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Old 04-19-2010, 19:27   #61
Jon_R
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I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:28   #62
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The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:37   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?
For Delta it does not need to be locked up. It just needs to be packed so the rounds are separated from each other. It could be a paper, plastic, or metal box up to 11 lbs.
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:23   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon_R View Post
I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.
Using a Kiosk won't work well because:

1. A counter agent may or may not want to inspect your firearm.
2. A counter agent needs you to sign a declaration tag that you put inside your suitcase declaring the firearm is unloaded. kiosks can't do that.
3. In some cases an airline rep will have to walk you and your bag to TSA for screeniing, If the screeners aren't close by. Again, Kiosks are not set up for people traveling with guns. You can get your boarding pass when you get to the counter although some airlines give you a small discount for checking in and checking your bag on line. But you still gotta go to the counter anyway for the tag and inspection

I always give myself an extra 30 minutes if I am traveling with a handgun in case of the aforementioned counter lines. Small tip as you approach the counter,just state in a normal conversation level and matter of fact voice "I have an unloaded weapon I need to declare." Works much better than "I have a gun" in a voice others in line can hear.

My .02 YMMV

Last edited by swinokur; 04-20-2010 at 09:23..
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:42   #65
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Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?
TSA allows ammo to be either in your luggage or inside the locked gun container. As mentioned it has to be in a container suitable for holding ammo. (no loose rounds) Original containers are OK. Check airline web pages for weight restrictions on ammo. As an example, United allows onnly 11 lbs but Alaska air allows 50. Check before flying.

Last edited by swinokur; 04-20-2010 at 10:59..
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:51   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?
Every airline is different. Some are really easy about it (just properly secure your unlaoded mags, etc) and some are more harsh. I have adopted a system which is pretty foolproof... I found what I believed to be the strctest interpretations and I use them for every flight. It's not necessary to do that, but there's no chance for mistakes if I get rushed or have a temporary lapse in memory, etc. My default routine satisfies the strictest requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon_R View Post
I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.
I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:31   #67
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Originally Posted by MacG22 View Post
Every airline is different. Some are really easy about it (just properly secure your unlaoded mags, etc) and some are more harsh. I have adopted a system which is pretty foolproof... I found what I believed to be the strctest interpretations and I use them for every flight. It's not necessary to do that, but there's no chance for mistakes if I get rushed or have a temporary lapse in memory, etc. My default routine satisfies the strictest requirements.



I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.


What is the proper way to secure my mags? Lock them in the case with the gun. Can the ammo boxes just be placed in my checked bag?
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:43   #68
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Anyone ever try flying into another country?
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:12   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
What is the proper way to secure my mags? Lock them in the case with the gun. Can the ammo boxes just be placed in my checked bag?
Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:14   #70
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Anyone ever try flying into another country?
Ever watch the cable show Locked Up Abroad?

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Old 04-20-2010, 13:54   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacG22 View Post


I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.
Ok. I will plan on checking in online. Hopefully it will be pretty clear where I need to go with my boarding pass and bag to check. I have not flown in a couple of years. I have a confirmed seat and am in the first class cabin so they better not try and move me around.
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Old 04-20-2010, 15:03   #72
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I have packed my bag in a similar manner as MacG22 describes here, but using a $30 Secure-It or http://www.center-of-mass.com/Store_InCarGunSafe.htm, with a steel cable looped around the suitcase frame. The case my Glock came in doesn't have a place for a padlock.

I usually just tell them at the airline counter that I need an unloaded firearms declaration form. I've had varied experience with where the airline employee wants the tag to go. Most realize it's supposed to be inside the luggage, but outside of the locked firearm container, specifically so the TSA screener can see I declared it with the airline. In fact at SeaTac the secondary TSA guy once taped the tag to the gunsafe so it wouldn't get separated inside the luggage.

At Savannah/Hilton Head a couple of weeks ago, the airline lady (US Airways) absolutely insisted the tag go inside the case, stating it was what TSA there wanted (she radio'd ahead that it was on its way down). Some tags have an elastic string, and I usually loop that over the latch inside the case and leave the tag hanging out, but I didn't argue with the witch (sorry, she had an attitude). The reason for confusion is probably because when traveling with a rifle or shotgun where the case is the luggage, the only place to put the tag is inside the case.

I even drove from PA to NJ to fly out of Newark airport with a gun once. Another poster alluded to the case of a traveler with a firearm being arrested there a few years ago. Here's that case: http://www.anjrpc.org/fopalawsuit.htm. Because of this and other abuses at NY area airports, Congressman Don Young wrote to the TSA to get their interpretation of FOPA and received this response from the Assistant U.S. Attorney General: http://www.nraila.org/images/DOJltrTSA.pdf.

Anyway, I took my chances and didn't have any issues at the airport. However, I think it's probably so rare for travelers to declare handguns at Newark (and the TSA guy was so overly polite) that I think they assumed I was a LEO (mere mortals don't have guns in NJ, unless they're criminals!).

Another good source of info on flying with firearms is http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/ollam1.html. Check out the link to some entertaining videos on this topic near the bottom of the page.
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Old 04-20-2010, 19:11   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and the airline's rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02
Couldn't have said it any better, other than the one edit. Some airlines get sticky with ammo in checked bags. But in general there's no problem.
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Old 04-20-2010, 23:28   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02
Thanks for the info, I haven't flown commercial in 20 years so things have changed a bit.

Does your bag that the guncase goes into have to be locked?
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Old 04-20-2010, 23:39   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyNg View Post
Do NOT do that and get caught.


Maybe someone should direct EMT1581 to this thread. Since I'm on
his ignore list and he's already started a thread in carry issues about it.
He could learn a lot from this thread.

He's flying to Florida next year for a wedding.

So if someone that is not on his ignore list could forward a message
to him about this post. It might spare us a lot of misery until next
year.
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Old 04-21-2010, 00:07   #76
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This is an excellent write up. Thank you for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacG22 View Post
B. CHECKING YOUR BAG AT THE AIRLINE

So you get it all packed and secured and you get to the airport. Here's where the list begins.

1. Be early. Please. If you're going to fly with the firearm, be early. I've never had it add more than 30 minutes to the whole process for me, but you want to give it even more than that in case you have to go through an extra security verification or two.

2. Go to the counter. You cannot use a skycap. You must declare with an agent. If you check in at the curb and then tell them you have a firearm, they may hustle you right to the front of the line. I've also had them get mad when I tried that and put me at the back and waste more of my time.


Special Note: I want to say this before we get to #3. The system I've worked out is very general, but it flies with almost every US airline I've flown on. In fact, I've had no problems. That's why I use original box for ammo and lock it down, etc. From airline to airline, they may have specific regs that TSA does not. TSA will let you cover your loaded mags. North West Airlines doesn't. Some want original ammo box, some don't . So instead of jumping through all the hoops for one airline or another, I just decided to get ONE system down and stick to it. So while you may be able to do some things a little different here and there--and I am not suggesting you cannot--I am only giving you my system that I've found to be less complex.

3. When I get to the counter, I pull out my driver's license, passport, copy of my itinerary (if I have it), a copy of the TSA firearm regs, and a copy of the airline's firearm regs.

I hand them to the agent and say, in a calm and slow tone, "Good morning. I'd like to declare that I will be carrying a legal firearm in my checked luggage, prepared to TSA and your airline's packing standards, and it's disassembled and ready for your inspection."

The combination of this formal and polite declaration, along with all the paperwork has been GOLD for me. Better, actually. Before there was always some hesitation or confusion on their part. But by giving them all the paperwork, by being formal and gracious, I've cut out more than 90% of the hustle I used to face while checking in. They seem to appreciate the preparedness, the organization, and the willingness for their inspection. You can say whatever you like, but I don't recommend walking up and simply saying that you have a gun (something I've seen happen before). I've just given you 100% check in gold, and if you ever do that and compare it you'll realize what great approach it is. Do as you will.

4. The agent will inspect the firearm. The more dissembled it is, the easier that will be. The more it looks like a "gun", the bigger the chance you have of a brady card carrier stalling you, arguing with you about how it's packed, etc. In general, if you have any real delays or issues, just calmly say, "Could I please have your supervisor inspect it, reference the TSA standards I provided for you, and help us all to get out of here in a timely manner?" I've only had to do that once, ever. I don't know if that's typical or lucky. But that's what led to my script and document presentation.

5. The agent IS NOT PERMITTED to mark the outside of the luggage with any sort of special tag showing there is a firearm inside. This is a big deal. This is what will keep your bag from becoming a target. If they try, just let them know that the tag must be inside of the bag. If they argue, get a supervisor. You generally won't have to fight this one, unless you're flying out of DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc.

6. At this point, they'll usually let you go. About every other time they'll take me to secondary screening which is around the corner, in a different room, etc. They'll have me unlock the case, they'll look, have me lock it back, send it through a screening machine, and that's it. Never had any problem there, and I prefer it actually because it's not being handled by the check in agents too much or anything.



C. THINGS I'VE HAD GO WRONG:

Not much to mention here, but just to give you all the info I can I'll give you my few stories.

1. Before I started disassembling the gun, I had agents pick it up, sweep me and everyone in line with the muzzle, and generally start a buzzing behind me that was followed by accusing looks when I saw these folks on the plane. Not worth it. Had all this happen a few times, and while it was a headache, it wasn't enough to discourage me from traveling with my gun--but it was enough to inspire me to just disassemble the thing when I pack it.

2. I had one female check in agent argue with me about every little thing. She was clearly a brady card carrier who said things like, "that thing", and "that deadly weapon" when she talked about the firearm. First I wasn't allowed to fly with ANY ammo. Then it was that I had to give her the combo to the lock. Then it was that I had to have a firearm tag on the outside of the luggage. It just went on and on until I got a supervisor, he got a copy of the regs, and we all went our way. That's why I take copies of the regs with me, put them in the case, and put them in the handle of the gun case after I lock it into my bag. And that's why I disassemble the gun in the case, and that's why I use a gracious and professional script.

3. One time in Denver International I was called down to a holding area after I had been at my gate for a while. They needed me to open it again and inspect. Not sure why. Took 15 minutes total, from leaving my seat at the gate to returning to that seat, and everyone was really polite and apologetic about it all. At least I knew my bag was under the plane and hadn't missed the connection.

And that's it. No other troubles.



CONCLUSION:
Feel free to add your own comments, stories, etc. You may do things very, very different and that is fine. I'm simply detailing my system and experience for those who are curious or who don't take their CCW with them when they travel because they're worried about the whole airport process. I know this system works for me, and so I have hope it will work for you as well.

It's really as simple as:
1. Secure the firearm in a locked case, according to regs.
2. Secure that locked case within your bag as possible.
3. Upon check-in properly declare your firearm and submit to inspections.

But as you know, there's always a little more to it than that. I do feel it's important to not go unarmed just because of the expectation of airport hustling. With luck, and the more of us that fly with our firearms, the easier it will become.

Best luck.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:07   #77
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Originally Posted by MacG22 View Post
I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.
I always get a seat assignment in advance. Waiting until you get to the airport could get you bumped if the flight is overbooked. Since you have to go up to the counter anywauy to declare your firearm, I skip the kiosk and just get in line. My .02
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:15   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
Does your bag that the guncase goes into have to be locked?
No, but if you want to lock, you may only use TSA approved locks if you desire to lock. TSA approved locks allow a TSA master key to open them if necessary but I have stopped using TSA approved locks as well since they seem to enjoy cutting them off instead of opening them with their key. I use a nylon wire tie to secure the outside of my luggage or nothing.You can get TSA travel locks almost anywhere these days but I refuse to waste any more money on them as TSA thinks bolt cutters are their master key.

Last edited by swinokur; 04-21-2010 at 05:28..
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:20   #79
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I suggest pasting this into your blog section, then throwing a link to it in your sig line, for easy reference.

That is what I did with the one I wrote years ago for here.

ETA: link to my write up...

http://glocktalk.com/forums/blog.php?b=22
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:01   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacG22 View Post
B. CHECKING YOUR BAG AT THE AIRLINE

So you get it all packed and secured and you get to the airport. Here's where the list begins.

1. Be early. Please. If you're going to fly with the firearm, be early. I've never had it add more than 30 minutes to the whole process for me, but you want to give it even more than that in case you have to go through an extra security verification or two.

2. Go to the counter. You cannot use a skycap. You must declare with an agent. If you check in at the curb and then tell them you have a firearm, they may hustle you right to the front of the line. I've also had them get mad when I tried that and put me at the back and waste more of my time.


Special Note: I want to say this before we get to #3. The system I've worked out is very general, but it flies with almost every US airline I've flown on. In fact, I've had no problems. That's why I use original box for ammo and lock it down, etc. From airline to airline, they may have specific regs that TSA does not. TSA will let you cover your loaded mags. North West Airlines doesn't. Some want original ammo box, some don't . So instead of jumping through all the hoops for one airline or another, I just decided to get ONE system down and stick to it. So while you may be able to do some things a little different here and there--and I am not suggesting you cannot--I am only giving you my system that I've found to be less complex.

3. When I get to the counter, I pull out my driver's license, passport, copy of my itinerary (if I have it), a copy of the TSA firearm regs, and a copy of the airline's firearm regs.

I hand them to the agent and say, in a calm and slow tone, "Good morning. I'd like to declare that I will be carrying a legal firearm in my checked luggage, prepared to TSA and your airline's packing standards, and it's disassembled and ready for your inspection."

The combination of this formal and polite declaration, along with all the paperwork has been GOLD for me. Better, actually. Before there was always some hesitation or confusion on their part. But by giving them all the paperwork, by being formal and gracious, I've cut out more than 90% of the hustle I used to face while checking in. They seem to appreciate the preparedness, the organization, and the willingness for their inspection. You can say whatever you like, but I don't recommend walking up and simply saying that you have a gun (something I've seen happen before). I've just given you 100% check in gold, and if you ever do that and compare it you'll realize what great approach it is. Do as you will.

4. The agent will inspect the firearm. The more dissembled it is, the easier that will be. The more it looks like a "gun", the bigger the chance you have of a brady card carrier stalling you, arguing with you about how it's packed, etc. In general, if you have any real delays or issues, just calmly say, "Could I please have your supervisor inspect it, reference the TSA standards I provided for you, and help us all to get out of here in a timely manner?" I've only had to do that once, ever. I don't know if that's typical or lucky. But that's what led to my script and document presentation.

5. The agent IS NOT PERMITTED to mark the outside of the luggage with any sort of special tag showing there is a firearm inside. This is a big deal. This is what will keep your bag from becoming a target. If they try, just let them know that the tag must be inside of the bag. If they argue, get a supervisor. You generally won't have to fight this one, unless you're flying out of DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc.

6. At this point, they'll usually let you go. About every other time they'll take me to secondary screening which is around the corner, in a different room, etc. They'll have me unlock the case, they'll look, have me lock it back, send it through a screening machine, and that's it. Never had any problem there, and I prefer it actually because it's not being handled by the check in agents too much or anything.



C. THINGS I'VE HAD GO WRONG:

Not much to mention here, but just to give you all the info I can I'll give you my few stories.

1. Before I started disassembling the gun, I had agents pick it up, sweep me and everyone in line with the muzzle, and generally start a buzzing behind me that was followed by accusing looks when I saw these folks on the plane. Not worth it. Had all this happen a few times, and while it was a headache, it wasn't enough to discourage me from traveling with my gun--but it was enough to inspire me to just disassemble the thing when I pack it.

2. I had one female check in agent argue with me about every little thing. She was clearly a brady card carrier who said things like, "that thing", and "that deadly weapon" when she talked about the firearm. First I wasn't allowed to fly with ANY ammo. Then it was that I had to give her the combo to the lock. Then it was that I had to have a firearm tag on the outside of the luggage. It just went on and on until I got a supervisor, he got a copy of the regs, and we all went our way. That's why I take copies of the regs with me, put them in the case, and put them in the handle of the gun case after I lock it into my bag. And that's why I disassemble the gun in the case, and that's why I use a gracious and professional script.

3. One time in Denver International I was called down to a holding area after I had been at my gate for a while. They needed me to open it again and inspect. Not sure why. Took 15 minutes total, from leaving my seat at the gate to returning to that seat, and everyone was really polite and apologetic about it all. At least I knew my bag was under the plane and hadn't missed the connection.

And that's it. No other troubles.



CONCLUSION:
Feel free to add your own comments, stories, etc. You may do things very, very different and that is fine. I'm simply detailing my system and experience for those who are curious or who don't take their CCW with them when they travel because they're worried about the whole airport process. I know this system works for me, and so I have hope it will work for you as well.

It's really as simple as:
1. Secure the firearm in a locked case, according to regs.
2. Secure that locked case within your bag as possible.
3. Upon check-in properly declare your firearm and submit to inspections.

But as you know, there's always a little more to it than that. I do feel it's important to not go unarmed just because of the expectation of airport hustling. With luck, and the more of us that fly with our firearms, the easier it will become.

Best luck.
Great info....thanks.
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