Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
I wish Las Vegas had a special items TSA screening area right there in the check-in hall.
MSO --> SLC --> LAS
2016-07-27


LAS --> SLC --> MSO
2017-06-08


Luggage & Gear
I was home in Montana for only one night before turning back around to head to Black Hat, DEF CON, and a city I love spending time in. Lots of Pelican cases of gear and guns came with me. After all, I run the DEF CON Shoot. ;-)

 

Outbound Travel
The lady checking me in was a little flustered but still and all I was cleared at the TSA only 10 minutes after walking up to the counter. They had to open one of my Pelican cases (the one that contained a variety of AR uppers) allegedly because of the barrels being close together and hard to discern in detail.

 

Homebound Travel
Flying out of Vegas is always a crapshoot and typically entails a small hassle. Timothy processed my luggage very fast at the counter, then sent them back on the belt and told me to "wait about 15 minutes then go to the gate." Yeah, no. I don't play that game. I waited at the door near the screening room for exactly 15 minutes then walked back to the counter. Timothy said he'd call to inquire about the status of my cases. He dialed a four-digit extension on his phone then informed me that "Steve" from the TSA needed my key. Tim was profusely thankful to me for being diligent. Three minutes later I was handing my key to a TSA screener who was (somewhat inexplicably) wearing protective eyewear. It sounded like only the smallest of my cases (which was packed with locks and classroom demo supplies that we used at Black Hat) needed to be opened. As I waited outside of the screening room, I enjoyed a laugh with someone there who was wearing a certain Gruntstyle shirt that I'd seen before...

After this other gentleman and I waited for what seemed like forever (but turned out to only be about 15 minutes) for our firearms to clear. Eventually the TSA fellow brought my key back out. He said it was indeed just the one case. I had no idea why it would take so long, unless they literally pulled out every single lock and pick tool from my classroom kit. It turned out to have been repacked adequately, however.

 

Final Details & Thoughts
I wish Las Vegas had a special items TSA screening area right there in the check-in hall.

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