Will Pepper Spray Explode on An Airplane?

When traveling by air, both the passengers and the aviation crew have a responsibility of ensuring their own safety and security. Recently, questions have arisen concerning the potential dangers of carrying pepper spray on flights.

One common concern is, will pepper spray explode on an airplane? This will primarily pose a risk to passengers and crew members. In this article, we discuss the science behind pepper spray and how it behaves at high altitudes. This will help you take the necessary precautions before traveling with your pepper spray via airplane.

The Composition of Pepper Spray

Pepper spray, also known as OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray, is a self-defense weapon made up of natural oils extracted from chili peppers. Capsaicin is the active ingredient and is what gives pepper spray its potency.

It’s mainly used for personal safety whereby individuals use it to deter their attacker, giving them a chance to escape and find help.

Pepper Spray Explosion

Despite what a majority of people think, pepper spray does not explode under normal conditions, as well as in the controlled environment of an airplane. Canisters bought from licensed manufacturers are designed with safety features that prevent accidental spillage or explosion.

These features include safety locks that do not open or spray any liquid unless you initiate them. Pressure relief valves in pepper sprays allow excess pressure to escape and prevent the canister from bursting. With these features, you are assured that your pepper spray poses no risk.

Regulations on Carrying Pepper Spray

While pepper spray is generally allowed on airplanes in several states, most of them have regulations surrounding its transportation. Most airlines allow their passengers to carry small, custom-sized pepper spray cans in their checked luggage.

However, you are not allowed to carry pepper spray in carry-on luggage. Doing so may lead to severe charges and penalties. It’s essential to check with the airline you intend to use so as to get the specific guidelines.

How to Travel Safely with Pepper Spray

Before you decide to travel with pepper spray, it’s essential to know what is required of you and how best to ensure your safety as well as that of others. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

Check Airline Policies

One of the first things you must do before traveling is ensuring you are familiar with the policies of the specific airline you intend to use. Policies vary from one airline to another and it’s therefore important to be aware of the specific guidelines.

 Use the Right Canisters

 When purchasing pepper spray, you must ensure that you buy from reputable manufacturers. This way, you know that their products are legitimate. Ensure your pepper spray comes with features such as pressure relief valves and safety locks.

 Pack in Checked Luggage

 According to the Transportation Security Administration, pepper spray is allowed on an airplane, only if it’s in the checked luggage. You cannot carry your pepper spray as a carry-on since


Contrary to popular belief, the idea of pepper spray exploding on an airplane is a misconception. A majority of pepper spray cans come designed with safety features that make them resistant to pressure and altitude changes. This means the likelihood of pepper spray exploding on a plane is highly unlikely.

It’s typically safe to travel with pepper spray. However, as a passenger, you must adhere to airline regulations and your primary aim should be to ensure your well-being as well as that of everyone on board. Conducting research before your flight helps you to understand how pepper spray works and whether you can carry it along with you.


Written by: Georgina Njoki
Freelance Copywriter and Travel Enthusiast.






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