Checking In A Firearm At An Airline


lukem

Administrator
Staff member
I wanted to bring my Glock 23 with my when I flew home to New Orleans for Christmas. When I was at the range last Sat, I asked one of the guys in the store if I could fly with a plastic case that was locked. He said no, that it had to be metal. The metal cases were a little pricey for what I wanted to spend at the time so I passed on it.

Well for Christmas my dad gave me a hard plastic 4 pistol case. So then I wanted to check and see if they really had to be metal to check in to an airline. According to the TSA website: The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

Then just to confirm, I called TSA and spoke to an agent there that did confirm that my hard plastic case was fine to use.

So basically I just wanted to share this info with everyone. If I was misinformed from someone at a gun store, I'm sure other people have been as well.

When I do fly next time, I'll have print outs of their website stating the rules as well as the call id the TSA agent gave me before ending the call. amddude mentioned that his friend usually disassembles the gun then puts it in the case just to make the agents feel a bit more at easy. That's not a bad idea either.

Anyone else have any tips, questions, or stories, post them here.
 

TR4A

New member
When I do fly next time, I'll have print outs of their website stating the rules as well as the call id the TSA agent gave me before ending the call.
Check the airline's web site you are traveling on also. Their procedures maybe more restrictive than the TSA.
 

lukem

Administrator
Staff member
Yea, I started at Southwest first since that's what I fly mostly and was directed from there to the TSA website.
 

DrDavidM

New member
I wanted to take my pistol to Las Vegas on our recent trip, but I chickened out. I still wasn't sure about the Clarke county registration and I was afraid we would drive into CA. I am still uneasy about the whole process. I am afraid I'll get to the airport and have done something wrong. Then what?
 

PascalFleischman

New member
I wanted to bring my Glock 23 with my when I flew home to New Orleans for Christmas. When I was at the range last Sat, I asked one of the guys in the store if I could fly with a plastic case that was locked. He said no, that it had to be metal. The metal cases were a little pricey for what I wanted to spend at the time so I passed on it.

Well for Christmas my dad gave me a hard plastic 4 pistol case. So then I wanted to check and see if they really had to be metal to check in to an airline. According to the TSA website: The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

Then just to confirm, I called TSA and spoke to an agent there that did confirm that my hard plastic case was fine to use.

So basically I just wanted to share this info with everyone. If I was misinformed from someone at a gun store, I'm sure other people have been as well.

When I do fly next time, I'll have print outs of their website stating the rules as well as the call id the TSA agent gave me before ending the call. amddude mentioned that his friend usually disassembles the gun then puts it in the case just to make the agents feel a bit more at easy. That's not a bad idea either.

Anyone else have any tips, questions, or stories, post them here.

Sounds like the guy was trying to sell you a pricey metal box. The way I've understood it, the plastic hard-side case your gun originally was packaged in will suffice.
 

Unearthed

New member
I am still uneasy about the whole process. I am afraid I'll get to the airport and have done something wrong. Then what?

Those are exactly my feelings. Of course, they would be more willing to throw you in prison for 10 years than explain to you how it was you improperly packaged your (unloaded) paperweight for flight.
 

GHF

New member
Taking Your Favorite Traveling Companion On An Airplane

Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:
  1. Put the unloaded weapon(s) in a lockable hard-sided case with locks only you have the keys to open. TSA locks are not allowed.
  2. Check the airline(s) you are flying on:
    • Determine if the ammo MUST be in boxes OR can fly in loaded magazines.
    • If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazines.
    • The round from the pipe(s) must be in a box, not loose.
  3. Secure and protect magazines and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
  4. Put the lockable hard-sided case with the weapon and the ammo/magazines into a cheap, non-descript bag - with clear labeling outside and inside - for checking in. The labeling should be limited to:
    • Your Name
    • Your Cell Phone - if you have one, or your home phone if you do not
    • Your personal email address - if you have one
    • NO ADDRESSES, JOB TITLES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED
  5. Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.
  6. Check this non-descript bag at the airport. Have the rules for the airline in hand.
  7. Make sure you have the keys to the lockable hard-sided case with you and you alone (Per Federal Regulations § 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals - Link Removed) at all times. You will have to open the lockable hard-side case to demonstrate to the airline that the weapon(s) are not loaded at check in, and if the TSA wants to see.
  8. Have the serial number(s) and descriptions of your weapons on you, so if they "disappear" you can report the loss/theft to the airline, the FAA Regional office, and the ATF Regional Office immediately.
Other points to ponder:
  1. Can you possess the weapon at all your stops.
  2. Where can you carry and how at all your stops. Check www.handgunlaw.us.
  3. What are the deadly force rules in each state you are visiting. Check www.handgunlaw.us.
  4. Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - Link Removed. This covers changing methods of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
 
Last edited:

lukem

Administrator
Staff member
Great info GFH. I think I'll work on adding some kind of airline travel section to the site.
 

Dewhitewolf

Armed Snowboarder
I flew with a pistol from Newark, NJ to Las Vegas, NV without any problems. Prior to my flight, I printed out both TSA's requirements, as well as the airline's requirements. Both simply required that the gun be unloaded and in a lockable, secure case (in my case, plastic), and that the firearm be declared with checked luggage. They had me sign a declaration (basically saying the firearm was not loaded) and stick it inside my luggage. Then the counter agent escorted me to the TSA station, where they sent my bag (with locked gun case inside) through the x-ray machine. Then I was given the "thumbs up" that everything was in order.

*Contrary to popular belief, it is ILLEGAL for airlines to require any luggage to be labeled as containing firearms!* This is another myth spread by the "know-it-alls."

You may also declare ammunition, but I chose to fly without any.

Someone mentioned about Clarke County (Nevada) registration. As I understand it, Clarke County only requires registration (and qualification) of pistols you intend to carry, provided you already have a Nevada carry permit, or one recognized by Nevada. If you do not intend to carry on your person, or in your vehicle in an accessible manner, such regulations won't apply (provided you only transport the firearm unloaded, and in a secured container, inaccessible). I was sent a letter written by Clarke County Sheriff's office from Front Sight, stating this.

Bottom line, get your information straight from the horse's mouth--don't go by what someone who has no direct knowledge says (such as the guys who work at the gun store, buddies at the range, and the armchair commandos).
 

1madcat

New member
I usually fly Jet Blue so I checked their website. They only allow 10 rounds of ammo to be checked. So you really need to check with the individual airline.
Guess I have to keep a box of ammo at my sister's house when I travel there.
 

lukem

Administrator
Staff member
I usually fly Jet Blue so I checked their website. They only allow 10 rounds of ammo to be checked. So you really need to check with the individual airline.
Guess I have to keep a box of ammo at my sister's house when I travel there.

That's a good idea. I'm just going to leave some ammo at my mother's house where I stay when I come to New Orleans. That's just one less thing I'd have to worry about bringing.
 

BrianB

New member
Hard plastic case with a lock is all you need. I'm in the military and we send folks all over with guns and we use plastic or fiberglass cases. I recently traveled to Phoenix to pick up a car and my factory plastic case worked just fine. Just declare it when you check in. I didn't take ammo. I bought some on the ground after I got there and drove back home. No sweat.
 

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