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Posted: 5/2/2002 2:09:45 PM EDT
So I might (gotta talk to my foreman, damn summer jobs) be heading down to Southern Alabama for five days and might be taking my AR-180B with me (might do some shooting with some good friends). What's the procedure here for taking my rifle on the plane? Is it just checked luggage or do I have to do anything different nowdays?
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 2:17:21 PM EDT
Get a lockable hardcase. Bring it to the airport in the case. Tell the prancing fairy behind the counter that you are checking "an unloaded firearm." Show the prancing fairy that your firearm is, in fact, unloaded by quietly pulling the bolt back and showing that there is nothing in the chamber. Try to be a little low key here to avoid twitchy Guardsmen firing a few rounds in your direction. Fill out the little orange card and sign it. Put the card inside the case with your rifle, then lock the case. Check the case, and watch your high-dollar investment go through that little door on the conveyor belt. At your destination airport, race to the baggage claim area in case they don't check baggage tickets to make sure no one walks off with your rifle should you be so lucky that the airline actually got your rifle to the same airport as you. Good luck.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 2:18:05 PM EDT
Call the airline and ask someone who is familiar with their rules.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 2:51:29 PM EDT
I've travelled with guns (AR + handgun) on Alaska Air no problem (they move quite a few hunters in Pacific Northwest area). Just make sure it's unloaded, and the case is lockable. In fact, if you can ship your AR180 in broken-down form, that's even better: it's easier to surreptitiously demo to the airline agent that it's indeed unloaded. When you first talk to the agent after standing in line, do mention right off the bat that you need to declare (a) legal, unloaded firearm(s), and ask if there's a more private area for inspection (like below the counter, behind a lectern, etc.) If it's a female gate agent, I can assure you she'll be quite wide-eyed. If they don't know the laws/rules, don't fight with the gate agent. Ask for her supervisor(s). Eventually you'll get thru. May help to have a printout of the airline's policies on weapons shipping - these are usu somewhere on their websites. Plan on coming to the airport EARLY since you're "troublesome" and may have to jump thru a hoop. Last time I did this, I got to airport 1hr early. Given the current antiterrorist BS at airports (still wide-open to clever Arabs) and extra delays already there, you may wanna add even more time as a safety margin. On arrival, deplane quickly and get to that luggage carousel area ASAP: don't hug the relatives, pee, get coffee, buy a paper, etc. All that can wait: you don't wanna be a victim of an early luggage unloading and have your guns circulating on the conveyor for 5-10 minutes before you get there. Your request for your luggage item(s) to be held for personal claim at your destination may well be overlooked, and you don't want some Colombian luggage thief to walk off with it. If on a multi-leg flight, make sure you travel with your luggage. If your luggage is held up, hold up your travel plan. If there is a tight connection and/or flight cancellation due to weather, there's a chance your luggage could go a different route than you do, and in fact end up on a carousel unattended. Mention these worries to the gate agent at your midflight point(s): when you mention 'firearms' they'll jump thru hoops to keep you & your toys together. [When we had to change flights at last minute in Portland (PDX) on quite a tight schedule, they physically (after I notified 'em about firearms) sent a luggage agent out to collect our luggage and move it to the new flight, and reported the exact physical description to us. And then they upgraded us to 1st class in all of the hullaballooo.. I believe (legally) carrying firearms on planes may allow you to get some added protection/ tracking of your luggage. So when I travel on personal time from now on I'm gonna take my beater AR + a handgun, just for giggles. [Since I'm in the stinking state of Kalifornia, I do carry a copy of my AW reg paperwork just in case there are questions about legal ownership of my AW.] Travelling tip: you can find .223 ammo about anywhere, not really worth flying with. (You can travel with ammo as long as it's boxed. Not sure if it must be in a different container or not. May help when your rifle is broken down.) But stuff your buttstock with usu goodies: cleaning rod, brushes, jag, patches, CLP, and a few spare parts. Have fun! Bill Wiese San Mateo, CA
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 3:38:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2002 3:41:19 PM EDT by Spade]
Thanks a bunch. Since the keys for my two hardcases apparently were lost sometime in the early 80's (way to go dad), I have to buy a new one. Are those $20 Bushmaster cases any good? The only cases I can find locally at that price would only fit my .22 if I took the scope off. Cleaning kit. Thanks for reminding me. Need to restock that stuff. Spare parts? Crap, Armalite is so backed up with 180B orders I doubt I'd get any in time to leave, but in theory I haven't used the rifle enough to break anything. I'd have a three hour layover in Atlanta, so losing my luggage shouldn't be a problem, but since you said so I'll tell every Delta rep I can find. I've never had my luggage come down the chute in Montgomery in anything less than half an hour, so that shouldn't be a problem either. Thanks guys.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 3:45:33 PM EDT
No, don't get a Bushmaster case, they break much too easily. Go for the investment and get a good case. ALSO, put your gun case inside a golf bag, they have billions of different kinds, most with wheels. So now your AR won't look like a gun; you'll just look like any other nerd going to play golf - much less likely to get stolen.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 3:54:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sitting Bull: No, don't get a Bushmaster case, they break much too easily. Go for the investment and get a good case.
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Any suggestions? Remember I'm a college student, so price is ALWAYS an issue.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 3:56:07 PM EDT
I've got a Browning Travel Vault that will fit two or three long guns, depending on how I pack them. If price is an issue, I'd get a shorter case that your rifle will fit into when broken down. Get one that you put your own beefy Master keyed locks on rather than one that comes with usually fairly cheesy integral locks.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 4:01:22 PM EDT
people also steal golf clubs. they can be worth as much if not more than a pre-ban with all the trimmings.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 4:11:35 PM EDT
FWIW, I've flow Delta several times into Alabama and never had even the slightest reaction to checking a firearm. Everybody knew the procedure (even the ladies). By the way, there was no inspection to determine if the firearm was unloaded, just a signed statement by me saying it was (rest assured that if it was, I'd be writing this from jail). When people say the agents inspect the firearm, I wonder if they have actually checked firearms before. It doesn't make logical sense. (Think about it, what lay person can determine if a firearm is loaded? Certainly not a gate agent. They don't inspect them because they don't want the responsibility, nor do they want one going off while being handled). The little orange card actually states that it is an unloaded firearm, and that is placed into the locked case. Delta has advised me that I call ahead and inform the reservation agent that I would be checking a firearm. This serves three purposes: 1) Alerts the gate agents so there is no surprise, 2) Ensures the proper forms are at the counter, 3) Makes a record that I am in fact trying to "check" a firearm, and not "assault" the airport.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 4:17:25 PM EDT
[size=4]Don't forget to get additional insurance![/size=4]
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 4:27:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Cincinnatus: [size=4]Don't forget to get additional insurance![/size=4]
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Don't I do that at the check in counter? Excuse my ignorance, I've never flown with a rifle before.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 4:27:18 PM EDT
I know it sounds dumb, but I put on a cheap trigger lock even though it is in a locked case. It gives the soccer mom at the counter checking it that warm fuzzy feeling. Since I started doing it, they don't give me the evil eye anymore.
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