July 16th, 2007 05:40 PM
I'm traveling to Florida next month and in the course of researching the various firearms transportation requirements of the airlines, I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread where we could all pool our knowledge of how to move a handgun cross-country using the various airlines.
I will be taking Delta Airlines in August. I have not transported my firearm on this airline yet, so I will follow up in a month after I make the trip. After calling the airlines (800.221.1212) and speaking to a representative, I believe I have a good idea of their rules regarding firearms transportation. What I have learned so far is the following:
1. Handgun must be in a locked, hard-sided container. This locked case cannot be transported in your checked luggage. The firearm must be declared to the ticketing agent, and you will be taken to a separate room where another agent will document the firearm and any ammunition. It will be locked in the presence of the agent and you will sign an affidavit.
2. Ammunition cannot be transported inside the hard-sided case with the firearm. The ammunition does not have to be in a locked container, but it must be in a box meant to hold ammunition securely. The spokeswoman at Delta told me that you can bring the ammunition in the factory box. Me: "It can be transported in the cardboard box you purchased it in?" Delta: "Yes." The reason this is ok is because they store the ammunition and firearms in a separate area of the plane - not the luggage storage compartment, so you don't have to worry about your ammo being tossed around by baggage handlers. The reasons for storing it separately, according to the Delta spokeswoman, are because they don't want the ammunition cooking off due to high heat in the luggage compartment (a total myth, but oh well), and also security.
I bolded the items that surprised me. Before contacting Delta, I thoroughly researched TSA firearms transportation guidelines and looked at a couple of other airlines (I think American Airlines was another one I looked at). Carefully read the transportation guidelines on the airline website. On Delta's website, it said ammo can only be transported if it is boxed and in checked luggage, but it didn't elaborate or say anything about ammo loaded into magazines and carried with the gun. TSA says you can have ammo loaded into magazines and transported in the same container as the firearm. Delta's website also says the gun can be transported in checked luggage. However, the Delta spokeswoman said I cannot transport the firearm in my checked luggage, even though it is in a locked Pelican container (Pelican 1200, btw - perfect size for a Glock and up to 6 or 7 mags). She also said I cannot have the ammo in my checked luggage.
Bottom line: I'm glad I didn't assume anything. Not only were Delta's rules on the website different from TSA rules, but the conversation with the spokeswoman revealed that you cannot transport firearms or ammo in checked luggage, even if it is in a locked, hard-side container, contrary to the rules listed on the website. It is probably a safe bet that every single airline has their own special set of rules regarding the transportation of firearms, so don't just count on the general TSA guidelines - call the airline. We will see how it goes in August. I will be carrying the gun in my locked Pelican case, and my ammo in a separate hard-sided, lockable case.
Last edited by OfClanMcnab; July 16th, 2007 at 05:42 PM.
Reason: Clarification of point #1.
July 16th, 2007 06:00 PM
I've travelled on Delta with my case inside my luggage. Its not any different from American, SW, or United.
Transporting the firearms outside of the concealment of a regular luggage is an invitation to theft.
July 16th, 2007 06:08 PM
It sounds like Delta has a communication problem. Go to the Delta website and see if they have their official policy regarding firearms posted. Most airlines do. Print it out, and carry it with you to the airport, in case the person there is unaware of their own company's policy.
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July 16th, 2007 06:17 PM
best practice right here.
Originally Posted by ttpete
Have the airline's policy as well as TSA's policy and any/all paperwork for your guns (permits if needed, tax stamps, etc. )
July 16th, 2007 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by austin
Ditto...never heard of it checked as a separate bag...definitely a flag if done.
July 16th, 2007 08:52 PM
I have flown in and out of FL on Delta ONLY...never had a problem! Gun was in a small locked container that was inside my one bag. My ammo was in the original container, also in the same (one) bag. The red tag was placed inside the pistol container...simple.
I did have a copy of Delta's rules printed from their site. The rep you spoke with did not know Delta's own rules...doesn't surprise me. Take a copy with you and if you sense any difficulty, just ask for a supervisor....I doubt you have any difficulties!
Stay armed...stay safe!
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July 17th, 2007 08:40 AM
Don't count on the clerks knowing the rules, I got contradicting information just as you did. Take a printed copy of the airline's rules & the TSA's with you. You may need to educate them.
July 17th, 2007 11:34 AM
I travel with Delta a couple of times a month. My experience is typically as follows -
Me - I have an item to declare.
Them - Oh, a gun? No problem.
(Walk to the next vacant counter, open suitcase, unlock gun case, verify empty chamber, hand me a red tag, I sign and date the tag indicating that the gun is being transported in accordance to their policies)
They then typically place the tag inside the gun case (which I don't understand), watch me relock it and then check the bag. In one instance, they actually just asked me if the gun was unloaded, and when I said yes, they handed me the tag and had me drop it in the suitcase - no verification at all.
Oh, BTW -THERE IS NO TAG ON THE EXTERIOR OF THE BAG TO INDICATE SPECIAL HANDLING REQUIREMENTS!!
July 17th, 2007 12:03 PM
Sounds like either Delta changed their policy and haven't updated their website yet (unlikely), or your ticket agent wasn't very well informed.
Originally Posted by OfClanMcnab
Off of Delta's Website . . . http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...oods/index.jsp
It states "Firearms will be accepted only if they are unloaded, declared to the agent at check-in, and packed in a locked, hard-sided container in checked luggage only."
If you couldn't put them in checked luggage, what did they make you do, just have your small hard case roll around the belly of the plane???
I think it is essential that every time you are transporting that you have a printout from that companies website about their firearms policy . . . if they tell you that is wrong, ask for a supervisor and have them show you where else in writing they are getting their information.
For all those that are lazy as me out there . . . here is a small list of links to a few of the major carrier's sites and their policies.
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July 17th, 2007 02:41 PM
Probably meant not allowed in Carry-on baggage. Makes much more sense then.
July 17th, 2007 02:45 PM
I've often felt that your experience with a major carrier is directly proportional to how well the agent/workers day is going. Or Monday/Friday/holiday/Groundhog day etc...
Get it in writing or its he said-she said
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Because when you find something-you stop looking-Mooch
July 17th, 2007 04:17 PM
Read the regulations again...
Weapons Ammunition will only be accepted if it is boxed, small-arms ammunition, it weighs less than 11 pounds, and is packed in checked luggage only.
Firearms will be accepted only if they are unloaded, declared to the agent at check-in, and packed in a locked, hard-sided container in checked luggage only.
Gunpowder, mace, pepper spray, and tear gas are not allowed.
Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)
July 17th, 2007 05:01 PM
Limit of two weapons per case. Do NOT fly into/out of Phoenix Skyharbor with United. I had a horrible experience with them. Some of the employees understand discretion. Others seem to think firearms owners need to be made a spectacle of.
I have flown with a large hard-side rifle case with two rifles inside. I have also flown with a small handgun case in my luggage. There weren't any major issues either time... and I must saying flying into/out of Dulles International in Northern VA is a BREEZE with United. Very courteous and they know their stuff inside and out. It usually saves me about 2 hours of waiting in line each time.
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July 17th, 2007 10:13 PM
I fly a lot - on a trip as I write this. I've flown with guns a number of times and have never had a problem. I've almost felt sorry for the airlines people as they haven't been trained much on guns.
I have O/U shotguns which I use in competition. They're always packed "broken down." I find myself explaining just what it is that shows / proves the guns are unloaded.
At any rate people have always been helpful.
July 19th, 2007 11:39 AM
Hey all, thanks for the input. This is one reason this forum is so great - there is a ton of experience here.
I am going to follow your suggestions and print out the TSA and Delta regs and see if I can transport the firearm case in my luggage. Sounds to me like the Delta rep just didn't know what she was talking about. I mean, she sounded very sure and knowledgeable at the time, but apparently what she thinks and what actually happens at the terminal are two different things. Hopefully the regs haven't changed and I can just pack my guncase in my luggage.
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