Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
At least i could observe the TSA pull everything apart
SEA--> DEN --> MSO

Luggage & Gear
On this trip I had my usual Pelican cases, Abloy locks, and a pistol or two. Probably either my H&K USPc or my Walther PPS, plus a beater 1911.


Outbound Travel
The only substantial note I have on this trip was that the TSA pulled everything apart from my luggage at the screening area. Seattle is actually a nice airport, since all of the check-in hall areas feed to a single "special" baggage zone if you have firearms. Located in a little out-of-the-way corner, there's no hassle or difficulty in viewing what is happening with your bags.

I have found that it's a crapshoot often in Seattle as to whether the TSA wants to open the luggage or not, however. If you have what they think is a "rifle" case, often they will just swab the outside for explosive trace residue. If they know you only have pistols (plus other personal effects) then they will often want to check it by hand...


Homebound Travel
I don't have homebound notes on this trip for whatever reason... I was flying back to Missoula from Seattle, so I suppose this already WAS the homebound leg.


Final Details & Thoughts
I've gotten quite good at giving the TSA the impression that I have a "rifle" case even if it contains other personal effects. It has significantly reduced my headache when getting screened.

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