Airline travel with firearms

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fox Hunter, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Fox Hunter

    Fox Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I've a question or two for those who have travelled with their firearms or perhaps someone who works for an airline and would have this knowledge.

    What happens when a checked bag containing a firearm misses a connecting flight? If the case does miss the connection, what does one do? Will the airline treat it like any other bag or will they make a federal case out of it for me to get it back?

    Later this year I've got a trip planned that requires air travel in the lower 48; from the Northeast to the Northwest. As it turns out, there is no direct flight of any kind. The best flight I could find requires two stops to change planes.

    One layover is for an hour and 20 minutes or so. I'm confident the baggage transfer will happen here but the other layover is just for a few minutes. I'm not so sure about this one.

    Since I've never travelled to a hunt by air before, I'm trying to make sure I've dotted all the i's and crossed the t's. The rifle will be in a Pelican case with all the details met as required by the airline and the tsa and all the required declarations will be done at the gate and so on.

    Any insight is appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. tinkerer

    tinkerer Well-Known Member

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    Your baggage is supposed to follow you.

    That being said, traveling with firearms, or other big dollar valuables in checked luggage is always risky.

    Follow TSA posted rules, lock it up tight, and hope the baggage handlers are happy this month. Make sure your vitals are inside the case, and insured against theft, damage.

    Overseas, all bets are off.

    Larry
    Tinkerer
     

  3. cornchuck

    cornchuck Well-Known Member

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    I have heard of guys shipping their gear to their outfitters/guides ahead time for that reason. The firearms and ammo would already be there when the hunter arrives in camp. You might want to think about doing this. I know when ever I get chance to hunt out of my home state I will most likely drive. If possible.

    Jason
     
  4. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    I was flying from Northwest to Southeast with a stop and plane change in Chicago. My luggage made the departing flight but my rifle did not! It arrived on the next flight from Chicago and I picked it up at the airport the next day. This was 20 years ago...

    My brother has been making almost the same trip from the Southeast to Northwest for about the last 15 years with a pistol and rifle. There is a flight change in Atlanta. He has never had an issue.
     
  5. elkoholic72

    elkoholic72 Well-Known Member

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    I fly sometimes 2-8 times per month for training/shooting events and promotions with $21K (2 guns and 2 optics) in 1 pelican case. I am running to catch connecting flights all the time. 0 problems so far. I will add that a few airports will have a person hand carry the case out to the carousel which can be frustrating! Especially when your first bag comes out 5 minutes ago and everyone grabs their luggage and leaves and you are getting nervous looking for your guns to follow and they never come... Until a guy walks out of a service door pulling your pelican case! The funny thing is that they never ask for I'D, I just walk up to them and they say, "this yours?".
    Also remember you can only carry 7 pounds of ammo per person in your check in bag... Which they really never have enforced but once on me. I have had to sprint back out to the parking lot at the Billings airport to put 400 rounds back in my truck!
    Ben
     
  6. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I travel a few times a year with my firearms, and have only had one case when my title missed a connection. It arrived on the next flight. In my view, with all the crap about guns these days, the process is actually better, with everyone in the checkin and handling process being trained on how to handle the process. This wasn't always the case and caused a lot more hastle.
     
  7. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    You cannot ship your rifle to someone other than a valid FFL licensee. However, you can ship it to yourself utilizing the outfitters address, so long as it is not opened by anyone other than you.
    I've been flying all over creation with rifles for years, and never had a problem with lost rifle cases. In the past few years, I have made a habit of shipping firearms via UPS with a significant amount of insurance on the package. I generally hunt with my business partner who also hold an FFL, and usually drives to where we hunt. He has more time on his hands....That way, I'm not bothered by TSA when they open the case for inspection and don't know how to handle Class 3 items.
    I always carry my range bag and glass as a carry on bag. It has about $30k worth of stuff in it, so it doesn't leave my sight.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  8. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    One thing to add. A rear bag filled with media like corn cob or polymer beads has a 90% chance of being examined whether carried on the plane or packed in your baggage. I use TSA locks on my checked gear(not my rifle). My checked gear, ammo etc. has never been opened when I carry my rear bag in my carry on. I have almost always had the rear bag inspected at the xRay at check in. I prefer to have it checked out with me there to explain what is in it and what it is used for.
     
  9. Fox Hunter

    Fox Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all that replied. I've been away for a few days.

    The good news is, I've been able to re-arrange my flights where the super short layover won't be a problem. It will now be a scheduled 40 minutes. More than enough time to make the exchange.

    As for shipping ahead, I'm sending the ammo because there will be a little more than the allowed weight. In that same package, I might just send those things like the rear bag, new batteries for the electronics and the cleaning kit that will get the extra scrutiny or run the risk of being confiscated because they are evil in the tsa's eye. I'm shipping to myself c/o the destination and that destination is a FFL.

    This weekend, I'll layout all the parts and pieces and cut the foam for the Pelican case. The plan is to have the scopes in my carry-on bag along with the RF. the rifle, tripod and cleaning rod in the Pelican.

    Thanks again!