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Recent Airport Experience...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Logistar, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Logistar

    Logistar Guest

    I haven't seen much posted lately about our "airport experiences" so I thought I'd relate my most recent one for any of you who might be interested.

    It seems the reports I have read up to this point have been pretty accurate.

    Anyway, I flew to Louisville (SDF) to New Orleans (MSY) and back about a week ago. Here is how it went.

    Louisville Check In:

    Logistar: I'd like to declare a firearm in this case, Sir.
    Delta : You have one? (Confirming I only wanted to check one.)

    Logistar: Yes Sir. I have 1 box of factory ammo in the other case.
    Delta: Please sign this (orange) tag declaring that the firearm is unloaded.

    (He has me open the case and casually looks inside and has me lock everything up. He placed the orange tag INSIDE the larger case. My handgun was in it's "factory" plastic case and locked with a padlock.)

    Logistar: Shall I lock both cases?
    Delta: Yes. That would be fine.

    Delta: Sir, (after checking bags) would you please stand here while your bags are screened. Please don't leave until the screener tells you that everything is OK.

    Logistar: Yes Sir, thank you Sir.

    (Screener puts bags through X-RAY... then walks toward me and says "Everything's fine. You may go now.")

    Nooooo Problems whatsoever! That's about to change though.

    Return trip - New Orleans airport (MSY)

    Logistar: I'd like to declare a firearm in this case, Sir.
    Delta: OK. Set your bag up here.

    Logistar: (Feeling uneasy) Sir, I NEED to declare a firearm.
    Delta: OK (but they appeared to be about to place my bag as is on the conveyor! :what: )

    Logistar: Sir, I will need a TAG for this case......I'm checking a firearm.
    Delta: Oh, I'm sorry... got one right here (hands me white ID tag).. just fill this out and we'll place it on your bag.

    Logistar: No, I don't need an ID tag... already have those... I need an

    (Before I could finish my sentence...)

    Delta: "Yes, you do." - and he carries off my bag (firearm inside) toward the conveyor!:what: :what:

    Logistar: (YELLING at this point) SIR! Return that bag to me IMMEDIATELY!! SIR! I demand that you return that bag to me immediately!

    Lots of people now looking.:banghead:

    Delta: (Kinda angry now) What seems to be the problem? (And he is joined by someone with a nice suit on - can't remember the insignia.) Now the NEW guy asks what is going on.

    Logistar: I have told this gentleman 3 times that I want to declare a firearm in this piece of checked luggage but he won't give me the orange tag to fill out.

    Original Delta guy (very loud) OH!!!!! YOU'VE GOT A GUN IN THERE!
    Logistar: Yes, I have a gun in here and I am trying to avoid becoming a criminal but you're making things kinda difficult here. (Trying my best to smile.)

    By now I hear the words... "That man has a gun" or "He's got a gun." from all over behind me.

    The "New guy" walks a short distance with the original guy and they come back with a tag, take a peek at the weapon and then I lock it up and it's on it's way.

    Of course I am asked to wait for screening. The "screener" asks for my keys.

    Logistar: I would be happy to unlock and show you anything you'd like.
    Screener: No, I just need your keys. You stay there.

    I gave her the keys. She proceeded to struggle finding the right keys for the locks... she had trouble getting them open. She took all the foam out of the case except the top which was glued on. (She tryed though!)

    She "appeared" to lift the gun out of the case to look under it (although it was difficult to actually see that). A man walked over to her and I could see her pointing to something inside the case (the top of the case obscured my view) and the man clearly said "magazine". I HAVE to think she was asking him what that thing was packed NEXT to my semi-auto :scrutiny: FINALLY she managed to get everything locked back, put it on the conveyor, walked over held out my keys and said NOTHING as I said, Thank you ma'am.

    I guess that wasn't too bad. Like people say, the experience seems to vary.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2004
  2. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    i thought i read (on the errornet) that TSA regulations state the person who declares a firearm is NOT to allow ANYONE to have the keys that unlock, or the combinations to unlock the case the firearm is stored in.

    wouldnt that include tsa employees?
  3. Mr. Mysterious

    Mr. Mysterious Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    That return trip seems pretty scary. Is LA a firearms unfriendly state that doesn't see much in the way of guns?
  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 3, 2003
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    Hardly a breeze on the return trip!!! Tho I guess (being cynical) it coulda been worse!

    Does seem a pity that some personel are apparently so undertrained in the less frequent proceedures. Your outbound was just great ... as it should be.
  5. Rickstir

    Rickstir Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Close by the Elk Fork of the Salt River
    Are these regs posted anywhere? I have been looking on the American Airlines page and waiting on hold too long.

    Thanks for your story. I don't know if its worth taking my firearm on my next flight to FL or not.
  6. sturmruger

    sturmruger Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    NW, WI
    Your outbound expierence sounds allot like mine when my wife and I went to Vegas. Very easy no problems. I am sure someday that will change. It seems like you have about a 1 in 10 chance of getting hassled.
  7. Logistar

    Logistar Guest

    Louisville (SDF) was VERY nice and appeared knowledgeable. New Orleans (MSY) seemed in a hurry and didn't want to be bothered. After the "shouting"was done.... the screener seemed to be ..... well... rude. (Can't think of any other words to describe it.)

    I was very "nice" and pleasant at all times. (We need to project that image of course.) The only exception was when I had to raise my voice to keep him from putting the gun case on the conveyor belt. I was nice then too but it is hard to YELL "nicely".

    They would not let me be "right there" with them. I had to stay behind the counter. Since the lid was up, I am not sure if they actually handled the firearm or not.

    You know... I wonder if I should have given them my keys.... I assumed that when the regs said to retain the keys that letting them "borrow them" while I stood and waited was OK. Hmmmmm... I am gonna go back and read them again.

    Rickstir, don't let my story discourage you. When I ran into trouble it didn't take long for that guy in the suit to show up and get everything straightened out in a hurry. If you feel like there is a problem (which I clearly had), don't wait too long to ask for a supervisor (like I didn't).

    My fear was that if that bag made it to the screener, the guy who checked my bag may have denied that I declared it at all. Not sure, but I could have been in trouble. Be prepared. Don't break the law (or let anyone else break the law!) and you'll be fine.
  8. Logistar

    Logistar Guest

    Guess I screwed up, huh. Looks like the PASSENGER must unlock the container.

    TSA regs can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1188.xml

    Rickstir, American Airlines data (what I could find) is at
  9. Trebor

    Trebor Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    Thanks for the link to the regs. I'll save them for future reference.
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Saddam Hussein is in custody. Norman Mineta, a representative of the Democratic (sic) party, isn't.
  11. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Good for you for INSISTING they follow the tagging rules - you're very likely right, if a problem had been detected the employee would have "remembered" doing everything right.

    And I also think it's a good idea to be a stickler about anyone handling your weapon or case out of your sight - there's some interesting discussion of the risks in John Ross' book.
  12. Black92LX

    Black92LX Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    Logistar i would contact Delta (corporate) and infrom them of this incident. i would also inform the highest ranking Delta personal in Louisiana as well as TSA and inform them that procedures are not being followed propperly.

    make sure to give the folks in Louisville praise as well. it will only help others to not have the problem that you did.

    glad everything turned out ok.
  13. NewShooter78

    NewShooter78 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Honolulu, HI
    Mr. Mysterious

    LA is a very gun friendly state. But New Orleans is not like the rest of the state so to speak. I lived there most of my life, and there are plenty of people there that are gun friendly, but they probably don't work at the airport. If you ever go to the airport, just look around at the TSA people, and you'll know what I mean. The city is pretty much a bastion of "liberal" aka Dem. thoughts. It can still be a really cool place to visit.
  14. Logistar

    Logistar Guest

    Spacemanspiff, I think you are right! ;) - Especially after looking back at the regs!

    I want to thank all of you for the replies! I wasn't sure if you guys would be that interested in my experience or not.

    Reading others' experiences flying REALLY helped me. I just wanted everyone to know what happened to me so you can be prepared IF something like this happens to you.

    Next time... they don't get my keys. I will pull out the regs from the outside panel of my suitcase and stand my ground.

    Next time I fly..... I might even take 2 handguns!

    BTW - According to TSA and Delta'a OWN website, they both say that the ammo can be in the same container as the firearm (not loaded though). A Delta representative told me in person that Delta requires them to be in separate checked bags.

    Even though I hate to have to check 2 bags (and it might not even be necessary), I will probably keep doing it that way just to avoid any hassle.

  15. hops

    hops Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Grid CN85, Jefferson Noon Net 7.232 megacycles
    Your New Orleans experience is not unusual as far as TSA gun check goes.

    San Jose ,CA (SJC) has you give the gun case opened and keys to Airline baggage person who disappears with case to TSA, out of my sight. They bring the keys back a few minutes later. I've written to TSA and the Airline (some where in the archives here) about it. It's their sop and I've been in and out of their many many times with my gun(s). Now Portland (PDX) is cool. TSA there is way cool....
  16. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Hrm. The last time I flew (and at the current state of the air transport system/airlines/TSA it will probably be the last time I flew), the TSA agents at PDX had a minor freakout on the level of what Logistar described when I checked my luggage w/ firearms.
  17. Blue Jays

    Blue Jays Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Good Evening All-

    Logistar, thanks for the narrative...

    After reading your story, it almost makes sense to format the TSA rules into a document with easy-to-follow, bulletpointed pages. One could then take the airline ticketing employee through each "step" to ensure the firearms remain safe and secured until you reach your destination...What a nightmare it would be for the airline to lose a prized sidearm.

    Depending on where I was landing, I might be tempted to overnight ship the pistols to myself at the hotel where I would be staying. If traveling to a Detroit-like destination, one may wish to have their PDW readied in the airport parking lot!

    Excellent post. Thanks again for sharing.

    ~ Blue Jays ~
  18. The_Antibubba

    The_Antibubba Senior Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Sac, The PRK
    For the record, TSA employees are NOT supposed to touch the firearm, not even to move it and look under it. Cases are checked by manually inspecting the foam and casing around it. Any inspection is supposed to be done by the airline, but they almost never do. In the early days, some TSA "Airport Ninjas" would rack the slide, pull the trigger, etc. Aside from being morons, there were some items damaged-like a $10,000.00+ trap gun.

    A lot of TSA inspectors have military or LEO experience, and will gladly discuss firearms with you. Some of them even know what they're talking about! Inspecting a "kewl" firearm is much better than running gloved fingers through Granny's underwear.
  19. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Appointed to his new job by which Democratic president, again? I can't remember, help me out. :uhoh:
  20. Langenator

    Langenator Senior Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Ft Belvoir, VA
    I'll second what Blue Jays said-not that I've ever travelled with my guns-but if/when I do. Print up both the TSA and airline rules for firearms in checked baggage and keep them in my pocket so I can "guide" the necessary screeners through the process.

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