New Member planning first Safari

Discussion in 'Introductions & Greets' started by Sycamore59, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Sycamore59

    Sycamore59 New Member

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    Howdy All,

    Finally joined AH after a couple months of reading and sorting through forums. I am in the works of planning my first Safari with my father.

    I’ve had the opportunity to hunt NZ and harvested a fine Stag and Tahr and currenqtly returning from Colorado where I joined my dad on an awesome Mountain Lion hunt. He harvested a fine Tom.

    Our Safari has been booked for June in SA for 6 plains game animals and needless to say I’m excited. I was hooked up with an outfitter through my taxidermist.

    First question I have as I am trying to book a flight is:

    How hard is it to transport firearms through London, Germany, or Qatar on a connection flight? I’m to the point where I’m lookin to book a direct flight from JFK to Johannesburg and not mess with it, but I know a good bundle could be saved going through the other countries.

    I’m concerned with our firearms arriving with us in SA and don’t want to have them delayed or not put on the plane for some reason. I can do without clothes, guns are a different story.

    Some guidance on this topic and stories of experience would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the info.

    Keep your powder dry,
    FN
     

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  3. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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  4. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Veteran

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    Welcome to AH.
    It may cost a few extra $$$ but contact a travel agent that specializes in hunters. I used Travel With Guns for both of my safaris and they handled everything beautifully. There are others like Gracy Travel that have great reputations.
     

  5. Jeff Schaeffer

    Jeff Schaeffer AH Member

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    If you fly Qatar air, you need to do the following things:

    1. On each flight, have the ticket agent at your first flight print separate bag tags for the rifles, and mark your copy so you know which one is for your rifle.

    2. Have all paperwork for all countries in a file on your carry on, including your 4457.

    3. At the gate, Qatar air will present you with a firearms transport form that is their own, and no one at Qatar air seemed to know what to do with it. On the way over, I was given the form and told to fill it out. I did. I was then told to follow a uniformed employee down to baggage claim. We got there, and there were three people standing there waiting for me. The all asked "where is the weapon?" I told them that it had been checked through, and that they had it. This caused incredible confusion because I did not have my checked rifle in my possession. They sent me back to the gate, but I found that was outside security, there was a long line, and my flight had been boarding for 20 minutes. I think I was the last one seated.

    On the way back, the form was presented again, but I was not allowed to fill it out. The nice young woman claimed that to complete the form she needed my license to own a weapon. This was weird as hell because I could not communicate effectively that there was no requirement for a U.S. citizen to have a license (I should have just shown her my 4457). The other issue is that there was nothing on the Qatar air form that had anything to do with firearm ownership. It was simply your name, gun make, model, and serial number. I was told that the form was to tell the pilot that there was a "weapon" on board.
    She took my passport and disappeared for 45 minutes because they had to find the weapon. She came back with boarding passes and claim checks, but we were waylaid again at the gate for 20 minutes for some reason. Again, last person seated, minutes before takeoff.

    People were nice, and did get everything onboard, but it was nerve wracking and I was convinced that they were about to leave without us, or my rifle. They also cut my travel padlock on the bag with the ammunition, which pissed me off.

    I think that the problem stemmed from two baggage claim tags with the same number, and not different numbers that could be ID'd immediately in their system. The other problem was that the gate agent on my first American flight checked the rifle all the way to Johannesburg, and they should have checked it to Philadelphia only for hand transfer to Qatar air. It messed up their process.

    South Africa Air was worse, they lost my rifle for 25 hours, and my outfitters "Botswana airport fixer" found it only because he knew another fixer in Johannesburg. We had hand delivered it to the police station after our overnight, signed everything, and they set it in a corner and forgot to put it on the plane. Their excuse was that they did not know who owned it, despite my name and contact info tagged all over the case. Luckily, we were hanging out in Maun for a couple days prior to hunting. I was nice that the entire bar at Okovango river lodge erupted in cheers when it showed up.

    I am returning to Botswana next year, and will use camp rifles. No permits, no paperwork, no fees, no tips to fixers for their hard work in finding my stuff, less weight, and I will use the extra space in my baggage to bring supplies for my PH, trackers, drivers, and camp staff. I can do this only because I now have had some experience, and they have Blasers. And yes, I will be flying Qatar air again because the savings made the difference between hunting in 2019 or waiting until 2020.

    And let the record reflect that I did my best to play it straight, follow all processes, and never get mad at any person who was trying to sort things out to the best of their ability.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
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  6. Sycamore59

    Sycamore59 New Member

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    Thanks for takin the time to respond with that info and sharing that experience, definitely strengthens my thought process.
     

  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome! Lots of good information to draw from on AH! Best of luck!
     
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  8. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to AH. Hope you have a great hunt.
     
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  9. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to AH !
     
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  10. Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris

    Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Enthusiast

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    Hi there and welcome
    Fly direct no issues
    Definately don’t fly through london had a client end up with a rifle in 2 pieces and others never showed up
    And by the sound of jeffs post quatar is a bad idea and a hassle
    Fly Direct and use riflepermits.com
    Maybe the extra on the ticket is less than a new weapon???
    Regards

    Stuart
     
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  11. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Wlcome aboard.
    Good luck and all the best.
     
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  12. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to AH!
     

  13. cls

    cls AH Fanatic

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    Welcome, good luck on your "First" safari. Where in South Africa will you be hunting?
     

  14. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox AH Fanatic

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    Welcome to AH! I envy you, on your first trip!
    Save yourself a bunch of headaches and book through Lori at Travel Express. You will most likely save money. She will set you up, so your connections are perfect, the airline you book through is 'gun friendly' and the connections you make are painless. And while you are at it hire the services of Rifle Permits.com. Both companies can be found on this site.
     

  15. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Flying thru London its not a problem, just an extra expense. First, NEVER book an AA/BA flight combo. Make sure all the metal is on BA and you will not have any problems. Second, NEVER book any Southern Africa BA flights, because that really Comair and they don't carry firearms.

    The only USA carrier that will take your firearms to London and change them to another airline is UA. And UA will only change to SAA, and no other airline.

    Make sure after you add up the outrageous fees that BA adds each way, that it's still cheaper.
     
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  16. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to AH Sycamore59!
     

  17. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Welcome Sycamore59 to AH! Oh I’m jealous of your dad’s mountain lion! May I ask who you went with and did they do a good job?

    Me I use Lori at Travel Express and Henry at Rifle Permits. They’ve both helped me a lot. I can’t say enough good things.

    For my old bones the single flight as straight as possible in the shortest amount of time (still too long!) is the way to go. Reduces the number of people who don’t care how they handle your stuff nor whether it arrives or not. The risk is high enough only using one carrier. JMO.

    You and your dad are going to have an awesome time! Just remember once is not enough!
     
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  18. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    First of all welcome to AH! My first question for you in regards to travel is where do you live, or more accurately what is the closest international airport to you?
     

  19. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Dittos on Lori at Travel Express and Henry at Rifle Permits. You want hassle travel with firearms? That is the way to go. Depending on your height and size you might want to consider Delta's Economy Comfort. A few more inches of space makes a large difference over 16 hours.
     
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  20. cagkt3

    cagkt3 PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Another vote for @Travel Express. Used them twice, no problems either time. Flew Emirates with a layover in Dubai. They have a process that sounds similar to Qatar, but I had zero problems. Filled out the form (or rather Jennifer at Travel Express did) and sent it in a couple months early. When I showed up at DFW, they were waiting on me - they literally spotted me when I walked in with the case and corralled me to the supervisor's position at the ticketing area. Had all my paperwork ready, checked serial numbers and tagged the bags, and escorted to TSA for a final check.
     
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