Was flying from Florida to Louisiana last week. Did my research, asked questions here, looked up airline rules, looked up TSA rules. Did everything the proper way. 8:00AM my wife and I are ready to leave and she says we should take her van instead of my car. "Okay, lets just go in case we need extra time at the counter" This was my first time doing this and didn't know how it would go.
We get up to the counter and I tell the agent I have a gun to declare. She said ok, no problem. Writes on a little card, hands it to me and asks me to fill it out and sign it. Going very smooth. She asks me if it is unloaded and I said of course it is. She said ok, just open up your suitcase, take out the gun case and open it up for me. I open my suitcase, dig around for the gunsafe and finally found it. I take it out and exclaim "oh ****, I left the key at home" My wife says "what"? I explained that the key is always on my key ring with car keys and you wanted to take you car so I had left my keys home. LOL
They lady actually said if it hasn't been fired recently the machine the luggage goes through may not detect it and you may be able to take it with you. I declined and put it in my car.
As it turns out, everything happens for a reason. On the trip home we get to the airport terminal a little over an hour early. The line to check in luggage at the ticket counter is well over an hour long. I waited on that line and my wife on the curbside line. Curbside took an hour to get through. We made the gate just as they were boarding. Had I had my gun we would have missed the flight.
Lesson 1) Always take my car
Lesson 2) Always leave plenty of unexpected extra time.