I am about to fly, and plan on checking a rifle. Because I have never done this, and understanding how difficult it can be to even take shampoo while traveling by air – I have been researching this heavily. I am flying on United, so first I went to their website. The instructions there are very straight forward, and seem much easier than I expected. Basically, you have to have the weapon (unloaded) in a lockable case, with a key held by the gun owner. You take it to the check-in counter and declare your weapon. They will have you fill out a form, verify it is unloaded and then place a tag inside with your name. You will be instructed to take it to a location where the TSA will inspect it to verify it is unloaded and that all other procedures are followed.
I then asked my friends on the Heels and Handguns Facebook page what their experiences had been. Most of the people who had checked guns had very little trouble. One person, wisely, suggested I also read the tsa.gov website for their rules. I did this and found the regulations there to be exactly in line with United’s policy.
To be thorough, I also went to the airport’s official website. Both the arriving and departing airports had no additional information.
What have your experiences been? Are any airlines better than others? When flying into heavy gun control cities, like New York or Chicago, is there additional hassle?
After I fly in a few days – I’ll share my experience!