OK, we just got back from San Diego last night and here is my travel report.
First off we didn't get to go in Rosecrans Natl Cemetery to visit the grave of PO2 Mike Monsoor, we ran out of time and had a full 4 days booked.
OK, on to the trip.
I had a ammo box, original, set aside in case I ever travel I ahve one to put my ammo in. I had my COM safe and my mobile number attached to it. I had the TSA and American Airlines regs printed and placed in the suitcase with the COM safe, as well in my backpack. I bought a 10 rd. mag for the trip to CA.
Leaving DFW was a breeze, I didn't expect otherwise. The ticket agent was cool and called for someone to escort me to the TSA desk, where the 2 guys were talking and kept talking to each other through the whole inspection, except to pause to ask me to open this, open that, show me your ammo, etc.
While in San Diego I kept the safe unlocked next to my bed at night. During the day I kept the mag in the cup holder while driving and in the map drawer when parked. The COM safe was tethered to the door and placed in the door pocket, until I took it out to go in the hotel.
Lego Land and Sea World do not post their parking lots so I assumed I was safe keeping it in the car, but they don't' check you for anything when you go in so my trusty CA legal pocket knife was with me the whole time.
The return trip home I knew would be interesting. We get to the ticket desk, and through the stares (4 kids and a prego Wife always draw stares). I go though each suitcase getting tagged and placed on the conveyor. I kept my suitcase for last. I told the desk agent I needed to declare my luggage, "declare it for what?" was what I was asked. I told her I need to declare a firearm. When I said "firearm" you'd think I handed her a skunk.
She gave me this look of disgust, handed em the declaration slip and told me to fill it out. She then said is it in a case, "Yes, ma'am it is." Is the ammo in a separate case, she asked. "Seperate case than the pistol but it is in the same suitcase, ma'am." She then asked someone if that was legal. I politely informed her that it is as long as it is not with the gun and if it is in the original ammo box, almost at the same time the man she asked answered the same thing.
She told me to put the declaration form in my suitcase while she watched, so I did. I looked up to make sure she saw me and I saw her look at the family behind me and say "I'm so glad I don't have to deal with those things anymore. They used to make us touch them."
I made sure she saw my ammo box and an empty magazine, just to make sure. She then informed me that I would need to keep my phone on and also listen for my name in case TSA needs to get in to see the gun. "Yes, ma'am. Thank you and you have a wonderful day."
We get on the plane and got the kiddos set, again to many people looking on at us.
One of the Pilots came back to see me and asked for the key, TSA needed to get in to see the handgun. I told him I would go with him, to which he said "no, you won't, they are on the tarmac and need to see inside." I said that I would go as far as I can then, he said that I already was and that he only had 5 minutes to get it done, or my suitcase would get left in San Diego. I reluctantly handed him the key, after checking out his tag to make sure I had his name.
He came back and handed me the key, then told me to expect TSA to want to see it if I want to travel with a gun. I explained that when we left DFW they had a desk where they could check it before it was loaded on the plane, but I guess the San Diego airport isn't big enough for that (my little jab at them).
We get home, get our suitcases and before I leave the baggage claim area I check for the case and then a quick check for the gun inside and the ammo box, with ammo in it.
Overall it was a positive experience and a learning one at that. But it did feel REAL strange walking around the Gas Lamp district and other places without it. Luckily I had my knife, my wit and my H2H training I have had.