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Air Travel report

This past weekend I attended a small, informal reunion for Paratroopers in North Carolina (had a great time, by the way). Part of the festivities included a shooting competition (where I placed second and won a hat :) ) so I had to travel with my pistol.

Not much to report here. I flew Seattle to Raleigh Durham (NC) with a layover in Denver. I was transporting a Glock pistol in its original case.

1. SEA: checked in at the counter and declared my firearm (already secured in the suitcase per TSA regs). After being processed, the attendant directed me to the TSA counter. I was directed to open the bag, remove the case, open the case, and not make contact with the weapon. The agent verified the weapon was unloaded, wiped the bag with some kind of swab (presumably for explosive residue, I don't know). He had me lock up the case, place it back in the suitcase. At that time he took possession of it and that was that.

2. DEN: the layover had me changing flights, but it was the same airline so I did not retake possession of my checked luggage.

3. RDU: arrived and checked with the airline office next to baggage claim, expecting my suitcase to be set aside because of the firearm. I was told that they only pull out luggage that is clearly made for a weapon (e.g., a rifle case). If the weapon is stowed in an ordinary suitcase, they put it on the carousel with the rest of the bags. I got my bag, did a quick (and inconspicuous) inspection, and all was well.

The return trip; flying RDU to Nashville to SEA

1. RDU: checked in at the counter and declared the firearm. As before, I was processed and directed to the TSA counter. This time, however, they took the bag behind a divider and inspected it. According to TSA's own policy, the inspection is supposed to take place in my presence. I very politely made a note of this, they left the bag where it was and brought the Glock case over to me. I wasn't allowed to touch it (which is fine) but they opened it for my visual inspection and then locked it in front of me, handing me the key afterward. I wasn't 100% happy, but my primary concern had been met.

2. Nashville: change flight, same airline, no problems.

3. SEA: went to baggage claim, picked up my bag, verified the contents, and went home.

Other than the minor stumble at RDU, there were no problems. As an added bonus, NC has CPL reciprocity with WA.



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