PDA

View Full Version : Transporting firearms on a plane (with two different airlines)?


Anchors
07-06-2011, 10:41 PM
I've read all the regulations, laws, and suggestions related to flying with firearms.
My only question is this:
I have a flight on U.S. Airways with connecting flights on Continental.

Does my bagged checked by U.S. Airways need to follow Continental's firearm rules, or just U.S. Airways?

Also, can I still check my bag straight through to my final destination even though I'm using two different companies? (They are in the same "alliance", the Star Alliance).

Thanks.

Twystd1
07-06-2011, 11:11 PM
Have you found any differences between U.S Airways and Continentals rules?
That is where i would start my research......

NOTE:

Note: I have taken rifles and pistols on plane trips throughout the USA.
Multiple carriers as well.
Never had a problem with different rules on different airlines.

And yes I have done this recently....

Tis a good question though. Maybe someone else will chime in....

T

bwiese
07-06-2011, 11:19 PM
You should comply with all standards of all airlines you're on. I don't think any are in conflict/
opposition, some may just be more stringent in certain aspects. Even if leg A has some reduced
requirement compared with that of leg B, comply with leg B. It'd be ungood to 'have a problem'
and not end up with your arms at your destination.
.
Your guns are conveyed like the rest of your luggage, and in general should be 'checked straight
thru' to your destination. You'll find that out from your gate agent. [Possibly due to some airport
architectures and/or long layovers you might have to collect your luggage in the carousel after
one leg, and re-check it back in for subsequent leg, but that is very rare.]
.
Multileg flights are where things can get screwed up, especially with tight connections caused by
weather delays - where you could end up on a plane without your luggage. Get to your next gate
ASAP when deplaning from a prior leg and ask the gate agent if your luggage will make it to this
flight. You may well get a very blonde smiling "yes" from the girl, at which time your confidence
level should be reduced and you should mention that you are travelling with declared firearms and
want to ensure that you and your guns are travelling together - so that the guns don't end up
unattended on a carousel in Hoboken. There's a fair chance that will elicit a walkie-talkie call down
to the ramp to verify your luggage items are there.

hoffmang
07-06-2011, 11:40 PM
Try to figure out which airline is actually operating the flight (not codesharing) and follow their regs. Mainly you want to follow the regs of the operator of the first leg at check in...

-Gene

Anchors
07-07-2011, 3:29 AM
You should comply with all standards of all airlines you're on. I don't think any are in conflict/
opposition, some may just be more stringent in certain aspects. Even if leg A has some reduced
requirement compared with that of leg B, comply with leg B. It'd be ungood to 'have a problem'
and not end up with your arms at your destination.
.
Your guns are conveyed like the rest of your luggage, and in general should be 'checked straight
thru' to your destination. You'll find that out from your gate agent. [Possibly due to some airport
architectures and/or long layovers you might have to collect your luggage in the carousel after
one leg, and re-check it back in for subsequent leg, but that is very rare.]
.
Multileg flights are where things can get screwed up, especially with tight connections caused by
weather delays - where you could end up on a plane without your luggage. Get to your next gate
ASAP when deplaning from a prior leg and ask the gate agent if your luggage will make it to this
flight. You may well get a very blonde smiling "yes" from the girl, at which time your confidence
level should be reduced and you should mention that you are travelling with declared firearms and
want to ensure that you and your guns are travelling together - so that the guns don't end up
unattended on a carousel in Hoboken. There's a fair chance that will elicit a walkie-talkie call down
to the ramp to verify your luggage items are there.


Yeah I have a tight layover in DFW (50 minutes is tight in that airport based on experience last time I was there by myself, which was when I was 12. But that was right after 9/11). That is pretty good advice. I have heard that having a firearm declared can actually help you leverage your concerns about luggage, boarding times, etc. I'm also flying first class for the first time, which I'm pretty excited about, but am unsure if that helps at all.

Try to figure out which airline is actually operating the flight (not codesharing) and follow their regs. Mainly you want to follow the regs of the operator of the first leg at check in...

-Gene

It says "U.S. Airways (United)" on the U.S. Airways itinerary, but everything else says "operated by U.S. Airways", "U.S. Airways flight", and even "these U.S. Airways points can be shared with United, etc flights".

I guess I will appeal to the lowest common denominator, but from what I've reading flying with one small pistol, one magazine, a holster, and a box of ammo will be about the same with all three. It gets dicey when you are hauling lots of stuff for a shoot/hunt/whatever.

I'm expecting the worst. I've been flying alone regularly since I was eight years old, so I have a pretty decent grasp of the system. I have never flown with a firearm before though. I'm half expecting the person at the LAX counter to start screaming MWAG when I say "declare a firearm".

Oceanbob
07-07-2011, 5:29 AM
Discreet Fed Ex.

mrrsquared79
07-07-2011, 10:59 AM
Ryan,

Check this website and watch his youtube video(IIRC it is over 30 minutes) , it is very informative and somewhat entertaining on how to fly with firearms while providing the best way to get through all the reg's of airlines/TSA.

http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

Briancnelson
07-07-2011, 11:15 AM
All of the domestic "Star Alliance" partners have compatible firearms rules. I've flown on several connecting flights within their partnership without incident with a checked firearm.

There's a good chance they'll lose your luggage, but it probably won't be because of that.

Some of the Star Alliance are international as well, I believe (Lufthansa?). I don't know about their gun rules, and that's a whole different ball of wax.

bwiese
07-07-2011, 12:11 PM
oh - don't fly to the East Coast such that any flight diversion lands you in NY or NJ, etc.

paul0660
07-07-2011, 12:18 PM
I never considered this problem. Once the cased firearm has been inspected and cleared by TSA at origin, what beef can an airline have, even in the case of an obvious long gun case?

hoffmang
07-07-2011, 2:45 PM
I have never flown with a firearm before though. I'm half expecting the person at the LAX counter to start screaming MWAG when I say "declare a firearm".

I flew USAirways SFO->CLT->Knoxville and back in the last couple of months with a full operators kit...

I've also flown various airlines out of LAX armed. The biggest problem you will have is that they often hand you the form for Federal Agents and LEOs with letters to carry a firearm onboard the passenger side. Politely hand that back to them and remind them you're checking it.

-Gene

Anchors
07-08-2011, 1:07 AM
Thank you CGN for your quick and informative answers.
This is why people come back to the site!

Ryan,

Check this website and watch his youtube video(IIRC it is over 30 minutes) , it is very informative and somewhat entertaining on how to fly with firearms while providing the best way to get through all the reg's of airlines/TSA.

http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

Great link. I had been pouring over that site and video the whole day yesterday after I posted this thread. Some great advice there.
Interesting that he recommended people who travel with expensive materials simply throw a "firearm" of some kind in the case in order to be able to lock them in a hard-sided case with non-TSA locks.
Interesting concept, firearm owners getting special privileged!

All of the domestic "Star Alliance" partners have compatible firearms rules. I've flown on several connecting flights within their partnership without incident with a checked firearm.

There's a good chance they'll lose your luggage, but it probably won't be because of that.

Some of the Star Alliance are international as well, I believe (Lufthansa?). I don't know about their gun rules, and that's a whole different ball of wax.

As mentioned I've been flying alone since I was eight and while I've had problems with luggage, I've never outright lost any.
Is this something that has been happening the last few years? Is there really anything I can do about it?

Have you ever lost your bags? Was there a firearm in one? and lastly, did they cover it through insurance?
Luckily this time around it will only be a $300 pistol (PF9), $25 of ammo, and a $100 worth of belt/holster. So if it gets lost I'm not devastated...
But if I was flying out to go on a shooting trip, that might be an issue.

oh - don't fly to the East Coast such that any flight diversion lands you in NY or NJ, etc.

I was reading about that.
Sucks because Chicago is one of the biggest hubs in the country, luckily I almost always fly direct or connect through somewhere in Texas. This time has stops in DFW, Phoenix, and Charlotte. All places I am familiar with and have good gun laws.
It would seem the safe passage rules would apply to airlines, no?
I guess someone said if you get delayed and they make you take possession of your checked bags at the layover, it could cause issues.

I flew USAirways SFO->CLT->Knoxville and back in the last couple of months with a full operators kit...

I've also flown various airlines out of LAX armed. The biggest problem you will have is that they often hand you the form for Federal Agents and LEOs with letters to carry a firearm onboard the passenger side. Politely hand that back to them and remind them you're checking it.

-Gene

That is reassuring.
Haha I've read it is extremely hard for LEOs to get cleared to fly armed (unless their job requires it: Air Marshal, fugitive transport, etc).

Have they ever actually had you pull anything out and show them the clear chamber in the check-in area?
I read about it, but I was extremely surprised because we all know how the general public in some places can freak out about a firearm being cocked, especially in an airport.
Plus, it seems safer from the airport's standpoint to just not touch it at all and let the machines see what is going on inside the chamber.

Briancnelson
07-08-2011, 10:25 AM
I have had a few problems with Star Partner airlines losing my luggage where I was transferring between partners.

They always eventually returned the luggage to me intact, it just ended up in the wrong place. It was not a gun in any of the three cases where luggage was lost, just clothes. In one case they lost my clothes but the gun arrived fine. I think they pay better attention to guns.

There isn't much you can do about it except try and keep your flights on one airline as much as possible. Where it isn't, just cross your fingers.

hoffmang
07-08-2011, 11:29 AM
I've been handed the "carry on board" form 4 times... I must look like a cop...

I've never had anyone have me manipulate my firearm beyond, when I had an open bolt on my rifle, they asked me to tip it up.

-Gene

IDPA4U
07-08-2011, 12:23 PM
I've been handed the "carry on board" form 4 times... I must look like a cop...

I've never had anyone have me manipulate my firearm beyond, when I had an open bolt on my rifle, they asked me to tip it up.

-Gene

I have had similar experiences. Always makes me think how many people are carrying on board. Its so automatic to get the "Carry on board" form or be asked if I am carrying on the plane (especially at LAX), that I assume its very very routine. My LEO friends have their departments file the paperwork a lot when they travel to avoid loosing their weapon in a lost bag and to skip the TSA line.

For the most part I am almost never asked to show the weapon. Every now and then though you get the stickler who wants to see everything and generally ammo is the biggest problem. Weight per airline rules and packaging are the big culprits...

Had a friend fly with almost 300 rounds in loaded magazines back from a government contract and was told they must be in manufacture's boxes or boxes "designed for ammunition". He argued the ammo was far more secure in the magazines but in the end was about to miss his flight so he left the ammo with TSA. About a month latter he got a bill from TSA for the HAZMAT disposal charge for thousands of dollars! He eventually fought it and didn't pay a dime but just a heads up.

Fjold
07-08-2011, 3:41 PM
As long as the two airlines have a baggage handling agreement there are no issues. (All the Star Alliance Partners have an agreement)

I've flown United to South African Airlines and South African to Lufthansa Airlines and checked my gun all the way through with no issues.

The same thing with Delta to Air Namibia, US Airways to Continental and US Airways to United.

Anchors
07-08-2011, 5:10 PM
I see some airlines list "firearms related items" as checked items.
I was kind of hoping to carry my new holster with me because I don't want the kydex sleeve getting crushed by someone who doesn't care about my bags.
But I guess I'll just throw it in a cardboard box and in my checked bag.

Also, this is what I'm checking. Is there any problem with my connect a metal chain to one of the locks and chaining it to the frame of my main luggage case that it will ride inside?
(It is one of those stiff pieces of luggage that has a metal frame holding it up, but probably still not technically a "hard-sided case" or is it?

http://stonearmsinc.com/cart/images/PF9tan.jpg

I've been handed the "carry on board" form 4 times... I must look like a cop...

I've never had anyone have me manipulate my firearm beyond, when I had an open bolt on my rifle, they asked me to tip it up.

-Gene

If you travel on business and wear business attire on flights, I would imagine that is the reason for the assumption.

When my haircut is tight and I wear decent (business casual or better) clothes and firearms come up, people sometimes assume I'm a LEO/Military, even with all the tattoos haha (not that most of those guys don't have tattoos as well).

I have had similar experiences. Always makes me think how many people are carrying on board. Its so automatic to get the "Carry on board" form or be asked if I am carrying on the plane (especially at LAX), that I assume its very very routine. My LEO friends have their departments file the paperwork a lot when they travel to avoid loosing their weapon in a lost bag and to skip the TSA line.

For the most part I am almost never asked to show the weapon. Every now and then though you get the stickler who wants to see everything and generally ammo is the biggest problem. Weight per airline rules and packaging are the big culprits...

Had a friend fly with almost 300 rounds in loaded magazines back from a government contract and was told they must be in manufacture's boxes or boxes "designed for ammunition". He argued the ammo was far more secure in the magazines but in the end was about to miss his flight so he left the ammo with TSA. About a month latter he got a bill from TSA for the HAZMAT disposal charge for thousands of dollars! He eventually fought it and didn't pay a dime but just a heads up.

WOW. I thought it was a lot harder for LEOs to get cleared to fly armed. I think you have to have a special training course and approval from the feds, no?
That is ridiculous about the ammunition, I know some airlines will let you keep it in magazines if you have a magazine pouch (or cover similar to PMags).
Now that I think about it, I think that might be one of the main reasons PMags have that cover, because no one using them in the dirt is going to leave the cover on and have to pop it off every time they need to change mags.

As long as the two airlines have a baggage handling agreement there are no issues. (All the Star Alliance Partners have an agreement)

I've flown United to South African Airlines and South African to Lufthansa Airlines and checked my gun all the way through with no issues.

The same thing with Delta to Air Namibia, US Airways to Continental and US Airways to United.

Nice!
I was kind of waiting for you to comment because I vaguely remember you posting often about hunting trips in several different remote places.

Not to go too OT: But I'm still surprised that there are foreign countries that let you bring your firearms in. It amazes me that I literally can't visit any of the countries I want to visit/have visited while armed.

hoffmang
07-08-2011, 6:34 PM
I see some airlines list "firearms related items" as checked items.
I was kind of hoping to carry my new holster with me because I don't want the kydex sleeve getting crushed by someone who doesn't care about my bags.
But I guess I'll just throw it in a cardboard box and in my checked bag.
Holsters are fine for carry on, but don't carry on magazines or bolts, ammo, etc.

Also, this is what I'm checking. Is there any problem with my connect a metal chain to one of the locks and chaining it to the frame of my main luggage case that it will ride inside?
(It is one of those stiff pieces of luggage that has a metal frame holding it up, but probably still not technically a "hard-sided case" or is it?

That's a hard sided cases. You can chain it in the interior, but it too must be locked up so that it can't be opened while inside a "whatever" exterior bag.

-Gene

OriginalDuplicate
07-08-2011, 9:37 PM
I would say (This is just my opinion from my experience traveling with firearms through airlines) to meet the first airlines policies. That is the only time the actual hard case is opened and the firearm is checked. After that, YOU lock up the hard case with a NON-TSA lock, pocket the key and go on your merry way. They are not allowed to put any identifying tags, stickers or any other identifying markers on the piece of luggage showing it has a firearm inside.

When I traveled, I bought a nice big Pelican case. I used it as my checked luggage. Put all my clothes, boots, etc in it and placed a soft case with handgun inside right on top before closing the pelican case and placing 2 locks on the outside.

It brings me great piece of mind when your luggage is locked up that secure as opposed to soft sided luggage with a cheap TSA lock that just about anybody can get a master key for. I may travel with a hand gun for all my flights after my experience.

I would definitely get to LAX early. I have heard a couple horror stories about how long it takes for TSA to check your hard case and you have to be present. I didn't have an issue but I always like to be on the safe side.

Anchors
07-08-2011, 9:45 PM
Holsters are fine for carry on, but don't carry on magazines or bolts, ammo, etc.

That's a hard sided cases. You can chain it in the interior, but it too must be locked up so that it can't be opened while inside a "whatever" exterior bag.

-Gene

Sounds good. If I had large hard case like the poster below, I would just do it that way and lock all my stuff. I just wasn't sure if a chain would be a problem (who knows these days).
It is always good to ask here because we all know there can be a discrepancy between official policy and what actually flies when you're down to 30 minutes before your departure.

I would say (This is just my opinion from my experience traveling with firearms through airlines) to meet the first airlines policies. That is the only time the actual hard case is opened and the firearm is checked. After that, YOU lock up the hard case with a NON-TSA lock, pocket the key and go on your merry way. They are not allowed to put any identifying tags, stickers or any other identifying markers on the piece of luggage showing it has a firearm inside.

When I traveled, I bought a nice big Pelican case. I used it as my checked luggage. Put all my clothes, boots, etc in it and placed a soft case with handgun inside right on top before closing the pelican case and placing 2 locks on the outside.

It brings me great piece of mind when your luggage is locked up that secure as opposed to soft sided luggage with a cheap TSA lock that just about anybody can get a master key for. I may travel with a hand gun for all my flights after my experience.

I would definitely get to LAX early. I have heard a couple horror stories about how long it takes for TSA to check your hard case and you have to be present. I didn't have an issue but I always like to be on the safe side.

Yeah I would preferably do it that way, but I can't afford a large Pelican or SKB right now. I wish though.

I'm going to get there three hours before my flight because I'm paranoid and don't mind extra time. I would rather be early than rush...that will be enough time, right?