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View Full Version : Flying with firearms totally easy (US Air / America West)


artherd
04-14-2006, 11:58 PM
Flew recently from OAK to PHX via US Air (opperated by America West.). I hadden't flown with a firearm since 9/11 actually.

Declaring the firearm took all of 5 minuites longer than checking a regular bag, and on the return flight TSA didn't even open the locked hardcase, rather they walked it over 30meters and x-ray'd it and all was good. They also obeyed all law which required me and me alone to retain the key/combination.

It may have helped that the gun was not only unloaded, but disassembled down to bbl/slide/frame/mainspring, very easy to see it's unloaded this way!

I said "Pursuant to title 14 of the US Code, I would like to declare an unloaded firearm, it is disassembled and secured in a locked case." Gate agents never even batted an eye.

PanzerAce
04-15-2006, 12:00 AM
yup. when my grand dad gave my dad a bunch of rifles, I was amazed at how little time it took to get through checking. Hell, the longest time span was walking down to where they check them.

TheMan
04-15-2006, 12:18 AM
I said "Pursuant to title 14 of the US Code, I would like to declare an unloaded firearm, it is disassembled and secured in a locked case." Gate agents never even batted an eye.

He probably had no idea what "Pursuant to title 14 of the US code...."
was all about. All I've ever said is "I'd like to declare a firearm".

Maybe its just the particular airport a few people here have flown out of, but some people make it sound difficult to check a rifle in. I usually fly America West, and never have any issues with fully assembled rifles, pistols, and even with evil assault weapons, here in CA.

MysteryCereal
04-15-2006, 12:41 AM
I have the "pleasure" of working for TSA. Checking guns is the highlight of a boring day at times. All we(TSA) care about is that its unloaded and no loose ammo.

gmcem50
04-15-2006, 12:49 AM
I have the "pleasure" of working for TSA. Checking guns is the highlight of a boring day at times. All we(TSA) care about is that its unloaded and no loose ammo.

Well sir, let me be the first to commend you and your fellow agents by saying that all of my experiences with TSA agents have been positive ones. They have all been polite and courteous.

On the other hand, the airline employees have been another story...

MysteryCereal
04-15-2006, 12:56 AM
Well sir, let me be the first to commend you and your fellow agents by saying that all of my experiences with TSA agents have been positive ones. They have all been polite and courteous.

On the other hand, the airline employees have been another story...

Most of us are good people. But I'll be the first to admit we have some idiots among us. :-D

artherd
04-15-2006, 12:22 PM
I have the "pleasure" of working for TSA. Checking guns is the highlight of a boring day at times. All we(TSA) care about is that its unloaded and no loose ammo.

Excellent, if we ever meet feel free to chat (er, softly :) about guns!

Best!
Ben.

artherd
04-15-2006, 12:24 PM
He probably had no idea what "Pursuant to title 14 of the US code...."
was all about. All I've ever said is "I'd like to declare a firearm".

Make SURE you say "unloaded" at the least.

14 USC probally totally unnessecary, but it does seem to at least put the gate agents a little at ease & show I know what I'm talking a bout. One smiled and said "It sounds like you've flown with firearms before" I said "Yes mam, however it has been a while."

Boomer1961
04-15-2006, 12:34 PM
Any difference between handgun and rifle in what is accepted and how it is handled?

How about an assault rifle?

How about NFA?

Also I suppose there is no way around the ammo problem with the no explosives allowed on a passenger plane.

What have you done to get around that?

Have you shipped it to your destination in advance?

Do you always rely on buying ammo at your destination?

I have heard this is very airline dependent and some airlines must have headquarters in blue states as they forbid such period!

TAKE CARE!

bwiese
04-15-2006, 12:59 PM
Any difference between handgun and rifle in what is accepted and how it is handled?
How about an assault rifle?

Not that I am aware of. I've flown with a FAL and an AR and a Glock, other times with 2 ARs + a pistol, etc etc. I always had some hicap mags too. I also did travel with (separately boxed) ammo - a 180rds of 308, 200+rds of 223 and some 45ACP. I put these in a Pelican or a Starlight case. I have a smaller Starlight/Cabela's briefcase-sized pistol container if I'm just flying with handguns.

Airlines & TSA generally don't care about individual gun laws/rules, that's up to you. As long as you declare them and they are unloaded, they're happy.

I do carry my CA AW registration forms with me - one copy in the luggage, one with me in my briefcase (carry on). Just in case of any questions.

And if you're flying to/from California with an unregistered AW, Darwin has a special place in the evolutionary chain for you.

How about NFA?

NFA is virtually nil here in CA, so this is almost a moot question. I do believe you have to post some form or receive permission from ATF if you're gonna move NFA guns between states.


Also I suppose there is no way around the ammo problem with the no explosives allowed on a passenger plane.

What have you done to get around that?


Up to a certain amount (may vary with airline) ammo in secure and/or factory packages is legal to transport. I put my ammo at the bottom of my folding 3-suiter.

And I don't like the phrase "get around that" - implies you're trying something nefarious. There's nothing to get around. Ammo is perfectly legal in checked luggage separate from firearms.

Have you shipped it to your destination in advance?

Do you always rely on buying ammo at your destination?

No, I bring my ammo. And depending on what you shoot and where you're going, you might have a hard time finding ammo in certain calibers/loadings.

I have heard this is very airline dependent and some airlines must have headquarters in blue states as they forbid such period!

Well, that's what you get for listening to the rumor mill. Just about all airlines allow you to transport firearms/ammo as long as you follow laws & their rules. (I'd be interested in hearing about ones that don't - haven't, so far.) Check their website policy/procedures pages. Some airlines gate agents just aren't that familiar, so it helps to have a printout beforehand and get there early for check in since this'll be the first time some of these folks have ever encountered this.



For the record, most of my flying has been on Alaska & Horizon and they carry a lot of hunters to Pacific Northwest area.

TheMan
04-15-2006, 1:06 PM
Make SURE you say "unloaded" at the least.

14 USC probally totally unnessecary, but it does seem to at least put the gate agents a little at ease & show I know what I'm talking a bout. One smiled and said "It sounds like you've flown with firearms before" I said "Yes mam, however it has been a while."

They always ask if its unloaded, and per America West's policy, they ask me to show them that it is unloaded. Some of the America West employees seem to know what to look at, but others barely know which end of the gun the bullets come out of. So I don't know how useful that unloaded check is, except that the gun owner would hopefully notice if it were loaded.

All of them and the TSA have always been courteous and professional. They occasionally show interest when they see the .50 Beowulf, or some of my other guns, but its always been a "that is cool, what is it?" sort of interest.

Boomer, the TSA doesn't check registration on the guns, that isn't their job. Their job is to ensure the guns are unloaded and properly stored for safe travel. So they don't care if its an AW, pistol, rifle, NFA. I don't know about destructive devices like grenades or explosives though. Ammo can be shipped with the gun, as long as it is in its original container, or one that meets certain requirements. I usually have ammo in its box, in the rifle case.

The airlines usually list their exact policies regarding firearm transportation on their websites, if you are unsure.

gmcem50
04-15-2006, 3:53 PM
For the record, most of my flying has been on Alaska & Horizon and they carry a lot of hunters to Pacific Northwest area.

+1 on Alaska. They don't even blink at checked firearms.

artherd
04-15-2006, 4:18 PM
Any difference between handgun and rifle in what is accepted and how it is handled?

How about an assault rifle?

How about NFA?


The TSA guys don't know or apply any distinction, the guns just need to be unloaded. NFA weapons would need to be moved acording to federal law if you are traveling across state lines (ie on another form 4 I belive?) Check into that if you own NFA kit.

Also I suppose there is no way around the ammo problem with the no explosives allowed on a passenger plane.

Small ammounts of small arms ammunition are allowed specifically in 14USC, they must be securely packed in factory packaging, cardboard, fiber, or metal cans. I fly with ammo (usually 100-200 rounds max) with no problems.

I have heard this is very airline dependent and some airlines must have headquarters in blue states as they forbid such period!

Policy and education of desk-clerks may vary wildly. Best to have the federal laws printed out, and a MUST to check with your specific airline before you show up. I have incidentally never actually heard of any airline that prohibits firearms, but I suppose it is possible they exist. They may or may not have legal authority to even say.

dawson8r
04-15-2006, 6:47 PM
My first experience flying with a firearm and around someone with a CCW was flying with a friend to Phoenix for the crossroads/SAR gunshow. Like others have stated, "I have a firearm to declare" to the agent, ammo in factory packaging. TSA guys x-rayed, didn't open the case.

Once on the ground and at the rental car my friend put on his IWB holster, in went a mag, into the holster went the gun. Safest I felt on a road trip ever!

PressCheck
04-16-2006, 10:39 AM
Never had a problem. My Glock has as many frequent flyer miles as I do.

M. Sage
04-28-2007, 10:42 AM
I dug this up on a search, since I'm going to fly with a rifle for the first time next month. Finally got a chance to pick my Carbine up from it's long-term loan to my dad (I was scared of the AW laws when I moved here, and being unsure, left it with him).

I'm flying American, which has a pretty easy-sounding policy on flying with firearms:

http://www.aa.com/aa/pubcontent/en_US/travelInformation/baggage/firearms.jsp

I'm actually shocked that they'll let you put 3lbs of ammo in the case with the gun, though it has to be in original packaging, not loose, and that they'll allow up to 11 lbs of ammo. That's about 130 rounds of 180 grain rifle ammo.

I'm going to print up AA's firearms policy and maybe some of the 14 USC mentioned above, just cause I'm paranoid like that... though I won't be flying out of a CA airport, and I figure that they won't be bad about guns in a place like St. Louis, MO...

Hunter
04-28-2007, 12:04 PM
I have heard this is very airline dependent and some airlines must have headquarters in blue states as they forbid such period!

TAKE CARE!

I have flown with the following airlines (all in the last 18 months) with firearms of all types, and NEVER had an issue:


Alaska
Horizon
American Airline
Southwest
Delta
Skywest
American West
US Airways
Northwest
Continental

About the only main USA player left out is United and United/Express. But I have flown with them a fews years ago without an issue as well. So I really don't believe you will find any airlines that forbid firearms if they are properly checked in.

tman
04-28-2007, 12:28 PM
I will say flying with firearms is "easy" when I can walk onto a plane while carrying.

M. Sage
04-28-2007, 5:44 PM
I never road-trip, or fly without firearms. I flew Alaska to Spocompton (Spokane, WA) and the TSA agent down here asked me if I was going to carry on the plane. I asked her if it was an option, and she got confused. Haha.

ROFL! That'd be awesome.

MedSpec65
04-28-2007, 7:12 PM
All of these posts are good to hear after reading about an incident in Albany, New York on Delta: www.2ndamendmentpatriots.org/joyce.htm