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Author Topic: Question(s) for people who have flown in for past events  (Read 2234 times)
McNair
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« on: December 27, 2011, 11:12:46 pm »

What was your experience with bringing your gear and gun(s) with you?
I've no experience taking guns with me prior. The last time I flew anywhere was in 2002 and I only had a bag and suitcase going to Alaska.
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Mercy
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 06:39:38 am »

I travel with firearms all the time...and airsoft quite a bit. You do not need TSA locks for a firearm and it's actually discouraged. If TSA wants to inspect a bag designated as a firearm they will contact the passenger for the combination. Use combination locks not keys you will inevitably misplace a key.  Have a couple of spare locks in the box for when they are damaged in transit...you can't get your bag back on the airplane for the trip home without locks and finding locks as you rush to the airport is a pain in the ass.

Don't buy a $12 gun box and expect it to pass inspection. If it's too flexible and can be significantly separated even with the locks on; they will reject your firearm for transport. It needs to be pretty rigid...ask around and see if you can borrow a Pelican box or something for transport.

It is a very straight forward process at the airport. Shooting equipment is accepted as checked baggage.  All your other gear INCLUDING BBs should also go as checked baggage.  Your bayonet in checked bag, no problem, your BBs, no problem, DO NOT bring stuff like fake grenades and mines these are a problem. Fake grenades I won't travel with at all, they are a pretty big grey area that I don't want to have to be the Supreme Court test case on. Don't plan on bringing anything airsofty in carry on baggage...when you are tired or late you will make a mistake and end up with some 'splaining to do.

The airline you are flying has firearms requirements listed on their websites. Don't bother telling them its airsoft, just declare it as a firearm and do the process...its easier than explaining what airsoft is with 1000 people eyeing the apparent "guns" your transporting. You can have the batteries in the case, I just recommend that they aren't in the gun...it looks funny on xray and they are more likely to want to dig around in there.  The "process" entails you opening the box to show the lady at the counter that its a firearm telling her it is unloaded and mostly likely telling her that she needs to give you one of the day glow orange tags behind the counter to fill out since she may or may not know.  Then you put the tag in the box, lock it up and tell her you'll stand around until TSA clears your bag, if you don't have to bring it to TSA yourself of course...this also depends on the airport.  DO NOT let them tell you the firearms tag goes on the outside of the bag, it does not, it goes on the inside.

BBs show up as metal due to the barium in them...put these on top of any luggage you have them in so that TSA doesn't have to dig through everything to find them.  Over-pack your BBs in a zip-lock bag so that if/when the crappy bag they came in bursts at the seams you don't have BBs all over the inside of your luggage.  Do not transport your magazines with BBs in them...especially drum magazines...guess what they look like on xray!

Have your name, address and phone number on the inside the case as well as on the outside of the case so there can be no question who they should need a contact for a stray bag. Lastly, I very much recommend putting a piece of duct tape on your bag(s) and in big sharpie put the destination airport code on there. Yes, the bag tag has it too but it can be torn off. Doing that has gotten sensitive equipment to the right airport for me on more than one occasion; after that its just a matter of going to the airline office at your arrival airport and saying where's my "lost" bag. This is much easier if it's not at DCA when you are in SFO.

Your gun box will sometimes though not always show up at the special bag pick up, not the carousel. It really depends on the airport.  


So to sum up when checking a firearm, you must:
Declare to the representative that you are checking a firearm (If a Security Checkpoint is prior to the ticket counter, you must declare the existence of a firearm to security personnel.)

Present firearm(s) unloaded and sign a "Firearms Unloaded" declaration. Basically just a little Orange tag that goes INSIDE the box. Do not let them tell you it has to go on the outside, it does not.

Lock the firearm(s) in a hard-sided, crush-proof container.


Edited for mong typing as usual.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 07:05:57 am by Mercy » Logged

There's an east wind coming, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 07:05:31 am »

Can't get much fairer than that I suppose. I would recommend using a case that has place for two padlocks as opposed to once single hole in the middle of the case as you can often still force it open from one of the ends with a bit of effort.

I agree about the BBs too. Travelling from Bahrain to Dubai with all of our gear in carry on (our guns were in Dubai already), I spent 30 minutes at the scanner with almost everything laid out on the bench whilst they tried to find an odd mark on the x-ray. Turns out it was a half full bag on BBs we had brough back with us last time we went to play. They didn't bat an eyelid at the plate carrier or anything like that but the BBs caused major issues which, when they found them, they laughed about and sent me on our way.

Anyway, we get to Dubai and I figure probably best to declare them before the scan to avoid these issues again and it led to over an hour of being asked the same questions over and over again aswell as my bag being put through the scanner looking for 'the gun' over and over and ending up in an office surrounded by a load of gents in uniform. Needless to say I was released, with my BBs, and that was the end of it as we were all above board but it was hassle that could have been avoided if we simply hadn't have bothered.
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aswayze
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 07:44:08 am »

Airports are not as frantic about firearms as you would think they would be as long as you follow the procedures.    I think Mercy is on the right track just calling the airsoft stuff firearms just to avoid trying to explain every single thing.

Option #2 is to just ship your guns out or if you've got other guys in your area who are driving (like Phoenix) just hand off all the annoying to transport stuff to him and travel light on the aircraft. 

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fallout11
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 08:03:16 am »

Good info there Mercy, thank you. A lot has changed in the last few years when it comes to flying, tagged for future reference.
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Mercy
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 08:50:28 am »

As Aswayze pointed out its so much nicer just to have your stuff at your arrival point.  There are some times we drag all this crap through the airport but many times if I have enough lead time I box everything up in pelican boxes and ship it.   If you don't get free baggage on the airline you're traveling on it will just be cheaper to ship it via FedEx ground.  If you elect to ship, ship early, do not believe it when they say it will be there in 4 days...give them a couple of days spare.  Again, destination address directly on the box or your stuff will end up in their Salt Lake City clearing house for lost stuff when someone accidentally rips the tags off...ask me how I know.  Fortunately I had 4 indian orange pelican boxes they could easily pick out for that little adventure - not generic black.

If you're shipping your stuff to a hotel call them and let them know you've got boxes coming and when you expect them to arrive and when you expect to arrive.  Then when you know they have arrived (tracking number) call the hotel again and confirm that they are in fact there.

Locks on boxes without question.  Tape them down to the box so they are less likely to break...spare locks again.  Extra shipping labels just in case.

Hey finally something I'm an expert on! I've been getting kicked around by airlines and shipping companies for the last 9 years of traveling with unusual equipment and items of high value.  Trust but verify.

Before you leave find out where the nearest drop off point for your shipper is.  It is better to drop it yourself at their site rather than leaving at the hotel for pick up.  Fedex will let you open a shipping account with just a credit card and then you can have your very own account number that you can slap on anything and it will be charged directly to your account...don't tell your friends Smiley.  If you have to leave it at the hotel make sure YOU call and schedule the pick up don't rely on the hotel staff to do it...they will not no matter how nice the hotel.  Once the person that assured you they would call the shipper goes off shift no one else will know what to do with the boxes and the person that originally told you they would do it will A) forget for two weeks or, B) go on vacation for two weeks.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:59:20 am by Mercy » Logged

There's an east wind coming, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 09:46:46 am »

I have flown a few times with both real steel and airsoft.  Follow the above instructions and you will be ok.  It is always funny to see the looks you get packing a gun case in a airport but just remember do not open the case at all until you check it (if they ask). 

Many times, most counter people are stupid per the regulations that they will call the TSA to come look and hassle you.  The TSA is decent with rifles and will just give you a "checked" sticker or piece of paper to put in your box.  It is funny, the first time I flied to Waco, TX for Operations Bulldog (Lionclaws) I had a M249 and a M4/203.  The TSA guy looks at me then looks at the guns and says, "ohh you must be Special Forces".  Just smile and be on your way.

As a side note, print out your airlines regulations and carry them with you.  As stated above, most counter people are stupid in the regulations of their respective companies.  Also if you are coming from a non-gun friendly state then be aware of local laws and such. 

Wal-Mart right now has knock off Pelican cases for sale.  I looked these over and I was really impressed, I picked up two and I think I got them for 39.99 each.

David
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McNair
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 10:23:33 am »

Thanks for the great info, all.

Aswayze, I don't know why I didn't think about just having my guns come in with Phoenix if I end up flying. I think that will be best rather than trying to pack a M240, a couple M16s, and a M9 into cases and bring them with me into the airport. I'd have to buy/borrow cases since I only own soft cases for my hunting rifles. hah.

But good info to know if I end up flying somewhere else at some point with airsoft or my real stuff.

Just for discussion sake, is there other issues dealing with hand guns? I know you wouldn't be able to do real ones into California as I remember from my reenacting days that no one could bring their side arms when going to events in California.

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Phoenix
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2011, 03:42:24 am »

Yeah, I can take all your gun stuff, no problem. Of course I might have to charge you a shipping fee to help cover the ridiculous amount of gas that drive is going to take. Wink

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