Tuff pak and Excess baggage fees

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by twf, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. twf

    twf AH Member

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    This will be my first time traveling with firearms and my new tuff pak. I plan on packing two rifles and various other items (boots, clothing, and ammo) into the tuff pak. On my test runs I have not been able to keep the weight of the entire case and contents under 50lbs. The question that no one at united airlines can answer for me is, does the 50lbs checked baggage limit apply to sporting equipment (ie. gun cases), if so does the cubic inch limitations also apply, and what is the damage going to be to my wallet if either or both restriction apply. United airlines website to somewhat informative and I have discovered that neither first or second checked baggage fees will apply to my luggage, but the site is moot to my other concerns.

    Tuff pak question two is will I be allowed to pack all 5kgs of my ammo into a separate and locked pelican ammo case and then place that ammo case within my tuff pak?
     
  2. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    I believe that you have somewhere in the region of 26lbs sporting equipment allowance over and above your 50lbs,

    My best always.
     
  3. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    I have flown both Delta and SAA with the TuffPak.

    I have not been charged for the over size luggage.

    However they have both held me to the 50 pound maximum weight. Last year I had 51 pounds and had to remove one article of clothing to make the 50 pounds. If your flight originates with SAA, at times they have allowed a total weight of 100 pounds for both bags and were not concerned about the weight of one bag or the other.

    If you are travelling in the States it is OK to place your ammo with your rifle.

    If you are going overseas place you ammo in another checked bag in a locked container with the bag locked.

    A couple of tips that have worked for me on the TuffPak.

    Remove the scope and bolt. Place the rifle barrel down in the soft case in the TuffPak. This will allow you to be be able to remove and replace the rifle for our friends at the airline, SAPS office, and customs without having to unpack your clothes.

    I also use the bag TuffPak sells. It makes packing a little easier.

    This is just from my experience others may differ. Good luck on your trip.
     
  4. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have traveled with the tuff case and have held my weight to 48.5 pounds on my scale and that matches the airline scales to with in 1 lb.

    I have to go with Mike answer on being at or under the 50 lb. learned it the first time and have not made that mistake again.

    You Can Not put your ammo case in with your rifle hard case. Do not even try this or it could lead to problems and you will miss your flight.

    Now the tuff case weighs 17.5 pounds. You plan to add 2 rifles at say 8.5 pounds each for 17lb total. two soft cases for your rifles with a bolt holder (bolts removed from rifle for travel) 7 lbs. I put my softback pack, slings and ammo pouches and knives in the case, place your soft coat around your rifle and your caps and you are at 50lbs. looking to remove items to make weight.
    Lets just add this up.
     
  5. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    TWF

    Lets try this again.
    being new here you go and i am sure i will miss something.
    1. stay with 3 bags.

    Bag 1: Carry on bag. I try to kep at 20lbs. Bag has to be under airline weight and size and i have seen them make passengers measure ther3 bag and weigh them
    could contain the following.
    1.range finder
    2. binoculars
    3. 1 change of clothes - shirt, pants, socks, undies, jacket.
    4. medicines
    5. money & passport & airline tickets and information.
    6. Glasses, hearing protection
    7. camera - film - memory cards
    8. book to read.
    9. magazines to leave.

    Bag 2. I keep this bag to about 40 to 44 pounds due to size.
    1. Bag 7.5 lbs
    2. Ammo box - i go with a pistol case it is lighter than a pelican case. 13 LBS. with ammo
    3. 2 pair Pants
    4. 3 pair socks
    5. 2 shirts.
    6. 2 undies
    7. 1 pair of shoes
    8. personal items
    9. t-shirts & caps for gifts
    10 candy & jerky for day treats.

    Bag 3 Tuff Case try to stay at 49lbs
    1. Rifle w sling
    2. Soft case
    3. backpack
    4. 1 aid kit
    5. backpack
    6. belt- knife -shell holder
    7. Soft jacket

     
  6. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    James I couldn't have said it better! And no ammo in gun case! You are asking for a delay. Someone may have gotten away with it(no one I have heard of) it is not worth the delay. If you happen to be bringing a laptop, that is like a second carry on. You can put some things in it if you choose. I brought mine for pics and a daily journal. Had all the important paper work in with it. TWF, Good luck and have a safe trip!
     
  7. twf

    twf AH Member

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    Gentlemen
    Thank you for the insite. I believe my problem had to do with the weight of my rifles. I am taking two cooper rifles in 300 win mag and the other in .220 Swift. When I put them into the Texas h
    hunt co. soft cases they weight about 13lbs each. So between the weapons, soft cases, and tuff pak, I'm already at 41lbs. I can make it work I'm just concerned that the tuff pak won't have enough padding in it. Also was hoping to get away with taking only the tuff pak and one carry on, but now that I understand the ammo cant go into the tuff pak I will definately need a secon checked bag.

    I would to thank all the contributors to this forum it has been a great resource in preparing for my first safari.
     
  8. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    TWF

    The Tuff-Pak has no padding...

    That is why i use my back pack to secure one end and the jacket and clothes to keep them from bouncing around.

    When you reach Africa you will have to have your rifle inspected. you will need to remove your rifle for inspection and then be able to put it back in the case with ease.

    You will need to practice at home on how you do this without dumping the entire case on the floor of the inspection area.

    My South African inspector had seen the case before, and usually the hunter had difficulty getting there rifle out with ease.
     
  9. Uncompahgre

    Uncompahgre AH Member

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    I had my bag for my Tuff-Pak custom made with the bottom of the bag sewn up the side one foot, then I had HD velcro sewn a foot apart to the top of the bag. I put a jacket or something else bulky for padding at the bottom of the bag then put my two Uncle Michael (cheap but thick padded) rifle cases in the bag and then add stuff around them. I pull the bolts from the rifles and wrap them in socks or bubble wrap or bolt holsters. (The Airlines, TSA and Customs will love you for doing that.) I try to position the butt of the rifles to be very near the top of the Tuff-Pak. After inserting the bag in the Tuff-Pak I then add something bulky at the top like tennis shoes for padding. (Something very easy to remove.) I then practice opening the Tuff-Pak and pulling the bag out far enough to open the velcro so I can unzip the gun cases to show whoever that the rifles are empty or to see the serial number. I try not to exceed 47 pounds. Airline scales are famous for weighing heavy. They have to make a dollar somehow. To verify my scales are accurate I take my loaded gun case to my local UPS Store and use their scale to be darn sure.
     
  10. Uintaelkhunter

    Uintaelkhunter AH Veteran

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    Thaught I would add some info as I was searching my flights for may and my rifles and hard case comes in at about 58lbs and I didnt want to pay extra weight charges check with your airline as they may have some special weight exemptions for firearms and ammo I copied this from SAA web and will make copies for my travel
    Special Baggage Regulations are applicable on SA operating flights only. (SA 1000; 7000; 8000 series excluded)
    The following Sport equipment mentioned below will allow an additional 20kg free of charge per passenger - this is valid to both the Weight and Piece Concept. Please note that this is not applicable to special events such as the Argus.
    Angling
    Archery
    Basketball
    Bowls
    Cricket
    Cycling
    Diving: (scuba equipment)
    Please note that the tank must be empty
    Fencing
    Field hockey
    Football/Soccer
    Golf
    Lacrosse
    Netball
    Motor-cycle gear
    Protective riding gear and helmet; motor-cycle to be sent as cargo
    Rugby
    Shooting/hunting
    Firearms and ammunition subject to correct transport and safety procedures
    Snow/water ski equipment
    Tennis/squash
    Ten pin bowling
    Ice hockey
    Surfboards/kite surfing/paragliding: smaller than 200cm
    Volleyball
    For interlining and through-check-in on routings where other carriers are involved, give the passenger the choice of checking-in the sport baggage for all the SA Airways 3-digit flight numbers free of charge and to check-in new for all non-SA Airways or do a through check-in and charge passenger for all sectors on the 1.5% per kg or applicable PC excess baggage rates. Confirmed SSR-reservation is mandatory, except for shooting or hunting equipment.
    N.B For Sporting Equipment NOT specified above must be included in free baggage allowance; if exceeding, normal XBAG rate (1,5% of the SA Airways highest normal direct adult one way economy class fare) applies.
     
  11. twf

    twf AH Member

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    Interesting, so how would this apply to my flight situation. I will be departing Houston, Texas on united airlines to Washington DC Dulles. Once I arrive at Dulles I will board South African Airways for my flight to Joberg and them to Port Elizabeth. But, ally bags will be checked in Houston all the way to Joberg where ill have to clear customs. So who's baggage rules apply United Airlines or South Africa Airways. I believe these are called code share flights as I recall only booking flights with SAA through American Express Travel, but came to find out that SAA doesn't offer flights in the USA but only through partners.
     
  12. mstewart44

    mstewart44 AH Senior Member

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    In my experience, gun cases can exceed SIZE limits but you better stay under 50 lbs or be prepared to part with at least $75.00 each way.
     

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