Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
Delays with screening happen, but I'll always prefer that as long as I have my firearms cases in sight when they're opened.

MSO --> SLC --> PHL

PHL --> SLC --> SEA

Luggage & Gear
A series of quick trips, culminating with a weekend in Philly for the 4th of July. I think I only had two Pelican cases on these bounces, along with my carry pistol, the Walther PPS, and some beater 1911 just to lock up the other case.


First Leg
Sherry from Alaska Airlines got me processed pretty quickly. The TSA was pawing about in my case, then did a chem swab, too. After opening every zipped bag imaginable inside of my Pelican, I was cleared. At least I was standing right there for this process.


Second Leg
Missoula early mornings had become my norm, but I was running late today. Carson W and Jesse helped me get through things fast, even though the TSA had to open one case. It wasn't that big a deal, however... and Jesse from Delta stayed with me the whole way through screening. I was the last person to get on my plane, along with an unaccompanied minor who was being escorted aboard.


Third Leg
Alea and Tiffany from Delta helped me check-in amid potential delays. They got me protected on later flights in case my itinerary fell apart, but all worked out in the end. Troy, a 3rd party airport contract worker, hauled my bags to the TSA right there in the lobby, where I watched them give one Pelican case a right pounding while the other cleared easily. Ahmed Davis was the TSO who wanted to paw all through one of the cases. 15 minutes after I had checked-in, I was cleared to go.


Final Details & Thoughts
It's a good thing I had a long fuse on me in Philadelphia that day. Folk were pushing every one of my buttons. This is an example of how you can have the "best" possible TSA scenario in many cities (that is, being directly present when they screen your cases) and still be delayed or annoyed. But, at least I was never uncertain as to what was up with my guns.

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