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Air Travel With Firearm

This is a discussion on Air Travel With Firearm within the Gun Stories forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Has anyone traveled with their firearm (rifle, pistol or revolver) on an airline? I know it has to be checked (and declared to the airline) ...


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Old May 4th, 2019, 04:04 AM   #1
 
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Air Travel With Firearm

Has anyone traveled with their firearm (rifle, pistol or revolver) on an airline? I know it has to be checked (and declared to the airline) and of course locked in a lockbox/case. I am just worried that someone will see their is a firearm and steal it.



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Old May 4th, 2019, 04:42 AM   #2
 
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A hand gun will be in a locked case that only you have the key for in your suitcase. Only TSA scanners know whats in your suitcase. I use a metal pistol box with the cable looped through the frame work on the suitcase. I have done it 8-10 times with only minor problems, mostly with ticket agents that are not familiar with the process. Allow extra time. Some airline are easier than others so check there web sites. Took an extra 1/2 hour and a copy of TSA guidelines before one let me bring a small box of defense ammo. Never traveled with a rifle but I would think you would have to pick that up at a baggage claim office.
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Old May 4th, 2019, 05:05 AM   #3
 
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Last time i traveled with a rifle they just had me open the case they verified it was in there and then I locked it. They put a seal across the hard case opening. It came out the oversized chute at baggage claim.

You cannot have ammunition in the same case as the gun

I typically just mail my rifles to myself % of where I am going. ( you canít do that with a pistol). To point above I always take the page from the postal regs with me. Most counter folks freak out and get a supervisor or post master to come verify.
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Old May 4th, 2019, 05:39 AM   #4
 
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I flew from Texas to Florida with a pistol in a lock box. Did not bring ammo with me...bought that when I arrived in Florida.

I read the airlines firearm procedures online several times. Notified the counter clerk when I arrived to check in. Think I signed a couple of lines, then There was a special colored tag they placed on my suitcase (which bothered me because I felt like it was an advertisement to steal this suitcase). AND when it came time to pick up the suitcase it goes straight to the lost and found room....not to the conveyor like all the rest. I guess this is to ensure no one else picks up that bag but you.
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Old May 4th, 2019, 06:09 AM   #5
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Only flew once while transporting a firearm and ammo.

My advice, go to the airline's Website and look for their rules, regs, and policies regarding flying with firearms. Some airlines make it easier than others. And, print out a copy of those rules / policies just in case you run into an employee not familiar with them.
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Old May 4th, 2019, 06:27 AM   #6
 
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I recently flew American Airlines from San Diego to Albuquerque with a revolver in my checked baggage. I informed the counter person that I had a firearm in my checked baggage. She was very professional. She needed to see the revolver to ensure it was unloaded (I also had a cable lock through the frame). She then asked me to close the box and lock it so she could make sure it could not be opened once locked. I used a large master padlock to lock the handles together. My luggage was a soft sided one with a double zipper where the ends of the zipper come together in a fashion that allows a small padlock to secure the zipper. I bought a TSA approved luggage lock at Target. It was a combination lock with a key access for TSA inspection. I had to sign a form that said the gun was unloaded, which she placed in my luggage. She advised me that a red tag would be placed on my bag and I would need to go the the baggage claim office in Albuquerque to retrieve my bag. I was apprehensive about flying out of California with a firearm, but I didn't have to prove the gun was mine, or show any kind of ID card other than my Driver's license at normal check in. I was in a hurry to open my bag in Albuquerque to make sure my revolver made it - it did. It was a pretty smooth operation
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Old May 4th, 2019, 07:25 AM   #7
 
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I've only flown with my carry gun twice but it was much easier than expected.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transport...and-ammunition
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Old May 4th, 2019, 10:06 PM   #8
 
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Have flown out west and to Canada with rifles and shotguns on several occasions. Like the others here advise, check with your airline and print a copy to carry with you. Have never had a problem at check in, or picking up my case upon arrival.

My only other advise to you is wear shoes and a belt you can easily get off and on. The security people will know you checked a gun before you arrive and be prepared for the full blown security check. I don’t carry any type of carry on. That’s one less thing to slow you down going through security.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and remain patient with security personnel as they are trying to do their job.
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Old May 5th, 2019, 06:14 AM   #9
 
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Just had a friend fly yesterday. This is the info as it happened to him....

Just an fyi for anyone who may travel by air with firearms. I take multiple trips per year and every checkin is different, however today's is concerning. They required me to submit my baggage with the locked case and the keys for inspection without me present and would not let me verify they relocked the case and everything was still in the case. Let's just hope I still have my firearms when I get to my destination this evening.

I asked if it was TSA and what airline? He responded:

TSA and airline. Southwest said it was a SOP for TSA. I just spoke with 2 TSA supervisors and they are review camera footage of where I passed the bag through inspection. They are looking into pulling the bag and having it checked. I board shortly so I will see what happens. TSA said they shouldn't have taken the keys and they would have come and got me if there was an issue.

Update, everything was good when I arrived at my destination. I will start my drive back tomorrow so I wont be dealing with TSA coming home.
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Old May 5th, 2019, 10:39 AM   #10
 
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Have read of a few firearm thefts by baggage handlers in the past year or two.

Just make sure your insurance will cover.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 08:52 AM   #11
 
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Flew Southwest a while back from Austin to Portland. Only problems were a airline agent that didn't know the procedure very well and TSA damaged the lock on my security strap so the combination wouldn't open it. I had to have them release the strap for me in Portland before I left the airport.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 09:15 AM   #12
 
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All good advice above. I would like to add this. Try flying out of a "smaller" airport if possible. For instance, when I fly I typically fly out of the Kalamazoo, Michigan airport and connect in Chicago. Number one, price is pretty close, and the difference is more than made up for in savings from parking. Number two is that 85% of the flights are commuter flights to a larger airport. I usually connect in Detroit. The advantage of this is that it is a lot slower pace. I have never had to wait in line at a ticket counter and I once had a traffic jam at TSA when I had to wait for one person in front of me compared to once it took me 75 minutes to go through TSA at Bush International in Houston. It has been my experience that as long as I come prepared with a printout of the airline's policy, the agents are a lot more reasonable to talk to and a supervisor is close at hand to help out. Plus the agent is not in a hurry to just rush you through as he/she sees a line getting longer and longer with every passing second they take with you, so the agent is a lot less stressed. Just my experience, your mileage may vary, and the one disadvantage is that there is a fairly decent chance that when you fly with a gun at a smaller airport yours will be the first gun they have encountered, which can be good or bad depending on the agent.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 07:00 PM   #13
 
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Old May 25th, 2019, 09:39 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlg View Post
Only flew once while transporting a firearm and ammo.

My advice, go to the airline's Website and look for their rules, regs, and policies regarding flying with firearms. Some airlines make it easier than others. And, print out a copy of those rules / policies just in case you run into an employee not familiar with them.
I second this advice. Many airlines have rules that exceed what the TSA requires.

I fly frequently and at least two handguns accompany me on the trip. It is worth printing out the TSA rules from their website as well as the airline rules as well. It is also worth noting that airline rules change frequently so checking and printing before flying is important.

If you know the rules and follow them, traveling with a firearm is no big deal. Baggage handlers and TSA people may steal almost anything, but rarely firearms. If you show up to claim baggage with a firearm and it doesn't show up, all hell breaks loose. (I know - it happened to me once and I thought they were going to close down the small airport. The bag showed up within 5 minutes.) I actually believe that traveling with a firearm in your checked bag almost guarantees it will show up.

One strong warning: If you are NOT a LEOSA carrier, do not take guns through NYC terminals or Hawaii terminals unless the airlines are handling the transfer of the firearm from one plane to another. Woe to you if the connecting flight is cancelled and they want you to take possession. You will go to jail or pay a huge fine or both, especially in NYC.
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Old May 25th, 2019, 10:11 AM   #15
 
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Check not only federal law, but the particular airline's policies.

Make sure it is insured for theft.
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