Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
Flying with a bare receiver worked well, yet again.
MSO --> DEN--> IAH --> PHL

Luggage & Gear
Yet again, I made the choice to include a bare AR receiver in one of my cases, since I am enjoying this method of flying with "firearms" and I want to see how folk in various airports treat it. :-) Two of my three Peli cases had AR receivers and one contained my H&K USPc with ammo.


This was a super early flight out of Montana for me. After a 5:58 AM check-in with Harrison W at the United counter (where no one wanted to visibly inspect my firearms like in the past) I went just over to the TSA who is around a corner. TSO Brian Algie screened the cases and in the process radioed for an STSO, saying, "Can I get a supervisor out here to clear a shield on a firearm?" Interestingly, while various TSOs were looking at their monitors, I heard them comment to one another, "I don't see one, do you?" (presumably, they couldn't see the "firearms" in some luggage. However, they simply asked me if I had a gun in each case and I assured them that I did. Nothing further was said.

Two minutes after the radio call, STSO Van Maanen came out and did a manual check of one case that contained a lot of metal. He and TSO Aglie pulled that case totally apart. Still, in three minutes the screening of that heavy case was complete and I was on my way.

I had a great time on this trip, despite the journey being all to heck and back (for reasons of cheapest routing). In Texas I took a selfie looking over the airfield for my little girl who was asking where I was.

I also experienced the joy that comes from watching luggage handlers tossing and throwing suitcases, assured that my Pelican gear would handle any punishment that travel can dish out.

At one point, the little tug train of bags rolled along without my gear being put on the conveyor belt. As a seasoned traveler, I knew that this was because priority tagged bags are loaded last on a plane (for faster arrival at bag claim later) but even if I wasn't aware of why, I still wouldn't have had much concern... since the cases were heavily-locked and I knew that things within them would be protected.


Final Details & Thoughts
A great trip, and a fun time flying with my usual gear. As an homage to all the recent news stories about "hackers on planes" doing "scary things" I opted to pass the journey picking locks in between reading chapters of books on my Kindle. :-)


Air Travel Ratings
If you don't have the time or the desire to read the full text of someone's account of air travel, you can simply refer to the rating shown at the conclusion of each portion of that person's journey. The following criteria are used in assigning these ratings...

Four Stars

check-in - no hassle, no delay
screening - in full view, lock and unlock yourself
luggage - all on time and intact

Three Stars
check-in - some delay or mild hassle
screening - somewhat obscured, locking and unlocking yourself or it's done directly in front of you
luggage - all on time and intact

Two Stars
check-in - major delay or major hassle
screening - in a room or area that you could not enter and could barely observe
luggage - luggage opened non-destructively

One Star
check-in - flight missed or passenger delayed from flying, properly packed items denied as luggage
screening - luggage unlocked and opened totally in another area fully removed from you
luggage - destructive entry into luggage and/or tampering with firearms

Zero Stars
This is a special category for outright theft, loss, or damage of firearms during air travel
half-star results are possible... naturally, they involve partial or mitigated problems that somehow fall in-between the above categories