First Time Flying With Gun (Long Post)

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by LittleGun, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. LittleGun

    LittleGun Active Member

    Jun 27, 2008
    My trip was from Houston to Phoenix, on Continental Airlines. Before doing anything, I read Continental's instructions on firearms declarations.

    I secured by firearm according to Continentals rules and went to the airport. Standing in line at the check-in counter, I was a little nervous, hoping that I could tell the gate agent what I had without sounding nervous. The gate agent initiated conversation.

    "Hello, sir. Can I help you check in?"

    "Yes," I replied. "I need some special assistance today. I'd like to declare a firearm."

    "Just a moment," said the gate agent. "I'll get a form."

    He returned with a white multi-part form that looked like it could be used for credit card purchases. He wrote something on the form and said, "Please sign here." I signed the form and he said, "May I see your badge?"

    I froze for a moment, then realized that we had missed something in communication.

    "I'm not law enforcement," I said.

    "Oh!" he said. "I thought you wanted to carry your firearm on-board." I nearly fainted at the thought. I could imagine the news headlines.

    "No," I replied. "I'm checking it."

    "I'll get the other form," he said, and stepped away. He returned, with a single orange form that looked like it might be used for a department store red tag sale.

    "Sign here," he said. I signed the form. He pointed to a desk in a corner of the area and said, "Wait at that desk, and I'll ask a TSA officer to inspect your luggage." He went to find a TSA officer while I went to the desk and waited.

    A couple of minutes alter, he joined me at the desk and said, "Someone is coming, but it may be a few minutes because they are very busy."

    "We got plenty of time," I said. He looked at me as if he wanted to say something. I smiled at him to encourage him to speak.

    "I've been thinking of buying a gun for self defense," he said. "What kind of gun do you have?". While waiting for the TSA officer, we had a pleasant conversation that covered kinds of guns, caliber, self defense, and training.

    The TSA officer appeared and asked me to open my luggage. He the asked me to open the gun case. He saw that the gun was properly stored. I pointed out the ammo and magazines. The inspection took about one minute. When we were finished, he asked me to lock it and thanked me. The gate agent and I walked to the gate counter where he placed my luggage on the conveyor.

    The return trip was similar, except that at the Phoenix check-in counter, no one inspected my luggage. The gate agent put an orange declaration card into my luggage, but did not want me to open the gun case. He asked me to stand by for 10 or 15 minutes, while the bag made its way to the screening area, in case TSA wanted to make an inspection. After 15 minutes, TSA didn't call me, so I went on my way.

    I'm glad to say that it all went smoothly. I am no longer nervous about declaring a firearm.

  2. kingofwylietx

    kingofwylietx Well-Known

    Feb 29, 2008
    DFW area.....Wylie.
    I have checked guns, my mom has checked guns, and my sister has checked guns. None of us have ever had a problem or issue. It may not be an everyday thing for us, but it's fairly routine for them.

    I was nervous the first time, however the ticket agent didn't even flinch and got us through quickly.
  3. claymore504

    claymore504 Well-Known

    Dec 2, 2008
    Katy, TX
    Good post!!! it is good to hear an exact case of how it goes incase i ever need to check one. Thanks!!!
  4. TxShooter

    TxShooter Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Houston Metro Area
    Checking Firearms

    Sometimes it works that easy, sometimes it does not. Different gate agents and different airports try to interpet federal regluations and airline rules and procedures in much different ways. Even as a law enforcement officer I have on occasion had to check weapons (no direct need to be armed on arrival could be articulated) and have had both pleasant and very unpleasant experiences.

    One of the worst was after making a trip to do some training for the firearms instructors with the U.S. Department of Probation in Newark, NJ. The arrival in Newark was easy, but the departure was literally hell. I was checked, double checked and triple checked, then at one point was told by a gate agent I would not be allowed to have a weapon in my checked baggage, lets just say it took a few well placed phone calls to supervisors with the airline and me showing them there own policies and regulations numerous times.

    Everytime before I fly I print out the current TSA & FAA paperwork in addition to printing the airlines own policy from their website. This makes it somewhat easier most of the time.
  5. claymore504

    claymore504 Well-Known

    Dec 2, 2008
    Katy, TX

    Very good idea!
  6. navyguy

    navyguy TGT Addict

    Oct 22, 2008
    DFW Keller
    Glad that went well for you. If you follow the rules, usually there is not a problem other than strange looks from some people that overhear what is the conversations.

    The only time I worried was going through a Chicago airport. It’s odd, because it’s against the law to have a hand gun in your possession within the Chicago city limits, but if you show up a the airport with one and follow the check in rules, it goes right through. I think though, had I been stopped in route for some reason (accident or some such) and they found the gun, there would have been a lot of explaining to do.
  7. PrimitiveHunter

    PrimitiveHunter Member

    Aug 6, 2008
    Whitesboro, TX
    My experience was about the opposite. I flew from DFW to Boston Logan with a 270. The guy at check-in said for me to put a form in the case and lock it. I started to open it and he stopped me. He said "I don't need to see it. Just put the form in it and lock it". I had thought maybe they would verify it was unloaded or something. Whole process took about 3 minutes. I walked around Logan airport with the gun case and nobody ever gave me a second glance.
  8. Code3GT

    Code3GT Active Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Here's a question. I just flew home last week and didnt check any baggage due to A) I travel light anyway and B) Airlines charge for checked baggage. Does the airlines charge to check a firearm then?
  9. JKTex

    JKTex Well-Known

    Mar 11, 2008
    DFW, North Texas
    :eek: And he didn't flinch that you had ammo in the ammo, and in the same bag? 2 strikes since ammo is restricted. It can't even be commercially shipped by air. Other than that, it sounds like it went as expected, well expected if you expect the TSA and Airlines to do things the right way.

    Since it has to be in a locked hard case, it'll be checked luggage and you'll get to pay for it.
  10. LittleGun

    LittleGun Active Member

    Jun 27, 2008
    Continental does not charge extra for a checked firearm. If there is a charge for luggage, it doesn't matter if the luggage has a firearm or not. In my case, I have travel status on Continental, so there was no charge for my checked luggage.

    The TSA agent didn't flinch about the ammo because Continental rules allow ammo, as long as the ammo is in a sturdy container. The rules do say that magazines must be unloaded.

    Rules may vary from one airline to another, so check the rules before you fly.


Share This Page