Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Checking Firearms In Baggage With United Airlines

I checked a handgun on a trip recently and was initially confused because how little United explains the process of checking firearms on their website.  Since I didn't know exactly what would be required at the airport, I showed up over two hours before my flight.  My unloaded firearm was packed in a hard sided case and the case was locked (with a not TSA approved lock).  I was not traveling with ammunition.  At the airport counter, I checked in as normal and said I was checking a firearm.  I was given an orange United Firearm(s) Declaration tag to read and sign. It reads as follows:
McDonald Douglas Jets at LAS
United Firearm(s) Declaration Tag:
  • I understand that the carriage of a loaded weapon is a violation of federal regulations and that United Airlines reserves the right to inspect my firearms prior to check in.
  • I am completing one declaration tag for each container holding a firearm(s).
  • I declare as required by Federal Air Regulation 108.11 that all firearm(s) in this bag/container are NOT loaded and my luggage contains no more than eleven pounds of ammunition.
  • All ammunition I am carrying is in the original manufacture’s packaging or in a container designed for ammunition.
  • I acknowledge that my Gun Case or Baggage may be subject to further inspection by the TSA.
  • I release United Airlines from any liability which may result from the discharge of my declared firearm(s). The luggage containing the declared firearm(s) is locked and I alone am in possession of the key or combination.
Take Off in CLT
After reading and signing the form, the passenger needs to open the case and place the form inside (so don't zip tie or shrink wrap your case before arriving at the airport). Then the United agent tags the bag and calls one of the AirServe dolts with a cart to take the case to a TSA X-Ray machine.  The passenger needs to accompany the Airserve dolt with the keys should the TSA want to open it up.  The dolt pushed the cart very very slowly.  Once at the TSA X-Ray station, a TSA agent scans the bag, places a sticker on the bag clam tag and gives it back to the dolt to push to the United counter for the bag to be sent off with other checked bags.  The additional time was about 30 minutes, 15 if the dolt walked at a normal pace.  After that is over, the passenger can walk through security to their flight.

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