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Posted: 10/9/2004 1:47:55 PM EDT
Hey all

First I travel often and often travel with a gun in my checked baggage. I flew from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Frontier Flying Service this morning. As per protocol, I notified the ticket agent that I had a unloaded firearm in my luggage (Handgun). She said no problem. I asked her if they needed to see that it was unloaded (requirement when I flew down from Fairbanks on Thursday). She said no as long as it is in a seperate case they don't need to see it. So I get checked in she takes my bags and attaches a tag that was 3 x 5 in bright red that said "contains firearms". I said what are you doing, TSA says not to have any thing on the bag that identifies that there is a firearm in the bag. She said that it is company policy that the identify with this tag any bag that has a firearm because they do not have an xray machine to screen the bags.
After 10 minutes of arguing with the two ticket agents, it was either surrender my gun and leave it, miss my flight while I argued more, or take the risk. Fortunately it turned out okay and my gun was in my bag when I got home, but I will not fly Frontier Flying again as long as they have such a bullshit rule.

Be forwarned.

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 2:50:18 PM EDT
I must use Frontier Flying Service frequently as there are only two carriers that include my work site destination. I don't really have a choice as my company takes care of the travel arrangements in anycase.

I don't really have a problem with such a tag but I condider this:

FFS is a small carrier. They don't use TSA, any equipment, or security check procedures - they have different rules. They do not check you or your bags in anyway. As far as I know, they do not use standard baggage/cargo handlers - they are the ones handling your luggage. Long arms cases are always known to contain firearms no matter what the carrier so it's obvious if you have a long gun. When travelling via FFS, I can literally see my luggage and firearms cases in the back of the flight cabin which inspires more confidence in me than losing sight of them from the moment I hand them over to the moment I pick them up.

If there is a baggage handler that has sticky fingers, the absence of a visible tag is not going to prevent them from rifling through your luggage. The flight is limited as is the handling of your baggage so if your luggage is stolen, it's a little easier to peg the responsible party than when flying a standard airline.

In my experience arguing with the carrier will not get you any satisfaction, and if anything all that will happen is that you will not get on your flight, be able to transport your effects, or you will permanently be banned. In another incident where someone caused quite a commotion over mishandled NFA firearms - all that gentleman got was the general ban of any NFA for EVERYBODY (gee, thanks dude!) on that carrier (AK Air).

Due to the nature of my flights with FFS, the tag doesn't bother me in the least as has no practical effect IMO. Such a policy will assuredly be felt about differently by different people.

I actually enjoy the casualness of the smaller carriers as I and my luggage don't have to go through a bunch of time consuming security BS of the larger carriers. I show up, hand them my luggage, then walk out a simple door to the plane when it comes time. Lack of security doesn't bother me much because I am in the camp that current security procedures are pretty much feel-good measures at best. If someone wants to get a weapon on a flight it's still not that hard as unannounced tests always show. Thieves will still go through your luggage tag or no and long guns will always be known from beginning to end of the process.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 5:23:42 PM EDT
AK Mike

I agree with you to a point. The main problem I have is that in Anchorage the bags go into a common area while they wait to load the plane. Maintance men, cleaning staff, airline employees, and a host of others do have access to these items along the way. In smaller arenas it would be of less concern to me. It just doesn't make sense that they would have a rule that is excatly contrary to what the airline insdustry and TSA say.

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 5:27:02 PM EDT
Airlined only provide about $1500 in insurance on checked guns.

I just about shit when we had $6000 in guns checked. it turned out all right though. In the future, when I can I will FedEx my guns to wherever I am going and meet them there.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 6:43:38 PM EDT
I'm not sure but I don't think FEDEX ships firearms. Might want to try UPS.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:04:34 PM EDT
FEDEX and UPS do ship firearms, though they are making it a real pain in the ass.

If long gun go USPS, though you must have FFL to ship handgun USPS.

Our local FEDEX requires that you have a signed original FFL in hand to ship any gun including paintball, air rifle, etc. They told me if it shoots anything out the barrel they consider it to be a firearm.

UPS is even worse.
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