Scratch American Airlines and Guns

By John Farnam

MAGPul PMAG 30
MAGPul PMAG 30 : http://goo.gl/fa8Oy4
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “I’d like to help you out. Which way did you come in?” ~ Amish Proverb

Scratch American Airlines!

On the subject of transportation of guns and ammunition in checked baggage on domestic flights, you’ll find airline web pages do their best to hide the information. What they do have is imprecise, mealy-mouthed, and thus mostly worthless. Some, like Jet Blue, avoid the subject completely. TSA’s is only slightly better.

When you call airlines directly, you’ll likely talk with someone who wouldn ’t know a gun from a waffle-iron, and they’ll awkwardly attempt to recite from their own poorly-written web-page text, obviously not having a clue what half the terms mean. They’ll be utterly unable to answer your questions with any specificity. When you get to the airport, many will attempt to make-up “rules” as they go along.

They couldn’t care less, of course, but their ignorance, or even a gun-hating, personal agenda, may cause you to miss your flight.

AA is the only Airline whose web page specifically and clearly says that ammunition in checked baggage may not be inside of magazines. As noted above, other airlines address the issue vaguely or not at all. Yet, when I’ve flown AA, I have not found the foregoing to be the case. Ammunition within magazines was transported without question.

I fly routinely with both rifle and pistol magazines, fully charged with ammunition. M4 magazines are Magpul, and have their wonderful “cap” in place, so that no ammunition is visible from the outside (except through the “ window” on the side). They are, in turn, packed into a rectangular, padded gun-rug, secured within my range bag.

Pistol magazines are inserted, head-first into Hi-Viz’s excellent “magazine socks,” and subsequently into a gun-rug, again so that no ammunition is visible from the outside. I addition, I usually have more ammunition in factory boxes.

I mostly fly Southwest, United, Frontier, and Alaska, with no issues. I have rarely flown AA and Delta, but I’ve had no issues with them either, as noted above. I fly out of DEN, PIT, SEA, OKC, VCT, IAD, ABQ, AUS, MDW, CMH, DFW, PHL, RSW, HOU, LAS, MSN, BNA, SLC, AVP, SBN, PBI, YKM, et al.

I have noticed that when you’re a TSA/Pre, both airline ticket agents and TSA people ask far fewer questions than when you’re not. For me, TSA/Pre status has been all positive, so far.

Either way, I don’t recommend flying out of any airport in NJ, nor NY, under any circumstances, particularly NYC!

Guns need to be unloaded and in lockable (and locked), hard cases. Hard cases are then placed within checked luggage, which also needs to be locked. Guns need to be “declared” to the airline upon check-in. All airlines have “tags,” which you sign, and that are then placed on the outside of the hard case that contains the gun(s).

By contrast, ammunition need not be “declared,” nor even mentioned, and they rarely ask about it, nor want to see it, and I, for one, don’t answer questions that weren’t asked!

This from a friend who just flew out of ORD yesterday:

“I told the American Airlines counter clerk that I had a unloaded pistol in my checked baggage. She gave me the tag, and I filled it out normally. When asked about ammunition, I answered in the affirmative. I had two pistol fully-charged magazines, one in each of a pair of sneakers in my checked bag.

The TSA guy subsequently told me that AA didn’t allow charged magazines in checked baggage. They asked me to take the rounds out of the magazines. The AA clerk said she would get me a box for the ammunition, so I could fly with it. She never did!

A CPD officer was summoned, took the ammunition and said to me, ‘Why do you have these?’ I replied, ‘… for the same reason you do!’ He obviously didn’t like my answer, departed with my ammunition, and I never saw him, nor it, again.

I made my flight. My pistol, my now-empty magazines, and I arrived at my destination safely.

However, I’ll never fly AA again!”

Comment:

As this unique election season continues to heat-up, I suspect many, probably most, of our inner cities will be burning by this fall. Travel to, even through, those area will not be a good idea. Traveling anywhere, via any means, without guns and ammunition, will also not be a good idea!

Be prepared to precipitously alter travel plans when necessary. You may have to drive to places to which you used to fly. When flying, don’t be surprised when airlines, and/or TSA “changes rules” suddenly, and without warning!

As always, be polite but boring. Do the drill as best your can. Pay attention. Maintain a low personal profile. Never volunteer information, and don’t expect others to care about your welfare more than you do.

Even then, there are no guarantees!

/John

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

  • 72 thoughts on “Scratch American Airlines and Guns

    1. I see the dates on this thread so I hope someone is still on. Does anyone know if its permissible to attach my hand gun hard side lockable case to the structure of my checked bag to make it more difficult to remove?

      1. My case came with a steel cable and I always use it to tether/secure my case to the frame of my suit case. It keeps baggage handlers from removing it and I always keep it tethered/secured when I’m in the hotel room. You should be perfectly fine. Also recommend printing a copy of your airlines firearm policy and carrying it with you just in case someone behind the counter is not familiar with their policy.

    2. For some reason I don’t see my previous comment, but someone asked a question for a clarification, so here it is.
      The AA website uses language directly from the old TSA guidelines regarding ammunition and magazines.
      Generally the airlines will go along with whatever current TSA guidelines state, over the published policy of the airline itself – unless it is a specifically intentional tighter restriction such as specifying no more than X pounds or 2 boxes of ammo.
      Farnam’s experience successfully carrying loaded, enclosed magazines suggests that at least some AA employees leave this issue to TSA. The friend’s experience was not an AA issue, but a TSA issue. Ammo in magazines must be enclosed in a way intended to enclose ammo. A tennis shoe does not qualify.
      I think Farnam’s point was that your mileage may vary. The rules can be enforced strictly or loosely. One person might be nit-picky while another might be easy-going. One might really know and understand the rules, while another might just be making stuff up and demanding that you “Respect mah authority!”
      It’s up to you to be as proactive as possible. The more you know and try to adhere to written guidelines, the less likely you will experience complications. Internet lawyers are probably not your best source of reliable information.
      Jeff

    3. It always amazes me how many experts there are in the comments on these types of articles.
      I used to test and train TSA officers so let me clear up a few things:
      Ammunition must be fully enclosed in a container designed for carrying/transporting ammunition. Loaded magazines were not considered to meet that criteria initially, but TSA adapted. The current rule is that loaded magazines are acceptable IF they have some form of secure cover over the open end of the magazine – a tennis shoe does not qualify – OR they are secured within the locked, hard-sided case containing the gun. The “OR” here can be a little iffy, so it is safest if you insist on carrying loaded mags, that they always have a cap or be inserted into a snug-fitting mag pouch. This applies to all airlines. TSA used to have guidance that specifically said that a magazine was NOT considered an appropriate container. AA obviously took that and has held onto it on their website, but has also accepted the subsequent guidance from TSA on the issue – as Mr. Farnam’s experience testifies. If asked about ammo, the appropriate answer is always; “Yes it is properly packaged.”
      As to the declaration tag. The tag must not be placed on the outside of the luggage where it can be seen by the public or baggage handlers. If the luggage itself is the “hard-sided case,” the tag would go inside the case. If the “hard-sided case” is being carried inside a larger piece of luggage, the tag can either go inside or on the outside of that case, but not on the outside of the luggage. It’s all about not advertising to the world that there is a gun in there.
      As to flying into or out of NY, NJ, etc., you are protected by the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, BUT they can be extremely picky about the technical details of the act. You are only guaranteed safe passage with your firearm IF you are in transit FROM a place where possession of your gun is legal TO a place where your gun is legal, and you cannot make intermediate stopovers. So, if you’re on your way to New Hampshire and you land in Albany, you can get your bag with your gun and continue on your journey. If however, you are planning to spend, or just spent, a couple of days in NYC – either coming or going – you are not protected by FOPA.
      The classic example was Joyce Harsch, a nurse who traveled from Indiana, through Albany, and on to New Hampshire or Vermont, but was stopped on her return trip when she attempted to check her bag in Albany. She was quizzed about where she was coming from, and she answered that she had been in Massachusetts. Since she had not been attending a competition or training course in MA, her gun was illegal there – nullifying the protections of FOPA. She was arrested and lost her gun. We eventually got it back and charges dropped, but it was a scary, costly lesson.
      Another problem is layovers. During a layover in NY or NJ – whether planned or forced by weather, etc. – you should never take possession of luggage containing a gun. Get the baggage agent to pull the luggage from the conveyor and store it for you in their holding area, then have them deliver it to your next flight. Taking it to your hotel has been construed to be a violation and can cause serious problems.
      I hope that clears some things up.
      Jeff Knox, http://www.FirearmsCoalition.org

      1. Jeff, thanks for that helpful post. I have a question about one point you made though.

        “TSA used to have guidance that specifically said that a magazine was NOT considered an appropriate container. AA obviously took that and has held onto it on their website, but has also accepted the subsequent guidance from TSA on the issue – as Mr. Farnam’s experience testifies.”

        I’m not sure if you are saying AA is now okay with properly loaded mags or clips, as their website currently says:

        “Ammunition must be:

        In the original packaging from the manufacturer or in packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition (made of fiber, wood or metal). Ammunition is not accepted in magazines or clips.”

        Can you clear up what you were trying to say?

        Thanks again!

    4. Heads up. Don’t know when or where you went through checking a firearm in at an airline, but they absolutely do NOT put the declaration tag on the outside of the storage box. It goes on the inside of the container.

      Medic Tom

    5. But if you Carry a Bomb you are safe to proceed, TSA AGENTS are one of the Persons that don’t need any form of education, Just FOG A MIRRO and you get the Job, I have work both Private before TSA as a screener in Alaska and had firearms daily come thru as carry on, Going from different parts of Alaska, Then with US CUSTOMS with which all rules changed , neither Live ammo was permitted or Clips with ammo . Ammo had to be in plastic boxes or factory box with trays, Bolt taken out of Firearm if it was a long gun and Slide all the way back locked in open position,. in safety case that had to be locked, We used to ask the Pilots to carry them up front in cockpit if the person was a regular Guide taking people out in the back country, Most did it for the client or Guide. Now days in the lower 48 they have to many rules that are to different from one state to the next. No one know the rules at all and if they don’t then they call Airport Police and have them confiscate the item.

    6. Here’s the solution….

      STOP FLYING !

      But, I know that is an unreasonable suggestion for those many of you who like bending over for the TSA thugs and getting groped by fedgov agents.

      Here, I’ll repeat my solution once more in the hopes that one of you will wake up and….

      STOP FLYING !

    7. Baggage machines stressing the ammo inside magazines, come on folks.

      Our troops have ammo in magazines 24/7/365 and they don’t worry about stressing ammo or magazines
      when deploying over the world by aircraft or otherwise.

      1. James, re:Ammo 24/7

        We humped with ammo in magazines for 5 -6 days over in ‘Nam. The humidity and heat took a toll so it was sop to shoot up all ammo from one mission and reload with ‘fresh ammo’ ammo for every operation.

        This meant my 22 mags of 5.56 was shot at the range built at our battalion fire support base, or during a MAD MINUTE, also continuously firing into the wood line surrounding our fsb. This was the manner in which the ammo that overheated in the Vietnam heat was used and reconciled.

        Overheated casings mean higher pressures…..this is true anywhere ammo sits in high temps.

    8. Nowadays, driving to your destination is about the same cost as flying. As as aside you will have a front row seat to the beauties of the American landscape, if you avoid most municipal layouts. Granted that may be hard to do if one is hurried, but some of the secondary highways offer vintage America for the unladen travelers among us. Some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets are out your clean windshield, while many now neglected small town architectural treasures are being forgotten and ignored.

      Gentlemen and ladies…..you can’t see shit from an airplane seat!

    9. ORD is Chicago O’Hare, key word Chicago.Also avoid JFK, BOS, Boston Logan and any other route that layover in an place where the airline can return your checked baggage. When you try to continue your flight, you get arrested by the city or state police on a felony gun possession charge.
      Wrap loaded magazines in Kraft paper and secure with tape. If you want to really confuse them, get a rubber stamp that says FAA Approved- 49 CFR 175.10(a)(8).
      https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/more_info/?hazmat=4
      When the FAA first required the checked firearms tag it was required to be on the outside of the bag. That assured that thousands of guns were stolen. The tag now goes inside as proof that you did declare the bad. While TSAapproved locks have a master key so TSA Agents can open any bag, if there is a gun in the bag TSA insists that your padlock have only one key and you must be the only person to have that key. If you want the privacy but don’t have a real gun, just pack a pink water pistol in a rug and declare your firearm. You can then use secure padlocks.

    10. Re the orange tag, per the FARs, it is to be placed inside the case, with the firearm, not the outside of the case. When I fly, my ammunition is packed away from my firearms case. It then comes under the famous Clinton, DADT rule…

    11. Some states consider a firearm loaded if the magazine has rounds in it , and is in contact with the firearm. AA flies into anti states . If a loaded magazine slide and touched the firearm while someone opened it they would be charged with having a loaded firearm. The stupidity of some states.

    12. I fly with a pistol in a locked handgun safe tethered to the frame of my checked with a box of ammo straight off the store shelf and empty magazines all locked away safely. I have even received a compliment or two.

      Copied and Pasted directly from American Airlines website. It specifically says ammunition is NOT accepted in magazines. That is not imprecise or mealy mouthed.

      Ammunition must be:

      In the original packaging from the manufacturer or in packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition (made of fiber, wood or metal). Ammunition is not accepted in magazines or clips.

      From Delta Airline website:
      Ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer’s original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, plastic or metal boxes and provide separation for cartridges.

      But you go ahead and bang on your high chair because you didn’t follow some simple rules and didn’t get your way.

    13. the airlines are NOT the defining factor here, TSA are. It is THEIR rules that are in place. Just because you “got off with it” a number of times only means the specific TSA bozos were asleep, lazy, or also failed reading comprenension. FEDERAL REGS specify that ALL ammunition must be in FACTORY PACKAGING, not loose, not other packaging, not magazines. ALL ammunition also MUST be in a separate, locked, hard sided case than that containing the firearms.

      Every airline have their page concerning arms whilst travelling by air, and EVERY ONE OF THEM links to the TSA rags. THAT is what binds. The airlines have no wriggle room. I have flown many times with checked handguns, per TSA regs, and never had a problem and American are my preferred airline (got lots of airmiles, so they are first choice. Delta are second.

      As to “paying attention” to ammunition… EVERY TIME I have been asked about ammunition, asked to describe how much I have, and how it is packed. Since I know the TSA regs by heart, I comply, describe it, and only once have TSA gone berko and even opened the hard case. That time the silly TSA dewwb in Seattle (SEA) insisted on opening EVERY BOX, checking to make sure there was nothing but amminition of THAT calibre in THAT box, even sliding open every one of the six 50 rd boxes of .22 WMR I had….. idiot!!! She almost dumped the first box full all over the floor!!

      I’d guess the reason the Chicago clowns never checked is that they are so unused to normal folks having firearms they never even connect with the fact that some might… personally, knowing Ilinois tyrannical firearms laws I will not even use their two airports as a connecting airport… nor will I fly to or through NY or NJ airports. I do not have, and cannot get, the FOID required in those three states to even possess any firearm, and have read horror stories of innocents passing through those airports and getting arrested and charged for possession without the FOID… which takes six weeks to three months to get, and is NOT issued to non-residents. Also, in NJ, bear in mind simple possession of ANY hollow point ammunition is a felony bust for EACH ROUND. Yes, one carton of 100 Winchester White Box 9mm JHP will get you locked up for a hundred years.

      Again, your problem was of your own making… the TSA regs bind, and are readilhy available, You did not comply, and thus were relieved of your ammunition. Simple. Just the same as had you tried to bring a four inch Buck folding knife in your cabin luggage…. NO NO NO, we takey you loosey.

      I’d guess the gal at American who said she’d find a package or box for you tried, and failed, and was told there IS no such thing… factor packaging for that round, and then a hard sided locable and locked case…. sure, let me just pop round the corner here and fetch you one right up…. just take a jif……..

      There is SO much readily available information on flying with firearms no one can hold up any excuse. Sorry, them’s the rules, and until they get changed, we have to either not fly with our guns, or abide by them. Be glad you only lost yor ammunition., A cheap price for the lesson.

      1. @Tionico you speak with great authority but your understanding of TSA’s rules does not match your tone.

        Tionico said, “the airlines are NOT the defining factor here, TSA are. It is THEIR rules that are in place.”

        Yes and yes. The TSA rules are the minimum standard that both passengers and airlines are to adhere to. There is no TSA rule that says the airlines can’t set a more restrictive policy. Passengers who abide by the TSA rules but not by the airline’s policy are probably not in danger of fines/arrest/jail from the TSA but may be booted from the flight, if discovered, until they can demonstrate compliance with the policy. E.g. John Farnham may have been in compliance with the TSA with loaded mags but not with AA’s policy. Once the mags were unloaded the rounds then became loose, putting Mr. Farnham in violation of the TSA rules, hence the confiscation of his ammunition.

        Tionico said, “FEDERAL REGS specify that ALL ammunition must be in FACTORY PACKAGING, not loose, not other packaging, not magazines.”

        You are 100% incorrect. The regs only say that it has to be properly secured. Factory packaging is not only acceptable but preferred, but is not the only method of securing. Pretty much any packaging designed to carry ammo is okay with the TSA, including magazines and/or clips (as long as they are also properly secured).

        From TSA.gov: “Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8)” Also, “Small arms ammunition…may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.”

        From blog.TSA.gov: “Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.” Also, “Firearm magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.”

        From 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8): “Small arms ammunition for personal use carried by a crewmember or passenger in checked baggage only, if securely packed in boxes or other packagings specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ammunition clips and magazines must also be securely boxed. This paragraph does not apply to persons traveling under the provisions of 49 CFR 1544.219.”

        Tionico said, “ALL ammunition also MUST be in a separate, locked, hard sided case than that containing the firearms.”

        You are only partially right. If you change MUST to MAY then you are still only partially correct. The TSA’s only requirement regarding ammo is that it must be properly stored in checked luggage. It does not have to be declared, although many airlines like AA do. This is another example of the airlines creating a stricter policy than the TSA requires. It does not have to be in hard-sided luggage. It does not have to be in the same case as the firearms although that is acceptable. It does not have to be locked although it may be locked.

        Tionico said, “Since I know the TSA regs by heart…”

        Apparently not. Please refer back to TSA.gov.

        Tionico said, “Also, in NJ, bear in mind simple possession of ANY hollow point ammunition is a felony bust for EACH ROUND.”

        Not true. Assuming you are not stopping in NJ but are simply passing through while traveling (re: 18 U.S. Code § 926A – Interstate transportation of firearms) you should be okay. Staying in NJ would be another matter entirely. From NJSP.org: “Provided certain conditions are met, a sportsman may transport and use hollow point ammunition. There are no restrictions preventing a sportsman from keeping such ammunition at his home…Activities contained in N.J.S.A 26:39-6f. can be broken down as follows:

        A member of a rifle or pistol club organized under rules of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and which filed its charter with the State Police;
        A person engaged in hunting or target practice with a firearm legal for hunting in this State;
        A person going directly to a target range, and;
        A person going directly to an authorized place for “practice, match, target, trap or skeet shooting exhibitions.”

        While the above from NJSP.org does not specifically address interstate travel it serves as an example that HP ammo is not completely illegal in NJ, just to use for self defense.

        Tionico said, “Just the same as had you tried to bring a four inch Buck folding knife in your cabin luggage…. NO NO NO, we takey you loosey (sic).”

        Again you demonstrate your lack of understanding or experience with the TSA regs. You are correct in that you cannot carry such a knife in your carry-on luggage. However your solution is but one way to satisfy the TSA. You can have your checked luggage recalled and place the knife in there, you can mail the knife at a kiosk that provides such services, you can place it back in your vehicle or hand it to the person who dropped you off, as appropriate.

        Tionico said, “There is SO much readily available information on flying with firearms no one can hold up any excuse.”

        Agreed. Mr. Farnham has no excuse for his failure to follow airline policy.

        Tionico said, “Be glad you only lost you (sic) ammunition., A cheap price for the lesson.”

        Not really, as Mr. Farnham was legally in possession of the ammunition and was compliant with TSA regs. When the airline forced him to unload his mags he was faced with several options, including losing the ammo which was apparently forced on him. He was NOT compliant with AA policy, which is odd that the TSA would care about. It’s not the TSA’s job to enforce airline policy. I carry empty plastic ammo boxes with me when I travel SWA or Frontier with loaded mags, with the small likelihood that I will face an intransigent agent that refuses to understand their own policy, of which I carry a copy of.

        1. “Assuming you are not stopping in NJ but are simply passing through while traveling (re: 18 U.S. Code § 926A – Interstate transportation of firearms) you should be ok.”

          This is true only if your luggage is checked through to its final destination, and will not be in your possession during your stopover in New Jersey. If you for some reason take possession of your luggage, and then try to check in your firearm for a continuing flight, may be in trouble legally with New Jersey law. You certainly are in New York State.

          This is a case, where the state may set more stringent requirements than the federal government, and you could be in violation of state law, even if you are in compliance with federal law.

          1. Jim in Conroe said, “If you for some reason take possession of your luggage, and then try to check in your firearm for a continuing flight, may be in trouble legally with New Jersey law. You certainly are in New York State.”

            Agreed. In either state it should be a simple matter of not taking possession of luggage containing the firearms. In such a possibility it would be prudent to have a carry-on, RON bag.

            That code should also work for folks driving through either state as long as they satisfy the rest of the requirements.

    14. Packing ammo in ammo boxes has been the rule going back over 10 years. The ammo weight restriction is something more recent. No loose ammo has ever been allowed that I am aware of, so when the author was told to remove the ammo from the mags, it became loose and was prohibited. TSA does not want to confiscate ammo due to paperwork. The guy was likely angered by the flippant response of the author so he lost. Always be nice and know the rules. If you are concerned about the rules, print them both from TSA and the airline (if available) and take them with you. Act like you know what you are doing, not be a cocky jerk. Most people out there don’t know anything about guns. Big airports are usually in large metro areas where people are not gun owners or have much experience in them. Often we are our worst enemy.

      1. I saw him just a few minutes ago, he’s in a transgender phone booth at the corner of 5th and Elm. Seems like he forgot his cape, and he’s standing there naked. My eyes will never recover.

    15. The signed firearms declaration tag must be locked INSIDE the gun case, not the outside as you stated “All airlines have “tags,” which you sign, and that are then placed on the outside of the hard case that contains the gun(s).”..

      1. Correct!
        18 USC 922 (e) “… No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm. …”
        The airline Declaration of Checked Firearm goes INSIDE the case with the gun.
        Carry a copy of the applicable law with you for dealing with idiots at the ticket counter, tell them THEY can break Federal Law by making you put it outside the case.
        And you’ll notify TSA IMMEDIATELY.

      2. To be honest I have many times been directed to place the dec card on the outside of my pistol case that is located inside other luggage where the card is still hidden from view.

        You know, I am convinced that the card contains material that is detectable by the scanner that TSA uses.

      3. No. You’re confusing two different issues.
        The tag is generally placed on the outside of the hard pistol case INSIDE your regular luggage.
        If you are transporting a gun case as luggage, the tag is placed on the inside of the case.
        The point is that the tag not be visible on the outside of any piece of luggage where a baggage handler would be able to see it.
        They used to put big orange stickers on the outside of any luggage containing a firearm, and they used to have serious problems with firearms disappearing. My dad was instrumental in getting that changed back in the early ’80s.

    16. What an arrogant, condescending article. It also stinks strongly of butthurt. Would you write a similar diatribe of McDonald’s, should an employee at one restaurant forget to put a straw in your drive-thru bag?

      And, you admit to breaking policies that you know to be in place, because you are annoyed, or lazy, or for whatever reason. Other than bragging about your frequent flyer status, what exactly was the point of this article?

    17. The easiest way to bring the airlines to their knees is for everyone for whom flying is not an essential to living, don’t! Just say no. You won’t go into withdrawal, you won’t have psychological trauma for the rest of your life. You will save a lot of money and live a stress free life.

      1. I too made this “discovery” (much to my surprise). I used to have to make a regular flight from Austin to Memphis. While waiting again for the flight, I calculated I spent over 9 hours to get to the airport, park, check in, wait, get on the plane, wait, fly to Memphis, wait, get off the plane, and rent a car. The next trip I drove my personal vehicle. Got to Memphis, checked into my hotel, got to the office – total time – 9 hours! It cost my company half the cost of the airlines and car rental reimbursement, plus I was “free!” Unchained by the rude flying public and the in-your-face airlines employees. Yes, airlines companies today seem to have the motto, “We make you feel like you’ve never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!” (Sorry – I plagiarized an old SNL show for that joke).

    18. It is unfortunate that at age 66 (and a former Marine and LEO) I now fear my “govern”ment more than at any other time in my life. This includes certain state and local “govern”ments, particularly those on the left and right coasts of our Country. As a result, my vacation and travel plans always take this into consideration. The result is no trips to California, Washington (DC or the state), Oregon, none of the northeastern states or those around the Great Lakes. I also avoid spending my disposable income on movies or other media products involving known directors, producers, actors, singers, or other performers who espouse anti-American or anti-Constitutional opinions. Nor do I patronize restaurants or other businesses that do not allow open carry (What-A-Burger, StarBucks, Chipotle, et al), or concealed carry here in Texas. Since as just an average guy I do not have access to the public media, the way I spend my dollars will have to suffice for now. Additionally, I try to be politically active and support those “proven” politicians who are not anti-America or anti-Constitution. I wish the NRA, the GOA, and other pro-gun groups would begin to publish a list each month to alert its members to the anti-gunners and anti-Americans releasing new films, DVDs, CDs, or other products so we can avoid buying them. We too are a strong force to be considered because of our votes and our money.

        1. Hey Clark, I’m sure you typed in “and thank you Michael for you service to our country”. Maybe you have a defective keyboard, or something else defective.
          Good luck living in your phone booth.

        2. Clark Kent – Just for your edification, I don’t live in a cave, I own a very nice home on a ranch in Central Texas (no mortgage – I own it outright). As you will note, nowhere in my comment did I say or infer that American Airlines is “run by the “govern”ment.” You made that up yourself. In fact, nowhere in my ace ment was American Airlines even mentioned. Get your facts straight.

        3. Mr. Kent – I do not live in a cave, I own a very nice home on a ranch in Central Texas. Please review my comment again. You will note that no where in my remarks did I even mention American Airlines, nor infer that American Airlines was run by the government. Your “X-Ray” vision and your brain must be on the fritz.

          1. Hi Michael,

            Very thoughtful and lucid rebuttals to the left wing nut. It’s so typical of them to make up facts. I try not to patronize anti-Second Amendment supporters. It’s hard to do in California, but I try my best.

            By the way, thank you for your service. I have the up most respect for those whom served our Country in the Military and LE.

      1. First off, Thank you for your service in the military and law enforcement. I am truly grateful for the people who served or nation.
        I happen to agree with you. As individuals we must do what we personally can to let it be known how we feel about the new laws or older laws that have been twisted to serve the gun grabbers. I Love my country but hate the government. Thank You again Michael and God Bless.

        1. Jim:

          I couldn’t have said it better – yes, I too love my Country, but I have a terrible taste in my mouth when having to swallow the garbage spewed by the “professional” politicians who now pose as “leaders” of this great Nation. A pox on their house! I am only consoled with the fact that the pendulum will soon begin swinging the other way.

    19. Interestingly, Southwest Airlines considers a locked, hard sided suitcase to be sufficient to transport your firearm without another case.

      https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/special-luggage-pol.html

      “Firearms must be encased in a hard-sided, locked container that is of sufficient strength to withstand normal handling, as follows:
      A firearm in a hard-sided, locked container may be placed inside a soft-sided, unlocked suitcase.
      A firearm placed inside a hard-sided, locked suitcase does not have to be encased in a container manufactured for the transportation of firearms.
      The locked container or suitcase must completely secure the firearm from access. Cases or suitcases that can be pulled open with minimal effort do not meet the locked criterion.
      Only the Customer checking the luggage should retain the key or combination to the lock. No exceptions will be made.”

    20. You MUST NOT attempt to check a firearm in your luggage at any New York airport. The airline personnel will summon a police officer and you will be arrested for possession of a firearm, which is illegal in New York. At best, your firearm will be confiscated and you will be fined.

      This can occur even if you transfer flights and need to recheck your luggage, despite federal laws meant to protect travelers in transit.

      This may also be the case in NJ.

      1. As an instructor, CRSO, and security person, I also routinely travel around the country with firearms, and I have also found that AA is far more restrictive about firearms passport than the other airlines I use. HOWEVER, while the other airlines are looser than AA about the less important details, I need to point out a couple of things: 1) It was TSA that confiscated your ammo and not the airline, and 2) AA was correct in their interpretation of the ammo storage regulations. TSA has always limited the amount of ammo that can be checked in to luggage, and has always required that the ammo be stored in the original factory box or a reasonable alternative. That definition does NOT include topped up mags. So while AA is – and always has been – more restrictive about the firearms transport regulations, this is NOT something new. Thanks.

        1. “AA was correct in their interpretation of the ammo storage requirements.” Only in that their interpretation satisfies the TSA rules although it is stricter than.

          “TSA has always limited the amount of ammo that can be checked in to luggage.” No, the TSA has NEVER limited the quantity. The airlines have, over time, adopted international limits for domestic flights. 5 KG, or 11 LB.

          “That definition does NOT include topped up mags.” Yes it does. From the TSA website: “Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.” That is pretty plainly stated.

          To my knowledge only Southwest and Frontier have specifically allowed loaded magazines. The other major airlines, AA included, specifically prohibit it.

        2. Right on the money Big Blue; I started reading the article and then decided “JOHN” is a totally IGNORANT moron about the regulations governing flying with ammunition in your “Checked-in ” luggage. Here in Tampa they have a AA porter follow you over to the TSA scanner and you WAIT while they run your bag through; If they see magazines they may legally ask you to open your suitcase so they may check that the Mags are UNLOADED and that the AMMO is in it’s separate cases; THEN you can close the case, put your NON-TSA locks on it and then they end it on its way with a TSA inspection sticker. IF you DO OTHERWISE, they MAY cut off your locks and you will/may lose the ammo. I’ll take AA any day of the week !!

      1. It is better to learn and practice “under the radar” travel, communications, finance, and business, now while it is still practice. The people that used to live under communist regimes learned and practiced OpSEC skills in order to remain alive. We can profit by their example. Hoard cash, keep silver coinage, barter, exchange gifts, make your own ammunition, send physical letters not email, land line not cell phone.

        1. Letters are photographed because of the anthrax mailed to Congress in 2001, telephones and faxes have been monitored far longer (Project ECHELON). Powder and primers will be monitored just as much as complete ammo if they are not already. You say to collect silver but give no reason why (unless it is to barter), and the word “hoard” is hurting your argument, it is used by those in power that want to seize or ban something.

          I have no problem with anyone doing these things, for almost any reason, just know that it isn’t as sneaky as you may believe.

          1. @AC, odd I have received no letters that had been opened, ever, so how could they be photographed? Also odd, the people that I send letters to have not mentioned that those letters had been opened. So how could those letters have been photographed?
            Which agency runs Project ECHELON?
            Powder and primers can be had without paperwork for cash at all the the gun shows that I attend. So maybe we better lay in a supply now.
            I think that in even the worst of scenarios people will accept gold and silver as payment. At least they have in the past. If you don’t like hoard, then read save up. I think that doing nothing is even less sneaky.

            1. Oh yes, I found the folder. Project ECHELON is a sigint program that grabs signals from satellites. That is why we need to use the land line not cell phones.

            2. You can pay cash for completed ammo, too.

              The outside of letters and packages are photographed, no they don’t know what was in them but the “metadata” is there which is valuable as well.

              “If UKUSA States operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.” ECHELON was starting up in 1947, so if you think they were listening to satellites back then you are mistaken.

              Then there is DCSNet, an instant wiretap for cell, VOiP and land lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Collection_System_Network

            3. You can buy ammo wwith cash, too.

              The outside of letters and photographed, no they don’t read it, but look up what they do with “metadata.”

              ECHELON started getting set up in 1947, if you think they were listening to phones over satellites then, you are mistaken. Also, look up the Digital Collection System Network. Instant wiretap on cell phones, VoiP and land lines, it is run by the FBI.

            4. Oh, and Bill, I think we agree on the moral, ethical and legal reasons why someone would collect those things and avoid electronics, we just have a minor philosophical disagreement about how someone would do it. I brought up the eavesdropping because it is almost impossible for someone to prevent a large organization from learning something about you.

            5. @Chris, If you have any better methods that you would like to share, then I am all ears.

    21. The story and comments explain why I prefer to drive or simply not go, rather than fly. Once you commit to flying, you are under their control, like it or not. When under their control, you are lucky if they only confiscate your property. And they do it all with the attitude that, if you are lucky, they will let you spend your money flying on their not so nice big airplane. So I drive or just don’t go. I do understand that a lot of people have no choice but to fly. Sorry for you.

      1. One still must be very careful. A couple of license renewals ago, our instructor told us one of his students did a California stop at a flashing red light in a sleepy town with no traffic. A couple of local cops stopped him and following the law, he also gave them his CCL. Miffed, they opened his trunk and found two semi-auto sidearms of different vintages and different manufacturers. They bench stripped them and left the parts in one pile on the trunk. They issued a citation, thanked him and drove away. I too avoid planes and never take them when I fly. But I also get a few butterflies when armed and I see a trooper on the road. There’s something wrong with this picture and I’m convinced it’s a long term leftist confiscation movement in this nation.

    22. FAA rules require that “ammunition be properly packed”, FAA, does not consider magazines proper packaging. Pre TSA, airlines often insisted on brand new, unopened factory containers. Now TSA permits any reasonably sturdy container. Note: if an alarm is generated by the ammo it may not be allowed on board the aircraft. The TSA web site explains this.
      Why would you want to subject your magazines to the stress of airline handling in a loaded condition? The potential for damage seems to me to outweigh any convenience.

      1. “…the stress of airline handling in a loaded condition?

        Loaded or unloaded, what’s the difference in “stress”?

        1. If you take your magazines and toss them around the way automated baggage equipment and baggage handlers do, the weight of ammo will put a lot of stress on the magazine. Think about it, if you repeatedly drop two mags, one loaded, one empty, which one will let go first? Simple physics. I was taught at PI many years ago take care of your gear if you expect it to take care of you.

    23. I understand and agree with the separately locked, documented firearms – (in theory, and hopefully in practice) they are stored in a separate area under supervision, lest someone with a felony be able to “borrow” your firearm.

    24. So the AA rules state no ammunition in magazines in checked baggage and you do it anyway? As Fred Sanford used to say: YOU BIG DUMMY!

        1. Mick: Why don’t go back down to your parent’s basement where you live and read your Spiderman comic books? This is an adult forum.

          1. The author did not have the ammunition in his bag, it was his friend that had this experience. He was related his friends experience at the end of the article, not his own. We don’t know if the “friend” had read the website and knew about the magazine restriction.

    25. So you blame AA for following their policy of passengers NOT having ammunition in magazines? I believe the blame lies in those who failed reading comprehension class. You are barking up the wrong tree; nice try.

      1. Clark….you are the one with e comprehension problem. Did you even read the complete article?

        Quote:. “The AA clerk said she would get me a box for the ammunition, so I could fly with it. She never did!”
        The AA clerk did not complete her job…of getting the box for the ammunition as promised.

        Quote:. “A CPD officer was summoned, took the ammunition and said to me, ‘Why do you have these?’ I replied, ‘… for the same reason you do!’ He obviously didn’t like my answer, departed with my ammunition, and I never saw him, nor it, again.”

        The CPD officer confiscated the loose ammunition.

        Open mouth, insert foot!

        1. Jeff: What part of the following statement by the author don’t YOU understand? ‘AA is the only airline whose web page specifically and clearly says that ammunition in checked baggage may not be inside of magazines’. Right back at you: open mouth, insert foot!

    26. Long gone are the days when the only question the airline asked was “Do you prefer TWA coffee or TWA Tea?”

      1. HOU is the airport code for William P. Hobby airport in southeast Houston. IAH on the other hand is George Bush International in north Houston.

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