Flying through London or Amsterdam

Jamie D Van Roekel

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I know this comes up from time to time but traveling rules seem to change daily.

We have always gone Atlanta to JBurg and back. We are looking for tickets for this summer and it is getting time to get it done. They aren’t getting cheaper and for some time now it has been $3-400 cheaper going through London or Amsterdam on the way home. It makes me less nervous to do it on the way back but still don’t want trouble.

Question is has anyone had any trouble going through ether of these locations lately? And would one be better than the other? Thanks for any help.
 
If you are traveling with guns, spend the extra money and avoid the connections and woke cities.
 
I know this comes up from time to time but traveling rules seem to change daily.

We have always gone Atlanta to JBurg and back. We are looking for tickets for this summer and it is getting time to get it done. They aren’t getting cheaper and for some time now it has been $3-400 cheaper going through London or Amsterdam on the way home. It makes me less nervous to do it on the way back but still don’t want trouble.

Question is has anyone had any trouble going through ether of these locations lately? And would one be better than the other? Thanks for any help.
Is it still cheaper with the gun fee? I can only tell you about London. To avoid problems, make sure your flight from the USA to London is on BA metal and BA metal to JNB too. Make sure you have adquate layover time in London. If going T3 to T5 you need more time then T5 to T5. And DO NOT change airports Gatwick to Heathrow.

You might also to want to look at Emirates and Qatar.
 
Is it still cheaper with the gun fee? I can only tell you about London. To avoid problems, make sure your flight from the USA to London is on BA metal and BA metal to JNB too. Make sure you have adquate layover time in London. If going T3 to T5 you need more time then T5 to T5. And DO NOT change airports Gatwick to Heathrow.

You might also to want to look at Emirates and Qatar.

It would just be on the way home. We are going to fly Delta. We use their miles on short flights. Last what gun permit do you need. Do you need this if you check your bags all the way through.
 
I went through Amsterdam in January '21, which was a world of it's own. That said, all went well, but you do have to have a transit permit for firearms as I recall. No problems with it, but make sure you have it lined up. I went with Travel Express for my agency that time and we got it all worked out.
 
We've done the AMS route into Namibia, with firearms several times. Delta from Tampa, overnight direct to AMS, long (12hr) day layover in AMS and overnight direct to WDH on KLM. There is a little hotel inside the secure area of the terminal called YOTEL that you can book a dayroom or just a shower. Terminal is huge with lots of duty free shopping a lots of restaurants. Trains into the city run every few minutes if you want to leave the terminal.

You DO have to have a pre-approved firearm transit permit even though you never touch the rifles. You download the form and fill it out and email it to the AMS Police/Security for approval. It's free but YOU MUST SUBMIT IT 8-WEEKS PRIOR TO INITIAL TRANSIT. They will not actually approve it and send the signed/stamped approval back to you until a couple of days before you fly. We were asked to show the permit when we landed and before we departed. Form was several pages but in English and simple/clear instructions. Had to include a copy of tickets, passports and 4457. If you decide to go via AMS, PM me your email address and I'll send you the form and email address you need to submit it all too.

Been thru London several times but NOT with firearms. Primary reason is direct flts from Tamps to London and in to Namibia or RSA, require changing terminals between Heathrow and Gatwick. The main problem is you have to hire a licensed/bonded firearm currier service to transport the firearms between them. A couple of years ago, that was $600 per case, each way on top of BA's extra firearm carriage fee. Another airline option into London is Virgin Atlantic if you can do that AND avoid the Heathrow/Gatwick transfer. Virgin Atlantic's website says they do accept firearms.

Looked into using the Delta ATL over and Delta/KLM to London and Virgin Atlantic route back for this Aug's trip. Yes, was $300-$400 less but, an extra leg and short layover. I can use points for seat upgrades on Delta but not Virgin Atlantic so just stayed with Delta.
 
Delta flights from Joberg arrive at Terminal 3, Delta flights to US depart from Terminal 3. Check with Delta but I believe you can check your firearms straight through. Gun handling in Heathrow is done by special security staff, there are few available, maybe a permit needs to be applied for that books security staff for the handling task.

Don’t mix Delta and BA flights as this will require terminal transfer!
 
You are rolling the dice with British Airways. Cost me 3 days and a ton of money with their bull sh+t this past year. With your options I would go Delta.

HH
 
I’ve been through London several times on Virgin Atlantic with guns and you will have Zero problems. It’s $100 bucks each way. In SFO they now load your gun on plane after TSA checks it. You fill out their pink slip with serial number, etc . 2 minutes. You then do that again in Heathrow at boarding to JNB. 5 hour layover. My guns or luggage have never not been at JNB upon arrival . 10 trips or so. This new method is pretty bulletproof. This year the guy at SFO desk asked me for my permit. I told him you get it when you get there and showed him my US customs permit. He just said “ok” and we went to TSA.
 
I’ve been through London several times on Virgin Atlantic with guns and you will have Zero problems. It’s $100 bucks each way. In SFO they now load your gun on plane after TSA checks it. You fill out their pink slip with serial number, etc . 2 minutes. You then do that again in Heathrow at boarding to JNB. 5 hour layover. My guns or luggage have never not been at JNB upon arrival . 10 trips or so. This new method is pretty bulletproof. This year the guy at SFO desk asked me for my permit. I told him you get it when you get there and showed him my US customs permit. He just said “ok” and we went to TSA.

Sounds ok. What is SFO? Is it $100 per gun, per case, per person, or per group? We will be traveling with 3 hunters and 6 guns. Thanks for the well thought out answer. Good to hear from actual experience. If we go this route it would be Sioux Falls SD to Atlanta to JBurg the on way home would be JBurg to Heathrow to Minneapolis to Sioux Falls.
 
I’ve been through London several times on Virgin Atlantic with guns and you will have Zero problems. It’s $100 bucks each way. In SFO they now load your gun on plane after TSA checks it. You fill out their pink slip with serial number, etc . 2 minutes. You then do that again in Heathrow at boarding to JNB. 5 hour layover. My guns or luggage have never not been at JNB upon arrival . 10 trips or so. This new method is pretty bulletproof. This year the guy at SFO desk asked me for my permit. I told him you get it when you get there and showed him my US customs permit. He just said “ok” and we went to TSA.
I’m flying Virgin with firearms JFK, to LHR, to JNB and back in less than two months. I have a two hour layover going and a nine hour coming back. Any other tips or concerns I should know about? Flights were bought Upper Class with points round trip. Thanks!
 
It would just be on the way home. We are going to fly Delta. We use their miles on short flights. Last what gun permit do you need. Do you need this if you check your bags all the way through.

For BA you need to call them and give them your firearm information. Then 72 hours before you call back and they will tell you accepted or not. You really do not want to change airlines from BA to another, that’s where problem occur.
 
I’m flying Virgin with firearms JFK, to LHR, to JNB and back in less than two months. I have a two hour layover going and a nine hour coming back. Any other tips or concerns I should know about? Flights were bought Upper Class with points round trip. Thanks!
The Business/First class lounge in Heathrow is awesome. Huge! The one in Jo’berg is much smaller but very good. You just tell the concierge you need a shower and they tell you which door number. Food is top notch. You’ll really enjoy them especially with nine hour layover. They have a new express train into Heathrow. Comes out very near Tower of London. I’m going in this year as I have a 7 hour layover. I’ve been there before and easily 2 hour stop. Unreal museum of weapons.
Your guns will check all the way through to JNB. Keep your Virgin gun receipt at JFK so you can just copy it when they make you fill it out again at Heathrow. I did it at boarding gate. They will call your name. 2 minutes to fill it out and will give you your pink copy at your seat on plane. You know your gun is on plane. On leg back they called me into the back and two officers were there. I thought “ oh shit”. Security officers were just doing a random check.All good showed them my hunting pics. Nice guys. Hopefully I can upgrade! That lounge in Heathrow…
 
Sounds ok. What is SFO? Is it $100 per gun, per case, per person, or per group? We will be traveling with 3 hunters and 6 guns. Thanks for the well thought out answer. Good to hear from actual experience. If we go this route it would be Sioux Falls SD to Atlanta to JBurg the on way home would be JBurg to Heathrow to Minneapolis to Sioux Falls.
San Francisco. I only had one gun in one case so not sure. I believe it’s per case??. Very important—-you cannot place two different persons guns in one case. It’s against the law in Jo’berg. Also can’t take two guns of same caliber. Your worst case scenario for 1 person is$100 bucks per gun each way. Call them and they will tell you.
Your cheapest way might be for 3 of the 6 hunters to take their own two guns in one case and let your buddies use them.
Might only cost $300 bucks? Check with Virgin!
 
Anyone traveled with bow through Heathrow to Joberg and back via BA?
I know in RSA there's no restriction, my brother just went Delta from ATL direct to Jo and back and was never even asked to open the case.
 
I know this comes up from time to time but traveling rules seem to change daily.

We have always gone Atlanta to JBurg and back. We are looking for tickets for this summer and it is getting time to get it done. They aren’t getting cheaper and for some time now it has been $3-400 cheaper going through London or Amsterdam on the way home. It makes me less nervous to do it on the way back but still don’t want trouble.

Question is has anyone had any trouble going through ether of these locations lately? And would one be better than the other? Thanks for any help.
My TA no longer sends folks that way. It would have be a lot cheaper to consider IMO. I’m flying Qatar this year.
 
The Business/First class lounge in Heathrow is awesome. Huge! The one in Jo’berg is much smaller but very good. You just tell the concierge you need a shower and they tell you which door number. Food is top notch. You’ll really enjoy them especially with nine hour layover. They have a new express train into Heathrow. Comes out very near Tower of London. I’m going in this year as I have a 7 hour layover. I’ve been there before and easily 2 hour stop. Unreal museum of weapons.
Your guns will check all the way through to JNB. Keep your Virgin gun receipt at JFK so you can just copy it when they make you fill it out again at Heathrow. I did it at boarding gate. They will call your name. 2 minutes to fill it out and will give you your pink copy at your seat on plane. You know your gun is on plane. On leg back they called me into the back and two officers were there. I thought “ oh shit”. Security officers were just doing a random check.All good showed them my hunting pics. Nice guys. Hopefully I can upgrade! That lounge in Heathrow…
Matt, thank you for the detailed response! It sounds like I made the right call, and I’m quite excited about it. My wife and son are going with me so we’ll be taking advantage of the 9 hour layover to see that weapons museum! Thanks again!
 
We flew thru Amersterdam and it was very good. I have avoided LHR because of past history but maybe alright now?
 
San Francisco. I only had one gun in one case so not sure. I believe it’s per case??. Very important—-you cannot place two different persons guns in one case. It’s against the law in Jo’berg. Also can’t take two guns of same caliber. Your worst case scenario for 1 person is$100 bucks per gun each way. Call them and they will tell you.
Your cheapest way might be for 3 of the 6 hunters to take their own two guns in one case and let your buddies use them.
Might only cost $300 bucks? Check with Virgin!

1 person can’t take 2 guns of same caliber. We have however taken guns for two people in the same case many times. As long as paperwork is done correctly never had problem with that.
 
I know this comes up from time to time but traveling rules seem to change daily.

We have always gone Atlanta to JBurg and back. We are looking for tickets for this summer and it is getting time to get it done. They aren’t getting cheaper and for some time now it has been $3-400 cheaper going through London or Amsterdam on the way home. It makes me less nervous to do it on the way back but still don’t want trouble.

Question is has anyone had any trouble going through ether of these locations lately? And would one be better than the other? Thanks for any help.
Jamie, when I flew to and from TZ it was advised Not to go thru London….Amstrerdam was strongly recommended by Gracie Travel. We had zero issues and the layover in Amsterdam Airport was very pleasant. This was 15+ years ago so maybe get more current recommendations but I believe you are wise to plan for the “easiest airport with the least problems” and it’s worth a few $100 for that peace-of-mind.
 

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