Travel on Southwest Airlines

Travel on Southwest Airlines

This is a discussion on Travel on Southwest Airlines within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I would like to give everyone a review of my experience flying Southwest with two firearms and a box of ammunition this weekend. In one ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Labhunter's Avatar
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    Travel on Southwest Airlines

    I would like to give everyone a review of my experience flying Southwest with two firearms and a box of ammunition this weekend. In one word - easy. I packed the guns in a cheap Doskocil hard case along with a 25 round box of ammo. I arrived at the Kansas City airport about 1 1/2 hours before my flight. Taking the advice of another forum member, I told the ticket agent that I wanted to declare two unloaded firearms. No look of fear or concern in her eyes whatsoever. She asked me to show her that they were unloaded, gave me a card to fill out and put inside the case, watched me lock the case and I was on my way. Took all of an extra three minutes. I arrived in Phoenix a few hours later - no muss, no fuss.

    When I flew home from Phoenix, it was even easier although I doubt I experienced proper procedure (at least I hope I didn't). Went to the ticket counter, same routine. This time, as I started to pull out my gun from the box to show him it was unloaded, he said, "Oh, you don't need to do that. We don't have to check to see if they are unloaded anymore." I was running late so I didn't argue. Once again, filled out the card, put it in the case with the guns and ammo, locked it up, and headed to the gate.

    So kudos from me to Southwest. They sure made it easy. On the other hand, I would have been a little happier if the Phoenix ticket agent had not tell me he doesn't check firearms to see if they whether they are loaded or not.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    did you have to show clear right there at the ticket counter with all the people around? and did they tag your bag with a different colored tag? did the firearms ride the baggage claim merry go round with the rest of the luggage?--or did you pick it up from SW security? could you pack your firearm and ammo in the same case?
    sorry for all the questions, but this is a topic I have been curious about.
    ----DOC-----

    --people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--

    NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines

  3. #3
    Member Array H. Lee's Avatar
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    snowdoctor has some good questions

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array incredipete's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear they don't freak out at the KC airport. I'm going to be doing a lot of flying back and forth to PA with my guns, and of course, KCI is my home airport.

    Sounds easy!
    Gun Control means never having to say "I missed you."

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  5. #5
    Member Array Windwalker's Avatar
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    I can't speak for Kansas City/Phoenix, but last year I went round-trip, Manchester NH-Midway Chicago on Southwest. As I recall, I did show clear at the ticket counter, the tag went inside the case, the luggage was not marked on the outside, the luggage went with all the other bags, and ammo went inside the pistol case. Showing clear at the counter didn't seem to bother the audience - no screams or wetting themselves.

    This year, we're going R/T Manchester-Indianapolis on Southwest. I'll let you know how it goes. I've always been very pleased with Southwest.

  6. #6
    Member Array Labhunter's Avatar
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    At Kansas City, I showed the ticket agent at the counter that the weapons were clear. I set my suitcase on the scales and opened the top towards me so that it blocked other customers' views. I was given a tag to fill out with my contact info on one side and my signature on the back. The tag goes in the gun case. I locked the gun case with a small padlock then locked the suitcase with a TSA approved lock. Luggage does not get special color tags. There was no way anyone could tell what was inside based on looks.

    Yes, my bags came through baggage claim just like everyone else's. Always a chance it could get stolen but no more so than if the bag did not have a firearm inside.

    Small box of ammo (25 rounds) went inside the same case as the guns. Being the seasoned gun traveling expert that I am with all of one trip under my gun belt, my guess is that the smaller the box of ammo, the fewer problems you will have. My thinking is that if I am just taking a gun for self defense, I only need the number of rounds that I would carry on a daily basis. If I was going somewhere to shoot, I would probably just buy my ammo when I arrived.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    I like everything about Soutwest Airlines.

    They were SMART, and that's why they were the only airline making profit for a while (are they still the only one?). They bought fuel futures that locked in a price before the price went sky-high. Smart.

    I like their planes, I like their service. They were, to my knowledge, the first airline that started putting little light humor into the safety schpiel.

    They run EXCELLENT fares for me to get to see my family in NY.

    Ironic that I should see your post now, because about an hour ago, I booked travel with them for visiting family!

  8. #8
    Member Array AirMech74's Avatar
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    Thats encouraging to hear...I'm flying out of OKC headed to North Dakota and I'm takin my daily carry with me..although its not with Southwest, its good to hear that they didn't mess with you. Hope I have the same smooth experience with Northwest.
    Better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Fragman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peacefuljeffrey View Post
    I like everything about Soutwest Airlines.
    Yeah, Southwest rocks as far as airlines go. Fly them a lot for business. Free roundtrip every 16 flights too!

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    I was told that some airlines tag your case with a different color tag, and put it through baggage claim and other stories of having to go to the airlines security desk to get your case...in southwest's case neither of those scenarios seems to be true. a very good thing. I still don't like opening my case in front of a bunch of people to show clear...but I could live with it. did the person at the desk even know how to check for 'clear'? just wondering
    ----DOC-----

    --people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--

    NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines

  11. #11
    New Member Array rustyk5's Avatar
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    My wife is a ticket agent for Delta, She say's BS. on not having to check for clear and ammo goes in a seperate locked case.
    Last edited by rustyk5; May 23rd, 2007 at 08:44 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    I have flown 10 to 15 times and every time I have my Kimber (slide back and no mag in the gun) in a IWB holster, a full mag (upside down) in a IWB holster, and a 20 round box of Speer Gold Dot, all locked up in the case the Kimber came in.

    Never a question about the ammo in the same case as the weapon.

    Sometimes the ticket agent wants to see if the gun is empty sometimes they don't. Sometimes TSA wants to inspect it sometimes they don't. Sometime the ticket agent will let me use the little card I have in the case already sometimes they make me fill out a new one.

    The airlines have not tagged bags on the outside in at least 4 years!

    I always fly SouthWest!
    Last edited by Timmy Jimmy; May 23rd, 2007 at 09:13 PM.
    Timmy Jimmy

    If it is not in the US Constitution then the Federal Government should not be doing it.

    "Carrying a gun is a social responsibility."

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    TSA

    I worked at an airport fire station until recently (transfer) I asked the TSA baggage folks if they tagged or identified bags with firearms differently. They said no, and showed me the process, including the most high-tech Xray/bomb/chemical scanner I've ever seen. They were honest with the whole situation, and one of them was a CCW-type with a nice customized Makarov. Bottom line: if it's received right from the agent at check-in, there are no problems and it doesn't raise an eyebrow. No different from any other piece of luggage. If the MACHINE finds something where it shouldn't be, lots of people get involved, and none have a sense of humor.

  14. #14
    New Member Array kensteele's Avatar
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    so i've flown out of mci (kansas city) for about seven years now and have never had a problem about a dozen times flying with firearms except once. and i'm made that trip to sky harbour as well, never a problem except once.

    it's hit or miss if they make you open the baggage to visually inspect if the firearm is clear. since i know this, i've managed to pack my firearms completely disassembled and place the bag for inspection to minimize the shock. which has worked. when you bags arrive at kansas city, you will have to get your own firearms. only once did an swa employee intercept my firearms as they came out the shute and ask me to present id. the one time i had trouble was the time i had an overweight bag because of a ton of ammo and they paged me and she asked if my bag was overweight due to having more than 11 lbs of ammo and i said probably and she said "next time..." and cut me a break.

    in phoenix, they almost always nab your firearms-looking bag because it goes into public consumption. my firearms that travel in ordinary baggage make it to the conveyer but my firearms case always go the baggage office for claim. the one time i had trouble in phx was when tsa saw my green-tipped 223 ammo and wasn't happy.....long story.

  15. #15
    Member Array aepilotjim's Avatar
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    Same experience with Southwest. Flew from Tulsa, through Las Vegas, to Tucson. Declared it in Tulsa, showed the agent the locked case, filled out the card and that was that. My ammo was in a seperate plastic ammo box. Didn't even have to unlock the gun case. There's no special tagging of the luggage. It came out on the carrosel in Tucson with no problems. Coming back the only change was the agent wanted me to unlock the gun box and show it was cleared. But the orange L-shaped thingy that came with the gun from Springfield was enough. I didn't need to run a clear check. Again, not a problem and nobody acted as if it wasn't all in a days work. My kudos to Southwest.

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