Airline travel

This is a discussion on Airline travel within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Has anyone had experience checking handguns on an airplane. I'm traveling from Tampa Fl. to Scranton Pa. Continental, ( first leg out of Tampa layover ...

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    New Member Array cobra34242's Avatar
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    Airline travel

    Has anyone had experience checking handguns on an airplane. I'm traveling from Tampa Fl. to Scranton Pa. Continental, ( first leg out of Tampa layover in Newark NJ) states "handgun must be packed in hard-sided lockable luggage." Is that the manufacturers gun case ? And does that mean I can put the locked case in my soft sided luggage? There is no mention of " SOFT SIDED luggage Return trip on U.S. Airways specifically states, " handgun may be packed in a locked hard-sided case and then packed inside an unlocked SOFT- SIDED luggage. I don't want to get stuck with a suitcase that won't be accepted. Any info is appreciated

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    Member Array xikle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobra34242 View Post
    Has anyone had experience checking handguns on an airplane. I'm traveling from Tampa Fl. to Scranton Pa. Continental, ( first leg out of Tampa layover in Newark NJ) states "handgun must be packed in hard-sided lockable luggage." Is that the manufacturers gun case ? And does that mean I can put the locked case in my soft sided luggage? There is no mention of " SOFT SIDED luggage Return trip on U.S. Airways specifically states, " handgun may be packed in a locked hard-sided case and then packed inside an unlocked SOFT- SIDED luggage. I don't want to get stuck with a suitcase that won't be accepted. Any info is appreciated
    As long as the manufacturer's case is lockable and they can't open it enough to get to the gun when it's locked you're fine. Personnaly I went out and bought a small Pelican case because of how they are setup. If you're flying through NJ, I would leave the HP's at home. I'm pretty sure that NJ made them illegal. When I fly the pistol is put in the Pelican case and locked, then that case is put in with my checked baggage which has a TSA approved lock on it. Remember to make sure that you declare the weapon when you get to the checkin counter and ask for a firearms tag. Also you should allow a little extra time when checking in just incase. Something else to do would be to print out the TSA and airline regs and take them with you.

    Last time I flew I was able to breeze right through checkin because the ticket agent knew exactly what to do.

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    Kinda been beat to death.....you can do a search also.........but this is my post from another thread......

    ummm... lets see...... the TSA.gov website will give you specifics, but they are a little confusing.....

    1. hardcase locked box
    2. weapon locked open w/ locking cable used and locked(or bolt/trigger lock).
    3. ammo MAY be in the same case, but MUST be in original box, not loose
    4. you MUST declare it at check in & be able to open the case for inspection
    5. you'll have to be special screened, open the box for inspection, secure it, then you will NOT be allowed to handle it from that point on. You probably be asked to escort it to the x-ray area they use for packages so you may watch it be proccessed and loaded.
    6. plan for EXTRA TIME, you may have to wait for a special screener or supervisor to check the weapon.

    All in all, not a bad experience, and well worth the extra time waiting.... IMO
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    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Delta last week...5 min. add'l time over friend who wasn't checking a bag.

    Hardsided case (original gun came in will do), with your lock, not TSA lock. Center of Mass safe attached to spine of suitcase would probably be even better.

    I, too, lock my softsided suitcase with TSA-approved lock.

    No-no: I have a gun!! (with wild-eyed look)

    Yes: I have a firearm to declare.

    Print out TSA regs as well as Continentals. If you run into problems, ask for a supervisor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobra34242 View Post
    Has anyone had experience checking handguns on an airplane. I'm traveling from Tampa Fl. to Scranton Pa. Continental, ( first leg out of Tampa layover in Newark NJ) states "handgun must be packed in hard-sided lockable luggage." Is that the manufacturers gun case ? And does that mean I can put the locked case in my soft sided luggage? There is no mention of " SOFT SIDED luggage Return trip on U.S. Airways specifically states, " handgun may be packed in a locked hard-sided case and then packed inside an unlocked SOFT- SIDED luggage. I don't want to get stuck with a suitcase that won't be accepted. Any info is appreciated
    I highly recommend doing a search on this forum for firearm airplane
    you can peruse through those threads shown and find all the info you need
    I also recommend you print the rules/regs from TSA website as well as from the airline's website and keep them in your pocket when you're at the airports
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    New Member Array cobra34242's Avatar
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    Thanx for the replies. Still a little gray area on Hollow Points travelling thru N.J.....I'll just pack it all away and let it fly....

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobra34242 View Post
    Thanx for the replies. Still a little gray area on Hollow Points travelling thru N.J.....I'll just pack it all away and let it fly....
    That's not a bright idea... the last thing you want is to land in New Jersey and be arrested or to have your weapon held for inspection while you fly on to your destination without it.

    You should either take a cautious approach and leave the hollow points at home or you should contact the authorities in New Jersey and ask, then make sure you include their response with you when you travel.

    Quote Originally Posted by miklcolt45 View Post
    No-no: I have a gun!! (with wild-eyed look)
    This phrase is often followed, mere seconds later, by: "Don't tase me, dude!"
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    I was kind of hesitating the first time after 911 myself, but after flying a few times, Iíve found that itís really pretty easy.

    If youíre not leaving NJ in a car, but instead flying on to another destination, youíre never subject to NJ laws; so hallow points are fine.

    As others have said:
    • Lockable hard case can be stored inside your soft case suitcase. Make sure you have TSA locks on your suitcase, and NON TSA locks on the gun case.
    • Make sure your magazines are unloaded, and ALL ammo is stored in its original box.
    • Make sure you declare it at check in, where they will give you a red card to fill out. One part goes on the outside of your hard gun case, the other part you hand back to the ticket agent.
    • Youíll need to go to the main ticket counter to do such.
    • Canít use curb side check in.
    • The ticket agent may ask you to fallow them to the TSA check in where a TSA agent will ask you to open your suitcase so he/she can check the weapon. But this has not happen each time.


    One ticket agent got it wrong when she said I was to put the red tag on the outside of my suitcase. I handed her the TSA regulations. So you may want to take a copy of them with you.

    TSA: Traveling with Special Items
    see here

    Other than that have fun on your trip

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    New Member Array cobra34242's Avatar
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    Thanx again. Connecting flight out of Newark to Scranton ends the H P issue. I never get to touch the luggage till I get to Scranton Pa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobra34242 View Post
    Thanx again. Connecting flight out of Newark to Scranton ends the H P issue. I never get to touch the luggage till I get to Scranton Pa.
    I wouldn't risk it. You can't touch your luggage or your firearm until you reach your destination anyway so consider purchasing your ammo when you get there.

    I have traveled with my firearms probably more than a dozen times (sometimes lots of firearms). I make take some FMJs but I never take HPs on the plane.

    Remember, you are risking a $1,000 fine for every single HP bullet you have with you in NJ. Even though some have told you not to worry about it that is just too much of a risk. Just imagine if there is a delay and you are left in NJ overnight or even briefly.

    There was a story not long ago of a man who was rerouted to NJ (he wasn't even supposed to have a lay over there) because of weather and he had a magazine of hollow points in his luggage. He was fined $10,000.. $1,000 for each bullet.

    It's just not worth it. If you must take ammo, take some FMJs, but I'd recommend buying the ammo when you get there and donating it to a friend when you leave or shipping it home. Call it a $20 insurance policy.

    This is from my blog (The 10 steps to flying with handguns)..

    #
    You cannot carry your weapon on the plane, you must check it. (I know this may seem incredibly obvious but some people still ask so I'll just cover that base right off the bat.)
    #
    2.Go to the TSA website and print off their policy regarding firearms on flights.
    #
    3.Call the airline, check on their policy for firearms on their flights (all airlines must abide by the TSA policy but they can also extend a stricter policy if they would like and it may keep you from flying or taking your guns with you if you aren't aware of their policy.)
    #
    4.All firearms must be in a hard-sided, lockable case and they must be empty.
    #
    5.Ammunition can be taken with you but in a limited amount and it should go in a separate container than your firearms (TSA provides that it can go in the same case as your guns but a lot of times it doesn't fit and again, the airline might have a different policy on ammunition so call the airline).
    #
    6.Arrange all of your firearms in the case so that they can be easily checked to be sure they are clear without much touching and moving (i.e. locking the slide open and placing it in the case sans the magazine in a way so that a glance in the chamber will indicate that it is, indeed, empty).
    #
    7.When you check in at the airport declare your firearms. They will want to see them and place a slip of paper in the case with your firearms indicating that they have looked at them and approved them.
    #
    8.Be courteous to the security personnel and be prepared to unlock and show your guns as you will be required do to so.
    #
    9.Know the transportation, carry and reciprocity laws of your destination states (including any state that you may have a layover in) you don't want to get your guns taken away because you failed to know the laws of the state you are entering.
    #
    10.If possible, get a non-stop flight to cut down on the number of unfamiliar hands that will be within access to your firearms.

    Pay special attention to #3. I have flown on some flights that have not allowed any ammunition. As mentioned in #3, just because TSA allows for ammunition to be brought along does NOT mean that the airline has the same opinion. Call the airline and check on THEIR policy as well as it very well may be stricter than TSA.

    I would also like to add that security is not allowed to touch your firearms. They can ask you to lift them up to inspect them but they are not to actually touch them themselves.

    Also, be prepared for the person who is checking you in to not have a CLUE on what they are doing. I've had to walk more than one check-in person through the process.

    NOTHING should be on the outside of your luggage indicating that there are firearms within. If anyone tells you otherwise, that's when you pull out your TSA papers.

    Also, don't walk up to the counter and say, "I've got a gun." Faces get very scared, very quickly. A more gentile approach is to say, "I need to declare a firearm." You don't get so many freaked out faces.

    Enjoy your flight.

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    Senior Member Array gdm320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    I would also like to add that security is not allowed to touch your firearms. They can ask you to lift them up to inspect them but they are not to actually touch them themselves.
    Limatunes,
    This was my big question. So, to clarify, neither the TSA security personnel nor the airline representative checking you in at the counter should make any attempt to touch my weapons when I check them in? I can, when asked, pick them up and demonstrate they are secure and unloaded to meet their qualifications?
    "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley

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    Here's the official info about Jersey and hollow points.......

    New Jersey State Police - Transportation and Use of Hollow Point Ammunition by Sportsmen

    Personally, I'd travel with something like PowerBall ammo, if you must travel with ammo. I agree with the others, buy your ammo there.
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdm320 View Post
    Limatunes,
    This was my big question. So, to clarify, neither the TSA security personnel nor the airline representative checking you in at the counter should make any attempt to touch my weapons when I check them in?
    No, they should not. And the person at the check-in counter shouldn't even ask. They will have you fill out the little tag thingy, they will put your baggage number on it and you will take the whole show over to TSA. The checkin people shouldn't have to see anything.

    I can, when asked, pick them up and demonstrate they are secure and unloaded to meet their qualifications?
    Yes, but wait until you are asked and if you aren't asked just leave them be.

    The closest they will get is they take those little swab things and swab the inside of your case and around your guns and put that in their sniffer machine. I actually had one agent run the swab over the slides of a few of my firearms but that was it. He never moved to pick it up and they shouldn't. I have had agents who ever even came close to them even with the swabs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnyBunny View Post
    Here's the official info about Jersey and hollow points.......

    New Jersey State Police - Transportation and Use of Hollow Point Ammunition by Sportsmen

    Personally, I'd travel with something like PowerBall ammo, if you must travel with ammo. I agree with the others, buy your ammo there.
    Thanks for posting that.

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    I have this letter in PDF form and don't know how to post it here.

    U. S. Department of Justice
    Office of Legislative Affairs
    Office of the Assistant Attorney General Washington, D.C. 20530
    February 18, 2005

    The Honorable Don Young
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Congressman Young:
    Thank you for your letter, dated June 18, 2003, to Admiral James M. Loy, then- Administrator of the Transportation Security aministration (TSA), concerning the applicability of 18 U.S.C. section 926A to persons at airports in New York State who are taking flights to destinations outside of New York. Because section 926A is a provision of the Gun Control Act (GCA), which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enforces, TSA forwarded your letter to the Department of Justice for response. We apologize for the delay in responding.

    In your letter you explained that local police officers in New York have threatened several individuals at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Albany International Airport with arrest
    for firearms possession based on strict State laws, and that in at least one case the firearms were confiscated. You explained that: (1) the people carrying the firearms were not prohibited from
    possessing firearms under Federal law, (2) the people had apparently traveled directly, without any interruption in the transportation, to the airports from other States where they legally could possess firearms, (3) their firearms and ammunition were secured in accordance with all applicable regulations for airline travel, and (4) they were flying to other States or countries where they could legally possess firearms.

    You then asked if TSA agrees that section 926A enables these travelers to possess the firearms legally in the New York airports and if so, if TSA would inform local police and prosecutors about this provision of the GCA. We appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention. The Department of Justice agrees that the provisions of section 926A apply to the situation set forth above assuming: (1) the person is traveling from somewhere he lawfully may possess and carry a firearm; (2) en route to the airport the firearm is unloaded and not accessible from the passenger compartment of his car; (3) the person transports the firearm directly from his
    The Honorable Don Young

    Page Two
    vehicle to the airline check-in desk without any interuption in the transportation; and (4) while carrying the firearm to the check-in desk it is unloaded and in a locked container. This interpretation reflects the apparent congressional intent in enacting this provision, while allowing State and local law enforcement to continue to enforce their firearms laws aggressively to promote public safety. We will inform the applicable law enforcement authorities of our
    interpretation of section 926A.

    We trust this information responds to your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
    Sincerely,
    William E. Moschella
    Assistant Attorney General

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