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Old 01-22-2012, 04:01   #251
swinokur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnClar View Post
Thanks for the excellent guide Mac! Last week, I flew out of Killeen/Ft. Hood, TX on American Airlines heading for Florida. Following your example, I had no problems at all. Airline counter staff seemed as though they had done this many times before but insisted that AA's policy is to put the declaration card inside the locked case. As others have said, this doesn't make a lot of sense, but I didn't make a big issue out of it and TSA cleared the bag OK so all was well.
The only problem with that is during a secondary search the tag will not be visible. The bag may or may get loaded.. The counter folks may cause you to get on the plane and not your bag or cause you to miss your flight.

When I encounter folks like this I politely ask to see a supervisor

Last edited by swinokur; 04-28-2012 at 04:53..
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:48   #252
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Originally Posted by AnClar View Post
Thanks for the excellent guide Mac! Last week, I flew out of Killeen/Ft. Hood, TX on American Airlines heading for Florida. Following your example, I had no problems at all. Airline counter staff seemed as though they had done this many times before but insisted that AA's policy is to put the declaration card inside the locked case. As others have said, this doesn't make a lot of sense, but I didn't make a big issue out of it and TSA cleared the bag OK so all was well.
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Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
The only proble with that is during a secondary search the tag will not be visible. The bag may or may get loaded.. The counter folks may cause you to get on the plane and not your bag or cause you to miss your flight.

When I encounter folks like this I politely ask to see a supervisor
Exactly. Yesterday, first time flying out of LAX on SWA transporting my gun. Gave myself plenty of time. The girl at the counter told me the same about placing the tag in my locked container. Explained to her the logic of placing the ID tag in a locked container and she said ok and just tell the TSA about it when I give them the bags to go through their X-ray (normal procedure).

BTW, this was the first person to ask me to put the tag in the locked container. And when I opened the container for the counter agent, she didn't ask me to verify that the gun was not loaded. I even asked if she wanted to check (I know, don't volunteer anything ). I'm thinking to myself it was a waste of time to even open the container if not to verify being not loaded. Well, this was LAX.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:19   #253
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There is really no requirement that the counter person to verify if the handgun is unloaded, unless airline policy requires it, which I doubt, since that is the purpose of the declaration card. Both TSA and airline personnel are prohibited from touching a firearm anyway, and many airline personnel don't even know enough about firearms to ascertain it's status.

But if they want to look, I'm certainly not going to refuse as long as that's all they do.
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Old 02-05-2012, 14:12   #254
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Then what would the reason be to have me open the locked container if not to verify the gun is not loaded? And, yes, I would have been hesitant to let her handle the gun if she wanted to. I would have locked open the slide for her to inspect. Did she want to make sure I actually had a gun in the locked case?

There was nothing on the declaration card/tag stating the gun was not loaded; only my contact info. Well, maybe I just never noticed it saying the firearm is not loaded with only the few times I've transported by commercial airline (usually military or private for me).

Update: Post 129 shows a United Airlines declaration card. That was nothing like the one I've filled out with SouthWest Airlines. The few times I've transported was on SWA and again, I don't recall it saying anything about declaring the gun unloaded. Mainly it was just a tag with the flight number, date, and my contact info which was my phone number.
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Old 02-07-2012, 21:06   #255
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I fly Southwest too. The side where your signature is has the declaration of it being unloaded. The other side has your name and flight number and other info.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:41   #256
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I fly Southwest too. The side where your signature is has the declaration of it being unloaded. The other side has your name and flight number and other info.
Thanks! I don't think an agent has ever pointed out the other side for a signature, just the side to put my contact info. Shows how observant I am.

And thanks to swinokur for your helpful input and, of course, the OP.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:44   #257
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In all the times I've checked a gun, I've never had a tag placed on the outside, and I've never had a problem. I have had TSA do stupid things, but never in a manner that delayed my trip or my baggage.
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Old 02-08-2012, 18:46   #258
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Then what would the reason be to have me open the locked container if not to verify the gun is not loaded? And, yes, I would have been hesitant to let her handle the gun if she wanted to. I would have locked open the slide for her to inspect. Did she want to make sure I actually had a gun in the locked case?

There was nothing on the declaration card/tag stating the gun was not loaded; only my contact info. Well, maybe I just never noticed it saying the firearm is not loaded with only the few times I've transported by commercial airline (usually military or private for me).

Update: Post 129 shows a United Airlines declaration card. That was nothing like the one I've filled out with SouthWest Airlines. The few times I've transported was on SWA and again, I don't recall it saying anything about declaring the gun unloaded. Mainly it was just a tag with the flight number, date, and my contact info which was my phone number.
Neither TSA or Airline personnel are trained or even authorized to determine a weapons charged status or handle it. Why they want to see it is beyond me. I have never had an agent ask to see a firearm. Most times airline personnel are clueless about firearms. If a firearm is to be inspected LE is to be called.

The entire purpose of the declaration card is to declare the weapon is unloaded. Airline reps or TSA are not authorized to make that determination. I fly United so I don't know what Southwaste Airlines requires.

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Old 02-08-2012, 18:48   #259
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I recently flew w/ pistols. Was a little nervous, after reading lots of horror stories. Was no big deal.

I used a small locked box, ($20), with the cable looped around the frame on the inside of the luggage. One box of ammo, in factory cardboard box, and one small box of .22s.

Ticket agent at local airport apparently knew the routine. I told her I was declaring firearms, she asked if they were unloaded and in a locked case. I said yes, she filled out her part of the card, told me where to sign it, and then directed me to the luggage dropoff (all luggage gets xrayed right next to the counter). I showed the TSA guy the card and said I was declaring a firearm, he said "ok, just hang out here until it goes through the machine." I used a small bit of duct tape to tape the corner of the card to the locked box, zipped it up, and they x-rayed the luggage and I was done. Only took a few seconds longer than it would have been if I hadn't checked a gun.

Coming back, the employee at the ticket counter insisted I show her that the guns were unloaded, (and she wanted to see empty chambers), then told me to put the card inside the locked box. When I asked what good that would do, she said the TSA guys were going to make me open it all again and show them it was unloaded anyway. I ignored her and taped the card to the outside of the box, as before. I took the luggage to the luggage inspection area, told them I had declared a gun, and they just asked if it was locked and unloaded, then told me to wait while it got x-rayed. At the end of my trip I realized the ticket agent hadn't even filled out her part of the card, so the only thing on it was my signature.

All in all, wasn't too much trouble (though I'll admit to being in gun-friendly states). Would have been easier if I had packed differently so locked box was near the top of my luggage for the trip home.

The outside of the locked box resists most adhesives, even duct-tape didn't want to stick very well. I may look into adding a clear envelope/sleeve to the outside to slide the firearms declaration card into.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:53   #260
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As I stated neither TSA or the Airline personnel are trained or authorized to check weapon status. But if they want to and it minimizes the hassles, no problem.
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Old 02-11-2012, 23:43   #261
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Swin,

Thanks a ton for contributing so much to this thread. I forget to check in over here in carry issues all that often and you've been great. In the next few months I'm going to go over all the regs again and make sure nothing has changed or been updated by the TSA.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:57   #262
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Swin,

Thanks a ton for contributing so much to this thread. I forget to check in over here in carry issues all that often and you've been great. In the next few months I'm going to go over all the regs again and make sure nothing has changed or been updated by the TSA.


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Old 02-16-2012, 10:38   #263
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Thanks for all the info!
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:05   #264
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re: Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm

All, I wanted to share my own recent experience and contribute to this very helpful thread. I followed many tips & tricks posted here in addition to the TSA's and airline's (in this case United Airlines) regulations. All things considered, I'd rate the overall experience a B+. (However, some of you may grade this experience as an F after learning one crucial detail revealed below.)

Here are the basics:
Gun:
Glock 21 Gen 4 plus various accessories (holster, eyes, ears, etc.) but no ammo - I intended on buying ammo at final location
Schedule:
DEN - ORD for Mon/Tue for a work sales meeting
ORD - MCI for Tue/Fri for retreat to Ozarks including shooting range (the reason for checking my Glock 21 in the first place)
MCI - DEN Fri returning home

I packed my Glock 21 in a hard sided case I picked up from Bass Pro Shop for around $25. It provided a single lock that was *not* TSA compliant as required. This hard sided case was well sized to fit inside another, larger bag that was checked with all my other accessories. I used the large Range Bag from 5.11 and it worked perfectly. (On hindsight, I may not use the 5.11 bag in the future due to its identifying characteristics inherent to the 5.11 bag itself - those who want to steal a gun bag may recognize the 5.11 too easily.)

Also, it should be noted that I fly United quite often and have premier status with them as a 1K flier. Your results may vary, but I would expect the outcome to be the same.

After having read many posts about flying to ORD or other constrained locations, I was very apprehensive passing through ORD even for less than 24 hours but was indeed an overnight trip.

First segment - DEN - ORD. I checked into United's ticket counter with 2 bags (my gun & regular suitcase with clothes) and announced my intention to check a firearm. Very professional response, nothing out of the ordinary. Since there were posts about the declaration card being inside the locked case or outside, I was careful to ask and make sure I was placing the card in the correct location. The United ticket agent said that the card definitely goes in the locked hard sided case, but that TSA could move the card in the upcoming xray screening. (They didn't.) I have attached the United Declaration card for reference here, and it clearly states that it should be in the locked case.

This doesn't make perfect sense to me, to be honest, because if anyone downstream from the United Ticket agent wanted to verify that the card was signed, present, and properly documented with claim ticket, etc., it would be impossible since it is in the locked case and only I have the key. If, however, TSA decided to open the case, breaking the lock in the process, they'd find the card with info, but this seems so unlikely an event. But, TSA isn't a perfect science certainly so I simply followed my instructions and proceeded to next step - TSA screening at the DEN airport.

I had to be escorted to the TSA screening area. I was escorted by a baggage handler employee, not a TSA employee or contractor. The baggage handler took my gun bag (the other suitcase with clothes went on normal belt behind ticket counter) on a flatbed cart and had me follow to designated TSA screening area. This was centrally located in the airport and not near the United counter - so quite a lengthy walk with no shortage of stares and glances with the handler, flat bed cart, nondescript black duffle and myself following close behind.

Arriving at designated TSA screening area, I was asked to wait behind the roped off area while my bag went through xray. My glock was field stripped to further assist this process, at least that was my intention based on other forum users' tips. This screen passed with no issue, TSA placed their sticker on the claim ticket, and my bag was on its way. Due to the commotion, one thing I overlooked was I did not place my TSA lock on the outer duffle bag (my inside case with the Glock was locked, however). This lock was simply extra protection so that no user may simply remove the hard sided case from the duffle, but I will make attempts to place TSA lock in the future. Wasn't an issue, but wanted to warn anyone else they need to inform TSA that this lock is desired.

Here's where another complication to my trip was presented. I mentioned I needed to travel to Chicago for a sales meeting before continuing onto the event in the Ozarks where my Glock was intended. I arrived at the airport in order to attend a conference call instead of dealing with that during ticket check in or other airport screening procedures. Early enough in fact that there were 2 or 3 flights from DEN to ORD before my scheduled flight.

This is where my experience rates a B+. My gun bag actually went on an earlier flight than what I personally traveled. And, not only was my gun bag sitting in the baggage claim out in the open, I was able to grab it and simply walk away without anyone checking my id or claim ticket. Scary stuff. Not just limited to gun bag, could have been any suitcase, golf clubs, etc. since process is designed for no one on this side of travel to know there is a gun in the bag. (Side note, this has happened to me before with United. And strangely, they can put my bag on any flight they want, but as a traveler with a checked bag, I can't change flights in case option to get home earlier on a standby flight when connections allow. I have been explained the logic why, but don't agree with it - just another example of the airline industry and/or TSA not making sense to the logical traveler.)

In any case, I arrived ORD with both my checked bags, including Glock, as expected. The next day, I returned back to ORD to travel to MCI. Similar process to the DEN experience, but two things notably different between the two: 1) due to Continental acquisition, ORD was in middle of cross training with both airline employees and slowed the check in dramatically, and 2) the TSA screening area was much more awkward location drawing much more attention than I was personally comfortable having. Verbally stating you have a firearm at the check in counter is an attention grabber enough, but the ORD process of secondary screening was much more attention than necessary. However, shyness aside, the gun bag was on its way and I was escorted to front of person xray screening and on my way.

Arriving MCI was no issue, bags arrived as expected and I was on my way.

Several hundred rounds later in the Ozarks, time to return to MCI airport and go home. Here's another twist to my travel plans. I arrived to the airport early enough to fly standby. However, checking bags and traveling standby are usually two events that don't go hand-in-hand. I declared my firearm without issue, and was informed that my gun would definitely go on the earlier flight regardless if I cleared standby or not.

Turns out I did clear the standby for earlier flight and took the last seat available. Arrived home, bags arrived without issue.

Without the early bag arrival in ORD and lack of claim ticket check, everything went exactly as expected.
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Old 02-20-2012, 14:32   #265
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Wow, that baggage tag doesn't look like the ones I get at Dulles in VA. No mention of putting the card in the case. Makes absolutely no sense. But it's TSA after all. I still cannot see the logic of the tag going inside the case. TSA rules state that they cannot open a properly declared case. With the tag on the inside, how would they know if it's legit or not?

I don't know how you could prevent your bag from going on an earlier flight. Nothing on the outside of your bag or in the computer system reveals you have a firearm. Maybe the agent can put a flag in the computer not to ship early?That's why MAC recommends securing your locked case inside your bag. Maybe another reason to fore go the 5.11 bag and use a case with telescoping handles.

All in all it sounds like it went well.
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Old 02-20-2012, 19:12   #266
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Wow, that baggage tag doesn't look like the ones I get at Dulles in VA. No mention of putting the card in the case. Makes absolutely no sense. But it's TSA after all. I still cannot see the logic of the tag going inside the case. TSA rules state that they cannot open a properly declared case. With the tag on the inside, how would they know if it's legit or not?

...

All in all it sounds like it went well.
The tag is a United Airlines tag, not TSA. The ones I've filled out for South West are different as it includes my phone number if TSA has to open the bag and contact me later. I've been told by South West that if my phone number wasn't on the tag and TSA needed to check later and couldn't contact me, then my bag would not be loaded.

I don't recall if I read in this thread or some other forum on this subject, but there was discussion that United's tag was misleading. The reference to the locked case is actually the checked baggage which the tag must be in and not the gun case which must be locked in the baggage. Maybe the tags you have used at Dulles are updated tags.
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Old 02-20-2012, 19:36   #267
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The baggge tag has both my name and the airline and flight number. If TSA needs to contact you, they can contact the airline who has your contact info. Requiring your phone number on a tag is not necessary IMO. Your phone number could be cross referenced to your address, which then may allow a perp to enter your unoccupied home or worse your occupied home if family is there.

no thanks.

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Old 02-20-2012, 19:47   #268
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Seems that tags are different at each airline. Like I mentioned, SWA tags has a line for your phone number on it to be completed. Does your airline have your phone number in their database to contact you? When I order my tickets online, I fill in my number to be texted about the flight prior to me arriving, but I don't think the gate agents have access to that.

BTW, swinokur, I'm in MD now, and even the folks at the indoor gun range close by are, ... well, ... "different."
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Old 02-20-2012, 19:53   #269
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We Marylander;s suffer from BGOS. Battered gun owners syndrome. It happens when the Govt does everything it can to prevent you from exercising your 2A rights.

The courts are working on the cure.
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Old 02-20-2012, 19:59   #270
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We Marylander;s suffer from BGOS. Battered gun owners syndrome. It happens when the Govt does everything it can to prevent you from exercising your 2A rights.

The courts are working on the cure.
Good to hear.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:10   #271
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I have traveled dozens of times across the states with firearms on airlines and wanted to caution the folks about being cited by the TSA through a revenue enhancement program they have started for alleged violations. I was cited in a non-criminal and -civil fashion for having a loaded firearm yet there was no round in the chamber as confirmed by police at the airport. You still may have to contend with an astounding level of ignorance with firearms (including police).

Here is the common and Federal definition for a round in the chamber according to People v. Clark (1996):

The court said: “Under the commonly understood meaning of the term “loaded,” a firearm is “loaded” when a shell or car*tridge has been placed into a position from which it can be fired; the shotgun is not “loaded” if the shell or cartridge is stored elsewhere and not yet placed in a firing position.”

The reasoning is obvious per the striking mechanism otherwise what arbitrary distance measurement would be employed?

Do not pay the fine and fight them tooth and nail. And don't be in a hurry because they certainly are not.
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Old 04-27-2012, 19:34   #272
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In two weeks I fly PA to Florida. (layover in Charlotte NC, then ATL GA on return)

This will be my first attempt. I'm nervous as anything, and could use some coaching, (despite Mac's fantastic write up! )

Need opinions on Box to use, and luggage.


I've got these two boxes to use.. neither of which seem ideal. opinions?

Carry Issues

Carry Issues

And for suitcases(current selection),

Hardcase but nowhere to attach cable
or Army dufflebag- can attache cable through a grommet( anyone carry a gun in one safely? )
(I'm leaning on the dufflebag, because I'l be transporting a 3.5' speargun home and it wont fit in hard-sided suitcase).
Carry Issues

Workable? Or scrap it all and buy new gun case and new suitcase?
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:00   #273
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Any of the items you list is fine. The plastic case is ok if it can be locked.

You should have no problems if you follow Mac's suggestions. You'll find it's not a big deal at all after your first trip.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:06   #274
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The stock glock box with a cable locked wrapped around the handle is more than sufficient. The box you show will be fine as well. The duffle also works, though i've always used a suitcase. I had TSA demand the key to my suitcase lock once. It took 15 minutes to help jabba the hut understand that combination locks don't have keys. He had to get his supervisor. Then I let them look at my glass-breaker keychain. They weren't at all interested in the gun in the suitcase, just the nail-clipper sized keychain.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:43   #275
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Thanks for the advice.

Maybe a bit redundant, but I've rigged this up. Look acceptable?

Carry Issues


Car safe box locked, with key I keep for myself and don't share with TSA.
Then plastic box shut (not locked, but I could put a padlock through handle..(?))
*Covering the duct tape warning label and "if found contact info" on both sides. *

Carry Issues

The silver cable will have some underwear and a few bulk items items strung through it, per Mac's tip then the black cable will be strung through grommets. Once bag is shut, ill have a TSA suitcase lock holding grommets shut.

Only real point of using the plastic box is I'm bothered by how small and easily concealable the safe box would be if used .


Seaworthy?
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