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Flying the friendly skies?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by 206thsense, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. 206thsense

    206thsense Seattle, WA, USA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So I'm going to be traveling in a few weeks via Virgin American and I'm contemplating bringing a pistol with me in a locked hard-container in my checked luggage. I won't be bringing ammo with me.

    I looked around online and I found these regulations:

    Can I bring a firearm on a Virgin America flight?

    And the TSA (bleh) says this on their website:

    It all seems pretty common sense - unloaded firearm, safely secured in a locked hard container, etc.

    Does anyone have an additional advice or stories to share?

    I apologize if this topic has been posted before (I ran quick search and nothing stuck out immediately).
     
  2. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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  3. 206thsense

    206thsense Seattle, WA, USA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Awesome link. Much appreciated!
     
  4. xd45acp

    xd45acp molalla Active Member

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    Great link 8ball thanks.
     
  5. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    One thing I did learn from that site is that you shouldn't give up the key or combo to your locked luggage containing firearms, or allow it to be opened out of your presence. If you read the traveler accounts, you may need to stand your ground on this, but it's the law regardless of what the TSA says.

    Also, if you want to lock your luggage but aren't taking firearms with you, just pack a replica or airsoft gun into your checked luggage and the same rules apply.
     
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  6. lamrith

    lamrith tacoma Active Member

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    Make sure you lock the hardcase the firearm is on, above and beyond a lock on the luggage. And as 8ball stated you are NOT to give the combo or key to the hardcase to ANYONE. Both Seattle and Phoenix airports they escort you to the TSA special screening area and you stand there as they swab your bags for explosives. Stupid if you ask me, really, I am going to carry a firearm and force myself to be advanced screened when I have been playing with explosives? I still do not understand why the firearm check in prompts this sort of screening, one has nothing to do with the other. I could understand TSA screening to see that the firearm is in fact packaged as required by law, but why the swab down and nitrate inspection?

    I have heard cases were the TSA/check in agents wants to see that the firearm is unloaded, but the times I flew they absolutely did not want to (probably to avoid panic of someone seeing a gun at airport) and just had me sign the affidavit that it was unloaded.

    I could tell the one TSA agent at Seattle was not ammused when I flew out, I had super locked up my gun. Barrel lock from S&W, padlock on the case, then a cable lock thru the handle of the case and frame of luggage. Ohh and the case was inside a luggage bag as I was going to be bringing a bunch of stuff home and the cable went thru it's handle as well as the case and main luggage frames... haha He had to work for it on that inspection..
     
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  7. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    I also suggest you print out and take with you the airlines rules regarding firearms transport of that carrier. Some ticket ageants have bo clue what their rules are.
     
  8. 206thsense

    206thsense Seattle, WA, USA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yeah, my buddy from California recommended doing this too. Though he also said that firearms laws in general in California are such a PITA that I might be better off shipping my gun rather than flying with it (though I hate paying paying FFL fees). Hrmm.
     
  9. davemata

    davemata Spokane, WA Well-Known Member

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    I flew out of BOS to SFO a while back with my 92FS and 10# of ammo. It was all pretty simple.

    Ammo in boxes from the manufacturer, stuffed into a shower bag from REI. Pistol in the case from beretta, separated from mags, slide open, locked with a short shank masterlock. In Boston, the JetBlue staff was a bit confused by what to do with the pistol, but once the paperwork was found I flew through the TSA stuff, had an escort, they asked me to open the container, did not ask for my key. Visually inspected my ammo, closed everything up, then swabbed for explosives.

    Coming back from SFO, I checked in, told the gate agent of the pistol, he asked if it was locked and unloaded, I said yes. (It had also just put 400 rounds down the pipe and I hadn't had a chance to clean it.) He escorted me to a roped off TSA baggage check, where it was fully inspected. The TSA agent asked me to unlock it, I offered the keys, since I was roped a few feet away, the agent refused the keys, asked me to reach over. That was awkward. Got it unlocked verified the pistol was unloaded, mags unloaded, and the magwell and barrel were clear. Closed it up, locked it, asked me to verify it was locked. Checked the ammo, swabbed for explosives, marked the baggage tag - which had me a little disconcerted. Then away I went, escorted through the TSA line to be the next person checked through the metal detectors, and off to the terminal with me.

    There was an affidavit to sign stating it wasn't loaded and was legal to own. I also think in BOS they asked to check my gun license - which they shouldn't have done, but a state cop with an mp5 was about 10' away, and it's never good to invite a man with an mp5 and puffy pants into your life.
     
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  10. JSJPDX

    JSJPDX East Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    My only experience flying with a handgun was from Portland to Chicago on Alaska Airlines. The ticket agent was cool with everything just asking the standard questions, her supervisor looked a bit bent out of shape but didn't open her mouth once, so no foul. After I checked in I carried my bag over to the TSA screening area; that guy was cool as well. Just the standard questions, didn't feel the need to see anything because it was going right into xray anyway. Friendly all the way. No explosive swab, no hassle. the process didn't take me any longer than it normally does traveling without a firearm. Sounds like I got lucky...
     
  11. KONE KILLER

    KONE KILLER WASHOUGAL, WA Active Member

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    Havent flown much down in the lower 48, but in Alaska, they look at you funny if you are flying with out at least a fishing rod or gun of some sort. Always thought that was kinda funny...
     
  12. davemata

    davemata Spokane, WA Well-Known Member

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    JSJPDX - when did you fly?

    I'm surprised in Chicago they didn't crap themselves when they saw the "OMG we're all gonna die" gun.

    My flying experience recounted above was from April of '12.
     
  13. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    thank you very much for the info
     
  14. pioneer461

    pioneer461 Columbia County, Oregon Active Member

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    I am privliged to hold an HR-218 / LEOSA nation-wide permit, and frequently take a pistol with me when I fly, following TSA and airline rules. Really simple and common sense.

    In the same suitcase as my pistol I keep a printout of both the TSA and airline rules, as well as the federal law which covers HR-218. Most airline and TSA employees are not a problem, but sooner or later you may run up against someone who doesn't get it.

    It is also a good idea to become familiar with the laws at your final destination to make sure you're ok there.

    BEWARE OF NEW YORK CITY! They are definitely not gun friendly, and there have been instances of folks who hold permits at home, being arrested and prosecuted for violating NY city codes. Simply picking up your luggage at the baggage area will put you in possession of a firearm, which in NY is forbidden without their city permits.
     
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  15. JSJPDX

    JSJPDX East Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    This was about 2.5 years ago and only on the Portland to Chicago leg. It was only a one way trip on the airlines; I picked up my motorcycle in Chicago and rode it home with a group. If this would have been a round trip I probably would not have taken a gun because of the laws in IL and the hassle I would have had at O'Hare.

    But like I said, maybe I was just lucky.
     
  16. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    Flown out of SEARAC may time with declared firearms, never a big deal. DO get there an hour early.

    TSA has never given me more than the cursory YOU ARE A SUBJECT HOW DARE YOU HAVE GUNS b.s. Ignore it. They are peon punks.

    Las Vegas was more of a hassle than even Logan Airport in Mass. Seriously, you get what you give. Be nice, don't be a dick, realize that threy are going thru more hassle than you. It all works out fine, almost all of the time.
     
  17. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    The only time I've had any issue was flying out of Detroit. They wanted to inspect them a 2nd time. Which apparently I should have gone with them, as I wasn't supposed to give them the keys.

    I'll have to remember this next time I'm asked for them.

    BTW, how many of you make sure to take into account all of that extra package weight for their lock boxes when flying? Always puts my luggage over weight. :(
     
  18. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    Call the airline in advance. Seriously.

    I've done this several times and watched it done differently each time. Once, the chick at the desk wanted to see if my AR-15 was unloaded and made me place a firearm declaration card in the firearm case (opening a gun case at the checkout counter is NOT FUN). Later, I had to yell out my lock combo to the TSA guys who told me just to bring the locks with me and they would secure the case(s) next time I flew. My last experience was with me holding the locks as TSA didn't even inspect the firearms and whisked my bags away to the planes with the gun cases UNLOCKED. They had to stop the flight, pull my bags, secure the guns and put the bags back on the plane...all the while cursing at me for not securing the cases prior to inspection (they didn't even notice their were firearms in the bags....the X-Ray techs were too busy talking about football to each other. When I asked them if they were going to inspect the bags they were stunned that they just scanned off a duffel bag containing a 1911 and a Kel-Tec P3AT and they didn't even notice!).

    Not fun...

    My advise? Call them...see if you can talk with a TSA rep and find out what their procedures are and what they recommend prior to going to the airport. Also, go earlier than you normally would (especially since you are adding an inspection step to your boarding process).
     
  19. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Hunting trip last November, SEA TAC to Salt Lake & return.:thumbup:

    AR15 and 40rnds in a locked rifle case.:paranoid:

    More trouble getting an artificial hip and a steel plate in my knee
    through the check points than it was checking in the rifle.:huh:

    Jack...:cool:

    OOPS !! Almost forgot the extra baggage charge of $50.00 each way.:bsflag:
     
  20. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    While calling isn't a bad idea, you could always end up being told something different on the phone then what you get in person at the airline. After traveling a lot over the past few years, it seems the different airlines, airports, and TSA agents all have a different understanding of the laws and procedures. While calling isn't a bad idea, you could always end up being told something different on the phone then what you get in person at the airline.