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posted
A co-worker sent this to the office today. I like the way he writes, and I think this may be of value to those of a similar inclination. I have edited out names, but nothing else
---
When wife and I traveled to FL on vacation last week I decided to jump in the fast lane and travel with my every day carry.

After studying TSA's and United's web sites, and watching many videos on the topic I:

purchased a Pelican carry case and fitted:
my unloaded gun
two magazines with ammo (okay with United, not so much American Airlines)
a box of ammo
a knife
included printouts of TSA and United rules
The gun box is secured with two non-TSA approved padlocks, per the regs.

All good we to go drove to Dulles three hours early. Normally we take a cab or Uber. I figured if there was a problem I could take the gun back to the car in the garage and still make the flight.

Word is to allow at least an extra 30 minutes to an hour if checking luggage with a weapon.

You cannot check your luggage via the airline app nor kiosk. You must go to the ticket counter. The kindly elderly female hall monitor at the line for the ticket counter tried to persuade me to use the kiosk until I told her I was traveling with a gun. The poor thing only leaped about 4 inches off the floor. When she came back down she removed the barrier and waved me in, all the time not making eye contact. I'll need think of a kinder, gentler way of getting past the hall monitor next time.

When I informed the ticket agent is had a "unloaded weapon in my luggage, secured per TSA and United's rules" she didn't bat an eye. However, she had to fill out a boat load of forms on her monitor, print them out and staple them to a duplicate boarding pass, then filed. I signed the obligatory declaration card which is then placed in my luggage on top of the locked gun case. I then locked the luggage with a TSA approved lock. This process took about 20-25 minutes extra at the counter. When I asked, the ticket agent said that all the forms were due to my traveling with the weapon.

THEN she had to call to have someone escort me to a separate luggage scanning station to run my luggage through it. The guy who escorted me was terrific, very friendly and we quickly became friends. Great guy. We had to find someone to scan my luggage. Luggage was scanned out of my sight, but with the length of time it took I suspect my luggage was opened to confirm my weapon was properly secured. Luggage was then taken away to be loaded up.

Upon arrival in Pensacola after connecting in Chicago (don't ask) luggage arrived just fine.

The return trip once again started with arriving a the Pensacola airport 2.5 hours early. Once again the agent didn't bat an eye. However, this time there were not reams of paper printed out. Checking in was a quick process, declaration card signed and secured in the luggage, and the agent said "Hang around for about five minutes in case TSA wants to speak with you" and she tossed my luggage on the belt. Per my YouTube studies this is the usual process. I sat down near the counter and in about 5-7 minutes the agent indicated to me I could move on to the gate. Easy peasy. No muss no fuss.

Luggage arrived just fine after connection in Houston.

A few thoughts:
I would think that Dulles would have a less time consuming process since there must be federal/state/local gun toting agents flying in and our all the time. Maybe they follow a different process
No one except for the unfortunate hall monitor batted an eye and technically she didn't bat an eye, they just widened.
Watch out for airline rules. IE: American airlines rules are different than United's and I suspect such may be the case with other airlines as well.
Per my studies, don't bother trying to fly out of Newark with a checked weapon. Either they are not used to honest people declaring weapons there or .... it's just Newark airport. In fact, let's just agree to not fly out of Newark period, since it was recently honored as being the worse airport in the USA.
I didn't have to drag wife to the airport 3 hours early, but she was very good about the whole thing
I didn't have to lie awake half the night before the flights worrying about what was going to happen when I checked my luggage.
It did feel good to be armed in the Redneck Riviera, I'll admit. But that's probably because I am so comfortable carrying now. It's no big thing.




Don't believe everything you think.

NRA Benefactor/Patriot Member
 
Posts: 1671 | Location: Virginia, USA | Registered: December 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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Well written - Yes, it COMPLETELY depends on the airport and the airline.

PNS, ORF, and (surprise) Ontario CA are EASY. Zero drama, easy peasy. At ONT, you check in then walk down a bit and a friendly TSA guy meets you like 2 min later to check your bag (they check them all visually, or did).

PDX / SEA are kind of freaky, lots of paperwork, looks, etc.

Vegas was average, no real drama either but maybe it was just the bustle of the airport which made it seem more difficult.
 
Posts: 42790 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I fly fairly often with a firearm. All of the above is good advice. I have found that if I say "I need to make a firearms declaration" to the person checking me in I don't get that startled response. Better yet, I get my wife to say it. I'm pretty sure she could tell the gate agent "I have a severed head to declare" and it wouldn't raise an eyebrow. It's worth noting that I only fly Delta and they have always been very easy to deal with. I stay out of places that are notoriously unfriendly to guns.

The last few times my luggage was zip tied when I retrieved it. Recently, my bag is no longer placed on the carousel, I have to pick it up in person.
 
Posts: 288 | Location: Bluegrass State | Registered: February 09, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Within the last thirty days, I flew from Salt Lake City to DC (Reagan National) via Delta; first time flying with firearms. I used a Pelican case..Model 1500 (5 handguns) with handgun foam insert, chamber flags and non-tsa locks, secured inside a roll luggage bag.

The counter went pretty smooth with just the declaration for paperwork plus the normal ID and ticketing. Counter person did not seem concerned or surprised.

She led me down to an end station just past the ticketing area (was kinda in the open) where I waited for a TSA agent who arrived with 2-3 minutes. He confirmed the case was unlocked, preformed a swab test (outer edges and inside including below the handgun foam) while he chatted with me. He said he checks lots of firearms, all day long (assigned just to that). When done, he watched while I re-locked the case, inserted it into the luggage and locked that up too. A baggage handler had appeared during the inspection and took the secured bag away. ** When done, there were 3-4 people behind me waiting for the same inspection **

At National Airport, we went to the Delta Office at the luggage claim area and waited about 15 minutes for it to arrive (was just shortly after the regular luggage appeared on the carousel). The bag was zipped tied at the Delta Office--thou rather poorly. Showed my ID, ticket claim and away I went.

Important Notes:
I placed a luggage ID tag on both the exterior of the pelican case and the luggage bag (in case they became separated).

I made a list of all the firearms with serial numbers, placing one in the locked pelican and retaining one with me. Additionally, I took photos of all the firearms with close-ups of the serial numbers, luggage bag and pelican case (in case it was mis-placed or stolen), retaining those on my cell phone.

I kept a printed copy of the FAA and Delta Airlines transport rules in case I needed to refer to them.

I had my wife go to the carousel in the event the bag was misplaced onto it while I went to the Delta Office which was close enough we could keep eye contact.

When picking the bag up at the Delta office, I moved the zip ties some, reached in and checked the locks on the pelican case to ensure they were present and secure.

The best part... I was met by an armed LEO who escorted me to my destination about an hour from the airport *** OK OK, this was my son but that's beside the point *** LOL

I was pretty nervous...first time and all...wife thought I would probably get arrested..read the rules repeatedly. Overall, it was pretty simple with little fuss.
 
Posts: 169 | Registered: January 15, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've only flown with guns a couple of times, but had no issues. Never had to be escorted anywhere or asked to wait. When checking in I tell the ticketing agent that I need to declare unloaded firearms. I think that works better than, "I have a gun." Wink

Each time I've flown, the first time a couple of years ago and the second time earlier this year, I had to pick up my bag at the baggage claim office. The last time I actually saw the agent bring my suitcase to the office and I came in right behind him to claim it.

One tip to share: In addition to using TSA locks on the luggage and non-TSA locks on the gun case inside, I use a cable lock (also non-TSA) to secure the gun case to the frame of my suitcase. Someone may be able to get into the suitcase, but if their intention is to steal my guns, they're going to have to go to a lot of trouble to do that, and will probably just leave it alone.



"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Sherlock Holmes
 
Posts: 1267 | Registered: February 26, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow. Some of you guys are really going all out. It's not necessary.

Federal regulation spells out transport, and it's very straight forward. Either hard case for the firearm, or hardside luggage; it doesn't need to be both. Lock on the luggage, good idea to lock the firearm. Store the ammunition properly in an ammunition carrier or the original packaging. You can get away with it in the magazine in some cases, but not a good gamble.

Notify the agent that you have a firearm. Beyond that, it's fairly mindless.

If there's any possibility that you'll get diverted to or routed through New York, watch your back. If the flight is delayed and you're overnighting, you might be in for a very rude awakening.

All the extra labeling with serial numbers and airline printouts are completely unnecessary, and whatever you do, don't mark the luggage as carrying a firearm.

Someone asked about carriage for authorized personnel (LEO, etc); this is a different matter, and may be carried on the person on official business under narrow circumstances. Otherwise, they must transport the same as everyone else.
 
Posts: 3764 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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Years ago I flew out of Chicago O’Hare with a firearm. Woman at the counter (United) told me I had to pull the gun out and show it to her.

I said, “No, I don’t. I just need to declare it and do the paperwork”. She was adamant that I pull a gun out of a suitcase at an airport. A Chicago airport, one of the least friendly gun cities in the US. By the way, this was May of 2002...

As she became more animated and attitudy, I calmly asked for a supervisor. She told me the supervisor would say the same thing. I said that’s was fine, I would like to hear it from the supervisor then. She huffed off to go get the supervisor, then all full of herself told the supervisor I wouldn’t pull the gun out. Supervisor told her that I shouldn’t be pulling the gun out and agent should never have asked me to, then apologized to me for the agent’s mistake.

I am sure I gave a bit of a smarmy “told you so smirk” to the agent who looked quite displeased. Couldn’t help myself, then thanked the supervisor and finished the process.

Always bring a print copy of TSA and specific airline rules.






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 8897 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sns3guppy:

Wow. Some of you guys are really going all out. It's not necessary.

Federal regulation spells out transport, and it's very straight forward. Either hard case for the firearm, or hardside luggage; it doesn't need to be both. Lock on the luggage, good idea to lock the firearm.
When I took the ATP written exam (scored a 98), there was a question about this. Correct information is (I got this correct on the exam), the firearm case must be locked with a non-TSA lock, and the passenger must not surrender the key (or combination). Passenger must open the lock for inspection if requested to, but must retain the key. This is not just a "good idea," this is per regulation.

The preceding is for regular passengers; my guess is that you are flying as legally armed cockpit crew, so you don't have to go through this song-and-dance routine.



A mind is a terrible thing.
 
Posts: 21207 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, I think it is a reasonable position to make a list of the firearms you are traveling with (especially if you have several different weapons) and it only takes a minute to make the list and snap a cell picture. I would rather be able to provide the S/N up front than say "when I get home in 10-14 days, I'll call you with the S/N".

Lots of LEOs these days are not gun folks, I've seen officers that don't know what a revolver looked like and one that was unable to un-assemble and re-assemble his duty weapon (a 1911 GM).

I used the soft luggage because it was easier for me to haul around....and the 'escort'..lol, that was my son who I was going to visit for a couple of weeks. He was kind enough to pick-up and delivery us from/to the airport.

Theft of firearms from airports is not unheard of and one should take reasonable precautions. Delta places a “CAGPT” tag on your luggage for special handling, which can stands out like a sore thumb if you know the system.

https://www.travelpulse.com/ne...aggage-carousel.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/air...om-travelers-luggage

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/...enced-for-gun-theft/
 
Posts: 169 | Registered: January 15, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RHINOWSO:
Well written - Yes, it COMPLETELY depends on the airport and the airline.

PDX / SEA are kind of freaky, lots of paperwork, looks, etc.

That wasn't my experience. I flew PDX to Anchorage a few years ago with a handgun and had no issues at all. The ticket agent was completely calm and professional about it. One form to sign (IIRC) and the card to put into my bag along with the pistol case. I had read up on the rules ahead of time, but I was surprised at how easy it was. I don't recall which airline it was though, but probably Alaska.
 
Posts: 5693 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: February 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 911Boss:
Years ago I flew out of Chicago O’Hare with a firearm. Woman at the counter (United) told me I had to pull the gun out and show it to her.

I said, “No, I don’t. I just need to declare it and do the paperwork”. She was adamant that I pull a gun out of a suitcase at an airport. A Chicago airport, one of the least friendly gun cities in the US. By the way, this was May of 2002...



This was a lot more common a few years back. The airline does bear the responsibility for transporting the firearm, and with that is required to verify that the weapon is safe; this is often handled by asking (not really verification, but most common); anything brought onto an aircraft, or for transport on an aircraft (people, cargo, etc) is subject to inspection.

Around the same time frame I checked a bag with my Ruger SP101. The agent asked what kind of firearm, I had. I told her a revolver. She didn't know what that meant. I gave one stab at explaining it, and finally said "like a cowboy gun." She demanded it come out of the bag, held it up and waved someone over. At that point, everyone in the area was watching, both the firearm, me, and of course, the bag. There used to be a time when the bag was marked as containing a firearm, which of course, led to firearm related thefts.

Just a year or so ago, I think, there was a bust with airline employees who had taken something like four or five hundred firearms from luggage. If I recall, it was in Chicago.

Your luggage must be TSA accessible. The firearm container need not be. In reality, any locks that fit will be easily popped apart, and the container is easy enough to take and open later.

You also have the option of sending the firearm to yourself at the destination.

The pilot has the option in all cases of inspecting the firearm, though in nearly all cases, none of us have the time (or the inclination).
 
Posts: 3764 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ammoholic
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quote:
Originally posted by sns3guppy:
quote:
Originally posted by 911Boss:
Years ago I flew out of Chicago O’Hare with a firearm. Woman at the counter (United) told me I had to pull the gun out and show it to her.

I said, “No, I don’t. I just need to declare it and do the paperwork”. She was adamant that I pull a gun out of a suitcase at an airport. A Chicago airport, one of the least friendly gun cities in the US. By the way, this was May of 2002...



This was a lot more common a few years back. The airline does bear the responsibility for transporting the firearm, and with that is required to verify that the weapon is safe; this is often handled by asking (not really verification, but most common); anything brought onto an aircraft, or for transport on an aircraft (people, cargo, etc) is subject to inspection.

Around the same time frame I checked a bag with my Ruger SP101. The agent asked what kind of firearm, I had. I told her a revolver. She didn't know what that meant. I gave one stab at explaining it, and finally said "like a cowboy gun." She demanded it come out of the bag, held it up and waved someone over. At that point, everyone in the area was watching, both the firearm, me, and of course, the bag. There used to be a time when the bag was marked as containing a firearm, which of course, led to firearm related thefts.

Just a year or so ago, I think, there was a bust with airline employees who had taken something like four or five hundred firearms from luggage. If I recall, it was in Chicago.

Your luggage must be TSA accessible. The firearm container need not be. In reality, any locks that fit will be easily popped apart, and the container is easy enough to take and open later.

You also have the option of sending the firearm to yourself at the destination.

The pilot has the option in all cases of inspecting the firearm, though in nearly all cases, none of us have the time (or the inclination).


Indeed, several years ago, I was often asked to rack the slide on my handgun to prove it was empty. Thankfully, that crap seems to be gone. There are indeed differences in airports and airlines. I fly mostly American and they generally handle stuff pretty calmly. Sometimes, I have to walk the agent through their own process.



NRA Patron Member, Instructor and CRSO
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Posts: 1741 | Registered: April 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Flew commercial airlines many times with a handgun in my luggage. Bush in Houston was the only airport where I experienced any issues. On one occasion I was asked to open the case. On two return flights I had to go to baggage office to claim my bag.
 
Posts: 1828 | Location: Escaped Upstate NY for Texas | Registered: April 08, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LAS makes it really easy. Say that you have an unloaded firearm to declare. Go to the front of the line. Open the case for a 3-second show and tell. Close and lock. Sign card. Walk away. Faster than traveling without one.

Bruce




"I cannot spare this man. He fights!"
-Abraham Lincoln

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

 
Posts: 3356 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
teacher of history
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I place a TILE under the foam in my guncase. I can always check on my phone to see where the case is.
 
Posts: 4597 | Registered: March 04, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I always disassemble any pistol that I am checking. That way if the person checking it wants to ensure its unloaded, I just open the case and say "not only is it unloaded, it's disassembled." Works like a charm.
 
Posts: 288 | Location: Bluegrass State | Registered: February 09, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by maxwayne:

I place a TILE under the foam in my guncase. I can always check on my phone to see where the case is.
Great idea!



A mind is a terrible thing.
 
Posts: 21207 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by V-Tail:
quote:
Originally posted by sns3guppy:

Wow. Some of you guys are really going all out. It's not necessary.

Federal regulation spells out transport, and it's very straight forward. Either hard case for the firearm, or hardside luggage; it doesn't need to be both. Lock on the luggage, good idea to lock the firearm.
When I took the ATP written exam (scored a 98), there was a question about this. Correct information is (I got this correct on the exam), the firearm case must be locked with a non-TSA lock, and the passenger must not surrender the key (or combination). Passenger must open the lock for inspection if requested to, but must retain the key. This is not just a "good idea," this is per regulation.

The preceding is for regular passengers; my guess is that you are flying as legally armed cockpit crew, so you don't have to go through this song-and-dance routine.


The TSA has changed this rule. They now can ask you for the key/combination to access your firearm in their secure area without you being present.

I did not know about the change when I flew two months ago when flying from St Louis to Detroit. I filed a formal complaint with TSA and they supplied me with a copy of the new rule.

Personally I find the change ridiculous and believe it or not, was told at the gate I could either supply the combination so they could "check" my gun, or, they could put my luggage on the carousel while I continued on my flight (all kinds of wrong with this), or, forgo my flight and take my bag back home with me.
 
Posts: 2008 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: November 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by h2oys:

The TSA has changed this rule. They now can ask you for the key/combination to access your firearm in their secure area without you being present.

I did not know about the change when I flew two months ago when flying from St Louis to Detroit. I filed a formal complaint with TSA and they supplied me with a copy of the new rule.
If you still have the reply from TSA, would you be good enough to forward a copy to me? My email address is in my profile.

Or maybe put a copy in this thread, for the benefit of our members who fly with firearms?



A mind is a terrible thing.
 
Posts: 21207 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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+1
I would like to see that rule because I do not like the idea of allowing those thieving TSA bastards to unlock and relock my case without me present.

Bruce




"I cannot spare this man. He fights!"
-Abraham Lincoln

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

 
Posts: 3356 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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