Airline Travel with Rifle

abbrown

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Aug 19, 2019
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57
Family and I moving to New Zealand in August, taking my hunting rifle (or two) with me. I've already obtained my NZ import permits from the police there, so that's not a big concern. What I'm unsure/concerned about is that due to COVID flight limitations as well as a circuitous route to see family on the way out, we have to take four different airlines from start to finish to get there: Jetblue, Delta, United, and finally Air New Zealand.
All these airlines list that they are ok with checking firearms if properly boxed/locked/all that, requirements I'm happy to comply with. But has anyone ever run into problems where you've planned a big trip like this and then run into restrictive issues with any of those airlines when actually trying to check the firearms in? Any particular troublesome companies amongst those four? If so, suggestions on avoiding or at least mitigating those potential problems? Thanks.
 

GSPHUNTER

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Jun 30, 2020
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I have flown many times and checked firearms but never had to deal with anything like that. Once you have all the airline info you need, and you check in weapons at airlines ticket agent, it then goes threw TSA checkpoint and from there, who knows where but my weapons have always made it to my final destination. If I were doing what you are doing, I would be as nervous as a whore in church. That's just me.I was nervous the first few times.
 

nettereo16

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Feb 7, 2017
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I've flown domestic on 3 of the 4 (United, Delta, Jetblue) with firearms and it's always been smooth.
Follow their rules. Print out their rules as they might not even know their rules. Point to where it says you are in compliance with their rules...

I've never flown international with firearms but many on this forum have and I'm sure will share some helpful info
 

Packin_packout

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Nov 1, 2019
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The rules for ammo storage shift between domestic and international. Aa domestic in case is ok. Qatar overseas has to be in a separate locked container. That would be one thing to check.
 

WCB

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Jun 12, 2019
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I've had zero issues with Delta, United, and New Zealand Air. no experience with Jetblue. absolutely no issues transfering from one to another. Only "issue" I had was once getting to New Zealand the police were unsure if the bolt was supposed to be in the firearm.

With the 3 I have experience with all ammunition was handled basically the same. NOT in the case with firearms and in original or cardboard boxes. We just wrapped it in the middle of our checked bag. But you have probably already researched that.
 
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SteveCNJ

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Jul 1, 2017
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Make sure there is a lock in every available lock hole on your rifle case. I was given a hard time because I had 2 locks on but there was a spot for a lock that didn't have a lock. Really.

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
 

thinhorn_AK

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Jul 2, 2016
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I’ve traveled a lot with rifles but nothing like you mentioned. It might be worth storing your high dollar stuff until you get it all figured out and are making a trip back to see family or something and just take a tikka or Kimber hunter to use initially.
 

pyrotechnic

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Nov 7, 2019
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145
I don't know how you booked your flight but give Air New Zealand a call for sure.

I had a hunt planned in NZ last march and booked through United, their US partner.
I had called Air NZ about being good to go and everything seemed fine at first. They called me back later and explained that because they didn't own the whole itinerary they couldn't take a firearm.

I ended up booking separately for my domestic and then the Air NZ travel.

Side note, I wasn't able to go because of covid but air NZ customer service was great to deal with every time I talked to them. Definitely a awesome change from the typical: "thanks for flying United/Delta, but we don't care about your problem peasant"
 

UngulateHunter

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Jul 10, 2021
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I flew a rifle into Canada and the only trouble I had was coming back to the US! Apparently we were supposed to declare our rifles and get paperwork from US customs before getting to Canada and declaring it there. When we got back to the US they wanted proof that the rifles actually belonged in the US. We made the case that we wouldn’t have declared them in Canada 12 days ago if they were already there! However, we did take a private plane and had customs meet us on the tarmac going up, so we never went through US customs. We weren’t allowed off the plane until the Canadian officials got there. Then we flew back through a little airport in MT after hours and had to get some customs official who was off duty to come check us in. He was less than happy to see us! If it was me I would take the advice already given and either wait for a more direct trip or bring only one gun without sentimental value. Or both.
 

DuckDogDr

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Aug 24, 2019
Messages
73
I've been to canada twice to hunt (pre pandemic) ..nothing too crazy.

Oddly enough the biggest issue I had was from an anti-gun teller flying domestic for a goldeneye hunt...
 

Marmots

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Sep 15, 2018
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Location
Idaho
Like others have said, rules vary between airlines. It's best to have rules printed out for every airline you'll be dealing with.

Off the top of my head, the only big differences I remember between NZ and the US are that NZ requires ammo to be in the original box, in a separate case, and that firearms must be " rendered inoperable" - remove the bolt but keep it in the same case.
 
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