Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
Always demand to take your gun cases to the Oversize screening area in Orlando.
LAS --> MCO
2016-09-11


MCO --> PHL
2016-06-16


Luggage & Gear
After running a training in Las Vegas I immediately flew that night to Florida where I was speaking at an infrastructure security conference. All my gear came along, with the same pistols and such that I had been using for the previous trips.

 

Outbound Travel
Rhonda in Las Vegas had my competely tagged up in one minute, and also complimented me for having my phone number on the outside of each case, so they could call me if they needed to. My lugggage went back and ten minutes later exactly I went back up to the counter. Rhonda assured me that I could "just go" but I pushed back, telling her I needed positive confirmation before I was released. She and a number of other folk at the counter didn't know quite what to do but one of them suggested "Node Three" and this was understood to be enough information for someone to pick up a phone. Sure enough, the TSA on the other end stated that the cases were still on the belt to be processed, and asked that we call back in five minutes. Repeatedly she tried to call them back but found their line busy each time. Eventually, I received a call from 702-261-5680. It was someone a few Delta counters down, telling me they were trying to clear problems with the cases in the back and still working on it. Eventually, 41 minutes after I had checked-in, Mirasol from Delta approached me to tell me in person that all was set. What a headache.

 

Homebound Travel
Bob G from Delta checked me in a minute before noon in Florida. His supervisor, James, commented that I wasn't using TSA-compliant locks. "They prefer that here," he asserted. Whatever. Ten minutes after the bags were sent back, I asked Bob and James to call the TSA to confirm that things had cleared. Everyone refused to, becoming rude and giving me lots of static in the process. I asked them call Delta Ops who might confirm that the baggage is within Delta's system now. They refused. We've seen time and time again that Orlando is a problem airport when they send luggage down on the usual belt, and this was no exception.

 

Final Details & Thoughts
Always demand to take your gun cases to the Oversize screening area in Orlando.

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