Air Travel. What Should I Know?

Air Travel. What Should I Know?

This is a discussion on Air Travel. What Should I Know? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello the group, I have not been on an airplane for several years. In the old days you just locked your pistol and ammo in ...

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Thread: Air Travel. What Should I Know?

  1. #1
    Member Array andylit's Avatar
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    Air Travel. What Should I Know?

    Hello the group,

    I have not been on an airplane for several years. In the old days you just locked your pistol and ammo in a hard case and declared it in your checked baggage. The TSA web site APPEARS to say the same thing, but I am very leary of this.

    What should I be wary of? Any airlines that have policies more restrictive than federal law?

    The last time I flew with a checked pistol it was stolen out of my baggage. The moron behind the counter actually required me to open the bag and the locked case and he displayed the weapon openly. They refused to allow me to put the weapon tag inside the suitcase. Needless to say it was a setup (Chicago Midway) and by the time I reached my destination the baggage handlers had done a shift change and the CPD was helpless.
    "Give a man a fishk, an' 'e'll eat fer a day. Teachk 'im ta fight, an' 'e'll feast on da meaty marrow of hisk foes fer a lifetime!"
    - Coxswain Ulrich


  2. #2
    Member Array tricolordad's Avatar
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    I dont take my guns with me on planes. I drive. Besides, Chicago considers itsself an independent country and makes it a felony to transport any firearm through their city, and the state of Illinois is about the same...theyve been getting away with it for years although its unconstitutional. Dont expect the CPD to be of any help, they dont want you to have a gun.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array RightyLefty's Avatar
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    This topic has been discussed many times on this forum. Here are just a few:

    Flying and Declaring handgun in your checked bag

    Need some advice on traveling with my pistols...asking the experts!

    Flying with a handgun(in baggage)

    There are plenty more threads if you search for them.
    SIGguy229 likes this.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
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    I travel with mine, flying is a necessity. Make certain you case is totally tight when locked. If it can be pried open its a no go. I also use a TSA approved lock on the suitcase. Each airline has its own quirky rules, but pretty much no hassle. They are required to confirm it is unloaded at the ticket counter. Also, you cannot have a loaded open magazine in the case, it has to be covered. I just put the ammo in the original box. I travel with a Nano Gun Vault (combination) which reasonably secure.

    I have never had any issues at all, although I have been traveling between "gun friendly" states.
    I'd rather be lucky than good any day

    There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.

    Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.

  5. #5
    New Member Array CPD2098's Avatar
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    I have flown on Alliegant Airlines. I declared it, they took me in a room, inspected my case the weapon was carried in and inspected the ammunition. Charged me $75.00 to fly it to florida. I don't know what, if any other airlines charge.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
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    Delta has no extra charge, but then they already charge $25 for the checked bag.
    I'd rather be lucky than good any day

    There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.

    Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.

  7. #7
    Member Array Gary T's Avatar
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    andylit,
    A few months ago I flew to Reno, NV for ground squirrel hunt. We mostly had rifles, but also a few handguns. As mentioned by an earlier poster, in addition to the TSA rules, each airline has it's own rules, as well. Some allow ammo in the same travel case as the gun, some do not. You need to have a secure, "TSA approved" (whatever that means) travel case for your handgun. Get the strongest, most durable one you can afford. I bought a Pelican case for the trip and was very pleased. It shouldn't affect you if you're only carrying a handgun, but check on any SIZE restrictions of your luggage. We flew on American. If your luggage was over 65" in size (L+W+H) they could charge you an extra $200 one way. Extra fee if luggage greater than 50#. Checked luggage also had a fee, but no extra fee just because it was a gun. Lastly, from reading the TSA website info I was under the impression one HAD to use a TSA approved lock, but that's NOT the case. I bought 4 padlocks that used the same key and used 2 padlocks on each gun case. The TSA approved locks I found looked like something you'd get in a box of "Cracker Jacks". The TSA approved locks can be opened by a set of master keys the TSA has so they don't have to use bolt cutters or wait till you're present w/ the key/combination.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    This is an excellent and very thorough review of how to handle the check in when you fly. I highly recommend that you read it to the end.
    Also, it is a good idea to secure your hardside case with a cable INSIDE your luggage container.
    Also imperative that you carry a copy of the TSA regs and the regs for your airline with you. If you run into an idiot who wants to put your weapons card on the outside of your luggage, request the supervisor and show him/her the regs. The tag goes on the outside of your hard cover gun case which is INSIDE your luggage.
    The locks on your hardside gun case ARE NOT TSA LOCKS. They are real padlocks to which ONLY YOU HAVE THE KEY OR COMBINATION. The locks on your luggage case are TSA locks. There is occasional confusion about this which is why you are carrying a copy of the TSA regs and can show them to the supervisor. Pelican makes a nice case (I have the 1400) and some people use their GunVault case.

    Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm: - Glock Talk
    'Guerir quelquefois, soulager souvent, consoler toujours.'

    "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." (John Steinbeck)

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  9. #9
    Member Array andylit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
    andylit,
    The TSA approved locks can be opened by a set of master keys the TSA has so they don't have to use bolt cutters or wait till you're present w/ the key/combination.
    Why does this not surprise me?

    Many thanks to all of you for your responses. They have been very helpful.
    "Give a man a fishk, an' 'e'll eat fer a day. Teachk 'im ta fight, an' 'e'll feast on da meaty marrow of hisk foes fer a lifetime!"
    - Coxswain Ulrich

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    Make sure you are legal from wher eyou start your trip and where you finish you trip. If plane lands in a state that you are not legally allowed to carry. ( NY NJ Cali IL ) do not take poessision of your bag. Will gt arrest upon checking back in.

    Get to airport 2 hrs early and make sure your cell number is on the bag or on your locked case.
    You do not know, what you do not know, until you realize that you do not know it

  11. #11
    Member Array Gary T's Avatar
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    Also, it is a good idea to secure your hardside case with a cable INSIDE your luggage container.
    DoctorBob,
    That's a good link you provided. I'd never thought of securing the gun case to the inside of the luggage, but it does make sense. Looking at the pics in the link, my only suggestion would be to secure the cable to the gun case using something more substantial than the gun case handle. One could cut the gun case handle very easy and slip the still intact cable through the hole in the handle.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array RKflorida's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to overnight your gun to the destination? Don't need to ship the ammo as you can purchase it later. Not flying is my solution although that isn't always possible. When I can't drive and have to fly, I cancel the trip.

  13. #13
    Member Array Gary T's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to overnight your gun to the destination?
    Easier, not for me. Cheaper, not for me.
    For me to ship my guns via UPS, I would've had to travel 60 miles one way to an appropriate USP shipping center. The shipping cost was going to be $45. The same gun case cost either $25 (if it's the first piece of checked luggage) or $35 (if it's the second piece of checked luggage) on the airline. Plus, it would cost an extra $20 in gas to drive to the UPS shipping center.

  14. #14
    Member Array GHFLRLTD's Avatar
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    Traveling With Your Pistole

    Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:

    1. Review TSA: Traveling with Special Items to understand TSA policies and procedures. Have a copy with you when you reach the airport.
    2. Put the unloaded weapon(s) in a lockable hard-sided case with locks only you have the keys/combination to open. TSA locks are not allowed.
    3. Steps that will make it easier to show that the weapon is unloaded - especially when x-rayed.
      • If the weapon is a:
        • semi-automatic
          • lock the slide open
          • put a cable tie through the barrel and out the breach to show that the chamber is empty
        • revolver, flip the cylinder out
      • Do not put the magazines in this locked case with the gun(s):
        • it invites questions about them being loaded
        • if the gun case is "liberated" from the checked bag by a Criminal Entrepreneur, the lack of magazines frustrates the "Liberator", since the weapon is now initially a single shot one
    4. Check the airline(s) you are flying on:
      • To determine if the ammo
        • MUST be in boxes (plastic reload boxes work)
        • can fly in loaded magazines
      • If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazine top where the cartridges are visible.
      • The round(s) from the chamber(s)/cylinder(s) must be in a box, not loose
    5. Secure and protect magazines (separately from the weapon) and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
    6. Put the lockable hard-sided case with the weapon and the ammo/magazines into a cheap, non-descript bag - with clear labeling outside and inside - for checking in.
      • If possible, develop a way to attach - in a lockable way - the hard-sided case to the piece of luggage it has been placed into.
      • The labeling should be limited to:
        • Your Name
        • Your Cell Phone - if you have one, or your home phone if you do not
        • Your personal email address - if you have one
        • NO ADDRESSES, JOB TITLES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED
    7. Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.
    8. Have the rules for the airline in hand when you check this non-descript bag at the airport.
    9. Make sure you have the keys/combinations to the lockable hard-sided case with you and you alone (Per Federal Regulations 49CFR 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals - Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:) at all times. You will have to open the lockable hard-side case:
      • to demonstrate to the airline that the weapon(s) are not loaded at check in (a signed form/tag indicating that will go in with the weapon(s))
      • if the TSA wants to see
    10. Have the serial number(s) and descriptions of your weapons on you, so if they "disappear" you can report the loss/theft immediately to the:
      • airline - NOTE Some airlines - Delta and US Air being 2 - now allow you to track your checked luggage on your I-Phone/Android if you are a Frequent Flier
      • FAA Regional Office
      • ATF Regional Office

    Other things to consider:

    1. Check Handgunlaw.us and/or Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps - USA Carry to determine:
      • If you can possess the weapon at all your stops
      • Where and how you can carry at all your stops
      • What are the deadly force rules in each state you are visiting
    2. Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/doj_doc_nyc_air.pdf. This covers changing modes of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
    3. AMTRAK (Amtrak - Plan - Policies - Firearms in Checked Baggage) is similar to airlines. Key differences include:
      • You must notify the departing station 24 hours before departure.
      • There must be baggage handling of checked baggage at both ends of your trip.
      • Ammunition must be boxed.

    George H. Foster
    Orlando, Florida

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    The George Foster post should be a stand alone sticky. I'm going to try to get it printed out.

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