Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
Yes, flying with firearms out of New York City airports is possible, if you know the rules.
MSO --> MSP --> PHL
2016-04-13


JFK --> AUS
2016-04-16


AUS --> SLC --> MSO
2016-04-23


Luggage & Gear
This was an interesting trip plan, given that I'd be in NYC. The guns would have to stay with friends in northern PA and be picked up just before I departed out of JFK for my flight to Austin where my team was running a week-long training.

 

First Leg
Mark from Delta was super fast. At 04:07 I was at TSA. A very young screener named Jared was checking his panel when my cases came through. He called over another TSO, Larry, two minutes later. "That's fine," Larry remarked, "this guy [meaning me] always has guns. His stuff alerts from time to time." They cleared the alert a minute later and I was on my way.

 

Second Leg
Late in the afternoon, after loads of driving, we made it to (pause for dramatic effect) New York City's JFK airport. After alighting from our vehicle and walking smartly and directly up to the Delta counter, we presented ourselves for check-in to Austin. Sandra B, the rep working there, became super distressed when I told her I had to declare a firearm. She made some calls and we were greeted shortly thereafter by Officer Solomon from the Port Authority police. He spent some time peppering us with questions, trying to determine if our firearms were truly transiting through New York or if they had been in the city overnight. He then recorded details of the guns in his patrol notebook and told Delta to send us along on our way. About 13 minutes after our luggage was sent down on a belt, a delta rep told me all was clear.

 

Third Leg
Thomas S was working the counter super early in the AM (around 04:30) and was heard to audbily mutter "Jesus" under his breath when he learned that I and my associate Robert were flying with firearms. We went to an oversize bag scanning area in a side room where TSA cleared all of our cases in under 5 minutes. They only performed a chemical swab test as we looked on from the hallway.

 

Final Details & Thoughts
Yes, flying with firearms out of New York City airports is possible, if you know the rules. I won't pretend it wasn't a harrowing experience, however, and I had my phone totally powered off and it as well as all of my other devices fully encrypted in case I wound up arrested. Take care out there, everyone!

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
  

wheels up - luggage screened directly in front of you; you were certain the firearms cleared
wheels down - luggage arrived promptly and undisturbed


Three Stars
  
wheels up - luggage screened relatively near you you; you were fairly sure the firearms cleared
wheels down - luggage arrived with little delay but possibly bearing zip ties or other nonsense

Two Stars
  
wheels up - luggage screened somewhere totally removed from you; only indirect assurances that your firearms cleared
wheels down - luggage was very slow to arrive and/or you had some difficult interactions with airline staff

One Star
  
wheels up - luggage screened somewhere totally removed from you; no one could assure you that your firearms cleared
wheels down - luggage was misrouted or mishandled and had to be delivered to you later

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