
  • Syringes (with medication and professionally printed label identifying medication or manufacturer’s name)
  • Insulin delivery systems
  • Eyelash curlers


Items prohibited from aircraft cabins:

The following items will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. In addition to items specifically listed here other items that may be deemed to present a potential threat may also be prohibited.

  • Ammunition
  • Automatic weapons
  • Axes
  • Baseball bats
  • BB guns
  • Billy clubs
  • Blackjacks
  • Blasting caps
  • Bows and arrows
  • Box cutters
  • Brass knuckles
  • Bull whips
  • Cattle prods
  • Compressed air guns
  • Corkscrews
  • Cricket bats
  • Crow bars
  • Disabling chemicals or gases
  • Dog repellent spray
  • Dynamite
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flare pistols
  • Golf clubs
  • Gun lighters
  • Gunpowder
  • Hammers
  • Hand grenades
  • Hatchets
  • Hockey sticks
  • Hunting knives
  • Ice axe/Ice pick
  • Knives (any length)
  • Kubatons
  • Large heavy tools (such as wrenches pliers etc.)
  • Mace
  • Martial arts devices
  • Meat cleavers
  • Metal scissors with pointed tips
  • Numchucks
  • Pellet guns
  • Pen knives
  • Pepper spray
  • Pistols
  • Plastic explosives
  • Pool cues
  • Portable power drills
  • Portable power saws
  • Razor blades (not in a cartridge)
  • Religious knives
  • Replica weapons
  • Revolvers
  • Rifles
  • Road flares
  • SCUBA knives
  • Sabers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Shot guns
  • Ski poles
  • Spear guns
  • Starter pistols
  • Straight razors
  • Stun guns/shocking devices
  • Swords
  • Tear gas
  • Throwing stars
  • Toy transformer robots (this toy forms a toy gun)
  • Toy weapons


Passengers should be aware that there are no provisions for returning banned items to them when they are left at the security checkpoint. In addition those who attempt to bring banned items through the checkpoints are subject to civil penalties of up to $1 100 per violation in addition to criminal penalties.

While the above items are strictly prohibited from being carried into the aircraft cabin many may be transported in checked baggage with these important exceptions:

  • Firearms and starter pistols may be transported in checked baggage so long as they are unloaded and declared to the airline.
  • Small arms ammunition for personal use may be carried in checked baggage but only if securely packed in fiber wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
  • One self-defense spray (pepper spray or mace) not exceeding 4 fl. oz. may be carried in a checked bag if it has a positive means to prevent accidental discharge.
  • Blasting caps compressed air guns fire extinguishers flare pistols and gun lighters are regulated as hazardous materials and may only be transported as cargo on passenger planes under strict limitations in quantity and packaging.
  • Other items listed above are entirely forbidden in air transportation. These include disabling chemicals or gases dynamite gunpowder hand grenades plastic explosives road flares and tear gas.


Passengers should also note that there are many items not referred to here that are restricted or forbidden as hazardous materials.

For more information go to or call your airline as individual airlines may place additional restrictions on any item. You may also call the Hazardous Materials Information Center 1-800-467-4922. Violations of the hazardous materials regulations may result in fines of up to $27 500 per violation as well as criminal fines and/or jail.

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