Originally Posted by racer88
OK.... I've done this twice now. Two round trips = four experiences checking a firearm.
Palm Beach --> Little Rock via Delta: Delta agent put the firearms declaration tag INSIDE my locked Pelican case (which is cable-locked to the frame inside soft-sided suitcase). Then I had to take my luggage (with an escort) to a special TSA security checkpoint.
Little Rock --> Palm Beach via Delta: Ticket agent also put declaration tag INSIDE locked Pelican case. But, then luggage went on conveyor belt.
Palm Beach --> Tampa via Southwest: Ticket agent TAPED declaration tag on the OUTSIDE of my locked Pelican case.
Tampa --> Palm Beach via Southwest: Ticket agent insisted that declaration tag simply go inside softsided luggage (anywhere) rather than taped to the outside of Pelican case or inside Pelican case. Then I had to be escorted (along with another guy declaring a firearm) to a separate TSA checkpoint. We stood there while they scanned our suitcases and then were told we were good to go.
OK... It seems to me that there would logically be some CONSISTENCY to this process. So far, all four experiences were DIFFERENT.
I also believe it seems rather illogical to put the declaration tag INSIDE the locked gun case. Nobody will ever see it, except ME when I get to my destination. The one time the ticket agent taped it the outside of the gun case made the most sense to me. And, even at the same airport (Palm Beach), one time I was escorted to a TSA checkpoint. Another time the luggage went on the conveyor belt. So, what is the story here?
My experiences have been the same. Going in and out of Detroit multiple times, and Denver as well, I've been escorted and not. From what I could perceive, it was based upon the comfort level of the ticket agent. If they were comfortable with the procedure, I usually didn't go anywhere. If they were not, I was given to TSA for scanning.
The good news is that, as of yet, I've never really had a BAD experience for all the lack of consistency. It's easy to fly with my firearm. But I would like to see it nailed down a little better so that I feel I can predict a bit better.
Originally Posted by rmarkob
OK, just checked in at Southwest in West Palm Beach (PBIA), and it was perfect!
The agent got the declaration form, had me fill it out and open my bag, then got a roll of clear tape and taped the form to the outside of my Secure-it/Center-of-Mass lock box. I told her that when I checked in at SWA in BWI, the agent had me put the form inside
the lock box. I asked the BWI agent how can the TSA see that I've properly declared the firearm?, and she had the brilliant response "I guess they can see inside".
The agent at PBIA complimented me on my lockbox and said she liked how it was secured to the frame of my luggage. She said I wouldn't believe some of the boxes people try to use that completely compromise the security of the firearm.
One new wrinkle - she didn't have me escorted downstairs to the entrance to the TSA area by baggage claim. She just put the bag on the conveyor behind the counter.
I can also say that, from what I've experienced (pure anecdote) it is getting easier and easier. I can hope that the more we all fly with our firearms, the more it will become predictable and easy.
Originally Posted by swinokur
that is strange. But hey, it's TSA right? The only procedure they have is be inconsistent. This helps confuse the terrorists as well as everyone else.
TSA is under a lot of fire, too. I wonder what affect all their current scrutiny will have on their overall procedures, if any.