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After reading everything related to air travel on this forum, I almost decided not to carry while on Christmas vacation. I was stressing big time after reading all the horror stories. The closer the time came to leave, the more naked I felt so... I decided on bringing my wheelgun.

The flight to Vegas from Houston was normal. I was expecting major delays after declaring my firearm to the airline. The check in lady ask to visually see it that it was unloaded, checked the lock, made me fill out the form, (forgot to have me sign it on the back); stuck it to the gun case and off it went. I ask her if TSA was supposed to some over and check it and she they would "down stairs". I was concerned after reading some of the reports on this forum so I went to some TSA guys and ask if this was right and they said yes. Gun arrived in Vegas without any problems. (I didn't carry in NV but did as soon as we entered AZ on the way to the inlaws).

This morning in Phoenix a different policy. (I didn't know what to expect after the Christmas day failed attack) I declared it to the check in lady, she called over a guy who took me and the suitcase over to TSA where they ran it thru the xray machine. They put a little orange sticker on the outside of baggage tape that the airline put on. Never opened my bag (except to stick on the form to the gun case) and they never ask to open the lock and visually inspect the gun to see that it was unloaded. Arrived back in Houston with no problems. To different airports (same airline), two different policies.

My advice: read the airlines policy and follow to a T; read and bring copies of the airline and TSA requirements; have a copy of your CHL handy; use plastic ties on the barrel/chamber; use your own lock on the gun case (I used the original case the gun came in with a small combination lock. I did not lock the suitcase or cable lock it to the frame of the suitcase); say something like "I have an unloaded, locked firearm (not weapon) to declare in this suitcase"; use a non descript suitcase and be ready for each agent and each airport to put their own spin/twist to the whole process. There doesn't seem to be a uniform process which caused me to stress a little but all in all, it was a hassel free process which maybe added five min's to check in.

There was one idiot on the trip... and that was me! I used the barrel cable lock that came with the gun but didn't bring the key! Off to Home Depot to buy small cable cutters and I was back in business. OK... I'm an idiot:tumbleweed:

Good luck to those travelling. I hope it goes as well for you as it did for me.
 

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Good post. I have not had any horror stories, even after coming in from another country. I add 1 hour to my timing and stick to the regs.

I did find out it helps to print out a copy of regs and bring them with me.

Actually smart with the cable lock. I use the TSA locks and I am a suspiscous guy..helps ease the mind.

Alot of people ask for tips for flying and the best advice is to do what you did ...read for yourself and call the airline or tsa if you still have questions.
 

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When I last traveled with a firearm the trip to Atlanta was fine. The trip departing Atlanta, on the other hand, was a nightmare. The gate agent put my bag through the conveyor without putting my declaration tag in the bag. The bag was redflagged by TSA and even though we had arrived at the airport 3 hours early, we nearly missed our flight. I'm not sure I'll be flying with a gun again.
 

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Glad to hear the trip was uneventful.... Did you get rich in Vegas?
 

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Thanks for the advice.

I think one of the major problems with TSA is lack of consistency. As shooters, we all follow certain procedures each and every time we have any interface with our guns. The same way each time. This minimizes accidents. Too bad TSA doesn't follow the same philosophy.

I've made several trips with one of my guns, and never have had any "nightmares", but have had some very questionable incidents. Most of the incidents were a result of non-consistency.
 

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Glad to hear the trip was uneventful.... Did you get rich in Vegas?
No gaming... just some shows (Blue Man Group...)
I'd rather throw my money at a new gun!
 

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Good post.

After 911 I too was concerned my first time too.

Since, flying a few times, I know it’s routine and have found that many check in clerks don’t know what they are suppose to do.
 

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Glad to hear the trip was uneventful.... Did you get rich in Vegas?
I believe it is pronounced, "Lost Wages"?
-----------------------------------------

To the OP...
Having a copy of the TSA rules is a good point...:yup:
 

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Good Post,

Glad you had a good experience with flying while transporting your sidearm.
Personally I have been subject to one of those HORROR STORIES, I found that major problem while flying with firearms was the lack of consistency displayed by the Airline's and the various TSA stations

. As shooters, we all follow certain procedures each and every time we have any interface with our guns. The same way each time. This minimizes accidents. Too bad TSA doesn't follow the same philosophy.

Even with a copy of the various Airline Reg's and the TSA fact sheet in hand I had difficulties.
 

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Thanks for the advice. Having cable locks on the firearms will be nice. Going to Florida next February and I plan to bring a handgun or two. Bought a nice case at Gander Mountain a couple days ago. I will probably try to find a big suitcase that will hold the gun case plus all my clothes and everything.
 

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the tag must go inside they actually committed a crime iirc but putting it outside....
No crime was committed; the TSA regulations are just that, regulations, and not laws.

FWIW, if the case in question is a handgun case inside an suitcase, the tag can go either inside or outside. Putting it on the outside makes more sense, because it can be seen at a glance that the firearm has been inspected without chasing down the owner to open the case.
 

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No crime was committed; the TSA regulations are just that, regulations, and not laws.

FWIW, if the case in question is a handgun case inside an suitcase, the tag can go either inside or outside. Putting it on the outside makes more sense, because it can be seen at a glance that the firearm has been inspected without chasing down the owner to open the case.
Agreed. It was an orange sticker with TSA on it. About the size of a nickle.
 

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No crime was committed; the TSA regulations are just that, regulations, and not laws.

FWIW, if the case in question is a handgun case inside an suitcase, the tag can go either inside or outside. Putting it on the outside makes more sense, because it can be seen at a glance that the firearm has been inspected without chasing down the owner to open the case.


iirc the ink has metallic on the declaration for the unloaded firearm so they can see upon xray.....


you are not allowed to put anything on the outside that signifies that it contains a firearm....when i flew out of philly on the 16th of december only thing on the outside was the white sticker with flight data name etc.....
 

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iirc the ink has metallic on the declaration for the unloaded firearm so they can see upon xray.....


you are not allowed to put anything on the outside that signifies that it contains a firearm....when i flew out of philly on the 16th of december only thing on the outside was the white sticker with flight data name etc.....
We are talking about a pistol case inside a suitcase; you are referring to a freestanding gun case not inside anything else.

I guess we are both right, to a point. It's still a TSA regulation not a law, so no crime was committed.
 

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We are talking about a pistol case inside a suitcase; you are referring to a freestanding gun case not inside anything else.

I guess we are both right, to a point. It's still a TSA regulation not a law, so no crime was committed.
my pistol was in a suitcase.... i believe the LAW says it must not have anything whatsoever that lets anyone know theres a gun inside
 

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iirc the ink has metallic on the declaration for the unloaded firearm so they can see upon xray...\
Someone posted that BAD info here a few days ago in a previous thread. When I challenged the assertion and asked for a link or a cite, the poster admitted he had no proof and was guessing.

AFAIK, TSA has no ability to see the declaration tag if it's inside the locked gun case. If TSA conducts a secondary hand search of your bag and doesn't see the tag outside of the gun case, they probably will not allow the bag onto the plane as you are not there to open the locked container.

If someone has a cite for the unsubstantiated claim of TSA being able to see a declaration tag inside a metal locked gun case and to read the writing, I'd like to see it.
 
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