Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
Through Seattle on a one-night turnaround. Hooray for early morning smoothness.

MSO --> DEN --> PHL

Luggage & Gear
Leaving MysterCon for my place in Montana, I still had my same luggage from Boston... two Pelican cases with an H&K USPc and an AR receiver. Plus one more case of gear, that was shipped to me from another event back East. That case had a flare gun only. Abloy locks kept everything secure and well.


Outbound Travel
At 08:39 in the morning, I was in the full-service check-in line with everyone else (since I was flying Alaska Air.) As always when I fly Alaska, things are smooth but something always goes wrong. In this case, my Global Entry Known Traveler Number totally failed to work in their system so no pre-check for me. And I had to pay $200 in luggage fees. Still, Kelcy did a good job of taking care of things and in less than ten minutes I was at the TSA screening area... a little frosted-glass booth in the check-in hall.

The screener simply did a swab test of the outside of my luggage, something that I don't often see...

... and when that came up fine, I was done. No unlock necessary.


Homebound Travel
Flying east from Montana was a supremely early in the morning affair. By 05:42 AM I was at the TSA screening area with my cases heading through the CTX machine. When one case alerted (because it was The CORE Group's public workshop case) the TSA decided to take out all of my locks and tools and gear...

...but, even so, only five minutes after things were unpacked, it was all locked up again and I was on my way. Easy as always in Montana.


Final Details & Thoughts
So far, no static from using a bare receiver as a declared firearm. It may be an interesting conversation when that happens... but I'll surely mention it here!


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