View Full Version : Incorrect info on Flying with Firearms

10-20-2011, 03:56 PM
In the latest EHJ #127, Adam Bender reported on a field test on the SKB rifle/bow case. Included with this article were some tips on flying with firearms which were incorrect. I expected a little more accurate information or a little backup to what he is telling us.
In the second paragraph for these tips he mentions that you must have TSA approved locks. The third paragraph mentions keeping you firearm declaration paperwork handy. The 4th paragraphs notes that you cannot place your ammo in the same case as your firearm.
Based upon my recent flight to wyoming for a DIY antelope hunt with a rifle, all of these were incorrect. First of all, I had keyed masterlocks (not TSA locks). I declared the firearm at the checked baggage counter where they asked me to open the case and show them that the firearm was unloaded. I racked the bolts back on both rifles I was carrying and placed them back in the case. I then signed and dated a "firearms unloaded" card that was then placed inside the case. The case was then closed and locked and taken to the TSA reps where they would normally scan your checked baggage. However, they simply wiped it checking for any explosives, then it completely bypassed the x-ray scanner and went straight on through with all other approved checked baggage. Please note that I also had two boxes of ammo inside the case as well. All of this was as per the information that I had researched on TSA's website (www.tsa.gov) and on the Delta's website. Additionally, I called a Delta rep to verify all the information prior to my flight.
I would recommend that everyone do the same as I did prior to their flights. If anyone had a similar or different experience please let me know.

10-20-2011, 05:44 PM
I think different airports have different procedures. In Pittsburgh, they take your case at the tsa desk, in San Antonio they send it with the checked bags. At least that's the way I remember it. As far as the tsa approved locks go, I believe they have the right to cut any lock that isn't tsa approved where they have the ability to open the tsa approved locks. Don't quote me on any of that, but that's what I remember from my research the last time I flew.

10-20-2011, 06:07 PM
If you listen too podcasts. Michael bane has a great one on flying with weapons. He is the outdoor channel host of some handgun shows. I believe it was in march or April ish it came out. Considering he flys so
Much with weapons, it might be worth listening to.

10-20-2011, 07:07 PM
On a recent trip to Idaho I flew United. Me and a buddy took one rifle and two pistols in one rifle case purchased for 125 bucks. It only had two locks that were built in and locked with a cheap little key looked like it was made of tin foil. No extra locks had to be added and everything went smooth. We did the same with the opening the case and showing the guns were not loaded, putting the ammo for all guns in that same case, and sending them away. I thought it was odd that when we got to Idaho the guns simply came out a different door beside the checked bags and we just picked up the case that was ours and walked off. Guess it was good though I mean that it was that easy, I'm afraid one day it might be a real chore to take your guns on a plane.

10-25-2011, 12:32 AM
Michael banes podcast is called down range radio. It is very informative on personal defense.

I hear ya steakhunter on the fear of increased restrictions. It's like that in all aspects of weapons unfortunately.

We had a shooting killing 5 and wounding 8 in Carson city a few months back and Sunday I get the Sunday newspaper on my steps and face up is the title," recent shooting calls for stricter gun laws here in nevada!" in sizing and bold letters similar to we saw when Osama bin laden was killed. It was so lopsided of an article about gun laws. I almost puked. I felt like crap literally after reading that article. They want to make responsible citizens pay for criminals mistakes and take our second amendment right away from us. The guy was a nut job who bought an ak-47 illegally in a different state and converted it to fully auto in a different state and committed a terrible crime here in Nevada. But its the gun owners fault here in Nevada and we need to make it harder to get weapons so guys like this can't do this and the citizens can't defend themselves against people like this.

Sorry for my rant. It just started flowing and I couldnt stop typing. I feel better now.

10-25-2011, 08:47 AM
Per TSA all firearms must be unloaded and in a hard sided locked case. If the case is placed inside a checked bag the Firearms Unloaded card will be placed inside the bag but outside the locked case. If the case is not placed inside a checked bag the card will be placed inside the locked case. Ammunition must be in a factory or similar type container and can not exceed 11 Lbs total. The airline check in procedure may vary depending on the company and airport. Check with the airline you plan to travel for more information on their check in procedures.

10-25-2011, 12:00 PM
Procedures and restrictions vary from airline to airline, and airport to airport. It is always best to check the individual airline's website, and even then be prepared to deal with counter agents who don't know their own policy. Safest practice is to print out the policy from the airline you intend to use, but don't be surprised when they don't follow it.
I had an expereince with Delta a few years ago when traveling with a bow, which the counter agent insisted was a firearm, and required me to sign the statement that the bow was "unloaded". Utter nonsense, but signing the card got me through the flight, and of course the bow really was "unloaded"!
After years of flying with guns multiple times, I know there is no one correct answer to what is required. Of course the case will have to lock, and the firearm be unloaded, but little else is certain. I've had the bag loaded directly onto the plane without any further inspection, and I have had to take out the rifle for inspection, count out al the ammo, etc,. I've also had locks cut off (both non-TSA and TSA approved). It really depends on the agent and the city. Be cooperative, go with the flow, and things will work out. Just don't let them to tell you to do something patently illegal (like carry-on your ammo). I was told once this was o.k., but insisted on placing the ammo in a checked bag. I could just see the hassle when I landed in D.C. if I had followed their instructions. Good luck.

10-29-2011, 12:38 PM
Procedures and restrictions vary from airline to airline, and airport to airport. It is always best to check the individual airline's website, and even then be prepared to deal with counter agents who don't know their own policy.


His information was not incorrect, just how you can travel the safest way in all airports and with all airlines.