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Old 08-02-2017, 09:30 PM
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Default Air Travel and Guns

I have to start traveling a lot by air and intend to take my pistol with me. I have researched the regs so I'm not expecting any issues. I have a hard side suitcase to check it in with and a good locking storage case for it.
My concern, is there any way that the bag is tagged to imply that there is a gun in the suitcase? Is any one airline less tolerant to firearms? Has anyone had their gun(s) stolen?
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:58 PM
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I recently flew with American Airlines with a handgun. They put a red tag on my bag and I had to pick it up at the baggage office at my destination. No real problems, other than the red tag.

Last edited by Shark Bait; 08-02-2017 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:10 PM
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Default Have flown with a gun...

...scores of times.

NEVER a gun stolen. Airport procedures vary a bit...but TSA and airline procedures are straight forward.

Many posts herein. Search is your friend.

Be safe.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:18 PM
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Your inside lockable case does NOT get a TSA lock on it. You do NOT relinquish the key or combination - you unlock and relock the case. Ammo in a separate case or box, not in the gun.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:34 PM
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Recently traveled with guns for the first time. Surprised at the ease of checking in and getting my bag at the destination. Actually "service with a smile" at both ends.
What I learned: No locks needed on suitcase. Obviously the gun case must be locked. Once the suitcase was sent through, TSA was notified and I had to wait for a reply. Less than five minutes, they called the counter agent and said OK to proceed. I could tell they opened my bag but did not ask me to open the cases (two cases, four guns). So, teh airport was not busy and it only took five minutes longer at check-in. At my destination, the bag was hand delivered to the baggage attendant. It was the last bag delivered and the agent apologized for the delay.
I think I just might bring a gun on every flight on which i check a bag. That way, I'm quite sure my bag will get to my final destination.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:41 PM
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Obviously the laws at your destination matter, but beware of needing to make connecting flights in states with draconian laws like NY's LaGuardia airport. If your connection is missed or canceled, and you take possession, there will be trouble.

Happy trails.

Last edited by bigwheelzip; 08-02-2017 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:43 PM
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There was an airport baggage claim incident in the past 6-12 months in which a properly secured firearm in a picked up checked bag was loaded in a nearby bathroom and used in an assault. My guess is that prompted the ID tagging of the bag, picking it up from the baggage office after other passengers have departed, etc. I flew recently (3 months ago), and these measures were not yet in place, or not at those particular airports.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big D View Post
...scores of times.

NEVER a gun stolen. Airport procedures vary a bit...but TSA and airline procedures are straight forward.

Many posts herein. Search is your friend.

Be safe.
I've never traveled with a gun but tsa WILL steal things.

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Old 08-03-2017, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgk777 View Post
Recently traveled with guns for the first time. Surprised at the ease of checking in and getting my bag at the destination. Actually "service with a smile" at both ends.
What I learned: No locks needed on suitcase. Obviously the gun case must be locked. Once the suitcase was sent through, TSA was notified and I had to wait for a reply. Less than five minutes, they called the counter agent and said OK to proceed. I could tell they opened my bag but did not ask me to open the cases (two cases, four guns). So, teh airport was not busy and it only took five minutes longer at check-in. At my destination, the bag was hand delivered to the baggage attendant. It was the last bag delivered and the agent apologized for the delay.
I think I just might bring a gun on every flight on which i check a bag. That way, I'm quite sure my bag will get to my final destination.
When I was researching before my first trip with guns, I found a thread where a guy said he does exactly that. He feels the treatment of bags with guns is so much better that he always packs one whether he intends to shoot or not.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:38 AM
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I have flown coast to coast with checked firearms without any problems. Follow the rules and everything will be fine. I think that stolen guns are less than 1% of theft of luggage (my SWAG ).

Happy travels
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:55 AM
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The suitcase itself doesn't need to be hardsided, but the gun case that goes inside the suitcase does need to be hardsided. I use a softsided carry-on bag*, though obviously I check it when traveling with a gun. I lock the suitcase with a TSA-approved lock, but not the gun case. Also, I use a heavy duty cable lock to secure the gun case to the suitcase's frame (accessible via a zipper in the lining). A potential thief may be able to get into the suitcase, but likely won't bother with taking the time and effort to try and get the gun or gun case out.

I also recommend printing out the airline and TSA regulations and bringing them with you whenever you travel in case an issue comes up.

* ETA: Double-check with your specific airline's regulations, but I didn't have any issues with my softsided suitcase.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 08-03-2017 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:23 AM
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My high points
Print carrier rules on gat traveling. I allways get a new hire who dosent know rules. Hard copy greases education.
Quietly announce your traveling
With it so granny soccer grandmother dosent faint behind you.
On arrival I gather all my suitcases, find a airport cop.
I hand my I'd ( leosa)and ask if there is somewhere I can discreetly load up?. Never been denied assistance.

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Old 08-03-2017, 11:44 AM
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I would be quite concerned that my firearm would be stolen by airline employees since a red tag would indicate what is inside.

Last edited by KSDeputy; 08-03-2017 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:28 PM
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I sure do miss the days when traveling in uniform the captain might ask me to check my firearm with the flight engineer.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:30 PM
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Thanks for the input, my destinations are gun friendly states and recognize my CWL. Just needed recent experience with travel as the search had some dated threads. I appreciate it thanks.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:30 AM
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I've flown a number of times since then on SWA and they have not changed their procedure at all.

In general, a suitcase with a checked and declared firearm goes on the regular carousel. If you have a separate gun case, say for long guns, those go to the baggage area for pickup. I've not seen SWA, US Air (when they existed), Jet Blue, or Air Trans (when they existed) mark either type of case in any way.

If the gun case is inside a suitcase, the Firearms Declaration Card is supposed to to be taped to the outside so that TSA knows that it has been declared. If it's a separate case, the card goes in the inside.

As others have said, avoid the airports in Newark, Teeterboro, NJ, and both airports in NYC. The Port Authority Police patrol all four and have a policy that if a person checks a bag with a firearm the airline is to call them. They will respond and ask to see your NY or NJ (depending on which state the airport is in) license. If you don't have one, you will be arrested. Those are the only airports that I'm aware of that do that. Even Logan in gun unfriendly Boston, does not do anything like that.

I also recommend that you get a cable and secure it to the frame of the suitcase. Most suitcases now have internal frames for the wheels and extendable handles. Secure one end to that and the other to the gun case in such a way that it can only be removed if the case is opened or of course someone cuts the cable. Which they won't do, they'll just wait for another gun case to come along that isn't secured.

I also print out copies of the TSA and the airlines policies. I've only had to use it once, but it came in handy.

Although the TSA will tell you that they use the same procedures at every airport, that is not true. There is some variation from airport to airport. The TSA staff will tell you that ONLY THEY do it correctly and everyone else is wrong. Which is BS.

Use a good NON TSA lock. I recommend a keyed one because you might be at an airport where they will not allow you into the secure room and will demand your key or combination. They aren't supposed to, but if you argue about, you aren't going to fly. If you ask to speak to a supervisor or the manager for the terminal, you'll wait until after your flight has left.

Jet Blue does not allow the ammunition in the same case as the firearm. Apparently they are afraid the ammunition will jump out of it's box and load itself into the firearm.

Somewhat surprisingly, while ammunition has to be in a box and not lose, the ammo box does not need to be locked in a box.

Last tip. When you fill out the firearms declaration card, make sure to put your cell phone number on it legibly. If they have to call you for some reason, you want them to be able to get in touch with you. That saved me once on a flight out of DFW when US Air screwed up the process.

The first time you do this, it will be a bit stressful. After a few flights, you'll be much more relaxed. It's actually a pretty simple process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
There was an airport baggage claim incident in the past 6-12 months in which a properly secured firearm in a picked up checked bag was loaded in a nearby bathroom and used in an assault. My guess is that prompted the ID tagging of the bag, picking it up from the baggage office after other passengers have departed, etc. I flew recently (3 months ago), and these measures were not yet in place, or not at those particular airports.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:25 AM
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We went to Alaska in June, and I took 2 with me, a long gun and handgun. I had never done it before, and was impressed with how hassle-free the whole process was.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:46 AM
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I've flown about a half dozen times with a firearm. The last time I flew Delta from Detroit to Las Vegas was a slight problem. My case wasn't on the carousel so I checked in with the missing luggage office. There it was waiting for me with huge plastic zip ties all over it. Asked for some scissors to cut them and they almost freaked. Your not opening that in here. Apart from that it's been plain sailing.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:27 PM
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Was the case damaged? I'd probably have taken some pictures of it and opened it for a quick inventory as soon as I could. Just in case a claim needed to be filed for damage. That's independent of the firearm.

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I've flown about a half dozen times with a firearm. The last time I flew Delta from Detroit to Las Vegas was a slight problem. My case wasn't on the carousel so I checked in with the missing luggage office. There it was waiting for me with huge plastic zip ties all over it. Asked for some scissors to cut them and they almost freaked. Your not opening that in here. Apart from that it's been plain sailing.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:20 AM
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Last month I flew from PA to Lubbock, TX with a stop in Dallas on American Airlines. No issues at all with my gun. But when I got back to PA, my suitcase came out onto the carousel with my TSA approved lock laying next to it. I was NOT happy about that. But gun and ammo we're still safely locked in the box inside the suitcase.

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Old 08-05-2017, 07:26 AM
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It's good that your guns weren't secured by TSA locks. The master keys for those are easy to copy and there are pictures of them all over the Internet. There are seven different TSA master keys and a good lock smith or skilled crook can copy them.

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Last month I flew from PA to Lubbock, TX with a stop in Dallas on American Airlines. No issues at all with my gun. But when I got back to PA, my suitcase came out onto the carousel with my TSA approved lock laying next to it. I was NOT happy about that. But gun and ammo we're still safely locked in the box inside the suitcase.

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Old 08-05-2017, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okie21 View Post
Last month I flew from PA to Lubbock, TX with a stop in Dallas on American Airlines. No issues at all with my gun. But when I got back to PA, my suitcase came out onto the carousel with my TSA approved lock laying next to it. I was NOT happy about that. But gun and ammo we're still safely locked in the box inside the suitcase.

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Was any reasonable explanation given for not locking your bag, or was it just not worth dealing with TSA?
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:09 PM
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I waited 14 minutes to get a live person on the phone. She put me on hold to talk to someone else. After another 12 minutes I gave up.

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