I just got back visiting family in Phoenix. I brought my P229 and a box of Ranger T's in my suitcase and would like to give my 1st time observations.
1. Make sure you read up and understand how to fly with your checked gun and have a printed copy of the TSA and the airline's weapon rules in case you need to tell them. I also wrote "To open this case call me at __________" and I taped that to the outside of the gun case. When I first checked in at Grand Rapids I told the Frontier ticket agent I needed to declare a weapon in my suitcase and I needed an orange tag. She didn't speak or understood english very well so she told me I didn't need it and to just tell the TSA agents. I then told her I had a gun in my suitcase and I needed to get the orange tag. She finally understood the word "gun" so I got the tag.
2. I thought the TSA agent would automatically inspect the gun so I left the outside of the suitcase unlocked (my gun was still in the locked hard-sided case inside). I told the agent I had a firearm and he just sent it on it's way to be X-ray'd and by that time it was too late to get my unlocked suitcase back. Next time I'll lock the outside of my suitcase when I leave my house.
3. In Phoenix at the Sky Harbor Airport the TSA agent got a small rag and swiped the outside of the suitcase, the inside, and the gun safe and then she put the rag in a machine to analyze it for explosives. She didn't even look inside the gun safe itself. One thing she did was to put a 1" round orange sticker saying "TSA" and stuck it on the airlines tag on the outside on my suitcase handle.
That's about all of the high points from my first time flying with the gun.