30 Oct 19
From a friend and Instructor:
“I flew out of AZO (Kalamazoo, MI) on Delta today.
I’m currently on a hunting trip in another state.
I brought with me two bolt-action hunting rifles in what I thought was my “TSA-compliant” hard case, a case I’ve flown with on previous trips
This time, TSA conducted their “hand test:”
Locks are in place, and locked, but latches (that are not lockable) open.
The “test” consists of a TSA agent attempting to get his hand into the case, without unlocking any of the locks.
In my case, the TSA Agent was able to get her hand into the case, up to her wrist.
Result was that TSA would not allow this case on the airplane!
We had to put one of my rifles (and my G43) in friend’s case (which did pass the “test”), and we made our flight.
I had to leave my second rifle locked in my car in the AZO parking lot!
I flew a month ago, also from AZO, with the same case, and was not required to pass this “test.”
I was told this is all the result of a recent event that took place at an Airport in FL, where a suspect was able to grab a gun from inside a “locked” case.
TSA folks were able to supply no additional details.
I now own a new air-travel hard case!”
Comment: Many lightweight “hard” cases, that manufacturers commonly use when they ship guns via UPS/FedEx (usually within a cardboard container), are not nearly sturdy enough for stand-alone travel within the checked-baggage system on commercial airlines.
They are relatively flimsy and intended only to prevent guns from getting scratched-up as they’re transported about during the retail process, but they will typically not stand-up to the rigors of the checked-baggage system on airlines and in airports.
Since they “come with the gun,” many naive gun-owners are tempted to fly with them as stand-alone cases (in checked baggage), but this is a bad idea, as we see!
Substantial hard cases, specifically manufactured and intended to be used for stand-alone commercial air travel, are much more beefy, and are designed to survive (and remain secure during) “extreme handling environments.” They easily pass the “hand test,” as described above.
When you fly on commercial airlines during hunting trips, with rifles and shotguns, these are the cases you should be using!