NEW YORK - Five travelers were stopped with pepper spray by Transportation Security Administration officers at LaGuardia Airport yesterday, Sept. 17. TSA wants to remind travelers that pepper spray and related compounds known as mace and OC spray are prohibited from being brought into the cabin of an airplane.
Just yesterday five women were stopped by TSA officers at LaGuardia Airport checkpoints all before noon because they were carrying pepper spray in their carry-on bags. One of the women had two canisters of pepper spray with her. None of the incidents were related.
All of the travelers stopped by the TSA officers said that they were carrying the pepper spray for self-defense. But pepper spray also can be used as a weapon. Pepper spray, mace and other self-defense sprays are stopped at airport checkpoints nationwide every day because they are prohibited from being brought onto planes in carry-on baggage.
In checked baggage, passengers are permitted to have one 4 fluid ounce container of mace or pepper spray with a maximum concentration of 2 percent active ingredient provided that the container is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. It’s important to note that most animal repellants exceed these volume and concentration limitations.
When TSA officers detect prohibited items, such as pepper spray, in a passenger’s carry-on bag, the travelers are given a choice. They can return the item to their vehicle, hand it off to a non-traveling companion, place it into their checked baggage or surrender it to TSA. Pepper spray is illegal in some jurisdictions and travelers should check local laws before trying to travel with it in their checked bags.
From the photo above, you can see that many travelers end up surrendering their pepper spray to TSA, which treats the pepper spray as hazardous material for careful handling and disposal.
Passengers who are uncertain if an item is allowed to be placed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either, or neither, can visit www.tsa.gov and type in any item in the top right-hand corner of the homepage where it says: “When I fly can I bring my...” The above detailed description of the limitations on pepper spray are provided in the handy “Can I bring my...” feature on TSA’s website. The same feature is a part of TSA’s free downloadable “MyTSA” app.