Delta’s New Policy for Checking Guns and the Greatest View Ever From a Plane

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As a professional photographer, I can tell you that the “Southern Lights” in those photos and videos looked NOTHING like that to the naked eye. Those images are intentionally over-exposed to create a better (dramatic) image.

    So if you’re thinking of plopping down $4000-$8000 to take one of those flights, do not expect to see anything like what you see in those photos/videos. Expect far darker (duller) displays.

  2. I cannot speak to DL and its policy re: firearms in checked baggage, but my former sister-in-law is an FBI agent. Back in the mid-to-late 1980s (at least), she told me that FBI agents must always be armed, and when flying they had a choice: either they could identify themselves to security and flight crew, and proceed with their weapon on board; or, they could lock their unloaded gun in their checked baggage . . . at which point (and I am paraphrasing here), the airline would slap a big florescent sticker on the outside declaring “Firearm Contained Inside” so everyone knew which suitcase to steal. She concluded by saying, “All the agents I knew always chose to fly with their weapons.”

  3. @Bill – The official rule has been at T30 for a long time now even though at times and certain airports GAs have clear folks sooner. Feel free to see the post for the announcement of the change from the Delta CORP rep.

  4. This is Delta’s policy on firearms:

    Shooting equipment is allowed as checked baggage only. It must fit within the very specific criteria that we outline below.
    Declare to the Delta representative that you are checking a firearm.
    Declare the existence of a firearm to security personnel if there’s a security checkpoint before the Delta counter.
    All firearms must be declared by the passenger to a Delta representative at the main ticket counter.
    Present firearm(s) unloaded and sign a “Firearms Unloaded” declaration.
    Firearms must be packed in a locked manufacturer’s hard-sided container specifically designed for the firearm, a locked hard–sided gun case or a locked hard-sided piece of luggage. Handguns may be packed in a locked hard-sided gun case, and then packed inside an unlocked soft-sided piece of luggage. However, a Conditional Acceptance Tag must be used in this case.
    Maintain entry permits in your possession for the country or countries of destination or transit.
    Ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer’s original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, plastic or metal boxes and provide separation for cartridges.
    You are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with all Federal, State or local laws regarding the possession and transportation of firearms. For more information about this regulation you can visit the TSA website.
    If you are transporting a firearm to the United Kingdom, a permit from the United Kingdom is specifically required. You must contact the United Kingdom for more information about securing this permit.
    Until further advised, passengers departing Brussels, Belgium are not allowed to check weapons including, antique, sporting, hunting or toy rifles in their checked baggage.
    The following types of ammunition are not accepted:
    Gun powder; such as Pyrodex or Black Powder
    Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles
    Ammunition, including case, exceeding 11 pounds (5 kg) gross weight per passenger
    Pistols and accessories must be included in one case and contain:
    Pistol telescopes
    Noise suppressors
    A small pistol tool case
    No more than 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition, including case
    Rifles and shotguns must be packaged as follows:
    One hard sided case containing up to four rifles, shotguns, shooting materials, tools
    The case must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. All areas designed to be locked must be locked.
    Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.
    One hard sided case containing up to five handguns, one scope, tools
    One bow and quiver of arrows and maintenance kit enclosed in a case or container strong enough to protect the bow and quiver from accidental damage
    No more than 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition, including case
    An excess baggage fee will apply if checking more than one gun case.

    I’ve seen at Delta that each case containing firearms has an orange fluorescent “Unloaded Firearms” tag applied to it along with the normal baggage tag.

  5. I have a State Department friend and he flies with his sidearm regularly to avoid getting it stolen in checked bags. He wouldn’t tell me if he carried loaded or not, but I would presume so since he’d essentially be unarmed before and after the actual flight.

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