Hunters Carrying Firearms through Frankfurt

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Travel Express, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Travel Express

    Travel Express SPONSOR Since 2010 AH Fanatic

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    Due to a recent article in the Hunting Report, I wanted to pass on information on my recent experience with traveler's carrying firearms through Frankfurt.

    Excerpt from the article:

    Unfortunately, airlines are telling hunters that they may not check rifles to Frankfurt without a permit, even though no permit is required. This is due to information on the TIMATIC (Travel Information Manual Automatic) website. TIMATIC is the online system used by IATA (International Air Transport Association) airlines to enforce transport regulations.

    We learned about this recent problem from Steve Turner at Travel with Guns who is scrambling to resolve the issue for two clients heading to Namibia shortly after press time for this bulletin. As is often the case with hunters heading to Africa, both are traveling on separate tickets via Frankfurt, and must claim and then recheck their guns in Germany. Turner checked the TIMATIC database and found information indicating that only military personnel would be able to claim firearms in Frankfurt without a permit. He followed up with Delta Airlines and found that they would be enforcing this regulation.

    As readers know, a transit permit is no longer required to transit firearms through the Frankfurt Airport as confirmed with Sabrina Stock at Frankfurt's Commercial Office (Ordnungsamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main). In an email conversation, Stock wrote, "No license to take weapons or ammunition into or through Germany shall be required for weapons and ammunition taken on board ships or aircraft, kept in locked storage while within the territory of Germany, reported without delay to the competent supervisory authorities (customs) (including the manufacturer's mark or trademark, caliber and serial number) and removed within one month from the territory of Germany.

    "Only in case that your clients leave the airport to spend days in Frankfurt or leave airport to travel by car they need a permit from me. Passengers who must claim firearms cases due to airline refusal to through-check to another carrier on the same day don't need a permit. You don't need a permit for your clients who don't leave the airport."



    I had several passengers last month on this route on Delta to Frankfurt and then transferring to Air Namibia after an all day layover in Frankfurt. I believe only one passenger had a problem with firearm at check-in and was told that they could not travel to Frankfurt with it but the problem was quickly resolved when the passenger was adamant. I have also spoken with Sabrina Stock and verified the same information that a permit is no longer required to transit through Frankfurt. I also reviewed the TIMATIC and interpret it differently than above. It only describes what is required for military personnel whether traveling with military firearms or personal firearms. It does not say that sporting weapons/firearms are prohibited for individuals. It reads exactly the same as the one for Paris and firearms are allowed for transit through there.

    However, some things to be aware of are that Delta has dropped their baggage agreement with Air Namibia so you have to recheck your bags/firearms in Frankfurt with Air Namibia. Because of the all day layover there that normally is the case, you can't claim and recheck your bags on arrival because the Air Namibia counter is not open. My clients had to "bond" their firearms with customs in Frankfurt in order to leave the airport to go to a hotel for the day. This was quite a process and required a lot of time and paperwork. The problem I believe arises because they were "leaving the airport". Sabrina Stock and I went round and round on this and I asked if they could just leave their firearms in storage in the customs area and she said that would make it easy but she is not associated with the customs department at the airport and cannot instruct them on what to do. The problem is the confusion with the airlines, Frankfurt customs, etc. so at present I am just trying to avoid the whole situation unless the tickets can be issued with one carrier arriving and departing Frankfurt onward to Johannesburg, etc.
     

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Lori , can you share the wording of the TIMATIC. To help the hunter be a little more adamant when they happen to run into this one on their own.

    By the way, thanks for the heads up. :)
     

  3. Travel Express

    Travel Express SPONSOR Since 2010 AH Fanatic

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    Sure - here's the wordage for Germany and I see the same thing for France:


    ARMS AND AMMUNITION:


    - IMPORT OF FIREARMS BY ACTIVE MILITARY:

    A. IF TRAVELING ON DUTY AND CARRYING REGISTERED MILITARY ARMS ONLY NO PERMIT IS REQUIRED*

    B. IF TRAVELING ON DUTY AND IMPORTING REGISTERED FIREARMS THAT BELONG TO THE TRAVELLER A FIREARM REGISTRATION CARD IS REQUIRED*

    C. US MILITARY AND US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL MUST HOLD A FIREARM REGISTRATION CARD OR A US MILITARY FORM AE 2075 OR AE 550-17A.
     

  4. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the info Lori!
     
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  5. thi9elsp

    thi9elsp AH Fanatic

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    Thanks for keeping us informed.
     
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  6. D.Unger

    D.Unger AH Member

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    My family(wife and two young sons) and I transited through Frankfurt on the way to Namibia last year. No problems re-checking guns on the way there but on the return it turned into a nightmare. We went through custom with our luggage and rifle case, claimed the guns and explained that we were re-checking everything. No problems.

    We re-checked everything at the ticket counter and were on our way the gate when the ticket agent came running after us saying they need to get the police to check the guns. This is where it started to go south. The police said I needed a transfer permit and that I was in violations of the Frankfurt weapons act. I showed them the copy of the letter form Sabrina Stock and they said the never heard of the it and that anyone could have written that letter. After being held in the police office for six hours they finally let us go and wrote me up for the violation. They were somewhat sympathetic noting that it was just a mistake and said it would be cleared up by a judge on the following work day.

    I did my due diligence before hand checking with the authorities on the rules and regulations, used Steve Turner and even talked to friends who recently went through the same process. Unfortunately the police were oblivious to the regulations and the harder I pushed the new regulations the more belligerent they got. I quickly realized the only way were going to get out of there was to say is 'yes sir' 'no sir'.

    What would I do different? Have a letter on official letter head from Sabrina Stock, and insist a customs agent walk me to the ticket counter with my guns.
     
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  7. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I was looking into this route for next year, but after some of these horror stories and a conversation with Lori, its beginning to look like despite the loooooooong SAA flight, it may be less problematic in the long run. The travel is the worst part of this whole thing and its not getting any easier.
     
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  8. thi9elsp

    thi9elsp AH Fanatic

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    I suspect with what is happening in Europe that travel through there will become more difficult with firearms in the future. We fly Atlanta to Joberg on to Mozambique in October and any future travel to Africa will probably be the same route. Just add some time in on the way there (help with jet lag) and know that the travel will be much more simplified.
     

  9. Travel Express

    Travel Express SPONSOR Since 2010 AH Fanatic

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    Hi D.Unger - yes, I would say it might have helped to check with a customs agent and have them escort you to the airline counter if that it possible.
     

  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Ouch.

    The police inspected my firearms at the checkin counter (outbound to Namibia) in 2013. At that point I had a permit and they just reviewed serial numbers.

    In future, given the apparent confusion, I will be bringing telephone numbers along and asking the officer to contact the office if Sabrina Stock directly if they choose to push it.
     

  11. D.Unger

    D.Unger AH Member

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    Lori, The thing is I did ask at customs to escort us with the rifles, they insisted it wasn't necessary. It felt strange walking through the airport in a foreign country with rifles and ammo. If there was a next time, which there won't be because I'd go through Joburg, I would definitely insist on a customs official escorting me to the ticket counter.
     

  12. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    We had a few weird looks dragging a big gun case thru JFK last time too!o_O Never again!
     

  13. Spooksar

    Spooksar AH Fanatic

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    I'm sitting in Frankfurt right now and have been told that the police have to check our firearms. It a new thing I'll keep you informed. With the BS with Lufthansa and the airport I don't think I'll do this route again. My firearms where checked through to Grande Prairie but when I went to pay the Air Canada "fee" I was told this. There was no problem going to Africa even though we ended up staying a night because of plane problems, as the firearms stayed in transit
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016

  14. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I flew to RSA in April 2016, changing planes from Air Canada to Lufthansa. My guns were checked through to JNB, and I had no issues at all. Nothing from Air Canada or at the airport in Frankfurt.

    I am flying through FRA again in November, on my way from Canada to Ethiopia. Again, a change of airlines - AC to Ethiopian - but because both are Star Alliance (or for some other reason) I am told the guns will be checked straight through.

    I certainly hope that is correct. But I can't tell from some of these posts if all of those who had trouble were reclaiming the guns and re-checking in FRA or if the guns were checked straight through.

    Spooksar, were your guns checked all the way?

    Thanks
     

  15. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hank, if your guns are checked through to your final destination, how would you claim the guns to have them checked again while in route?
     

  16. Spooksar

    Spooksar AH Fanatic

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    My guns are checked all the way through. Turns out the 2 ladies I talked to didn't know the rules. One even asked for a registration certificate for the rifle. Went I told her we don't register long guns in Canada she couldn't believe it.
    Hank avoid Lufthansa they no longer allow other airlines to print their boarding passes. Or so I was told
     

  17. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    You can't. But my question was whether checking guns all the way avoids trouble. In other words, is trouble restricted to those who re-check in Frankfurt?

    And it seems the answer is no, you can have trouble even if you are checked through all the way. Hopefully, people will learn the rules.
     

  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Glad the guns were checked through all the way.

    It does not shock me at all that an airline check in agent does not know the rules.

    Drop this on them:
    Lufthansa Terms & Conditions - General Conditions of Carriage (Passenger and Baggage)
    8.3.3. Firearms and ammunition for hunting and sporting purposes may be accepted as Checked Baggage. Firearms must be unloaded with the safety catch on, and suitably packed. Carriage of ammunition is subject to ICAO and IATA regulations as specified in 8.3.1.1.
     

  19. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Sabrina Stock
    Ordnungsamt Frankfurt am Main
    Waffen-, Jagd- und Fischerei
    Kleyerstraße 86
    60326 Frankfurt am Main
    Tel.: 069/212-44689
    Fax: 069/212-43365

    Sadly, the office won't always be open.
     

  20. D.Unger

    D.Unger AH Member

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    With so many inconsistencies it seems Germany is a good route to avoid when traveling with firearms when there are other alternatives. Since my experience with the Frankfurt Police I have traveled through Germany but this time my rifles were checked through to Lusaka via Calgary-Franfurt-Joburg with Air Canada and SAA and had no problems. What's the purpose of a codeshare agreement between AC and Lufthansa if you need to get a new boarding pass and re-check luggage en route?

    I don't think any travelling hunters have a problem with following rules or filling out a bit of firearm paperwork, but when the rules change and none of the players know them it makes it an impossibility to deal with. One ticket agent or clerk with a bias or no understanding of the law can really throw a wrench into things.

    The bottom line is traveling with firearms is getting more difficult and won't be any easier in the near future. Traveling the path of least resistance with firearms may mean avoiding Lufthansa and possibly the inept German authorities.
     

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