Flying with firearm, through 2 airlines.


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ShooterMcGavin
December 19, 2007, 09:34 PM
I have read a lot of the posts here about flying with a firearm, but none of them talk about the case when each leg of your trip is handled by a different airline. I know I need to declare my firearm at checkin. How do I make the second airline aware of a firearm in my baggage, when they are handling the second leg of a journey?

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mister2
December 19, 2007, 10:30 PM
My best advice would be to call both airlines and explain your situation exactly, and see what they say. If you have time to do this through email (and therefore have hardcopy), even better.
It helps to know the firearms policy of each airline. Though the TSA has a constant guideline, each airline expresses their policies in their own unique way. In practice though, they're mostly consistent.

Slugless
December 19, 2007, 10:47 PM
Mister,

Excellent advice. One thing I've noticed about TSA:

Though the TSA has a constant guideline, each airline expresses their policies in their own unique way. In practice though, they're mostly consistent

is that TSA allows management at each airport to interpret the guidelines differently.

In Houston I do the firearms check at the airline counter and before recent changes might actually handle the firearm in front of the nice check-in ladies. (to show that it's unloaded 'cause they don't know how to tell. I typically partially disassemble it or ziptie the action open to make it obvious to them). All TSA does is X-ray it.

In Colorado Springs the firearms check is done away from everybody else at a TSA security station. TSA gets politely annoyed when you start to handle the firearm case (much less the firearm) after the process is started. IOW, don't try to be helpful and unlock the case for them.

I've told the TSA managment in Colorado Springs that I appreciate their procedures and professionalism.

This isn't really relevant to McGavin's question unless he re-checks his bag at the second airport, but FWIW I was surprised at the differences in TSA procedure.

ShooterMcGavin
December 20, 2007, 02:09 PM
It would be nice if the declaration of a firearm in transport would be communicated through each company. I just don't want to rely on that, in the case that the second airline xrays my bag (probably unlikely?). I suppose I will need to call.

Thanks.

unspellable
December 20, 2007, 03:09 PM
Some years ago I changed planes at O'hare. For some reason they did not transfer my luggage from one airline to the other, forcing me to check it out when I arrived and check it in again when I left. Now the rub is that there was no way in h**l that I was legal in Chicago with a revolver in my baggage and my baggage in my possesion.

BobbyQuickdraw
December 20, 2007, 03:16 PM
Once something goes through the security at the airport, it generally isn't rescreened. There shouldn't be a problem as all luggage is inspected at some point by the TSA. So a TSA certification that the luggage is safe and legal at one airport means its safe and legal at the other.

I guess its best to check, though I don't foresee a problem.

birdbustr
December 20, 2007, 03:20 PM
I've flown several times with firearms. All you need to do is to:
1.Give yourself a little extra time. 15 minutes depending on how busy TSA agents are. You will only have to check your firearm at the beginning of your flight and at the beginning of the return if roundtrip. No connections just like any other checked luggage.
2. Have your firearm in a hard sided case. I recommend a Pelican case, aluminum cases will do, but they will come back with some nasty dents and dings.
3. The case must have the ability to lock. Built in locks are OK. Pelican makes locks that have a key ability that TSA posseses according to Pelican.
4. Don't get too close when they are verifying the firearm is unloaded. You will sign the red form stating firearm is safe and unloaded. And they will check it themselves to make sure it's unloaded.

It's been fairly easy at Colorado Springs, CO; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Charlotte, NC; Elmira/Corning, NY; Norfolk, VA.

BTW your ammo can only be in a factory ammo box, or a box designed for ammunition inside the case. One time I left 4 rounds that were in the sling and they were confiscated.

ShooterMcGavin
December 20, 2007, 04:37 PM
...your ammo can only be in a factory ammo box, or a box designed for ammunition inside the case...
That's the part that annoys me. I hate carrying things in flimsy, card-board boxes, especially when travelling. The TSA policy (and airline policy) states that it can also be in a metal or wood box, but does not say that it can be in a plastic box. I'd prefer that my ammo be kept in the mag (and in a mag pouch), and locked in the gun case. I know... that is not explicitly listed, so I will not be doing that.

unspellable, that would make me extremely nervous!! Even though it was their screw-up, it forced you to be in violation of serious laws. It's crazy to think that our future is regularly in the control of politicians who simply do not care about us.

Tankcommander
December 20, 2007, 05:33 PM
Guys I work in the airport closely with checked baggage and deal with firearms every day. Every airport is different because TSA regs are vague thus open to interpretation. A TSA officer should never handle a firearm except to insure nothing is hidden under it, it is not his job to insure it is clear. That is an airline responsibility. TSA's only job with a firearm case is to insure there are no IEDs in it and no Hazemat. By signing the declaration that the gun is clear you accept liability that it is indeed clear.

Also be sure you weapon and magazines are legal and properly packaged. I've seen several people arrested for illegal or unregistered weapons and its a $1000 federal fine for improperly transporting a weapon.

The Pelican cases do indeed have travel sentry locks that the TSA can open. Also pick a good case I have seen very fine weapons transported in absolutely crap. Would you trust you firearm and zeroed scope to the baggage handlers in a case that could pop open if hit a little to hard. Remember that luggage commercial with the gorilla?

TC

Kalashnikov
December 20, 2007, 05:40 PM
I'd prefer that my ammo be kept in the mag (and in a mag pouch), and locked in the gun case. I know... that is not explicitly listed, so I will not be doing that.


I just read the latests TSA regulations from their website and they say mag's in mag pouches are now acceptable.

Tankcommander
December 20, 2007, 06:01 PM
Mag in pouch is OK but the mag must be covered, and not all TSA officers are up on the latest reg changes. It up dates every few months.

TC

ShooterMcGavin
December 20, 2007, 09:31 PM
One of the airlines I'll be travelling on states that "Loose ammunition or clips will not be accepted", for ammunition. Of course, all the non-gun people who inspect my firearm will consider that a magazine is a clip :rolleyes: The airline with that policy is also the one that I will not be checking-in to (second leg).

This already seems like such a hassle. I am genuinely concerned that they will confiscate SOMETHING that I own, just because it doesn't cause them any trouble to take my stuff.

I want to bring my pocket knife, but I can't find much info on how to take a knife in checked baggage. Can it be in the locked gun-case? Do I need to declare it? It is a nice knife (Benchmade), and I'm sure one of the TSA people would like to take it home for their own. I think I will leave it behind.

Slugless
December 20, 2007, 09:40 PM
A knife shouldn't be a problem. I'm pretty sure I've flown with a bayonet in my luggage before.

Put it in the locked gun case unless the gun and knife are two dissimilar metals, in which case you'll get galvanic corrosion.

Just kidding about the corrosion.

Never hesitate to contact the airline. Continental's website doesn't mention knives. United states that with SCUBA equipment, only one knife is allowed.

'luck.

ShooterMcGavin
December 23, 2007, 01:45 AM
Here's the update...

The checkin went very smoothly. The guy who inspected my gun was totally impressed with the case I was using. He asked a bunch of questions about it. The counter-guy and the firearm checker were both easy going and friendly. That was good, but it wasn't all smooth sailing....

My first flight was late to arrive. I caught the connection, but my bag did not. I didn't know this until I got to my final destination. Once in NH, I was told that my bag was in Philadelphia and would be in at 5:10pm (it was currently 11am, after an 11 hour trip). They told me they'd have it delivered when it arrives, and I stressed that they should not leave my bag any place besides in my hands. I reminded them that it was carrying a firearm. They gave me a claim number and a number to call. Time passed.... I called to check on the status, but just got the standard automated system. It told me the bag should reach me 4-6 hours after it arrives. That was after 9pm, so I figured it should be there by 11pm. Right before 11, I got a call that the bag had JUST been given to the delivery company. He said that he has 16(!) stops before mine :mad: He couldn't give me a good estimate, but thought it would be about 4-5 hours (arriving about 4am). I told him to call me and wake me up if he needed directions. I stressed that I was eager to receive the bag, but mentioned nothing of the contents. I have had about 3 hours of sleep in the past 36+ hours. I'm tired. I will get some sleep and set my ringer to loud. Wish me luck.

esq_stu
December 23, 2007, 01:56 AM
2. Have your firearm in a hard sided case. I recommend a Pelican case, aluminum cases will do, but they will come back with some nasty dents and dings.

For a hand gun, is there an issue putting a small hard case inside a checked suitcase?

zoom6zoom
December 23, 2007, 10:25 AM
49CFR1540.111 (http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13nov20061500/edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2006/octqtr/49cfr1540.111.htm) says that only the passenger may retain the key or combination to the lock securing the gun case. This would rule out the use of TSA locks as they are openable with someone else's key.

Slugless
December 23, 2007, 10:43 AM
esq,

I have travelled with handguns in a 2 gun lockable plastic case, packed in my check-on luggage. No problem.

I would not want to check a handgun case separately.

Bailey Boat
December 23, 2007, 11:00 AM
During the hunting seasons I fly at least twice a month with shotguns. I have one of the SKB roller duffel's that has the compartment in the bottom for the actual gun case. First off it doesn't LOOK like a gun case and second it allows me to put other stuff in the top section, as long as I don't exceed the 50# limit.
The case itself holds 2 over unders broken down and NOTHING else. I can change the interior configuration to accommodate 2 broken down autos as well. I have never had any problem with any airline or with TSA, but I attribute that to being prepared and open and honest with everyone. I don't travel with ammo since it's easy to buy on the other end and represents less hassle......

Sam1911
December 23, 2007, 11:02 AM
For a hand gun, is there an issue putting a small hard case inside a checked suitcase?

You have to use a hard case but you should put it inside another piece of luggage. They would rather it just look like standard baggage from the outside than have anything that says "gun" drawing attention.

TSA locks all around.

I took several flights with Northwest and USAir in October/November and the more experienced desk agents just had me sign the "unloaded" form (which was different at each airport even with the same airline) and slip it into the hard case. The new ticket agent I ran into in NH had to ask someone else what to do and then did ask me to show that it was clear. But then it was obvious that she had no idea what she was supposed to look at. Which was kind of funny. She needed to see it but then had to ask whether it was unloaded or not anyway.

-Sam

ShooterMcGavin
December 23, 2007, 05:04 PM
49CFR1540.111 says that only the passenger may retain the key or combination to the lock securing the gun case. This would rule out the use of TSA locks as they are openable with someone else's key.
Yep. I agree. I would not use TSA locks on the gun case itself.

I finally got my bag, as about 3am this morning. He asked me to sign for receipt, but I made sure to check that everything was present before doing that. I feel much better now.

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