Account of Flying with Firearms

Brian
Thanks for providing a great page on the travels with firearms, it helped me prepare well for my trip with my sidearm.
DTW --> LAS
2014-07-17


LAS --> DTW
2014-07-23


Luggage & Gear
Pelican 1120 & 2 separately keyed Master Locks, one locked on each end of the Pelican case. Case included my Glock 23, 3 Magazines and 1 50 round box of my carry ammo. Glock was in the case with the foam padding, locked open with a chamber lock run through it. Empty magazines were placed inside along with the ammo in the box. Pelican was placed in my larger American Tourister suit case.

 

Outbound Travel
Airline Check-In Staff: I arrived at the main Delta terminal in Detroit, proceeded to the counter and informed the agent that I had an unloaded firearm to declare. She directed me to the end of the main counter (where you pickup unaccompanied minors). The agent there had me fill out the Unloaded Firearms Declaration card with the date and my cell phone number incase there were any questions. She had me open the case and show her the firearm (in the case). She complimented me on using a chamber lock on it and had me close it back up and put it back in my suit case. She placed a standard checked luggage slip on the bag and placed it on the belt. Literally nothing out of the normal checking of the bag other than the declaration.

No secondary screening was performed.

Departure TSA Screeners were great, in fact even though I'm not a pre-check passenger, they let me go through that line and that made the process even faster. No removal of shoes, no body scanner. Just the regular metal detector and a chemical swap to my hands.

Flight out was great, no other delays due to the firearm.

Baggage Arrival was normal, came off the belt at LAS with all of the others, no secondary search notes inside. Locks were still intact and declaration form was still present.

 

Homebound Travel
Airline Check-In staff: I arrived at the main Delta counter in Las Vegas proceeded to the counter and informed the agent that I had an unloaded firearm to declare. She asked if it was in a secured case and I answered yes. She asked to see the case as well as have me open it . She commented that the locks had to be TSA approved locks. I politely corrected her that they actually should NOT be TSA locks as I am to be the only person with a key. I opened the case for her, she visually checked the pistol was in the case. She then handed me a declaration form and I filled it out. She initially wanted to place the declaration tag inside the Pelican case, I informed her that it needed to be outside it, she eventually agreed without much fuss. She then advised me to go wait out by the front of the ticket counter and if I had heard nothing in 15 mins that I could proceed to the main security screening area and go to my gate. She placed a standard luggage check slip on my bag and placed it on the belt. I waited 20 mins and asked an agent if I needed to do anything more. She told me I was all set to go to my gate if I was not contacted after checking my bag. Other than not understanding the lock situation and where to put the declaration form, it was fairly hassle free.

Departure TSA Screeners were great, no problems at all going through security. No chemical swabs through the checkpoint this time. Body scanner was used and standard non pre-check x-ray rules were in effect. (remove laptop, shoes, etc)

Flight out was great, no other delays due to the firearm.

Baggage Arrival was normal, came off the belt at DTW with all of the others, no secondary search notes inside. Locks were still intact and declaration form was still present.

 

 

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