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Calif Mini
05-01-2011, 9:49 PM
Does anyone have experience flying and taking an AR-15 with them.

I am considering going to a couple other states to far to drive and am posting here first to get some direction to make things easier and avoid problems.

Any info is appreciated.
Thank, Ed

riceman
05-01-2011, 10:17 PM
I have flown to Montana for the past 5 years with hunting rifle. A good idea would be to call the airlines you are going to use and get their specific requirements. I am sure some competitors will have better info. Also forget the TSA locks, use a keyed or combo lock,
you are supposed to be the only one who has access to your firearm. I remember my first time, I was nervous and fumblely fingers. It is a piece of cake now.
Gun case, I bought the Cabela's with luggage flap, forget it, pain in the a**. Also to heavy and handlers mishandled because of weight and bent one of the locking rods.
I am now planing on getting a Pelican, sturdy and lighter weight.

Jerry

WDE91
05-01-2011, 10:19 PM
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=425244

Calif Mini
05-01-2011, 10:39 PM
Thanks for the info and I am nervous but its good to hear it can happen without drama.

Both good info.

Thanks again, Ed

TurboChrisB
05-01-2011, 11:21 PM
Nah, it WILL happen without drama if you follow the rules.

Thanks for the info and I am nervous but its good to hear it can happen without drama.

Both good info.

Thanks again, Ed

SAR_boats
05-02-2011, 12:19 AM
I have flown comair with firearms many times and have never had a problem. Couple tips:

*. Firearms MUST be in a hard sided, locked container. Locked soft sided containers may be ok for vehicle transport, but not airline. I don't believe there is a law against it, but they will simply refuse to let you fly.

1. Most carriers have their requirements posted on their website. It may take a little digging but it is usually there. There are also subtle differences between carriers.

2. Ensure that your ammo (yes it can be in the same case as the firearms) is in factory boxes or ammo carriers. No loose ammo, no ammo in mags or speedloaders

3. Make sure the firearms AND MAGAZINES are unloaded. It is preferable to have the actions open but I have gone through with actions closed and didn't have a problem (actions were closed due to space constraints

4. Request the affidavit stating you have unladed firearms in your case. Sign it. The ticket agent may have you put it in the case on the spot or may not. Remember, you are at an airport so when you do put the affidavit in the case do it DISCREETLY. There is nothing illegal about flying with firearms, but most people don't know that and would over-react to seeing a Peli-case full of hardware. IAW federal law there can be NO external markings on the case that indicate there are firearms inside. Hence why the affidavit goes inside.

5. Your case may be inspected. Or it may not.

6. Once the case is locked and in the custody of the airline you are GTG unless you don't have TSA locks. I have had them page me back to the counter to open the case so TSA could look inside. If you don't show they may hold the case or cut the locks. If you are unsure what your next step should be, ask a ticket agent or TSA employee. They are usually pretty helpful. Be friendly and courteous and you will receive the same. The goal of this exercise is to arrive to your destination with your firearm(s) so when in doubt, ask.

7. Don't worry about your legal high caps. The TSA isn't concerned about that. I have several legal std-cap mags and they don't even get a second look. CA law does protect your ownership of std-cap mags when returning to CA as long as they were legally owned here before you traveled.

I think my current record is 2 rifles and four handguns and 400 rds of ammo on one trip. (yup, had to pay the heavy baggage upcharge)

hoffmang
05-02-2011, 12:28 AM
Multiple flights with multiple ARs. Just understand the airline and TSA rules and you will be completely fine.

Not AR, but I fly with a pistol on almost every flight that isn't to Chicago/Boston/NYC..

-Gene

.45JHP
05-02-2011, 12:58 AM
DO NOT use TSA locks unless you are putting a hard case inside of a larger soft case (small hard pistol case inside of a duffel for instance). The small case will need to be locked with a padlock or other device, with a TSA lock on the outside bag.

If traveling with a large hard case you will need to have a case that cannot be opened or pried open without you being present. TSA cannot open the hard case without you present and with a key.

Simply check in the bag/case at the ticketing counter, inform the ticketing agent that you are carrying a firearm. You will most likely be asked to open the case for the agent to make sure that the firearms are unloaded. This may or may not be in front of a TSA agent as well. After that they will have you sign a firearms unloaded declaration that they'll put insode of the case. After they put the case/bag on the moving thing, stand by at the check in counter to ensure that the TSA agents at secondary screening don't call you in. I'd wait 10-15 minutes depending on how many people are checking in on that particular flight. If no one calls you up, check in one final time and proceed to your gate. If all else fails they have all of your flight information and they'll contact you.

c.j.
05-02-2011, 7:39 AM
One good tip I've heard is to print out a copy of the airline's policies and rules about firearms (might not hurt to have the TSA's on hand as well) as many employees don't run into the situation and sort of make up the process.

the big ravioli
05-02-2011, 7:57 AM
I fly to New Mexico & Georgia about 4 times a year each. I fly with my AR-10, AR-15 with 2 uppers, XD45 and all my gear + ammo. Never had a problem till I flew into El Paso, TX. They grilled me about TSA locks? It was all good when TSA checked my pelican case but the airline counter help put me into a tail spin about the locks. I told her I live in California and I don't get this much crap?? She said that California had different laws about flying with firearms.. WHAT?

I don't fly to or through Texas anymore if I don't have to...

But it's no problem at all!

wash
05-02-2011, 9:53 AM
Yeah, no TSA locks on your case. You need real locks that actually lock.

There can be hassles if the counter people don't know what they are doing (which is most of the time). TSA has a web page on this topic. If you follow their rules (and as Gene pointed out, local laws at each end of the flight), everything will work out.

SR-71 BLACKBIRD
05-02-2011, 10:45 AM
Also expect to be watched closely by local cops. Plus some stink eyes from the other travelers in the terminal. I usually fly to NM for hunting season and have some sort of camo on so people usually can guess what's in my SKB long case.

Gryff
05-02-2011, 11:42 AM
I've flown a bunch of times with firearms (both rifles and pistols). A few of things to recommend:

1) If the weapon is in it's own case, don't have any markings on the outside of the case that identify it as a firearm.

2) Don't have any ammo in the same case as the weapon (although you can have ammo in its own case, and then both the ammo and gun cases in a larger bag).

3) Don't use a cheap *** gun case like a DoskoSport or MTM. These can be pryed open at the side very easily, so the gun can be taken without having to cut the lock off. Get something quality like a GuardForce or Pelikan that has double padlock spots.

4) Don't use TSA locks

When you arrive, the ticketing agent will need to place a firearms tag inside the gun case. Technically they are supposed to verify that the weapon is unloaded, but few know how to do this.

After that, an airline employee will walk the gun case over to TSA for their bomb-sniffing machine. Usually the employee asks you to leave the case unlocked.

This is where you have to make a decision. Personally, I will not leave my case unlocked if it is going to leave my sight. And legally, you cannot leave the case unlocked unless it is in the possession of an "authorized" person (and the feds are nice and unclear on who an "authorized" person is).

In some cases, the employee or TSA agent wants to take the case into a room out of your sight for an inspection. I will not allow this. I point out the law, and require that an official law enforcement officer be present before I let a stranger have access to my firearm out of my sight.

In the one instance where the TSA agent pushed back, I suggested that he allow me to accompany him into the inspection room. He said he wasn't authorized to do that. I then pointed out that if he wasn't authorized to take me with him, he surely wasn't authorized to have free access to my firearm without my presence. He called a supervisor, and the resolution was that they were going to take the locked case back, but I had to wait around in case they decided that they were going to need me to open the case. Of course, they made me wait half an hour, but in the end they said everything was fine and I was allowed to board the plane. Note that if you are going to play this kind of game with TSA, get to the airport early enough to have time to play.

Also a note about ammo. The TSA website says that ammo must be transported in a container designed to carry ammunition. Unfortunately, they assume that you are a mind reader and understand that this means a container that isolates the rounds from each other (like a standard box of commercial ammo or one of the plastic boxes that reloaders use). They will not let you fly with bulk-packed ammo, even if it came from a commercial source that way.

the big ravioli
05-02-2011, 11:46 AM
Yeah, no TSA locks on your case. You need real locks that actually lock. .

NO... It was because there are 4 holes in my pelican case and only 2 locks on it. I fly all the time with 2 Red TSA locks. Have NEVER had a problem till I flew through El Paso, Texas. They were the ones who said California has different laws. But the TSA agent came to check it and said ALL GOOD!

So yes the ticket agents don't know squat about the true way to fly with your firearms. Just go to the TSA website and your airline carrier to check all the rules.

paul0660
05-02-2011, 11:53 AM
Also expect to be watched closely by local cops. Why? Plus some stink eyes from the other travelers in the terminal. Who cares? I usually fly to NM for hunting season and have some sort of camo on so people usually can guess what's in my SKB long case. Way to not draw attention, not.

You have identified problems that aren't.

paul0660
05-02-2011, 11:56 AM
NO... It was because there are 4 holes in my pelican case and only 2 locks on it. I fly all the time with 2 Red TSA locks. Have NEVER had a problem till I flew through El Paso, Texas. They were the ones who said California has different laws. But the TSA agent came to check it and said ALL GOOD!

So yes the ticket agents don't know squat about the true way to fly with your firearms. Just go to the TSA website and your airline carrier to check all the rules.

Do go to the TSA website. It says don't use TSA locks on your case, DO use them if the case is in another piece of luggage, on the other piece of luggage.

WW2Buff
05-02-2011, 1:48 PM
I fly with ARs multiple times a year and have never had a problem. You'll be fine as others have said. Personally I do not fly with high caps, even if they are pre ban and legal for you to own I would not want to be the guy caught for importing them into the state. I also do not use TSA locks. Depending on the airport it may take a little longer to check in so add a little extra time to your schedule.

bohoki
05-02-2011, 1:50 PM
charter a plane and as far as they are concerned you could have it loaded in your lap

in case of air pirateshttp://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/janime/porco/4.jpg

biscuitbarrel
05-02-2011, 1:54 PM
I've flown with firearms many times, before and after 9/11. As stated above check with your airline ahead, and check the rules of the state you are going to. Break the gun down, lock it up, and tell the baggage clerk what's in it. No ammo in the same case as the gun.

WW2Buff
05-02-2011, 2:10 PM
Southwest now allows a certain number of pounds of ammo to fly along with the firearms in the locked container.

edgerly779
05-02-2011, 2:16 PM
I just flew to texas no problems going or coming. Ammo can be in mags if sealed with tape on frontier airlines. had factory boxes of ammo in with gun.. Shipped 500 rounds ahead of trip.

the big ravioli
05-02-2011, 5:13 PM
Do go to the TSA website. It says don't use TSA locks on your case, DO use them if the case is in another piece of luggage, on the other piece of luggage.

I have NEVER had a problem with the TSA locks... I also have never had a problem till I flew through Texas...

So to your "Do go to the TSA website. It says don't use TSA locks on your case"??

This is what it says:

The key regulatory requirements to transporting firearms, firearm parts or ammunition in checked baggage are:

You must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.

The firearm must be unloaded.

The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.

The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you.

Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion.

We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.

If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.

You must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

You can't use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).

You may carry the ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as you pack it as described above.

You can't bring black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms in either your carry-on or checked baggage.

So I don't see what your talking about?? Maybe you should show us your info from the website??

duckman1
05-02-2011, 7:10 PM
The TSA site and the airline site are your friends. Print copies and pack your gun and ammo accordingly. Bring the print copies and allow extra time for the TSA check. I have flown over a dozen times with a dozen different experiences, none really bad.

I too had a difficult time in Texas, we were returning from Namibia thru Dallas and the TSA gun fondler did not get my guns on the plane in time for take off. Fortunately we were on our way back and I only had one sleepless night worrying.

Agent Orange
05-02-2011, 7:19 PM
The airline site yes, the TSA site not so much. You should not use TSA locks on the gun case and never give anyone, including the TSA, the key or combination. Doing so is against federal law.

wash
05-02-2011, 7:51 PM
The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion. The pictures provided here illustrate the difference between a properly packaged and an improperly packaged firearm.

TSA locks do not "completely secure the firearm from access by anyone other than you".

Don't use TSA locks to lock your guns.

mnishimura00
05-02-2011, 9:50 PM
Don't fly to New York. The cops will be waiting for you and will arrest you if you bring a pistol to New York.

WDE91
05-03-2011, 1:22 PM
^^ Umm Im not sure about that

Wrex
05-03-2011, 1:55 PM
I make a couple of annual trips and have to say alaska airlines has it down. It used to be you could print off the firearms declarations form from the airlines, but I think they stopped doing it. If you have a pelican be prepared for the fee. Two rifles and a couple handguns in a pelican is definitely over the weight limit. Also get insurance. It's worth a couple extra bucks specially if you decide not to carry on your optics.

Gryff
05-03-2011, 3:07 PM
Don't fly to New York. The cops will be waiting for you and will arrest you if you bring a pistol to New York.

^^ Umm Im not sure about that

If I recall correctly, flying into JFK isn't the problem. But the minute you leave the airport with your handgun, you've committed a felony. The issue I heard about was the guy who's flight was delayed until the next day. He got a nearby hotel, and was then arrested when he took his guns with him to the hotel.

mceod
05-03-2011, 5:10 PM
The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. .

TSA locks do not "completely secure the firearm from access by anyone other than you".

Don't use TSA locks to lock your guns.



FTW...

problemchild
05-03-2011, 5:24 PM
I carried a 30-06 on the airplane when I was younger. Handed the pilot the bolt and he took it in the cab with him. Gave it back when we debarked.

WDE91
05-03-2011, 5:33 PM
If I recall correctly, flying into JFK isn't the problem. But the minute you leave the airport with your handgun, you've committed a felony. The issue I heard about was the guy who's flight was delayed until the next day. He got a nearby hotel, and was then arrested when he took his guns with him to the hotel.

The situation Im thinking is if you get in a rental car and go into another state

fly into ___ with ___ and drive to ___ where ___ is legal

SR-71 BLACKBIRD
05-03-2011, 11:46 PM
So the consensus is to add extra locks to my SKB case that come standard with TSA type 2 locks? There are provisions to add key or combo locks to outer sides of case. Currently have the 2SKB-5009.

the big ravioli
05-04-2011, 5:47 AM
If you have a pelican be prepared for the fee. Two rifles and a couple handguns in a pelican is definitely over the weight limit. Also get insurance. It's worth a couple extra bucks specially if you decide not to carry on your optics.

Not on Southwest! Pelicans or any gun case flies FREE.. They look at it as 2 bags every time I have flown. I just pack all my small gear and clothes in my carry on & my backpack. Sometimes I send my gear and some extra ammo ahead via UPS or if the wife flies with me I just use up the extra bag under her name.

As far as insurance? Never had a problem with my Pelican. If you cut your foam & pack it right you will never have a problem with your scopes or guns.

Gryff
05-04-2011, 7:37 AM
So the consensus is to add extra locks to my SKB case that come standard with TSA type 2 locks? There are provisions to add key or combo locks to outer sides of case. Currently have the 2SKB-5009.

I would (and do).

Vulture
05-04-2011, 10:57 PM
Ive flown about 10 times in the last calendar year with pistols (cant imagine long guns would be to different aside from the extra piece of baggage).

I use a hard sided (.66" thick aluminum) case with two keyed padlocks that Ive never given up the keys to. The ticket counter folks have me open the bag I have the gun box in and put the unloaded declaration card on the box.

The procedure varies a bit depending on airport. In Seattle I have to walk my bag over to a TSA inspection station. They open the outer bag and wipe it down looking for... whatever but dont need/want to open the gun box itself. He locks it up and says thanks and I walk away. It did come up positive for glycerin once and the TSA agent asked if I'd used hand sanitzer to which I replied yes (its a freaking airport, of course I used some) and that was it.

In Sacramento the outer bag goes into a back room as they dont have TSA stations aside from behind the counter and the TSA lock on the outer bag is the only thing unlocked, again the keys to the actual gun box are still in my pocket.

The other airports Ive been through are a mix of the two. Do not use TSA locks on your actual gun bag, use real locks and save the TSA lock for the outer bag if carrying a pistol. With a long gun, use a stout hard sided case and put on real locks of your choice that no one else has the combo/key to.

You shouldnt have any issues. What I did is put my name and cell number seriously taped to the outside of the actual gun box so they have no excuse/cant miss my info to call me to open it if need be. Also, with my tinfoil hat on firmly, I put a second set of locks in the bag just in case they cut them off so they cant say they couldnt put my bag on the plane because there was no locks on the gun box, because they cut them off.

Hope it helps,

Vulture

Rebellious
05-04-2011, 11:23 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGjddG5Owsc

Best 39 min I have ever spent on youtube. Well worth it