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Experiences departing Sea-Tac airport with a checked firearm?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by NWGlocker, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. NWGlocker

    NWGlocker Western WA New Member

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    Hello--

    Will be catching a flight out of Sea-Tac next month and I've done a lot of reading (TSA, Federal Rules, Airline policies) about how to check in my Glock when I travel. A couple of questions:

    -- Anyone have a rough idea about how much extra time I should give myself when I go through the check in process? How was your experience?
    -- Think it would be useful to actually and try to call a TSA or airline supervisor the day before I leave and let them know I'll be going through security? Looking at different forums there's a huge range of encounters from hostile to very positive, and it looks like there's a good chance the employees I meet might have no idea about the regulations. I'm definitely carrying printouts of the regulations.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  2. Both Eyes Open

    Both Eyes Open Hood Canal Active Member

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    NW Glocker, I don't think you need to bother calling TSA. In my experience, go to your airline's website and see what their rules are. They are all a little different. For me, my firearm was my only checked item and it took about 3 min for the counter person to slip an "UNLOADED" tag into the case. I locked it back up and then walked with the person and the gun to a special TSA booth where it was xrayed and sent to the plane. It was a very pleasent and painless process. That was my experience anyway... Good luck!
     
    SheepDog223 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Print the rules of the airline and take them with you when you check the gun. Sometimes you have to train the agents on what their rules are.
     
  4. mudflatmike

    mudflatmike Lake Stevens, Wa. Active Member

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    It depends a bit on which airline you're using, some are more experienced (alaska) than others, but if you go by their rules, you'll have no problems. When you get to the baggage check in, tell the clerk you've got an unloaded firearm in your check in. They'll had you a little red tag that you sign, then they put that inside the hard sided case you've got the gun in. You proceed to the TSA baggage check area (with the suitcase and hard case still unlocked), and give the suitcase to them, along with the key and/or lock. That's about it. Be careful about the laws where you're going on the other end, some places, NYC in particular, will nail you when you pick up the gun on the other end!
     
  5. oasis618

    oasis618 Tacoma, Wa Active Member

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    Very good idea.
     
  6. gcban

    gcban Tukwila, WA Active Member

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    Don’t sweat it. I travel to and from SeaTac almost weekly (work for an airline) and 90% of the time I check a firearm. Just make sure your firearm is unloaded and in a secure locked container inside your bag. I use a key lock metal gun case with an attachment security cable. I secure the cable to the inside of my bags handle so if someone decides to try and take the gun case they have to take the whole bag also.

    Tell the ticket agent when you check in you need to declare a firearm and they will give you a small form to sign stating the firearm is unloaded and have you place a copy of it in the bag next to your firearm. (*** DON’T just put your gun in your bag in a locked container and check your bag normally without telling ticket agent about the firearm, that will get you in Very Deep trouble ***). Then they will send you to one of the TSA check stations out by the ticket counters and the TSA person will do a quick swab of your bag, check to make sure the firearm is in a locked container and you will be on your way. I also put a TSA approved lock on my bag after the TSA does their inspection. I have never had this extra TSA step take me more than 10 minutes and that was only because the agent was busy checking 2 other person checking a firearms ahead of me.

    Every airport is different but SeaTac is pretty smooth sailing overall. Had a couple of issues in Phoenix over the years, but that was from a couple of knucklehead TSA personnel not having a clue about the rules or knowing that anyone can own an AR-15. (Funny story for another time.) Happy travels! - G
     
  7. CharonPDX

    CharonPDX Portland, OR Active Member

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    My grandfather flew out of SeaTac often with hunting rifles, although he passed away only a couple years after 9/11, so most of his travel was pre-TSA. He never had any issues. Just follow the instructions on your airline's website, and you should be good.
     
  8. mortre

    mortre Yelm, WA Active Member

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    The biggest issue I ever had checking a pistol at sea-tac was a 45 minute wait for someone to check it. Usually been pretty quick for me though.

    Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk
     
  9. NWGlocker

    NWGlocker Western WA New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. Very helpful information. We'll see how this goes next month.
     
  10. NWGlocker

    NWGlocker Western WA New Member

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    Thought I'd post a followup. It really was amazingly smooth-- took a flight on Alaska Airlines. Went to the counter at Sea-Tac, made my declaration, and the guy barely blinked. I signed a form which he let me place in my suitcase on top of my secured pistol. Went to secondary inspection where another gentleman asked me to open the suitcase so that he could swab it. Didn't ask me to open the pistol case. That was it. After that extra 10-15 minutes I was on my way.
     
  11. Ought Six

    Ought Six Snoqualmie Valley area Active Member

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    I flew Alaska Air out of Sea-Tac to Dallas a few months ago, checking my Glock 27. I had to go from their check-in counter and walk about a quarter mile to a special baggage handling room in the middle of the airport. There, a TSA agent searched my bag, then checked it in. I then had to walk back and go through security to my gate, as usual. I would give yourself an extra 45 minutes for processing the firearm to be safe. Make sure you have a locked hard container to keep it in. I used a Gun Vault 300 Nano. They are only about $35, and can be used to secure the weapon in a hotel room.