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Thread: Checking in at Dulles - Speed Tips?

  1. #1
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    Checking in at Dulles - Speed Tips?

    After nearly missing my flight from DFW the other day I thought I'd ping the collective to see if these are any useful tips for speeding things along (read: not getting on the wrong line... twice) when checking in at Dulles. American Airlines.

    I've flown a bunch with checked weapons, so I'm familiar with all the gun details, but when I checked in at AA in DFW I eventually was told that not all ticket counters can handle a checked gun.... wound up having to go to a specific set of counters that handle "full service" check in, just to pick up the stupid TSA signature card so I could go to TSA screening... <insert eyeroll here> . Never had that problem before...

    So..... If you know of any similar "local peculiarities" for AA in Dulles, please help me save some time... My wife wants to arrive 3 hours before out flight so she doesn't have to run down the concourse again... (that and she loves 5 Guys at the gate )

    Is there a specific AA counter for weapons check-in or can I pick up the card at any counter, including the quick-check counter I would normally use after checking in at the automated machine?

    Is there more than one TSA screening location, or is TSA only at one specific location? What is the nearest bag check location to TSA screening?

    What did I forget to ask??

    TIA.!!
    RGB

  2. #2
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer, but since you know there may be an issue, you can probably avoid the same problem this time. I suspect if you ask the first AA employee you encounter about the "full service check-in" they would know. That should at least save you from standing in the wrong line.

    TFred

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    Check with your specific airline first. Either via their website or 800 number. Get to the airport early, go to the Full Service line. That is all you need to do. Then follow the Ticket Agent's instructions.

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    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Can't help you with AA because I just fly with United out of Dulles. I had a similar problem where I didn't have the correct agent but United just got the correct one to come over when she became available. They required that the agent be with the case going to the TSA. I did have a problem with the TSA, they asked for the key so I insisted that I opened the case so they brought it out to me but took it away out of my sight after I opened it. I tried to going to be with eye sight of the case but they would not let me. So for several minutes while they inspected the insides I was fairly anxious. They then brought the case to me to inspect and lock up. I used a pelican case with two Master locks. Return flight, no problem, Medford Oregon airport didn't need to inspect the insides. It is important to remove the stickers they put on the outside from the previous flight so that they won't be confused with the routing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    Can't help you with AA because I just fly with United out of Dulles. I had a similar problem where I didn't have the correct agent but United just got the correct one to come over when she became available. They required that the agent be with the case going to the TSA. I did have a problem with the TSA, they asked for the key so I insisted that I opened the case so they brought it out to me but took it away out of my sight after I opened it. I tried to going to be with eye sight of the case but they would not let me. So for several minutes while they inspected the insides I was fairly anxious. They then brought the case to me to inspect and lock up. I used a pelican case with two Master locks. Return flight, no problem, Medford Oregon airport didn't need to inspect the insides. It is important to remove the stickers they put on the outside from the previous flight so that they won't be confused with the routing.

    When I fly Jetblue / AA, its super easy.

    Show Credentials, get boarding pass, declare firearm. they hand you a red sticker, walk over to TSA baggage then they will put bag thru xray and waddle through security checkpoint and be groped and enjoy it.


    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...and-ammunition

    If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the checked bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.
    TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
    If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.

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    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriar View Post
    If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
    How is the container marker? The airline puts the standard luggage tag on and what I have seen is a little bar code sticker. Is the mark that sticker? I thouht it was illegal for the container to be marker as containing a firearm...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    How is the container marker? The airline puts the standard luggage tag on and what I have seen is a little bar code sticker. Is the mark that sticker? I thouht it was illegal for the container to be marker as containing a firearm...
    Its marked by the barcode on the label. In my time, no one has ever asked me to present, or remove case from baggage.

  8. #8
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    I fly with my firearm(s) in and out of Dulles all the time with multiple airlines.. never once an issue.

    Ed

    Last edited by ed; 07-05-2013 at 12:18 PM.
    Carry On.

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    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    I fly with my firearm(s) in and out of Dulles all the time with multiple airlines.. never once an issue.

    Ed
    Thanks Ed,

    That is the case I fly with. for locks, I use the following.

    Master Lock Magnums 2-3/4

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks all for the helpful replies.
    I'm not at all worried abo9ut the container (I use a nanovault with cable attached to the hard parts inside my luggage. Prevents the gun case from being separated from the luggage).

    My issue was only whether there are any unusual procedures or limited check in locations at Dulles.... Sounds like it's a no on both counts...

    Thanks again...

  11. #11
    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    I fly with my firearm(s) in and out of Dulles all the time with multiple airlines.. never once an issue.

    Ed

    Ed, I use a Pelican also but mine does not have the metal reinforcements on the lock holes. Is that something is added? I just bought a Pelican Storm im200o directly from Pelican.

    Also, I just check the gun case separates that a bad practice? from luggage (we don't usually check and luggage). Is that a bad practice? I guess with the two Master locks hanging off, kinda gives it away...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    Ed, I use a Pelican also but mine does not have the metal reinforcements on the lock holes. Is that something is added? I just bought a Pelican Storm im200o directly from Pelican.

    Also, I just check the gun case separates that a bad practice? from luggage (we don't usually check and luggage). Is that a bad practice? I guess with the two Master locks hanging off, kinda gives it away...
    John, not necessarily does it give it away. Some people ( my wife ), give's her DSLR cameras the same treatment of security.

    Yes John, never check just a gun case, it will cause it to grow legs and oops didnt make it on the plane. if its a handgun case place it in baggage secured with a bike chain wire so its not easily seperated from your luggage.

  13. #13
    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    wound up having to go to a specific set of counters that handle "full service" check in, just to pick up the stupid TSA signature card so I could go to TSA screening...
    It is to an airline agent that you are initially required to show your firearm is unloaded, not TSA.

    I have had different things told to me about the declaration card (and by the same airline). One agent insisted it had to go inside my locked pistol case (where it could not be seen unless I was there to unlock the case), the next agent wanted it taped to the outside of my pistol case (which was inside my suitcase). which makes more seance to me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoom6zoom View Post
    It is to an airline agent that you are initially required to show your firearm is unloaded, not TSA.

    I have had different things told to me about the declaration card (and by the same airline). One agent insisted it had to go inside my locked pistol case (where it could not be seen unless I was there to unlock the case), the next agent wanted it taped to the outside of my pistol case (which was inside my suitcase). which makes more seance to me.
    as specified by 27 CFR 478.31 - Delivery by common or contract carrier…
    http://cfr.vlex.com/vid/31-delivery-...rrier-19675270
    Outside Tags - No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container indicating that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm.

    ETA - http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/ is an excellent resource in regards to flying with firearms. His video presentation (already seen by some here) is also stocked with good information (http://vimeo.com/3923535).
    Last edited by Sesrun; 07-08-2013 at 03:54 PM.

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    I'm pleased to report that my check in at Dulles was almost completely uneventful.
    After screening my bag and giving me the "you're good to go", the TSA agent asked me if I was LE (I'm not). He then asked me if I kept a round in the chamber (I didn't... 1000% certain). Told him that both magazines were empty and all the ammo was in the factory box. He said "have a nice day". I assume that in the scan it might have looked like a round was chambered because the magazine was inserted and the follower might have looked like a round??? Dunno.... My case will only fit two magazines if one of them is in the gun... I'll think about a bigger case...

    Makes me wonder if it's common for LE to leave the chambered round in the gun to avoid setback, whether this is a common practice and whether it's allowed/safe...

    Regardless... it was a non-event.

    Regarding the signature card.....
    1. I've found that every agent is different. AA agent at DFW wanted me to open the case and put the card inside. AA agent at Dulles told me to put the card inside the luggage, but outside the gun case. Same airline, different instructions. I just go with whatever the agent tells me.
    2.Re: Sesrun's post above..... That regulation applies to the outside of the luggage, not the outside of the gun case..... AFAIK.

    Thanks again for the advice.. Much appreciated.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Sesrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyGBiv View Post
    I'm pleased to report that my check in at Dulles was almost completely uneventful.
    After screening my bag and giving me the "you're good to go", the TSA agent asked me if I was LE (I'm not). He then asked me if I kept a round in the chamber (I didn't... 1000% certain). Told him that both magazines were empty and all the ammo was in the factory box. He said "have a nice day". I assume that in the scan it might have looked like a round was chambered because the magazine was inserted and the follower might have looked like a round??? Dunno.... My case will only fit two magazines if one of them is in the gun... I'll think about a bigger case...

    Makes me wonder if it's common for LE to leave the chambered round in the gun to avoid setback, whether this is a common practice and whether it's allowed/safe...

    Regardless... it was a non-event.

    Regarding the signature card.....
    1. I've found that every agent is different. AA agent at DFW wanted me to open the case and put the card inside. AA agent at Dulles told me to put the card inside the luggage, but outside the gun case. Same airline, different instructions. I just go with whatever the agent tells me.
    2.Re: Sesrun's post above..... That regulation applies to the outside of the luggage, not the outside of the gun case..... AFAIK.

    Thanks again for the advice.. Much appreciated.
    Glad to here it was a semi-uneventful process.

    Just to note...
    Emphasis added above... unless the gun case is the piece of luggage (aka an 81mm mortar case) so you can lock (Abloy Protec PL 975) the entire piece of luggage thus adding more security to everything you are packing within the checked luggage, not just the single firearm. See the video in the post above for an example.
    Last edited by Sesrun; 07-11-2013 at 10:23 AM.

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