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Thread: Flying to Alaska with firearms question...

  1. #1

    Question Flying to Alaska with firearms question...

    We'll be flying up from Michigan to Petersburg ,AK in May. Our reservation takes us from Michigan to Ohare, then to Seattle where we arrive at 10:28 pm where we have a layover until the flight leaves the next morning at 0700 hrs for Petersburg.

    My question is, I'm only checking on piece of luggage, my guncase, and was wondering if when we arrive in Seattle if we have to retrieve our guncases, or if they are checked right through to Petersburg for us? Our layover is less than 12 hours, thought I read somewhere that if connection were less than 12 hours you didn't have to recheck/pay again for baggage fees.

    Also, we were planning to just take a nap at the Seattle airport and not go to a motel, any problems with that logic? Would it be a problm if we had gun cases?

    Appreciate any info!

    Thanks
    Keith

  2. #2
    Member HuntNBgame's Avatar
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    Not sure, but if you did have to claim your luggage(firearm) you should be able to check in early for your flight to AK. I would call the Airline your flying with to make sure.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Baggage is usually checked through to final destination... but I'd suggest you make sure with the agent that tags your baggage...

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    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    Frogman, I have never handled any luggage once it is checked in. Have flown from Detroit, Metro and Flint, Bishop to Anchorage. Never had a 12 hour layover but 3-4 hours in Minn. Pretty easy to check with the airpline it would seem. Are you staying in the airport overnight? Have fun. Going bear hunting? PM me if I can help. Mark

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    Member hunterdave's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure once your gun is checked you wont get it back until you final destination. It really is no big deal to fly with a long gun as long as your case is lockable and you possess the only keys.


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    My question would be: are you flying the same carrier straight through?
    If so, I wouldn't worry about it (well, no more than usual anyway).
    If you are changing carriers in Seattle, then I would probably try to claim it & recheck it, just for whatever piece-of-mind that may provide. WTH, you got a lot of time to kill.

  7. #7
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunterdave View Post
    as long as your case is lockable and you possess the only keys.
    If you do this, TSA will cut your locks off and throw them away when they do "the Inspection". Inappropriate locks are now a Violation I was told at an AirPort. You can buy TSA "approved" gun case locks (I got mine at a local LOWES hardware store) that are Red in color. TSA has a master set of keys that they can open these locks to check for bombs and the like. I was allowed to take ammo without any problem, but MAKE SURE your gun is unloaded (I leave my breech open too). Flying with a gun checked is easier than checking baggage IMHO. The last time I did this, the TSA agent asked me to step into his work area as he wanted me to show him all the neet things about the weapon I had as he wanted to get one himself. A cool guy, but I think he could have gotten in trouble if he got caught.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member caribouman's Avatar
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    When you check in for your flight make sure that you specify you want the bag(s) checked all the way through to your final destination. If you are flying 2 different airlines, you may have to go claim it before switching planes, and recheck it on the second carrier. If you do have to claim it in Seattle, you may not be able to check it in early for the next flight as the airlines don't like having the bags sitting around all that time. My flight to Kodiak was cancelled 4 times and I had to keep reclaiming my two 50 pound duffels and bow case every time, only to drag it around Anchorage and the airport until they would let me check it in again (times 4). This would have been very difficult by myself, you can't even go take a leak without leaving all your valuables unattended.

    I've spent a night in the Seattle airport myself. With your gun case you won't be able to go inside the upper level to sleep since it's beyond security. They do have some benches without armrests between the seats if you look hard enough (beyond security). If you have to claim it in Seattle, you may want to wait until a couple hours before your flight leaves. They USUALLY keep the guns behind the baggage counter and require a claim check, make sure they will be open (much of the airport is closed between 11:00 pm and 5:00 AM.)

    A gun case MUST be locked according to TSA regulations. They usually ask me to lock it and stand by until it clears x-ray. If they need to open it they come out and get me. Other times, they look through it while you are present, then they lock it and hand you back the key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    If you do this, TSA will cut your locks off and throw them away when they do "the Inspection". Inappropriate locks are now a Violation I was told at an AirPort. You can buy TSA "approved" gun case locks (I got mine at a local LOWES hardware store) that are Red in color. TSA has a master set of keys that they can open these locks to check for bombs and the like. I was allowed to take ammo without any problem, but MAKE SURE your gun is unloaded (I leave my breech open too). Flying with a gun checked is easier than checking baggage IMHO. The last time I did this, the TSA agent asked me to step into his work area as he wanted me to show him all the neet things about the weapon I had as he wanted to get one himself. A cool guy, but I think he could have gotten in trouble if he got caught.
    Has this reg changed recently?
    Last fall when I flew the gun case HAD to be locked with a non-TSA lock. I had to open the case in front of the TSA, then relock it, NO ONE but me had the means to reopen the gun case (legaly at any rate).
    Your agent sounds like an ok guy - I've met agents when checking guns that couldn't figure how to open the action of a pump shotgun.

  10. #10
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    I have flown coast to coast and north to south, in and out of Alaska many times with firearms, mostly long guns. Like most everyone has stated, you DO NOT have to purchase "TSA Approved Locks". It depends on the station, and they all seem to do it a little different, but the ticket agents will usually just have you stand by until TSA clears the lockable case. Once cleared you can proceed to the gate.

    Also, even if you are transferring carriers, your case should, in all cases, be checked straight through to Petersburg. Just ask to make sure.

    Just one other note. Do not use one of the cheap plastic cases, that use those tiny "snap type latches" employing those little tiny keys. Not only are they easily crushed, but they can very easily be pryed open. I have had good luck with the sturdy aluminum cases, and Pelican cases. I also oftentimes remove the foam from the inside, put my rifle or shotgun inside a soft gun case, and place it in the travel case surrounded by my hunting clothes, jacket, binoculars, knives, etc. Using this method of packing, I can usually get everything I need for a weeklong hunt in the rifle case and my daypack that I wear/carry onboard.

    Good luck and have fun.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riflemaker View Post
    I have flown coast to coast and north to south, in and out of Alaska many times with firearms, mostly long guns. Like most everyone has stated, you DO NOT have to purchase "TSA Approved Locks". It depends on the station, and they all seem to do it a little different, but the ticket agents will usually just have you stand by until TSA clears the lockable case. Once cleared you can proceed to the gate.

    Also, even if you are transferring carriers, your case should, in all cases, be checked straight through to Petersburg. Just ask to make sure.

    Just one other note. Do not use one of the cheap plastic cases, that use those tiny "snap type latches" employing those little tiny keys. Not only are they easily crushed, but they can very easily be pryed open. I have had good luck with the sturdy aluminum cases, and Pelican cases. I also oftentimes remove the foam from the inside, put my rifle or shotgun inside a soft gun case, and place it in the travel case surrounded by my hunting clothes, jacket, binoculars, knives, etc. Using this method of packing, I can usually get everything I need for a weeklong hunt in the rifle case and my daypack that I wear/carry onboard.

    Good luck and have fun.
    Rifleman, this is exactly what I'm doing! I purchased a Pelican 1750 guncase and I'm removing the midle layer and trying to "arrange" everthing to fit my clothes and gear into it for the week! LOL Just purchased a new Kelty Redwicng 2650 daypack (fits carryon size limitations) to put other things in and will take a "briefcase" as my personal item with my LRF, binos, and personal items.

    Trying to arrange a couple two piece rods and reels inthe gun case as well! LOL

    As I understand it, they have relaxed the rules and TSA locks are accepted for gun cases, but I'm not going to use them for mine!
    Thanks everyone for the advice! Looking forward to Alaska!

    Keith

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    Who are you hunting with out of petersburgh?I'll be going on a goat hunt this fall there.
    I plan on shipping gun and all there be for I leave and conforming it arrived.
    That way I will be carrying a day pack with civilian cloths only and no checked bags.
    I have been stuck and spent the night in denver,seattle and st. paul airports with nothing .
    Good luck hunting and flying.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    If you do this, TSA will cut your locks off and throw them away when they do "the Inspection". Inappropriate locks are now a Violation I was told at an AirPort. You can buy TSA "approved" gun case locks (I got mine at a local LOWES hardware store) that are Red in color. TSA has a master set of keys that they can open these locks to check for bombs and the like. I was allowed to take ammo without any problem, but MAKE SURE your gun is unloaded (I leave my breech open too). Flying with a gun checked is easier than checking baggage IMHO. The last time I did this, the TSA agent asked me to step into his work area as he wanted me to show him all the neet things about the weapon I had as he wanted to get one himself. A cool guy, but I think he could have gotten in trouble if he got caught.
    What airport was this at? Have flown with checked handgun many times and never encountered this. Like others, I've always been told bring your own locks, and have never had a problem.

    Hello to the folks from Michigan. Flown out of Bishop or MBS ---> Anchorage many times. Up here in Midland.

  14. #14

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    I'll be staying at the Island Point Lodge which is actually on Kupreanof island. The bear hunting is a DIY gig as it's mainly a fish camp, but I couldn't rent a skiff, fuel it, and buy food for what I got this week for there and with fuel/bait/tackle included.

    This was a last minute deal, they had a cancellation and had two spots left so we grabbed them.

  15. #15
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I think you meant to send this PM to Fishfood, not me ;-) Have a GREAT trip! My first successful archery hunt was for a Black Bear and he is on my wall at home!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  16. #16

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    Frogman- I fly every year with firearms, frequently throught DTW and annually SEA and have had good experiences and some not so good. I've learned that the TSA and airline regulations change and in turn I check both frequently before I travel. The day I travel I print out both and take them with me. The reason is that you airline agents in the lower 48 have little experience checking firearms, it's good to know what to do.

    As others have said current regs require you to lock the gun case after airlines and TSA inspection. You'll go to the gate, show agent your firearm and demonstrate it's not loaded. They'll contact TSA where you'll do the same. Lock you case and your done.

    When laying over as you are in Seattle they'll keep you luggage, and firearm, for you. No need to reclaim you luggage unless you have too.

    Good luck finding a place to lay down at the airport. For $125 you can get a room nearby and cop a few zzs with the guys your travelling with.

    PM me and I'll get on the phone with you if you want.

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