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Thread: Recent trip on Delta

  1. #1
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    Just a report on a recent trip I took on Delta that took me from SLC to Dulles (IAD) in the Northern Virginia / DC area.

    I did not carry into either airport (though I have done so in SLC in the past). I had the gun unloaded, inside a hard case in my luggage, with fully charged mags top down in a standard nylon belt holder inside the hard sided case next to the firearm (and my Gerber multi-tool that is no longer allowed inside the cabin).

    No problems whatsoever on either end. The Delta agents never bat an eye and the TSA is quite good at both airports as well, though the exact procedure varies.

    When checking the bag, simply tell the agent you need to declare a firearm. Once in a while an agent will ask to make sure it is the checked bag rather than something I might be authorized to carry on-board (way different paperwork for cops carrying on-board I'd expect).

    In SLC the Delta agent will have you sign the orange tag and put it into your gun case. (Don't bother locking the case yet.) Then she walks you down to the TSA counter where an agent will open your bag and gun case and do a physical inspection and wipe down for their chemical sniffer. So don't bother to lock the case or suitcase until AFTER you are done with TSA in SLC.

    Once TSA does their wipe down, they or you will lock the gun case and bag (sometimes the agent asks you for your locks while you watch him, sometimes he asks you to just lock it while he watches you) and off it goes for regular baggage handling. I always use real (non-TSA locks) on both my gun case and outside my luggage. Once TSA inspects it once, they should not need to open the case again. I do take a couple extra locks with just in case, but have never had one cut off if I have a declared gun in the case. I also have a combo bike cable lock that I loop around the handle of the gun case and then through the interior frame of my roller board just so the gun case can't easily fall out of an open suitcase should it "accidentally" be opened.

    There is sometimes a few minutes' wait in SLC for the TSA to come out and actually inspect your bag. On this trip, someone else was already there having a gun case with two AR style rifles being inspected so the wait was a bit less.

    Without exception I can say that checking a gun on Delta in SLC has never added more than about 10 minutes to my check in time compared to checking a bag without a gun. (It does of course add a few minutes compared to not checking a bag and adds the time on the arrival end waiting to claim your bag. But with all the restrictions on liquids and gels these days, I'd just as soon check a bag for anything more than 1 or 2 nights anyway.) On at least one occasion, checking a gun meant that my bag arrived with me while the bags of others traveling with me did not due to some baggage handling issues.

    In Dulles the procedure is a bit different as the TSA still has their x-ray machines out near the check in counter. At Dulles, after declaring the gun to the Delta agent and signing the card and putting it inside the gun case, you lock everything up at the counter and then walk down to the TSA station. Sometimes the Delta agent comes with you, sometimes not. You tell the TSA there is a declared firearm and he has you wait about 2 minutes while they run your bag through the x-ray machine (usually bumping it to the head of the line of any waiting bags). They wave you on and your bag is sent on for regular baggage handling.

    Reagan National is very similar to Dulles in this regard and in both cases checking a gun typically adds only 5 to 10 minutes over checking a bag without a gun.

    I've never had any king of issue in any of these three airports as far as checking a gun. Nor have I have ever had any problem with my luggage that has a checked gun in it, other than the long (~ one hour) wait in Dulles for all checked baggage to arrive for pickup.

    The closest I ever came to an issue was flying out of SLC with a Scottish basket hilt sword packed in a shot gun case. The agent wasn't quit sure what to do, but figured I'd better sign the gun tag since it looked like a gun case. Signing under penalty of perjury, I modified the card language to swear that the "sword" was not loaded and was on my way. ;-)

    I've never attempted to fly out of an airport in an RKBA unfriendly area and have never relied upon federal safe journey laws. And I don't have a lot of experience on airlines other than Delta.

    But I can say that on Delta, to gun friendly locations (SLC, St. George, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Arizona) that I've never had a moments problem with a declared firearm in my checked luggage.

    So don't let the fact that you are flying dissuade you from being properly armed while visiting an RKBA friendly location.

    Charles


    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for the report...

    Glad to here your experiences EVEN THO no problem was had!
    JoeSparky
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  3. #3
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    You were here in our lovely NoVA and didn't tell us so we could have a dinner with you? Shame

    --RedKnightt--

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    I am going to fly to ohio soon and I have been really wondering about what to do about my XDM. Thanks!

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    Having worked previously work for TSA and flying out to Utah in a few days I was wanting to check out the local laws and ran across this post.

    I double checked TSA's site and it looks like flying with ammunition has changed a little bit since I worked there. It used to be that having ammunition in your magazine (yes there are several TSA agents that will still call it a clip, please just smile and nod) was a big no no.

    It looks like TSA has updated their policy to allow it if the magazine is securely packed in a pouch or holster that completely encloses the ammunition.

    "You can't use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard)."

    quoted from http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm

    But also remember that the Airlines can dictate what you can place in your check bags.

    "Ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, plasticor metal boxes and provide separation for cartridges"

    quoted from http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...x.jsp#shooting


    When I worked for TSA we never really had any issues with firearms. Most of the time by the time we were checking them the airlines had already handled any issues. And it was a common enough occurrence that no one got all :what:. Although I do admit that I had a passenger check a .50 caliber revolver that I was drooling over. It was a beautiful weapon.
    If you do have any issues with a screener don't hesitate to call a supervisor. When I was a screener I was more than happy to let the supervisor handle any issues, as the saying goes "it is above my paygrade." Just remember to listen to any announcements over the PA in case someone is trying to reach you.



  6. #6
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    totes6 wrote:
    I double checked TSA's site and it looks like flying with ammunition has changed a little bit since I worked there. It used to be that having ammunition in your magazine (yes there are several TSA agents that will still call it a clip, please just smile and nod) was a big no no.
    How long ago? Back as far as early 2008 the TSA web site said that as long as ammunition was completely enclosed it was fine, and specifically mentioned that a closeable magazine pouch was acceptable.

    I recently had an interaction with TSA over this question in Reno (three weeks ago). The TSA employee who searched my bag was new and when she found my loaded magazines in a velcro-closure magazine pouch, she wasn't sure that was allowed, so she called a supervisor. He came and looked at it and proceeded to explain to her that it was absolutely fine, because the pouch ensured that a round couldn't work loose from the magazine and rattle around.

    He also said that had I not had the magazines in a pouch, he'd have simply placed a piece of electrical tape over the end of the magazine, and that would also have fulfilled the requirement. I'm considering making a habit of taping my loaded mags as well as putting them in a pouch, just to be sure.

    The supervisor also explained to me that the rule arose from an actual situation, where a round had worked loose from a magazine and had somehow been jarred hard, in just the right way, against some other object which fired the primer and caused the round to explode, scaring the crap out of the baggage handler who'd just tossed the bag.

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    utbagpiper wrote:
    I've never attempted to fly out of an airport in an RKBA unfriendly area and have never relied upon federal safe journey laws. And I don't have a lot of experience on airlines other than Delta.
    I want to chime in here to mention that I *have* flown in and out of airports in RKBA-unfriendly areas. I've been in and out of Chicago O'Hare at least three times, through the San Francisco-area airports many times, and through a couple of the New York-area airports as well. Mostly on Delta and Skywest, though there were some American flights as well.

    Never a problem with any of them. Actually, in my experience the airport with the least-intrusive procedure is, believe it or not, Chicago!

    In some cases I have relied on the federal safe transport law, and in those cases I am very careful to make sure that I am as compliant as it is possible to be. The only time I ever transport my firearm not in the strictest compliance with the federal law is when taking it from the baggage claim area to the rental car, where I immediately put it in the trunk, or when I take it from the rental car into the hotel. If I ever end up having to spend the night unexpectedly in a place where my firearm is not legal to possess in my hotel room, I will refuse to take possession of my bag.

    Generally, though, it's possible to rely on safe transport nearly everywhere you go, because it's legal in every state I've checked to have a firearm in your hotel room. In CA, you have to make sure you have no "high capacity" magazines, and in NJ you have to make sure you have no hollow-point ammunition.

    ALWAYS, ALWAYS thoroughly check the local laws at your destination before taking a firearm. If you can legally have the gun there, getting it there is no problem.

  8. #8
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    swillden wrote:
    The supervisor also explained to me that the rule arose from an actual situation, where a round had worked loose from a magazine and had somehow been jarred hard, in just the right way, against some other object which fired the primer and caused the round to explode, scaring the crap out of the baggage handler who'd just tossed the bag.
    The way those guys abuse bags, I'd say he had it coming.

    Too bad the rule wasn't "thou shalt not grossly abuse bags" along with rules about how to safely transport ammo.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    swillden wrote:
    totes6 wrote:
    I double checked TSA's site and it looks like flying with ammunition has changed a little bit since I worked there. It used to be that having ammunition in your magazine (yes there are several TSA agents that will still call it a clip, please just smile and nod) was a big no no.
    How long ago? Back as far as early 2008 the TSA web site said that as long as ammunition was completely enclosed it was fine, and specifically mentioned that a closeable magazine pouch was acceptable.
    I was working there back in 03 to 06. Like I said I guess it changed. And I'm glad you called a supervisor. These days the rules about what and how you can carry something onboard a plane change so often it seems silly. I just avoid carrying ammo in the magazine to avoid any headaches. As you saw from the clip from Delta's rules, the ammo has to be separated. Well in the magazine the ammo is touching. With my luck I will get the one Delta representative that will complain about the ammunition in the magazine and that it is not separated that way. And yes I have seen baggage handlers throw luggage 50 feet down the baggage room so they don't have to carry it the whole way.


  10. #10
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    totes6 wrote:
    With my luck I will get the one Delta representative that will complain about the ammunition in the magazine and that it is not separated that way.
    I address that by not showing the Delta representative my ammo or mags. They see the gun in its lockbox and the loaded, encased magazines are in my suitcase. Unless I get a Delta rep who decides to search my bag, they'll never even know.

    The TSA guys often search my bag, of course. But they don't care about Delta's rules.

  11. #11
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    swillden wrote:
    I address that by not showing the Delta representative my ammo or mags. They see the gun in its lockbox and the loaded, encased magazines are in my suitcase.
    That's the idea!

    If the counter agent asks to see my ammunition, I'll show my lone box of factory "Law Enforcement Ammunition" with the badge on it. Elsewhere in the luggage ishundreds ofrounds, far exceeding the airline industry recommended ammo weight limit.

    By the way, ammo (or even bulk bullets) appears to be an improvised explosive device to the TSA scanners. Be prepared for a hand search.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Charles.

    Nice to know that Dulles wasn't a problem. I wouldn't expect problems in SLC, but I would in Washington.

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    Yard Sale wrote:
    By the way, ammo (or even bulk bullets) appears to be an improvised explosive device to the TSA scanners. Be prepared for a hand search.
    If you're declaring a firearm, you should be prepared for a hand search. At many airports (like SLC) it's standard procedure.

  14. #14
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    If you are flying, you should be prepared for a hand search.

    I flew a lot with guns pre 9/11 and post 9/11 and hand searches were the exception not the norm (and it was always the ammo that caused concern, not the gun). But different airports tend to operate underdifferent policies, particulary with TSA post 9/11 (huh, WTF?), so our experiences may be different.

  15. #15
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    Yard Sale wrote:
    I flew a lot with guns pre 9/11 and post 9/11 and hand searches were the exception not the norm (and it was always the ammo that caused concern, not the gun).
    Depends on the airport. SLC and Reno, for example, will always hand search your bag if you declare a firearm. Ammo has nothing to do with it, it's just policy that they always hand-search your bag.

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    I have never had any problems with SouthWest, flying to/from, Tucson, Phoenix, Salt Lake or Manchester (NH). They seem to be well-trained and experienced with firearms.

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    I realize this thread has been around for 2+ years so it's probably a moot point but..

    ( I have to phrase this carefully as it's not my intention to step on anyone's toes here..)

    With all the worry about guns and/or explosives being smuggled onto an airline flight.. Is posting a detailed description of what to expect in terms of security procedures really something that should be made so available? I read the OP and thought.. wow.. step by step.. I wonder.. could a potential terrorist use this info to find a gap in the security?

    The same could be said for the TSA and Delta links.. I mean they're posting their own procedures on their sites.. is that a wise thing to do?

    Not trying to sound paranoid.. though it may come across like that.. Am I over analyzing?

    -Adam

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    Kriegsammler wrote:
    I realize this thread has been around for 2+ years so it's probably a moot point but..

    ( I have to phrase this carefully as it's not my intention to step on anyone's toes here..)

    With all the worry about guns and/or explosives being smuggled onto an airline flight.. Is posting a detailed description of what to expect in terms of security procedures really something that should be made so available? I read the OP and thought.. wow.. step by step.. I wonder.. could a potential terrorist use this info to find a gap in the security?

    The same could be said for the TSA and Delta links.. I mean they're posting their own procedures on their sites.. is that a wise thing to do?

    Not trying to sound paranoid.. though it may come across like that.. Am I over analyzing?

    -Adam
    Given that all airline security is a complete F-ing joke, I don't see the problem. May as well make it easier for those of us just trying to get to point B.

  19. #19
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    Kriegsammler wrote:
    .. Am I over analyzing?

    -Adam
    Respectfully, yes, you are.

    What I posted is nothing by my experience as a traveler. It is exactly what any other flier would see if he were take a couple of trips with a declared gun in his checked luggage. It is what any observant person could see for himself just hanging out at the airport for a couple of hours.

    My intent was to remove some of the fear and uncertainty that many gun owners and even those who routinely carry might have about flying with a gun. I have never yet had a problem flying with my gun and I would hope others would not let lack of prior experience dissuade them from taking their gun along when travel plans include an airplane.

    Charles

    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  20. #20
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    figures.. I tend to do that..

    from my POV I haven't flown anywhere since 1991 so..

    -Adam

  21. #21
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    Tomahawk wrote:
    Given that all airline security is a complete F-ing joke, I don't see the problem. May as well make it easier for those of us just trying to get to point B.
    +1

    Except I wouldn't call airport security a "joke". It's serious theatre. It's a show to make people feel safe so that they're willing to fly, but most theatre is pretty serious if you're one of the actors or one of the people paying for it.

    But the key point is that it has little to nothing to do with security. 9/11 solved the airport security problem. Passengers now know that if someone tries to hijack or blow up your airplane, you kill them because otherwise they're going to kill you and a bunch of people on the ground, too.

    Or at least you beat them up and restrain them. Problem solved.

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    swillden wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    Given that all airline security is a complete F-ing joke, I don't see the problem. May as well make it easier for those of us just trying to get to point B.
    +1

    Except I wouldn't call airport security a "joke". It's serious theatre. It's a show to make people feel safe so that they're willing to fly, but most theatre is pretty serious if you're one of the actors or one of the people paying for it.

    But the key point is that it has little to nothing to do with security. 9/11 solved the airport security problem. Passengers now know that if someone tries to hijack or blow up your airplane, you kill them because otherwise they're going to kill you and a bunch of people on the ground, too.

    Or at least you beat them up and restrain them. Problem solved.
    +1. "Security Theatre" is one of my favorite phrases to mock all of that.

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