United Airlines keeping hunters from taking guns

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by bashaw, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. bashaw

    bashaw AH Senior Member

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    A friend of mine went to fly out of Eugene, OR in June to go Elephant hunting he arrived at airport 2 hours early, the agent at counter Debra would not allow him to check his rifle finally he walked out to the sidewalk haled a taxi gave the cab driver some money and told him to take the guns to his Dad's house. With 15 min to go he boarded the plane as they were ready to shut the door. This is not the first time United caused problems for hunter

    below is a article from The Hunting Report


    Refusals to Check Through Firearms, and All Out Bans to Some International Destinations

    Hunting travel is getting more and more difficult as various US airlines make seemingly random policy changes regarding the transport of firearms. Here at The Hunting Report we have learned of several problems hunters have recently experienced traveling to their international hunts. We distributed Email Extra Bulletins warning about these developments as we learned of them. Here is a listing of the problems we know of and which airlines are behind them:

    US Airways will not transport firearms to or from Spain. We learned of this development from Bruno Rosich of Trophy Hunting Spain who obtained a copy of the airlines internal Policy on International Firearm Acceptance dated January 18, 2012. The policy attributes the ban to government requirements by both the United States and Spain, but it does not say exactly what those requirements are. No other airline seems to have this problem, however, including the Spanish carrier Iberia Air. Airline representatives at company headquarters have refused to clarify this policy.

    United Airlines has refused to check firearms through to hunters' final international destinations. The airline will only check guns as far as the international gateway in the US, where the passenger must claim the bag and go through check-in and security all over again. We know of at least two hunters who experienced this recently. One was connecting to South African Airways in Dulles and was refused passage at all. The other was checked only as far as Chicago. The first hunter was told this was due to a policy change in April. Representatives with South African Airways say they have cleared up the problem as far as connections with them are concerned. The second hunter was told his treatment was due to a new TSA requirement that went into effect March 1st.
    Furthermore, United will not transport firearms to or from Denmark or Turkey. The airline also reminds passengers to obtain a transit permit if flying through The Netherlands.

    American Airlines recently refused to check through a firearm for a passenger connecting with Emirate Airlines in Dallas on a trip to South Africa. Additionally, the airline still does not accept firearms to the United Kingdom. This particular policy has been in place since September of 2007, but every year we hear of hunters caught unawares and having their firearms left behind or confiscated in London. (We are indebted to Steve Turner of Travel with Guns for giving us the heads up on United and American airlines.)

    The Hunting Report placed an inquiry with TSA (the Transportation Security Administration) in mid-June, but had not yet received a response at press time. We also shared all this with Nelson Freeman, of SCI's Government Affairs & Hunter Advocacy, who was arranging to meet with the airline trade association to learn what's behind these policy changes and, possibly, work out some kind of solution. We'll keep you posted on any developments.

    Anyone experiencing problems with their hunting travel this season is urged to send us a report immediately. In the meantime, be aware that the above airlines could cause you serious delays in your international travel this hunting season. Either plan enough time between connecting flights to claim and recheck your hunting firearms or consider booking with a different airline if you can.

    This is the letter that my friend wrote to United/Skywest
    To Whom It May Concern:

    My recent experience with United Airlines, flight 6375 departing Eugene, Oregon, at 5:15 p.m. on June 26, was met with intentional deception by counter check-in personnel employed by United/SkyWest at Eugene. We arrived at the Eugene airport 2 hours before boarding to check in luggage and a firearm. We immediately ran into issues with the counter personnel and after 2 hours and as the plane was being boarded, we were told that South African Airways does not allow firearms on their flights (also told that we would not be able to enter Zimbabwe without yellow fever certificate) and that United would not transport my firearm out of Eugene, Oregon. I was fortunate to find a taxi available and was able to have my firearm sent to my father's house. We were barely able to board the plane and I was only issued a boarding pass from Eugene to San Francisco.

    Upon arrival at SF, we immediately went to the Lufthansa counter and met with a very knowledgeable and helpful employee of Lufthansa that asked what had happened in Eugene. æ·»our ticket is all screwed up. I explained to her that we met resistance in Eugene over the firearm. The Lufthansa employee was able to get the seating straightened out for our flight to Munich. At Munich, we immediately went to the South African Airway counter and met another knowledgeable and helpful employee that asked what happened with my ticket. In response, I explained the problems we had in Eugene and that we were told that South African Airways does not allow firearms. His response was éhat's ridiculous; South Africa Airways transports more firearms than any other airline in the world? South African Airways straightened out my remaining boarding passes.

    All airline firearm policies are readily available on their respective web site. I feel especially aggrieved, as I know that it was an intentional attempt to sabotage a vacation that I had saved up for and cannot easily duplicate.

    On July 19, we went back to the Eugene airport to get a name to go with this report. The women covered her nametag yet we were able get the name, Debra L., from another employee. There was also a man involved in the June 26 incident that acted as if he may have been her supervisor who was not seen on the 19 and his name is unknown at this time. I hold both of these people in contempt and feel that United Airlines/SkyWest is responsible for their actions. The only explanations that I can come up with for such behavior is that they are: a) poorly trained b) ignorant c) anti-hunters d) anti-gun, and I suspect a combination of all four. Though she may be very calculating and pulled off exactly what she planed as she 1) stopped me from taking my gun to Africa 2) nearly made me miss the flight out of Eugene 3) make other flights difficult by scrambling my boarding passes, she was pretty successful and accomplished 1 and 3 much to the displeasure of Lufthansa and South African Airlines. Hopefully this has not become a United Airlines policy and these individuals are rogues and acted on their own.

    I am compelled to bring this behavior out in public. Hunters should be aware of these problems when flying out of Eugene or possible anywhere with United. I will be sending this report to the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International including the local chapter and Oregon Hunters Association - all organizations which my wife and I are members, along with other hunting web sites and anyone that I can get to listen. I encourage the above-mentioned organizations to make this report available to all their members.

    I have written this as an informative letter that outlines the injustices and my grievances against United/SkyWest employees. They should take this opportunity to recognize they have a problem, take action against their employees and reconcile with us, making assurances that this will not happen again.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and I await your response.

    Regards,



    Randy and Teresa Smith
     
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I'm sure it's a isolated incident. I know checking a gun in Chicago can be real fun too. But most personnel whether they hate hunters or not will follow protocol.
     
  3. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Rediculous. I assume he has not receivedf a response yet? Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
     
  4. bashaw

    bashaw AH Senior Member

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    Diamondhitch,no, he's just been home for a few days now and he just got the letter sent off yesterday.
    enysse, as you see the article in my original post this is not an isolated incident, he is contacting SCI and NRA so hopefully they can educate the airlines personnel
     
  5. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    Thanks for the heads up. Looks like we all have to move to Africa....:heh::heh:
     
  6. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    If you have a guest room, Im in!
     
  7. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    can let you pitch a couple of tents for minimal cost. ;) all the beer i need :heh::draught:
     
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Sure sorry to hear about this! I have never had gun issues with United before, hope not to in the future.
     
  9. Blue Skies Hunting Adventures

    Blue Skies Hunting Adventures AH Enthusiast

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    This goes along with what I heard about American airlines no longer letting guns on their planes.
     
  10. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    I am booked on United through Lori out of Sioux Falls, SD Aug 15th. She has not mentioned anything of the sort, but I will be checking with her.
     
  11. jepetto62

    jepetto62 AH Veteran

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    Surprising...

    For your info,hehre is what can be found on United website regarding firearms regulations:


    Firearms
    United accepts one item of shooting equipment per customer as checked baggage. One item of shooting equipment is defined as one hard-sided shooting equipment case containing up to five firearms, with or without scopes, 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition and articles used in the firearm sport.

    Firearms will be accepted only from a customer who is 18 years of age or older.
    International firearm regulations vary by destination and transiting country. Contact appropriate consulates or embassies to obtain specific entry requirements applicable to destination(s).
    Firearms are not accepted to and from Bahrain, Denmark, Israel, Nigeria, Qatar and Turkey.
    For travel to and from the United Kingdom, pistols, rifles and shotguns must be packed in a hard side rifle case.
    Customers traveling to or through Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) with checked firearms/ammunition must obtain permission from the Netherlands Consulate/Embassy in their country of origin prior to departure. Weapons are subject to confiscation in Amsterdam unless the owner can show all required permits. Customers traveling on military orders with checked firearms may do so without prior consent from Dutch Customs. Checked military ammunition is forbidden.
    Customers traveling to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) with checked firearms and/or ammunition must be in possession of a gun import license or a temporary transportation permit, which must be certified and validated by a Guatemalan Consulate. Customers traveling with checked firearms and/or ammunition through Guatemala City do not require a permit as long as their bag does not leave the airport controlled area. Customers must ensure they have all the necessary documents required at their final destination.
    Curbside check-in of a firearm is not permitted.
    The firearm must be packaged in a hard-sided container capable of being locked. The container must be locked and the key or combination must remain in the customer's possession. If a hard-sided container is needed, see the container section of this site.
    Handguns must be packed in hard-side lockable luggage. Baggage containing handguns must be locked at the time of acceptance by United Airlines and the key or combination retained in the passenger's custody.
    The firearm will be transported in a section of the aircraft that is inaccessible to the customer. Proof of registration is not required.
    Firearms carried in addition to the free baggage allowance will be assessed at the current excess baggage charge.
    No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container. Ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers. The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement.
    If applicable, the first or second bag fee applies to checked firearms.

    Documents may require the Adobe Acrobat reader, available for free from Adobe for Windows, Macintosh, UNIX and other platforms.

    United is not liable for damage to firearms that are not contained in hard-sided cases.

    Excess Valuation may not be purchased for firearms that are not contained in hard-sided cases.

    Note: Customer must sign a Firearm Declaration Tag
    .
     
  12. ThomasBeaham

    ThomasBeaham BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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  13. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Things went real smooth for me flying Delta. Mayb I was just lucky or Kansas City is a better place to leave from. Would'nt the person who caused a hunter to miss a flight because they do not know the regulation be liable for a law suit. It they got sued a few times this nonsense would stop.
     
  14. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    Since United is partnered with South Africa Air, it might be useful to advise SAA of the difficulties you are having.
     
  15. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Whenever I have an issue with any employee of a large company alot of times it is settled real quick if you get thier name. They will tend to become more helpful. These people should get some form of diciplinary action.
     
  16. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I always keep a printout of the airlines firearm policy with my export documents. That way if there is a problem, which thankfuly there has not been yet, I can pull it out and if that dues not work there is a watermark at the bottom of the printout with the url of the data on their own website to back it up. As mentioned by lwaters letting them see you write their name down would certainly grease the wheels.
     
  17. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Yep, I think you solved the problem (LOL)! :)
     
  18. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    My three previous trips, 2-Delta, 1-United, no problems of any kind.

    2008 when checking luggage in at Joburg to return home, clerk asked where our ammo was, checked bag of course. They made us take it out of checked bags and put in our rifle cases. Example of left hand not knowing what right hand is doing.

    "A Dream can be relived, again and again in Africa"
     
  19. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    In four trips to Africa, three to Canada, and two to Argentina over the last eight years, all on United, I have never had a problem.
     
  20. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    This is copied from SCIs latest newsletter. Just one more reason to support SCI.

    SCI Meets With Airline Trade Association To Protect Traveling Hunters: SCI's lobbyists recently met with Airlines-4-America, the airline industry trade association in Washington, DC. As nearly all hunters know the difficulty and heartache that traveling with your hunting rifle can cause. That is why SCI's Washington, DC office is working to make sure consistent (hunter friendly) baggage policies are implemented across the airline industry. SCI provided past and current examples where traveling sportsmen and women are being specifically restricted in flying with their sporting firearm. All hunters know that the effort to improve airline policies will be difficult and changes will not be seen overnight. However, through the work of SCI's Washington, DC office, the fight to make positive changes for all hunters will not stop.
     

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