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An American Airlines flight from Miami to New York was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville after a passenger “accidentally” deployed pepper spray in the cabin.

The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon when passengers near the back of the plane began coughing and complaining that they couldn’t see. Initially, it was unclear what was causing the disturbance, and a flight attendant called on anyone who knew what was going on to come forward.

A woman eventually admitted to using the pepper spray but said it was an accident. She claimed that she had mistaken the spray for hand lotion or sanitizer.

Other passengers on the flight said that the pepper spray was no accident and that the family who had deployed it had been aiming for a different family across the aisle.

The woman, her partner, and her teenage son were escorted off the plane in Jacksonville. Paramedics were on hand to treat people affected by the spray, and police gathered statements from passengers.

Passengers were forced to wait in Jacksonville for several hours before being taken to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on a different aircraft.

The TSA forbids pepper spray in carry-on baggage on flights. It is unclear how the family was able to bring it aboard the plane undetected. Pepper spray and other self-defense weapons are typically allowed in checked luggage.

The incident is under investigation by the FBI and the TSA.

In a statement, American Airlines said, “We are aware of an incident on Flight AA1680 from Miami to New York City on Sunday, August 20 [2023]. The flight diverted to Jacksonville due to a customer disturbance. Law enforcement officials met the flight upon arrival and removed the customer from the aircraft. We are working with law enforcement to investigate the matter.”

The incident is a reminder of the importance of following the TSA’s rules about what is allowed on flights. Pepper spray is prohibited, and passengers who bring it aboard a plane can face serious consequences.

If you are planning to fly, be sure to check the TSA’s website for a list of prohibited items. You can also ask a flight attendant if you have any questions.

It can be advantageous to have self-defense items accompany you on your daily routine to give you peace of mind and provide a defense mechanism should any unforeseen situations arise. Therefore, we encourage individuals to consider carrying items such as pepper spray for their personal safety.

However, it is also very crucial to mention that these items should be used with caution and only in justified self-defense situations. While being alert and prepared is essential, we do not condone reckless or irresponsible behavior by using these items for the wrong reasons. 

Remember, self-defense is a right but it also comes with great responsibility. Stay safe and use your self-defense items wisely.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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