Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
A simple and easy trip. For once, I wasn't flying for work!


Luggage & Gear
My future wife and I went to visit family and friends in Colorado for Thanksgiving. We each had Pelican Air 1615 cases with my carry pistol in one, a bare receiver in the other, and Abloy locks on everything.


Outbound Travel
Diane was at the Seattle Sky Priority desk and she remembered us from my passport catastrophe with our Vienna trip. She expressed a little surprise at the fact that I only had a bare receiver in one case, but everything went quickly and easily enough with the team of folk there at the check-in counters. I walked down to the TSA where my case alerted on the swab test. No one wanted to touch it until an LTSO or STSO could get there. They swabbed Tarah's and that was clear. LTSO Jeremy Keller appeared and had me unlock my case. They resolved everything quickly, we re-locked, and were on our way.


Homebound Travel
Leaving Denver just after Thanksgiving made us very glad there was a priority lane for Delta and that we were in it. Tanya H got us all tagged and set in under four minutes, then called Raphael to take us to the CTX machines. Apparently (at least according to my notes) Raphael wasn't available, so Carolyn found Luigi who assisted us. Luigi rolled our cases on a cart for a while, until the elusive Raphael met us, him having returned from the main terminal just then. The screening room was very far away, but we got there easily enough. We stood outside the door behind a small rope and stanchion barrier. Someone came by to ask me to sign paperwork indicating that I was satisfied with the TSA's screening process. I declined to, given that the screening was not yet complete.

A gentleman in a suit, who stated that he was from a TSA office in Washington, DC, explained that this was a new screening process being used and that they were getting feedback from passengers. Everyone was being nice, but they were taking every damn thing out of my luggage and wound up repacking it entirely incorrectly. I had to repeatedly correct them and tell them not to crush my belongings. I never did sign the paperwork.

At passenger screening, TSO James Hannah decided the following items in my wife's bag were far, far too dangerous to be in a plane cabin and told us we had to leave them there. Fortunately, I always travel with a pre-stamped flat rate envelope, so these deadly tools of terrorism made it home to us a couple days later.

Don't you feel safer knowing that these implements couldn't come with us into the plane cabin? I know I sure do, yes sir, yes indeed.


Final Details & Thoughts
A simple and easy trip. For once, I wasn't flying for work!


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