Gun Case Size Restrictions

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by mstewart44, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    With the new airline regulations that all bags must be under 62 total inches (L x W x H) most standard gun cases easily exceed the size restrictrion - and thus, are subject to an "oversized" charge which is often around $150 for each way of your trip (over AND back).

    On a recent hunting trip to Canada, most of the passengers were also hunters. A survey of those guys found everyone had brought their own gun in a standard sized gun case. However, not one reported paying an oversized fee.

    Has anyone who has traveled to Africa this year had any experience with the size of their gun case being oversized when they checked in either in the US or when leaving Africa? I am hunting in South Africa next year and am wondering if I need to purchase a "break down" case in order to be compliant with the luggage size restrictions or would a standard case be sufficient?

    Multiple calls to Delta all say the same thing - bag (gun case) must be under 62 inches. But this rule was in place last month when I went to Canada and none of the other hunters reported an oversized charge??

    For clarification to your reply, I am aware of the weight restriction of 50 lbs. Need some help with your recent experience.
     
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    The 62 inches has been standard for a long time (For each individual bag). Most gun cases are under the 62 inch limit because of that same reason. And a lot of them you can pack two guns in and still be under the 50 pound limit by the airlines. I have not had any problems with the airlines on this issue.
     
  3. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    The person at Delta is telling you wrong. Go look at their website.

    I flew Delta last September to South Africa. I had a 2-gun case (Cabela's Aluminum) and it was over the 62" mark. I did not get hit for any excess baggage fees. Delta gives exemptions to the size limit on gun cases. I think you can have 1 case holding up to 4 rifles and will not be charged any excess fees.

    So, take what you have and should be just fine.
     
  4. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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  5. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    enysse, I believe you are mistaken that gun cases are normally under 62". Perhaps in length alone they are but a quick reference to bass pro shops on-line finds even a single gun case is 53 x 12 x 5. That's 70 inches. A double gun case is 53 x 15 x 5. That's 73 inches. Most gun cases are of this length and the airline requirement for the 62 inches is length + width + thickness.

    Heeler75 - when you say last September are you referring to 2008 or 2009? It seems recently the airlines are trying to squeeze each passenger for as much they can in an effort to make a profit so I think (but am not sure) these restrictions are more recent for 2009.

    I have made several calls to Delta on different days and I get the same response. That's why I am asking for the members on this forum to chime in on their actual experience. Because the Delta reps will tell you firearms do not get a pass the way golf clubs do for being oversized. Their website says one case can have only 2 rifles without being subject to excess baggage fee.

    Jerome - thanks for the link. I have read this throrughly many times. Unless I missed it somewhere there is no reference to size restrictions. There is a specific reference to size for golf clubs.

    Not trying to pick you guys apart but I find am looking for what happened to you guys who flew with your firearm. Most gun cases DO EXCEED the 62" size restriction. However, maybe it is not being enforced based on my recent trip to Canada?

    Thanks for continued replies!!
     
  6. milford

    milford AH Veteran

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    must of missed somthing there ?? when I talked to delta they said 62 in length not total ???
     
  7. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    Milford, call back to Delta for clarification and let me know what you find! I am going to have to buy a gun case and would rather not buy a "break down" case that would come in "undersized" because I don't want to take my gun apart. I would rather leave the gun, stock, trigger, etc. assembled and put it a normal gun case. However, I don't want to get hit with the $175 excess baggage fee for being over sized.

    And that fee is for EACH WAY.

    This link will take you to the Delta website Excess Baggage link:
    Delta Excess Baggage

    That's $350 added to the cost of the trip!!

    Here's the cut and paste version from the Delta website:

    Size
    Amount Fee
    63–80 inches (161-203 cm) —total of length plus width plus height $175 each
    Over 80 inches (203 cm) —total of length plus width plus height not permitted
     
  8. milford

    milford AH Veteran

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    I will have to phone again , the way the websites reads you are correct, 350 bucks is a bit much for something that they will lose for 3 days < last time I went to Idaho my gun got lost for 4> :praying:
     
  9. muleman

    muleman New Member

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    I have spoken with four other hunters who traveled to RSA and Namibia via RSA this year(2009). All used the TUFFPACK case for packing their guns and none of them were charged excess baggage. Two flew Delta, one flew British Airways and one flew American/SAA. FYI:)
     
  10. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    The problem with the airlines today is that if you call 3 different times you'll probably get 3 different answers...
     
  11. Double D

    Double D AH Senior Member

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    I went to Namibia with my tuff pack in September no extra charges. But I flew with Air Canada/ Lufthansa to Frankfurt then Air Namibia to Windhoek. Air Canada would not check my bags "guns" threw to Windhoek. They said they had no agreement with Air Namibia. So I had to recheck my guns with German Customs. Believe me I didn’t get any sleep on the flight to Frankfurt worrying about what I would have to deal with. Once I got there I spoke to Lufthansa and they said no problem go get your luggage off the carousel and take it to customs. It was that easy. I had to fill out a form and leave the guns with German Customs until it was time to check in with Air Namibia. The Air Namibia flight was delayed 12 hours but I was told that is normal for that airline. In any event the German Customs people could not have been nicer or more accommodating. Germans are gun friendly people. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to attempt that in London as I bet it would have been a lot of grief. On the way home Air Namibia checked the bags threw to Calgary no problem. Go figure?
     
  12. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    My trip was September 2009.

    And on my trip there and back were at least 6 other hunters and never heard one of them mentioning being charged any excess baggage fees on their gun cases.

    I know it can be very confusing trying to get stuff figured out with the airlines. I wondered the same thing myself. The way I read it that "a case containing 2 rifles" is the allowance for shooting equipment. Size of the case doesn't matter then.

    If you call them back, have the rules handy for shooting equipment. Also take a copy of the rules with you to the airport for check-in.
     
  13. browningbbr

    browningbbr AH Enthusiast

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    One more route to go.... Use a travel agent that is experienced with hunting travel. Make sure that they know the size / weight of the gun case(s) you are taking and get their advice.

    Gracy Travel really knew their stuff on this topic.

    - browningbbr
     
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I flew Delta to South Africa this last year and had a case that was 72 inches and had no problems whatever (I went home and measured). I'm not sure what the inches for individual baggage was years ago, I brought a 68 inch cooler to the NWT for caribou hunting and had no problems with extra charges.

    I guess after looking at Delta's website, if they hold to the 62 inch limit....hunters are really going to take a screwing hunting anywhere. Because most gun cases are over the limit and so are coolers for hauling meat and capes in North America.

    I guess I'm kinda depressed about this new regulation.
     
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  15. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    My good friend just flew to Canada yesterday and had no bag fee. He uses a double bow SKB case. This case is definitely oversized. Based on the replies and my recent experience, firearms must be exempt from the size restriction. I'm sure the weight restriction still applies. I think the representatives on the phone are giving me bad info. Thanks for all ther replies.
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I would definitely have to agree with you on the weight restrictions if something is heavy they are going to nail you quick and fast. They have let me go already being 4 pounds overweight, but I smiled and said could we let it go this once. But I sure wouldn't push the issue.
     
  17. ctulpa

    ctulpa AH Member

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    The size restrictions on luggage with most airlines usually does not apply to gun cases. You will need to check with each airline separately to see what their specific restrictions are regarding gun transportation and baggage rules.

    Delta has a 2 gun limit (without excess fees) and has not enforced any type of a size limit on the case as it falls under their exceptions for baggage. I have been told this by Delta directly and have never heard of any hunter being charged extra for his gun case as long as he has 2 rifles or less. They do allow for more than 2 guns, but may run into excess baggage fees.

    I travel extensively throughout the world all year round to hunt. Usually doing at least 2 around the world flights each year hunting internationally.

    Going in and out of different countries with many different airlines can be stressful at times. Let me try to give you some points about traveling with guns and airlines.

    One thing that is very important to check before you fly is if the airline is going to require you to have your gun permit IN POSSESSION with you when you fly. That can be a real problem and has caused some hunters a lot of headache at the check-in when they don't have their gun permit with them. The problem is, that many countries / outfitters will have your gun permit issued when you arrive. The airlines have on their computers the restrictions for each country on guns, but sometimes it is not up to date.

    Best to get your travel agent to make sure that there is a note in your reservation that you are traveling with a gun. This has saved me on a few occasions when I insisted to the check-in agent that I had "prior approval" and it is noted in my reservation that I am traveling with a gun.

    Also important that you have your entire itinerary checked for gun compliance. 2 years ago I flew British Airways from Seattle to London to Cape Town to Johannesburg. Lots of changes and checked luggage all the way through. Since I was only transit in England, I did not have to claim the gun at luggage and re-check. They put it through directly (not sure they will do that anymore - need to always check for new regulations before you go). The problem I had was when I arrived in Cape Town (1st city of entry into your destination country you have to comply with customs and get your gun permit. The gun permit was easy in Cape Town as their are very few hunters and no waiting (not like Johannesburg where you can wait for hours in a line to get your gun permit with so many hunters there). The police agent in Cape Town was actually looking for something to do, so he told me he would fill out all the paperwork and that I should just go and have a coffee and come back in 15 or 20 minutes and it would be ready for me. Wow! What service...I was impressed and thanked him very much for his assistance!

    The problem then came to recheck the bags. The airline partner that British Airways used for their route from Cape Town to Johannesburg did not have licensing with South Africa to transport firearms! Luckily I had the bags checked all the way through to Johannesburg, so the local airline rebooked me (on their expense) on South African Airways so I could take my gun. It was good service, but still had to deal with that issue and caused a lot of stress until the airline management there said it was not my fault and that I did have the guns checked all the way through by a British Airways agent in Seattle -said it should have been caught in Seattle and not allowed me to board with my gun!!!!! So a word of warning....please check with all the airlines you have connections with through your entire trip.

    I have had guns completely destroyed when using a regular hard sided gun case. Has happened to me a few years ago when flying back from a hunt in Russia. Was flying Moscow through London Heathrow and on to Seattle. When the bags arrived in Seattle, my gun case was half missing and twisted like a pretzel. The scope had been scraped half off and the barrel bent and twisted. British Airways would not take responsibility even after I filed claims and sent many letters. Best to stay away from British Airways when traveling for hunting. They are not very hunter friendly and until they change that attitude, the don't deserve the hunters dollars.

    I now have been using a couple of different cases - a Tuffpak case and also an SKB Freedom case - both are look like golf club cases. I can put 3 guns in the case (with each being in their own soft case to use on the trucks during safari). Along with the guns, you can fit some hunting boots, rain gear and other items in the case also. Have to watch the weight limits. I usually only take 2guns along with some gear. (good place to put the camera tripod too). Using this set-up I normally have no problems as many do not even know it is guns that I am traveling with. I would rather be less conspicuous when traveling anyway.

    Some airlines (not all) require you to remove the bolt from your rifle and have it separate.(South African Airlines requires this). Just remember to NEVER TAKE THE BOLT IN YOUR CARRY ON!!!!!
    You will need to pack the bolt in your checked luggage.

    Some airlines will require you to pack your ammunition WITH your gun together. Some airlines will require you to pack your ammunition SEPARATELY from your gun. YOU NEED TO CHECK WITH THE AIRLINE IN ADVANCE.

    TSA regulations in the USA have changed on this topic over the years. For many years it was required to pack the ammunition separately from the guns and many ticket agents (and even some TSA agents) still think this is the rule. But actually the rule changed in 2002. Now you are allowed to pack your ammunition in the same case as your gun. (please check this before you go as these rules can change at any time). Packing the ammunition in the same case as the gun makes life easier, because ammunition must be locked and if you have it in a separate bag, that bag needs to be hard case and locked! - NOT A DUFFEL BAG! Some airlines won't catch this, but that is the rules for most.

    The rules on ammunition are max 5 kilos (about 11 pounds) and must be in a hard case and locked. No loose ammo!!! Keep it in the manufacturers boxes and inside a hard locked case. And please always check your carry-on for ammo!!! If you are like me, I use a backpack for my carry-on so I can use it on the safari for a day pack. But as normally happens during the hunt, some ammo gets loose in the pack!! Please check your bags before going to the airport!! I have had this happen when I arrive in Beijing, China one time, and it really caused a stir when I went through the security scanner and there was loose ammo in the bag!!! That took a lot of explaining an could have resulted in some unwanted jail time in a Chinese prison!

    Your gun case must be hard cased and locked. It is not supposed to be locked with a "TSA-friendly" lock either!! So take a different lock (key or combo). I use a combo lock as it is easy to lose keys on a long extended trip! -just a tip...


    Some airlines have their own restrictions on ammunition limits also. Qantas airlines has their own limits and does not follow the 5 kilo rule exactly. I was flying from Australia to Johannesburg, South Africa continuing on a round the world hunt...and had an issue with Qantas. With Qantas, you need to have "PRIOR APPROVAL" on your reservation for the amount of ammunition you are traveling with. Their airline has rules on the "total" amount of ammo that can be on the airplane from all the passengers. So if there are several other hunters on board with prior approval ahead of you, you may have trouble getting on that flight. You will need to reserve space on the plane for the amount of ammo you are taking with you!!

    I could go on and on...but this is already a book..

    Take care, check out your airlines in advance and have a great time hunting!!!

    It is also good for you to print out the airlines gun restrictions (can usually get it on their website) as well as TSA rules on transport of guns and ammunition. Then you can have it with you if you run into an airline ticket agent that is giving you trouble. (remember there are a lot of anti-hunting ticket agents!)

    It really is not that hard to travel with guns, just need to know some basics...
     
  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Does anyone have any up to date information or stories on this topic from 2010 adventures?
     
  19. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    I started this thread in November, 2009. Since then I have learned that there are no actual size restrictions associated with bow and gun cases. There are, however, the same weight restrictions you would find associated with any other piece of luggage.

    I had a custom gun / bow case made that would fit within the current 62" restrictions for a normal piece of luggage. Apparently, this was not necessary in order meet the luggage size restrictions imposed by the airlines. All of my friends who have traveled with guns have only mentioned weight restrictions, never size.

    Just make sure you do not go over the weight limit of 50lbs and you should have no "overage" charges.
     
  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the update! I still think you are better off with your custom case because things are going to get tighter and tighter. And you will be ahead of the game! And your custom case probably doesn't look like "hunting equipment"....which is great!
     

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