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Thread: traveling with locked case

  1. #1

    Default traveling with locked case

    The last time I flew was with out any firearms. My luggage was inspected and tagged. After my flight, I picked up my bags only to see a new tag on the handle saying somthing about a different inspection after it was already inspected in front of me.
    Will the airlines open a locked, inspected rifle case after I have boarded, or when one has layover for a new flight?
    What if my lock is a master pad lock on gun case, will they cut it?

  2. #2
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    I have travelled a number of times with weapons. After TSA inspects the case and I lock it, and they put it in the baggaage area, I have not,personally, had any extra tags put on or in the case stating someone reinspected it. I owuld check with your airlines because at least one, I think United, is restriciting weapons in baggage.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haff202 View Post
    The last time I flew was with out any firearms. My luggage was inspected and tagged. After my flight, I picked up my bags only to see a new tag on the handle saying somthing about a different inspection after it was already inspected in front of me.
    Will the airlines open a locked, inspected rifle case after I have boarded, or when one has layover for a new flight?
    What if my lock is a master pad lock on gun case, will they cut it?

    Generally after it's inspected by the agent at check in you are asked to accompany the case to TSA. TSA will X-Ray the case and ask you to open it if there are any questions. If everything is good your locked case should be on it's way to your destination. It may be helpful to have a TSA lock on your case so if there is any questions and you are not in the area it can be opened by TSA and relocked. If they open it for any reason they will put a tag inside or a sticker on the outside.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    no they should not reopen a case..

    my case last year had the brief case style combo locks and pad locks in the hasps.. i know for a fact that they got back in it all my actions were open and in an order n the case at the TSA inspection.. and they put the card inside that showed it was inspected on any x ray i guess ( salt lake)

    when get to FBKS all Acton's are closed, guns in new order, papers are all gone?????????

    the AK air said it should not have been reinspected.


    different airports are funny sometimes.. all the security in Fairbanks... to get the guns on the plane and find my gun case going around the carousal in vegas for me or anyone to pick up.
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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Generally after it's inspected by the agent at check in you are asked to accompany the case to TSA. TSA will X-Ray the case and ask you to open it if there are any questions. If everything is good your locked case should be on it's way to your destination. It may be helpful to have a TSA lock on your case so if there is any questions and you are not in the area it can be opened by TSA and relocked. If they open it for any reason they will put a tag inside or a sticker on the outside.
    That's been my experience as well. I just flew back with a rifle last month.

    I would get a TSA lock. If they want into your case for any reason (whether they should be getting back into your case or not) and it has a non-TSA lock, I'm guessing they won't think twice about cutting it. Especialliy with all the recent airport scares and screw ups.
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  6. #6

    Default Security!

    When I left Denver International Airport on Alaska Air I was escorted w/my case to an inspection booth. They inspected it and put a paper inside my case. I thought everything was ok but when I arrived at the gate the called me up and told me that they needed to inspect my gun case (even though they had already done it once). I had a padlock on it and they said they needed to cut the lock. I asked them if I could give them a key so they didn't cut my locks and I wouldn't have to worry about my rifle and gear inside. I had a bad experience several years ago on an AK trip where my case was open and stuff hanging out of it when I arrived at the AK airport! They said there was time to do it so grabbed my key, checked it out, and then brought my key back to me. They put another piece of paper inside my case saying they had inspected it.

    On my return trip from Anchorage to Denver I did the same check in and had to accompany my case to be inspected and piece of paper put inside the case. This time the Alaska Air guy told me that it was required that I have a padlock on my case. I didn't have 1 w/me and they made me buy one at the airport!

    With everything that has been going on with national security I have a feeling security policy can just about change on a daily basis! They can probably conduct 1 or more random security checks any time they want! From my experience I would arrive at the airport well in advance and make sure you padlock your case. You may also want to bring extra padlocks with you just in case? I'm not exactly sure what they would have done if they hadn't found the padlock that I bought?

  7. #7
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Here are the TSA rules for guns.

    The two important ones are:

    The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion.

    We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.

    If you put a TSA lock on your gun case you are breaking the first rule up there. Don't to that. Do not make yourself a criminal just to be helpful to the TSA or the airlines. Plus TSA locks can be broken open by a 6 year old with a pair of cheap pliars. Not very secure.

    Of course the issue will always be that TSA does a horrible job of training their employees, and an even worse job of screening who they hire. Also to keep the terrorist confused they change their operational procedures daily or airport by airport, so some days there are new screening measures in place and when you change flights you will find a whole new world at the screening area. However, none of these changes should effect your checked baggage. Now the bag handlers that work for the airlines are a hole other kettle of fish and there is no telling what goes through their minds.

    For east coast travel I recommend never flying through NYC or NJ. The port authority cops have some serious miss understandings about their own gun laws and if you get forced to lay over or delayed and are standing around the airport with a gun case you could be totally screwed by the little Hitlers that make up the port authority police force.

  8. #8
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    `````
    Guys I've been in the business for 23 years and three different airlines. The bottom line is TSA is a bunch of idiots and so where the morons that they replaced.

    TSA and airlines both have rules and neither of them constantly follow the rules. As a matter of fact each manager at each airport in each department has his or her own idea of what the rules are.

    Even when I travel in full uniform I get the run around. The counter agents, ramper's and gate agents are under paid, over worked and the morale and turn over rates are high. That means half the people that you are dealing with are clueless and the other half doesn't care.

    As an employee my firearms are not covered for theft or damage unless I purchase a ticket for the flight. So much for free travel.

    Just get familiar with the process so you can inquire about irregularities if your getting jacked around. Perhaps that will attract the right people to get your firearm pointed in the right direction.

    I the real world your firearm should go to the customer service counter at your destination. On my last three trips to Alaska and Texas my cases were spinning with the luggage for anyone to steal while I was securing a rental car, this seems to be the norm lately. Another issue is when they go to customer service and that department is closed until the next morning do to staffing cut backs.

    AK Ray made a good point about NJ. Hollow points are illegal and you will get arrested on the spot!

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    Default Locks

    ALWAYS use your own lock that no one but you can get access to. NEVER put a TSA lock on a firearm case.

    I've never had trouble with them gaining access to the suitcase, but they cannot access the pistol case. If they want it open, I am present for the inspection.

    Never had any problems with this method. Shipped long arms as checked bags a few years ago and had Master locks at any possible location, I handed the agent the key to access, which I watched get relocked before the bag left to the destination. I was handed back my key and it arrived exactly as I had last seen it; in one piece and still locked with the proper items contained within.

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    If you want to avoid the hassle with TSA just mail your firearm to yourself to a address and save money if your going to a outfitter or friend to hunt. Do it ahead of time with confirmation and insurance. Then mail it back to your home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goatman View Post
    If you want to avoid the hassle with TSA just mail your firearm to yourself to a address and save money if your going to a outfitter or friend to hunt. Do it ahead of time with confirmation and insurance. Then mail it back to your home.
    This ONLY works for long arms. Not for handguns. Several threads on this forum concerning the mailing issue. Just search for it.

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Travelling with arms brings to mind several points, all anectodal:

    1. Shipping ammo in the same locked case is the standard with firearms these days. You will want to ensure your case is checked by TSA before you lock it. If they want in, they will cut your lock, put the pieces inside, and close it back up. They may zip-tie it.

    2. That said, we went to South Africa in 2007. Firearms packed with ammo as directed by airline. No problem getting in. So we pack arms and ammo together on the way home. "You're going to jail" say the SA inspectors on our way out. We'll throw out the ammo, we say. No good. We had to pay "a fine" to avert the problem. Suddenly there was no problem.

    3. Travelled to lower 48 with a bow in Oct. Agent doesn't want me to head over to TSA. Jumbo, must be because it's a bow. Lock it up, send it on its way. Get to destination, locks cut off, parts and note inside, zip-ties on lock loops, see above.

    Your question is answered in #1, but 2 & 3 may help avert trouble!

    Chris

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    I travel internationally at least once a year to hunt - so mailing my long gun is not an option. Under no circumstances would I recommend a TSA lock ON A GUN CASE. My gun case has an integral lock so there is nothing to cut off which means I have to give the key to someone to open the case to get it open....unless of course they opt to cut the case open - and then it could not go as checked baggage due to the inability to lock the case. I will agree most TSA inspectors don't know their right hand from their left. In addition I will not let anyone open my gun case unless I am present - this has not been a prob to date. Since most TSA inspectors are unable to figure out how to open my gun case I usually end up both opening the case as well as relocking it. I have found it worth while to print out the particular airlines' guidelines/rules for checking long guns for all the different airlines I will be traveling on - more often than not the people who will be inspecting your long gun will only have a general idea what their airlines' rules are and if you are able to provide proof what the ACTUAL AIRLINES' RULES you are much more likely to prevail if a difference of opinion occurs. Good Luck and don't loose your patience - this will end up NOT being to your benefit!!

  14. #14
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    I travel internationally at least once a year to hunt - so mailing my long gun is not an option. Under no circumstances would I recommend a TSA lock ON A GUN CASE. My gun case has an integral lock so there is nothing to cut off which means I have to give the key to someone to open the case to get it open....unless of course they opt to cut the case open - and then it could not go as checked baggage due to the inability to lock the case. I will agree most TSA inspectors don't know their right hand from their left. In addition I will not let anyone open my gun case unless I am present - this has not been a prob to date. Since most TSA inspectors are unable to figure out how to open my gun case I usually end up both opening the case as well as relocking it. I have found it worth while to print out the particular airlines' guidelines/rules for checking long guns for all the different airlines I will be traveling on - more often than not the people who will be inspecting your long gun will only have a general idea what their airlines' rules are and if you are able to provide proof what the ACTUAL AIRLINES' RULES you are much more likely to prevail if a difference of opinion occurs. Good Luck and don't loose your patience - this will end up NOT being to your benefit!!
    As someone who flies with firearms every two or three months, I find this to be great advice. What case are you using?

  15. #15

    Default

    The TSA guy at Deadhorse asked me to unlock the case for him, didn't mind seeing the ammo but did want to discuss my choice of loads. Then he came out to the waiting area to tell my daughter about the caribou his son harvested the day before...

  16. #16
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    Default Ammo shipped with gun

    Quote Originally Posted by Mort View Post
    Travelling with arms brings to mind several points, all anectodal:

    1. Shipping ammo in the same locked case is the standard with firearms these days. You will want to ensure your case is checked by TSA before you lock it. If they want in, they will cut your lock, put the pieces inside, and close it back up. They may zip-tie it.

    2. That said, we went to South Africa in 2007. Firearms packed with ammo as directed by airline. No problem getting in. So we pack arms and ammo together on the way home. "You're going to jail" say the SA inspectors on our way out. We'll throw out the ammo, we say. No good. We had to pay "a fine" to avert the problem. Suddenly there was no problem.

    3. Travelled to lower 48 with a bow in Oct. Agent doesn't want me to head over to TSA. Jumbo, must be because it's a bow. Lock it up, send it on its way. Get to destination, locks cut off, parts and note inside, zip-ties on lock loops, see above.

    Your question is answered in #1, but 2 & 3 may help avert trouble!

    Chris
    Just to clarify. Alaska Airlines rules are that the gun case containes no ammo. Ammo may be carried in checked luggage. It must be in original container or in plastic container designed for ammo. I recently brought bricks of .22 ammo back from Montana, had it packed in a cardboard box and checked it as a second piece of luggage--cost $25. It weighed 50lbs, right at the limit. Had no problems with the process, declared the contents, no problems.
    NRA Lifetime Member

  17. #17

    Default

    I've had two good experiences in the last year travelling with rifles and handguns.

    My cases have not been re-opened after I carried the case to TSA and they did their once over. I am not using a TSA lock, just a regular Masterlock. This is once out of Anchorage and another time out of Houston.

  18. #18
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Ditto...TSA and AK Airlines

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I have travelled a number of times with weapons. After TSA inspects the case and I lock it, and they put it in the baggaage area, I have not,personally, had any extra tags put on or in the case stating someone reinspected it. I owuld check with your airlines because at least one, I think United, is restriciting weapons in baggage.
    This was my experience in August with Anchorage TSA and AK Airlines, using my own locks for 2 cases containing long guns and handguns for a float trip. One suggestion I saw on another thread might be worthwhile - once you find the applicable sections of TSA's or your airlines' rules, to print them out and use them for a reference anytime a question arises during your travel.

    I've had a couple of moments with TSA personnel, but by and large have found them to be folks trying to do a good job on what ... is still a job we want them to do well.

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