Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
A free lock from the TSA got me out of Las Vegas.
PHL --> IAH --> LAS
2015-08-02


LAS --> ORD --> PHL
2015-08-11


Luggage & Gear
What can I say... this trip to Black Hat and DEF CON was one with a ton of luggage and gear, as always. :-)

With my Uber XL totally packed to the brim, I was off to fly to Las Vegas.

 

Outbound Travel
I grabbed a skycap outside named Charles who carted all of my gear in to the United counter where Sergio and Christopher were laughing it up as they assisted me with the check-in. My usual pal Chris was hauling the bags back while Lance Dufner walked by with more good chatter all-around.

Renne came out, as well, talking about seeing me all the time and how she and the others knew that I was well-experienced in this process. Eight minutes after the bags went back we were told that they key was needed. Five minutes later Serge commented that things were taking a while. He and othe Prime Flight employees went back to see on things and reported that the bags were being swab tested. Eventually, 14 minutes after taking my key, we were all done. I kept saying hi to various United staff members as I went up to passenger screening.

 

Homebound Travel
Flying back to Philly after DEFCON was pretty straightforward, escept for one hiccup. The kiosk went quickly for me and Carols D. Cauguin checked me in.

The bags went back to the TSA's screening room, and four minutes later imagine my surprise when I was told one lock was missing from the luggage. It turns out in my haste I had misplaced one of the Abloy locks and thus one case could be slightly wiggled open on one corner. The TSA called around a bit and eventually one screener just gave me a spare TSA-compliant lock that they had in a bin back there. He told me the code and even though I'm never wild about flying with such a puny lock on my cases, the fact that it was opposite a proper Abloy satisfied me at the time.

I thanked TSO Bashrilo for his generosity and was on my way.

 

Final Details & Thoughts
I was appreciative of the TSA's generosity in Las Vegas... but as some upcoming research will show, the TSA-compliant locks are barely worth the metal from which they're fabricated. So I'm just glad that everything got home safe and sound.

 

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