Account of Flying with Firearms

A one way from NOLA back home to Philly, described in Alex's own words.

Luggage & Gear
I used an aluminum locking case made by Classic Safari to carry my pistol. It has two 3 digit combination locks. I had that secured in my normal checked bag that was then locked with the padlock that came with it. Here is a link to the pistol case.


Outbound Travel
The attendant behind the check-in counter was very friendly. I declared I had a firearm and she quickly replied, “Great!” and smiled. She then handed me a form to sign and date indicating that the firearm was unloaded. I pulled out my case and was going to unlock it to show her and she told me it wasn’t necessary and had me attach the form to the case. I then repacked my bag and had my bag weighed and checked. The whole interaction took less than 5 minutes.

Locked Bags – The attendant said nothing about my locks. Firearms Indication – The attendant attached an extra bar code to my bag which I’m assuming indicated my firearm. There was no secondary screening.

I did not have to unlock my case for the TSA and there was absolutely nothing changed about my firearm when I arrived. Baggage Arrival and Condition – My luggage arrived on time and my firearm had not been accessed or disturbed at all.


Final Details & Thoughts
I didn’t have any issues at all with my flight from MSY to PHL. If anything I was surprised at how easy the process was at the desk that checked me in. I was expecting to have to open my case and show them the firearm etc.


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