Jump to content


Photo

Flying with firearms

TSA United airlines Baggage Firearm Airport Airplane Flying

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Koopa

Koopa

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Member
  • 118 posts
  • LocationUnited States

Posted 26 June 2015 - 02:56 PM

Two weeks ago I was flying with my handgun in my checked bag. When I went up to the United counter to declare it, things got interesting.

I told the checkin lady that I needed to make a firearms declaration. She fumbled around in her drawer of forms for a little bit and she couldn't find whatever she needed. She said "just to make sure I understand what you need, do you want to check a weapon in your baggage or carry one on the plane?" I didn't know that was an option! Anyone else ever been offered to do that?

Not wanting to get in trouble with the TSA, I told her it would be in checked baggage. She looked in a few other drawers and finally pulled out two forms. She filled out a white page and an orange postcard. She had me sign and date the postcard and place it in my luggage, and she kept the white paper.

Meanwhile, a baggage handler, an Ethiopian or Egyptian guy, mid-20s, was giving me the eye from behind the counter. I didn't like it at all.

The United lady finished the paperwork but was unable to place my luggage on the magic conveyer there. She asked a supervisor where to take weapons. And the supervisor was clearly overwhelmed with a number of other issues from a large group of foreigners and he was shouting instructions loudly to a number of his workers. He very loudly said, "I'VE GOT A WEAPON! CAN YOU TAKE THE WEAPON TO TSA FOR ME?" And that particular employee was busy with something else. So he loudly asked another employee to handle the weapon. Not discrete at all. My eyes turned back to the baggage handler.

Anyway, an Airserv contractor escorted me to a special area called something like "TSA Baggage", where TSA was supposed to inspect my baggage. There wasn't anyone there, so she had to go back to the United counter and get the supervisor to call TSA and have an agent meet me at the special area.

The Airserv contractor did nothing but complain to me the whole time, about how poorly United treats the contractors.

Finally TSA showed up. He took my checked bag and and opened it and swabbed the inside of my bag (presumably for explosive or drugs). He asked me to open the lockbox and he briefly looked inside (didn't even look to see if the gun was loaded). He had me lock it back up and he zipped up my suitcase. He placed a small orange sticker on my baggage tag that said "TSA checked". I'm not sure if that was legal or not, since it didn't specifically say "firearm".

He handed my suitcase back to the Airserv contractor and directed her to take it to another TSA area for direct loading onto the aircraft. And then he told me I was good to go. I said thank you and casually followed the Airserv lady for a little bit, just to make sure there was no funny business. I saw my suitcase get handed over to another worker and then I lost track of it.

I waited in the lobby for a 10-15 minutes before going thru security just to make sure I wasn't needed for anything else. I went to the TSA precheck aisle, and the lady there told me they closed at 9 (it was 9:01). Well that was a waste of $80 for precheck.

There were a number of other problems with the flight being delayed, etc. But fortunately when I got to my destination everything came through just fine. I was a little worried :)

#2 spenceman

spenceman

    Life Member

  • Plank Owner
  • 907 posts
  • LocationAZ

Posted 26 June 2015 - 03:31 PM

One of my friends got to bypass security and got some bona fide VIP treatment once because the airline thought he was carrying a firearm. Basically he was going to do some training overseas, and had is NVG's in a small pelican case. He didn't trust them in checked luggage and didn't put them in his backpack because he figured he'd just have to pull them out at security anyway. Well he goes to check in for the flight and he hands the lady his Official passport, and sets the pelican on the counter while she types. Well she see's the two items together and asks if he needs to check the pelican, to which he replies "No, I need to keep it with me." So she finishes her thing then calls up some TSA guy. The TSA guy was very polite and takes him to another room for a minute. So my buddy is thinking he's about to get the old rubber glove routine, but no, another TSA guy escorts him past security and into a VIP lounge full of complimentary food and drink. All he could figure once he realized that he had gone completely past security was that they confused him with an Air Marshall or someone important, so he figured he'd just enjoy the ride.

 

Edit: Also, they aren't supposed to put anything on your luggage indicating there's a firearm inside, they got in trouble for that since it seemed to attract thieves.


Edited by spenceman, 26 June 2015 - 03:32 PM.

  • mangeface and DieselD like this

PlankOwnerSignatureAZ.gif FBI's Most Wanted for charges of serial thread hijacking.

I'm like a cheap wine. I get better the more you drink.


#3 AaronK

AaronK

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Member
  • 1,070 posts
  • LocationWA

Posted 26 June 2015 - 04:16 PM

Been there, done that. I no longer fly.

#4 DeathwatchDoc

DeathwatchDoc

    Salty Dog

  • Moderator
  • 1,936 posts
  • LocationAlabama

Posted 26 June 2015 - 04:22 PM

Yup... Flying just sucks.


  • DieselD likes this

89BccLb.png


#5 smokey

smokey

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Member
  • 161 posts
  • LocationNorthern Utah

Posted 27 June 2015 - 07:28 PM

I cannot personally confirm but I have heard that southwest airlines is GTG as far as flying with firearms. That experience sounds sketchy to me, I'm glad it all worked out for you.



#6 shimy3

shimy3

    Swabbie

  • Crew Member
  • 47 posts
  • LocationWisconsin

Posted 28 June 2015 - 03:28 AM

I've flown Southwest a few times before checking my pistol and it was no problem at all.

About two weeks ago I flew American airlines checking my pistol and it took longer than expected. Probably because I was at a busy, LARGE, airport, but they had some guy escort me to a "special" TSA area where they checked out my bag. Then, after the all clear, I had to bring my bag all the way back to the original counter for it to be taken. Flying back was a breeze though since it was a small airport.

It's always good to show up early at the airport, especially when you're checking a firearm. You just never know...
Posted Image

#7 CalicoJack

CalicoJack

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 310 posts
  • LocationInland Northwest

Posted 28 June 2015 - 06:27 AM

I fly with my handgun nearly everywhere I go and I've determined that every airport is different. Absolutely no consistency, even between airlines. I'll take the hassle over not dying.
  • SacRyan likes this

While I breathe I shall defend.


#8 Klarktx

Klarktx

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 226 posts
  • LocationFlowery Branch, Ga

Posted 30 June 2015 - 08:57 PM

Calico is right. I travel most week, multiple cities checking on my offices/ jobsites.

There is no difference between airlines and I've never been able ascertain a difference between airports. It's a turkey shoot.

Some have no clue what to do, some ask to open the case, some don't. I always have to go to TSA special handling. I just allow extra time. I encourage you to pay the $85 for TSA Pre if you travel often. This offsets the extra TSA time.

Recommendations. Use a good lockbox. I actually use a solid Smith and Wesson hard case. But don't use a shitty case, those get extra scrutiny.

I seldom have to go to the 3 biggest communist states (NY, I'll, DC). So I can't imagine not carrying with me.
  • SacRyan likes this

CrewLeaderSignature.png


#9 MightyP

MightyP

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 699 posts
  • LocationSan Antonio

Posted 30 June 2015 - 09:42 PM

Delta has been pretty good. It does depend on the airport (and probably the person) on how much hassle it is. Usually it's only an extra 5 min or so.

I have always wondered how it works for carrying on a plane. I was asked once if I was checking my weapon or carrying it on. Not sure if it was the shit-eating grin or excited "That's an option???" response, but she quickly changed her tone.
  • spenceman likes this

ITSSignature2.png

What I lack in knowledge & skill, I make up for with sarcasm & bad jokes.


#10 B3dlam

B3dlam

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 1,064 posts
  • LocationWarrenton, OR

Posted 01 July 2015 - 07:40 AM

I would say it really depends on the region you are flying out of.  When flying from somewhere where guns aren't common, The Peoples Republic of Kalifornistan for instance, it tends to be a big deal but when flying from places where guns are common, Alaska comes to mind,  you usually have no trouble at all.  When I tend to fly I am usually taking long guns there really isn't many ways to be discreet when you're hauling around a pelican 1700, 1720, and/or 1750 case.  When I tend to do is ensure my cases are recognizable so that its easier to pick out.  

 

When I flew last October I noticed that anything Identifiable as a 'firearm' isn't put on the baggage carousel but instead kept at the baggage counter for your airline so you have to show ID to retrieve it (having my last name stenciled on the cases definitely made it easier last time).  This definitely caused a bit of a scare the first time it happened as nobody told me it was going to happen so I spent a bunch of time sitting and waiting for the guns to show up and they didn't.  


itstacticalsig_zpsb04268f7.jpg


#11 spenceman

spenceman

    Life Member

  • Plank Owner
  • 907 posts
  • LocationAZ

Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:04 AM

I think the video was posted in this forum a while ago, but there was a Deviant Ollam video about flying with firearms. It's kind of a long talk, but he flies with one, literally every flight, sometimes just with a replica because it allows more security and control of your luggage.

 


Edited by spenceman, 01 July 2015 - 09:04 AM.

  • MightyP and davebass like this

PlankOwnerSignatureAZ.gif FBI's Most Wanted for charges of serial thread hijacking.

I'm like a cheap wine. I get better the more you drink.


#12 gunnerjacky

gunnerjacky

    Landlubber

  • Crew Member
  • 19 posts
  • LocationBoston

Posted 06 July 2015 - 11:24 PM

I don't fly with my firearms. I own A-60 semi-automatic pistol which I don't take with me when I have to travel with flight.



#13 B3dlam

B3dlam

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 1,064 posts
  • LocationWarrenton, OR

Posted 07 July 2015 - 07:34 AM

 

Here is another great video on flying with firearms.


  • davebass likes this

itstacticalsig_zpsb04268f7.jpg


#14 SacRyan

SacRyan

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 136 posts
  • LocationUT

Posted 29 July 2015 - 01:09 PM

I've flown with firearms a fair amount (not quite on par with the weekly guys but a fair number of times with almost as many different airports).   I second the, it's really up to what airport not carrier statements.  In my experience, I actually use a LARGE pelican as my whole luggage.  Then use a soft case to segregate the pistol.  This means my WHOLE BAG has to be locked with locks that only I can open.  

 

At OMA I was incorrectly asked for the key to the locks so my bag could be inspected, I politely refused to hand over the key and asked to be taken to my bag so that I could open it and supervise the inspection.  Despite a dirty look from the counter guy, it worked and no fuss.  When I got back to the TSA guy (service dog with giant DIABETIC ALERT patches in tow) he looked at me and said something to the effect of "well shit, must be the cold packs we are seeing".  Sure enough, he pulled out one of my cold packs, stuffed it back inside and had me re-lock my case.  Didn't give a rats pa-tu-ti about the pistol in the soft case.

 

One thing to note, when I have flown with rifles, they have frequently been in the highly recognizable as a rifle case pelicans.  These 'often' (about 50/50) are in the baggage office for claim and not sent on the conveyer belt.  I still recommend waiting at the conveyer, just don't panic if it isn't there at the end.


  • spenceman likes this

Qd3OG01.png

Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.


#15 CalicoJack

CalicoJack

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 310 posts
  • LocationInland Northwest

Posted 02 August 2015 - 09:19 PM

For visual purposes, here's my case for an upcoming trip.

 

IMG_20150802_165029.jpg

 

Everything in one box, locked with non-TSA locks, kept in my plain jane checked bag.


While I breathe I shall defend.


#16 HTEngineer

HTEngineer

    Mate

  • Crew Leader
  • 69 posts

Posted 04 August 2015 - 03:27 PM

Yup, just did this flying to OR meeting some friend for a road trip back cross country. It seems to be airport, airline, but mostly person dependent. I got the rudest SWA employee I've ever gotten. She looked at me like I was killing kittens or puppies right there at the baggage check, but didn't impede me at all. I had to fill out a card, put it in my pelican which she didn't even want to look at. I then was instructed to take it straight to TSA, which you can do at many airports, once you have the tag on it. I gave it to the TSA guy under the railing, asked him if he could let me know once it went through. He asked if I had a firearm. I told him yes. He moved it to the front of the line for the conveyor, told the X-Ray operator, and the X-Ray operator gave me a thumbs up. I watched it go into the back and then left to get on my flight. I followed the formula/instructions found in "Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm" found on another forum.



#17 ArkansasFan

ArkansasFan

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 360 posts

Posted 02 September 2015 - 10:10 AM

I'm likely going to be flying across the country soon to pick up some antique furniture and then driving back with it in some type of U-Haul or something. When I'm driving, I want my gun. When I fly I'll have to take a puddle jumper down to Dallas and then transfer to another airline.

Any idea how transfers work? I certainly don't want to lose my pistol.

CrewLeaderSignature.png


#18 MightyP

MightyP

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 699 posts
  • LocationSan Antonio

Posted 02 September 2015 - 10:20 AM

I'm likely going to be flying across the country soon to pick up some antique furniture and then driving back with it in some type of U-Haul or something. When I'm driving, I want my gun. When I fly I'll have to take a puddle jumper down to Dallas and then transfer to another airline.

Any idea how transfers work? I certainly don't want to lose my pistol.

 

BLUF:  It will work just like if you didn't have a firearm with you.

 

Long version:  It depends on how/if your flights are linked. If you check in for all the flights at the beginning and you're just switching from one partner airline to another, then you shouldn't have to do anything. Your checked bags just get transferred. If you are switching airlines completely (as in, you have to check-in to the other airline when you arrive in Dallas), you'll just have to retrieve your luggage like you normally would and check it back in when you check in to the new airline. They'll probably want to see the weapon again, but Texas doesn't have any crazy possession laws.


  • ArkansasFan likes this

ITSSignature2.png

What I lack in knowledge & skill, I make up for with sarcasm & bad jokes.


#19 ArkansasFan

ArkansasFan

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 360 posts

Posted 02 September 2015 - 11:14 AM

Do I bring my own locks as others have discussed, or will TSA swap them and use their's?

Edited by ArkansasFan, 02 September 2015 - 11:15 AM.

CrewLeaderSignature.png


#20 MightyP

MightyP

    Salty Dog

  • Crew Leader
  • 699 posts
  • LocationSan Antonio

Posted 02 September 2015 - 12:10 PM

You'll need your own, NON-TSA approved, lock securing a hard case. Both ticket agents (at home airport and at DFW) will probably want to check your gun, so keep your key handy.
  • ArkansasFan likes this

ITSSignature2.png

What I lack in knowledge & skill, I make up for with sarcasm & bad jokes.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: TSA, United airlines, Baggage, Firearm, Airport, Airplane, Flying

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users