Delta Airlines Changes How You Fly with Guns

By Mark Walters
Editors Note: AmmoLand News welcomes Mark Walters to our growing list of the best and brightest gun rights commentators, who are watching out for your RKBA.

Delta Airlines Changes How You Fly with Guns : Delta Airlines now zip ties traveler's luggage with guns inside.
Delta Airlines Changes How You Fly with Guns : Delta Airlines now zip ties traveler’s luggage with guns inside.
Mark Walters
Mark Walters

USA – -( It seems Delta Airlines pulled a fast one on this writer, talk radio host, commentator, and more importantly, all of us as the flying public.

Last week on these pages I wrote about an emailer’s experience flying on Delta airlines out of Norfolk, VA to St. Louis with a checked firearm.

It seems he had been given some information he had never heard before, and the process was different than he had experienced in the past. He was told his bag would be zip-tied before he could pick it up at his destination. Not only was he told it would be zip-tied, but it would also not be on the baggage carousel with every other regular bag. While the bag was not zip-tied, it did have a large “CAGPT” sticker slapped on it.

CAGPT,” otherwise known in Delta circles stands for “Check and Give Protection to” and below the letters, it states, ‘Do Not Place on Baggage Carousel Belt.” This is the label usually affixed to bags containing high-value or fragile items. He was also told it was their new procedure for checked firearms.

As I wrote last week, I called Delta, twice, to get an explanation for the man’s experience at their Norfolk, VA ticket and baggage counter and was told by two separate Delta employees that they were unaware of any changes. I chalked it up to some goofball or bonehead, as I referred to them, not knowing the TSA or company procedure. I now know I should have never trusted the folks I spoke to at Delta corporate. They were wrong, and by proxy, so was I.

You see, within a couple of days of that column and the subsequent on-air discussion of the topic, I began receiving other emails and photos of travelers bags with, you got it, stickers and zip ties.

I spoke to one letter writer, off the record confidentially, and saw the pictures of his bag with two large black zip ties crisscrossed around the length and width of the bag. The kicker? Those zip ties weren’t placed on the bag at origin after the declaration of the firearm and standard TSA inspection. No, they were affixed to the bag at the destination, before he could take possession of it and leave the airport. Unlike the first emailer whose bag only had the sticker, this one had both, but there was a difference. In the first case, the traveler had to obtain his bag at the baggage office, as the sticker says, “do not place on the baggage carousel belt.” It was not zip-tied. In the second case, the traveler waited for 20 minutes at the baggage office until seeing his bag, with the sticker only, circling on a nearby carousel.

He went to retrieve it and was followed by two employees who zip-tied his bag before allowing him to leave the airport. You read that right.

Needless to say, this time I called Delta with a little more information and some actual pictures to discuss what was going on. Initially, I was told by the employee that I was mistaken; there was no change of policy. I insisted on speaking to a supervisor who then informed me the process appeared to be for international baggage only. I then asked to speak to another supervisor who told me that on February 7th 2017, Delta had in fact instituted a new policy for those traveling with firearms that included placing the large “CAGPT” sticker on the bag. In this case, though, I was told they saw nothing about zip-ties, in fact, I was told that would be illegal. It didn’t seem to matter to him that I informed him I was looking at photographs, sent by two different flyers, in various airports, who had their bags tied.

He was very kind, apologized and read me the actual page regarding the change of policy. It said nothing about zip-ties, at least the parts he read to me said nothing about zipping ties to baggage.

Delta CAGPT otherwise known in Delta circles stands for Check and Give Protection to
Delta CAGPT otherwise known in Delta circles stands for Check and Give Protection to

Here’s the bottom line. Delta has, in fact, apparently changed policy on how you travel with your gun.

It is going to be a headache now as Delta admitted to me that it would take some time for every ticket counter to become familiar with the new procedures and implement them correctly. I can tell you from many years of personal experience, they will never get it right, it will always be a hassle, some of their baggage folks will harass you, you will be told untruths, and you will get angry from time to time. All of it will fall on your shoulders to act as the law abiding, responsibly armed American that you are.

Here are a couple of concerns. First, we all know that millions of Americans travel with firearms. That means that however many thieves work in the baggage handling of Delta, down below the world we never see; they too know the policy has changed and see evidence of it with many more “CAGPT” stickers identifying bags than they had never seen in the past. Of course those thieves will note the uptick means that most of these bags contain firearms. How stupid does Delta have to be to believe they will not see a rise in theft? My takeaway? When Delta lawyers and corporate big-shots huddled together to implement their new change, they apparently decided it would be worth the increased liability for stolen bags.

All of this because of one A$$hole in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’ll be flying them again on Friday, April 7th 2017 to Dallas. I’ll let you know how it goes, or for that matter, if I’m going to have to change my frequent flyer program to yet another airline. Yet another example of why we have to be smarter than the employees. God, I miss Airtran.


About Mark Walters

Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio’s Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)

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As of Jan 2018 they are now requiring you to check in at the airport, not online. This was confirmed by a Delta agent.


You’ll notice that I actually discussed this as early as March of last year down below. I also mentioned how it pushes you down the priority level for involuntary denial of boarding (bumping). Do a quick word find for my name, Alex, on the page and you will see those previous comments. It is a completely asinine policy.


I had the zip-tied bag experience in arrival at LAS last July. I’m a retired cop who carries concealed under LEOSA. When my bag (an all-aluminum Zero Halliburton Zeroller, which is as close to indestructible as luggage gets) arrived in the baggage office (I was told at my point of departure it wouldn’t be on the carousel), it had the CAGPT tag and a thick red zip tie around the circumference. I noticed a LAS Vegas Metro officer at a podium outside the luggage office. I told him who I was, showed him my credentials, and asked to borrow his… Read more »

Pascha Eden Derkevics

Very cool. AS a conceal and carry holder for the state of Florida, once I arrive at my destination, I don’t see why I can’t have my weapon with me and ready right before I walk out? Maybe I’ll try your way. THank you for your service.


I’m just waiting for Delta to start selling t-shirts with the red tag on the back and tie straps as a opition on the front..

Mike Stollenwerk

Good points!
Ignore Airline orders – they have no authority over you.


When flying into ATL always check the regular claim area first! And be ready for some stupidity. On Tuesday I flew into ATL on Delta and went to baggage claim “oversize” to get my overnight bag with the pistol inside (bypassing claim #3 since they have been sending CAGPT bags to oversize) but it wasn’t there. The baggage agent walked with me over to Claim # 3 and there it was with NO ties around it. We picked it up and we walked over to the claim office (presumably to make a note that it was picked up by the… Read more »


Let me get this straight, the guy is doing what he told and you want to argue with him over a policy he didn’t make?

Cal Freedom

Why suffer stupidity in silence? The employee is lucky they weren’t backhanded across the face to smack some sense into them.


Hum….Cal you must have lived an interesting life, where you go around smacking people doing their job.


I’ll do you all one better. In the wake of the United Airlines non-sense, I decided to read through Delta’s Contract of Carriage. Since Delta forces you to check-in and get your boarding pass at the airport counter, you are dropped to near the bottom of the priority list when it comes to involuntary bumping, ahead of only those who have not been issued boarding passes. So because you have opted to transport a piece of luggage that the law and Delta both allow you to transport, you are denied certain benefits under the contract. My suggested work around, book… Read more »


I was able to check in and print tickets for my trip online. This works until cancellations occur then you are forced to rebook in a long line of around 50 people that are handled by only one ticket agent. Definitely avoiding Delta from now on.
What does “confirmed this would work” mean? What’s the difference, round trip or 2 singles?


Durabo. The NRA is a fund raising machine, not a civil right organisation. Don’t you get the sea of envelops?


Hey old moron;
Yeah it costs money to protect our rights from the left winger moronic gun grabbers and other idiots, SO YES they DO have to Fund raise and YES THEY ARE A CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION; GO read the history of WHY the NRA was started many years ago.
Now go get an education and turn in that “degree” you bought on line from Kenya.


Atta girl, Colonialgirl! OldLawProf is probably from the batch of Marxist National Lawyers’ Guild troublemakers (Remember comrades William Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy?)


Sorry Honey, but I am a Life,Patron, Endowment, and Benefactor member. I know the organization well.

Wild Bill

I guess that there are a lot of ways to classify nearly everything. No matter what label you give them the NRA is the most effective lobby group of all in Wash, DC. And thank God for them!

Wild Bill

@Old, the NRA is a civil Right organization. Absent the NRA our Second Amendment Civil Right would have been rendered meaningless sixty years ago. The sea of envelopes is due to computerization. Joining and funding Second Amendment Civil Rights organizations is cheaper, cleaner, less sweaty, and less bloody than civil war. I am also a Life, Patron, Endowment, and Benefactor member. I also belong to and fund the CCRKBA, the GOA, and JPFO.


April 2nd, heading down to baggage claim on the escalator I heard my name called and told to report to the main office. Felt like I was back in middle school. After asking my wife to look for my bag at the carousel, I asked someone else where their office was. So I find it and the guy there gives me my bag and tells me not to open it at the airport. I didn’t notice the band until I started walking away with it. I thought this was great service getting my bag without having to wait UNTIL I… Read more »


On return trip I went through same procedure. Walking up to baggage area I hear my name again. They time that announcement really well. I go in there but this time the guy behind the counter seems a little clueless. He kept asking “what type of bag is it”? “Black suitcase”. He said , “Did you check the carousel? I said “its a CAGPT bag” He said, “Oh” then goes in the back and brings it out all banded up, gives it to me but this time says nothing. I take it out walk around the corner, retrieve my tiny… Read more »


Oh , I forgot to mention, on the return trip they banded the zipper tabs even though I had a TSA lock on it. So if my toenail clippers were in the main compartment , I wouldn’t have been able to retrieve them.
Watch out for that.

Wild Bill

et al! Which airports?


The one that told me not to open it at the airport was in Tampa.
The one that banded the main zippers and said nothing was Cincinnati.

Dr Dave

The Florida agent was right as Florida does NOT allow guns in ANY portion of the airport facility. Both the sterile and non-sterile areas are gun free
So opening up the bag in the facility would be a crime as of right now (they are staging a bill thru the state to change the rules but with the recent mess in Lauderdale I doubt it will pass)
I think FL might be the only state with such strange rules about airports and guns


That is incorrect. The florida law states “may not be carried concealed ” that is restricted in airport not “disallowing guns”, thus opening your suitcase that has a locked up unloaded firearm does not apply to that language.
If what you were saying is true, you could be arrested for merely having it in the suitcase in another locked case.


Why doesn’t my NRA file a federal lawsuit to prevent the very obvious “steal me” markings on luggage forced on travelers by Delta? How about it, Wayne LaPierre?

Mike Stollenwerk

What the heck is Delta doing violating federal FOPA law and affixing IDs to bags with guns? And who the heck @ Delta thinks its OK to zip tie passenger bags? So once the agent gives you your bag locked with zip ties, the owner is free to cut the ties, and go about her business including holstering up in the non-secure area of most airports in the USA? This is going to be a bad step for Delta all the way around, violating federal law with baggage ID tags, and detaining travelers for zip tie nonsense. I am not… Read more »


I was told NOT to open the bag at the airport. I am researching if this is a Delta thing or a TSA thing.


Delta policies only — which no one other than Delta employees need obey. Once they release the bag to you, Delta has lost all CONTROL over the bag and the customer. As of this time, IIRC, no state has any law about how baggage needs to be packed. Northworst (err … Delta) is not a Dictator.


3/31/17 at ATL I checked in and declared my firearm at the Sky Priority counter (I’m a Diamond). The gentlemen sent me to another counter marked “special items” to check in, which of course had a huge line. I returned back to him and said this is crazy that a Diamond has to go to a non-Diamond counter to check in. He found a red coat who said they should have escorted me to the other counter to avoid the line. So be aware at ATL you have to go to a special counter. FLL did not have this issue.


One of the Delta folks told me that they are now required to use the zip ties AND ask one of the Deputies in the airport to escort the passenger and their bag our of the airport (zip ties happened to my bag but never any escort). Be sure that you know the state laws regarding the non-sterile areas of the airport you are considering arming yourself in. OH *just* changed their law (March 20th) so you CAN carry in non-sterile areas. FL it is STILL illegal to carry in non-sterile areas (that surprised me!!). Regardless, you CAN still remove… Read more »

Jeff Dege

Federal law specifically forbids marking checked luggage containing firearms.


This article should conclude with smarter “than” the employees not “smarter then…” 😉


The baggage claim area is outside the “sterile” area of the Airport. No one has to go through any TSA checkpoint to get go it. Thus it is outside of TSA’s jurisdiction. So I strongly doubt that there is a TSA Regulation against removing the cable ties. AFIK, no “free” state has such a rule. Once the Airline releases the bad into YOUR control, it is out of their control.
The baggage agent is misinformed or the Airline’s lawyers have instructed them to “bluff”. Most people
will comply.

Mike Stollenwerk

Seriously these unlawful corporate procedures are not acceptable – time to make it clear folks will not tolerate these unlawful restrictions and will seize their guns on return flights and walk out of the non-sterile areas with loaded guns holstered openly or concealed as usual and legal.


Flew from Cody, Wy to Orlando last week. They tagged my suitcase with the checked Firearm, but nobody in Orlando zip tied it. Tried to check in online for my return flight but was not allowed. Called Delta only to be told “you carry a WEAPON so you are not eligible for online check in” Went to the counter to check in, smooth as could be. Arrived back in Cody, Wyoming. My luggage did not go on the carousal & instead was brought out to be ziptied in 3 different ways, including the zippers. When I questioned the gal she… Read more »

Gary Wells

Wow, scary. I’m curios as to what grounds the arrest would be based on, particularly where I am not aware of any law that authorizes them to do this and there is absolutely no notification that you could be arrested for cutting the zip ties and opening the bag. Still nothing I could locate on the TSA website. (Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse, as ridiculous as this policy is in light of the hundreds of regulations enacted every week.) So we’re expected to know about these “laws” that don’t actually exist or be arrested. I wonder… Read more »

Phillip Evans

First time someone’s firearm goes missing, it will be a lawsuit against Delta. And hopefully criminal prosecution of them in Federal Court for not following TSA procedures.


Most baggage theft happens at the carousels, from people who do not work for any particular airline. The people who work at Delta are screened pretty hard just to get into the company. Sure, there may be some thieves, but all bags are tracked throughout a conveyor system, or on a baggage cart. If a bag goes missing, they go to the last person who scanned it. People are proud to work for Delta, and are not going yo let some asshat go free or jeopardize their job at a great company.

Gary Wells

It’s not the airline employees that are responsible for the bags once they are placed on the outgoing carousal, but TSA. TSA employees are screened as well, but there are several stories about them smuggling drugs and firearms on the airplanes and stealing from luggage. While any TSA employee can still steal the firearm as bags are randomly inspected anyway (as you know if you’ve seen the card inside letting you know they searched your bag), but the red tags flag which bags are good targets. I’ve never seen any reports indicating that most thefts occur from the incoming carousel.… Read more »


You realize that all guns checked as luggage has to have locks on every hole of the gun case (TSA policy)… not sure how you think airline employees will be going through cases and luggage to steal?
Also, wouldn’t you want the airline industry to take extra precaution so that another FLL attack doesn’t happen again?


Not correct. Only the case that actually contains the firearm has to be locked. My pistol case is inside of my overnight bag – the case must be locked but the overnight bag does not have to be. That’s why this new policy is so worrisome, the outside bag now is “tagged” with the extra label and tie wraps which an unscrupulous bag handler will know right away there’s a gun in there. Also the solution to the FLL attack is not what Delta is doing but placing police in the baggage area. In my weekly travels through FLL I… Read more »


I guess I will be the one to point out the obvious… If I were you I would be much more worried about the hundreds of people who walk through an airport in the baggage claims area picking up people who come from the outside of the airport.

Everyday we are surrounded by good and bad people who carry weapons. If you think this inconvenience is anything more than a stupid attempt to appease a certain group of people…

Old law prof

Can someone post a photo of a American Airlines bag with the red tag and a visible AA bagage tag on it. That would be evidence of a violation of federal law.


I would argue what Delta is doing is in violation of the law as well. Every employee who saw the CAGPT tag immediately said that I must have a firearm.


Do the clowns at Delta recall the spate of handguns carried via UPS Overnight and being stolen out of their baggage handling system in DFW? Some six UPS workers were charged….. nothing on the outside of those containers indicated the content was a firearm, per federal law, yet the handlers got onto how to tell, and stole quite a few of them. Baggage handlers at airports are pretty sharp…. it may take them about a day and a half to figure out what those new red tags mean, or the other alphabet soup label Delta use. This is directly against… Read more »

Gary Wells

American Airlines now marks your baggage with a bright red tag to indicate there is a firearm inside and that the bag is not to be placed on the carousel belt. They failed to notify me of the new practice and so I too waited around until everyone had picked up their luggage before finally heading to the counter to learn my bag was waiting there. This occurred at DFW as well as in California. There were, fortunately, no zip ties. One benefit is that, knowing this, I could have picked up my baggage sooner. The obvious disadvantage is this… Read more »


not just delta. All the same happened to me on American. Tag, strap, not check in and pick up at counter.

John Dow

Just another kneejerk overreaction.

Kind of like the TSA, but you’re paying them directly.


To those debating whether or not you can bring wire cutters with you, I used to fly from Houston to Atlanta every week with a Benchmade 7 Hook/Strap cutter (intended for cutting seat belts and such safely) in a MOLLE pouch attached to the first aid kit I kept on my 5.11 backpack. I did this for months and was only questioned once. They always let me fly with it. This handy tool can be used for a lot of things you’d use a knife for, but can’t be used to stab or slash a person, is very small, and… Read more »

Dr Dave

Hey Ken that is a cool tool but why so danged costly at $40 with no case and $67 with?
Really like and does exactly what you suggested
I can see ripping clothes off in the ED in seconds rather the farting with scissors. Am I right or is it not that durable and sharp?
Dr D

Eric C

Good point, I also have been travelling with a strap cutter on my carry-on pack for the past 4 years from both IAH and Hobby in Houston on multiple airlines with zero issue!


As soon as you go to the counter to declare your firearm for your initial flight, Delta will flag your itinerary. This will prevent you from checking-in online for your return flight. Further, once you do check-in at the airport, you will not be able to use any electronic boarding passes. The first time this happened, back in July, I called Delta. The excuse they gave was to make sure I actually went to the counter to check the firearm on my return flight. I countered that if I failed to check my firearm properly, the only person who would… Read more »


and what says I’m not flying out to ATL with my handgun with the intention of disposing of it in Georgia, and coming back wihtout it? Eedjits! I was considering keeping my Delta air miles card active, but if they continue this crap that may change. Further are these nutjobs aware that in nearly every state, any member of the public can walk in to the no-longer-sterile baggage claim area, armed, and it is totally lawful to do so? I pick up visitors in Seattle on a regular basis, always meet them at baggage claim, and am ALWAYS armed when… Read more »


Really not too big a deal. Put toe nail cutters in you outside pocket of your check in bag. Once you leave their office, tear off their sticker, take the clippers out and cut the zip ties and toss it all in the trash. You have access to your firearm and you are not broadcasting to others that your bag has a firearm (or other valuable) in it. They did their job by following their orders and you have only been moderately inconvenienced. We need to pick our battles carefully to avoid more restrictive restraints being put on us. I… Read more »


I had exact same experience last week; you can read about & see pics here:
I thought it was TSA at the time but it’s apparently Delta.


Since I travel with checked firearms, I will fly any airline out there – provided it’s Southwest Airlines. It has the most professional and understanding personnel in the industry.


Hey gil,go thow popcorn on ur neighbors in the seedy side of town in London. GLAD ur NOT an American. Now back to the basement and lights out

Roy D.

When my youngest son came back from his nine month deployment to Afghanistan we waited by the carousel for his “gunbag.” Finally he went to ask at the nearby desk and it was over there. They had put it there for safe keeping even though there was no rifle in it. He did have a few other items in there but no gun related stuff. They didn’t know that and therefore kept it secure for the real owner. I thought then that that was a very good idea.

Phillip Gain

3/23/17 – bag tagged with CAGPT label in LAS. Collected it from the carousel at MSP.

Phillip Evans

If your destination is Atlanta, and you have a license to carry a firearm from Georgia or a reciprocal state, then get your bag, head to the restroom, cut the ties off and holster it on your person. You can carry in all the non-sterile areas of any publicly owned airport in Georgia.

On your way out of the airport, tell Delta exactly what you did. Or just carry it holstered out in the open (that’s legal with a license as well), and they’ll then know what you did. What a moronic company.


Cut off the tie with WHAT? The TSA apes confiscate every blade in possession of the traveler, even a small keychain penknife.


I always take a pocket knife with me. It is slid into the magazine pocket of my bag. I flew this past week with my firearm checked, both times as soon as I got my bag, I immediately retrieved my pocket knife and cut the ties off.


Nail clippers.

Old Law Prof

TSA allows a wire cutter under 7 inches in length in your carry-on luggage.


The Resistance begins. This is wire cutter is TSA compliant for carry on luggage (tools under 7 inches long). Once the Airline gives you possession of the bag, they lose control over it. Clip the cable ties off , drop in the trash, and go on your merry way courtesy of ACE Hardware.


No young punk will be throwing popcorn in a plane at you and get away it.


You are an absolute, blithering idiot. That being said, get off mom’s computer and back to her basement, snowflake.


Go back to VPC and tell them you need another screen name, we now know this one. I see you gave up the other one you used for such a long time.


Gil does show a definite LACK of any intelligence and the programmed habit of spewing liberal idiocy and propaganda. Must have donated his brains to planned baby killers and refilled at the local liberal pig sty.
Back to Liberal Gun Owners forum of stupidity gil.


Wow, take a step back guys. Yes, his comment was unwarranted, but its up to responsible gun owning people to present a civil and articulate front. Let’s not fit the stereotype they expect. In truth, that movie incident was a former Police chief where I live, and he was a very good man up until that point, who made a very large mistake. It serves as a reminder for us all that when it comes to our firearms there is no pride, there is no anger, we do what we need to do in necessity, but will always remain in… Read more »

Wild Bill

@DQ, Do you presume that none of us has tried to converse with Gil in a civil and articulate manner? In fact, we all have, but he would have none of it. I applaud your efforts, but I will not be shackled, manipulated, or silenced. If we, occasionally get side tracked, here, then it is a worthy detour to oppose the dishonest, unpatriotic, socialist, blather of the professional and amateur trolls


All these manly NRA types are defeated by a zip tie on a bag…….give me a break!

Debbie Papish

Make all the negative comments you want, but I applaud Delta Airlines for their simple change of policy after that wacco retieved his bag from baggage claim the beginning of this year, pulled out his gun & ammo, loaded it right there & started firing injuring people in the baggage claim area. And, I don’t believe he was even flting Delta. I am for passengers transporting firearms & also any changes knowing it was done in the best interest of the public. It’s not a perfect plan, but my suggestion would be to submit your corrective criticism & positive ideas… Read more »