Delta’s New Checked Baggage Firearm Policy Has Nothing to Do With Safety

As some of you may know, I am a hybrid firearm/aviation enthusiast and recently TTAG ran a story about Delta’s changes in their firearm transportation policy. So I did a little homework and called around to Delta, American, United, the TSA and a few industry colleagues who fly Delta quite often with firearms. The responses we got were rather surprising . . .

For starters, Delta’s new zip tie practice seems to have been supplemented with a law enforcement presence policy. NBC Miami reported that “A police officer will be at the location when the passenger picks up the baggage.” – an interesting twist that neither TTAG contributing reader mentioned.

I followed the Delta story on TTAG and a few other media outlets and the policy seemed to make no sense. After all, federal law prohibits labeling luggage that contains firearms. Our friends at Prince Law had a few things to say about that.

A plain text reading of the statute indicates:

“No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm.”

Several industry friends and associates claim that Delta’s practice is illegal. There’s only one thing they’re forgetting. We in the firearm industry react and adapt to federal law all the time. Case in point: when certain states banned the AR-15 by name, manufacturers just made products with names such as XM-15, LAR-15, ST-15, etc.

Federal law states that it’s illegal to label a bag that contains a firearm. What Delta is doing is labeling bags CAGPT. Since it doesn’t say “CONTAINS FIREARM” they figure they can use any other similarly vague steal-me-first sticker such as “REQUIRES SPECIAL HANDLING”, “FRAGILE”, “HIGH VALUE GOODS” or some derivative thereof. which Delta has done.

This reminds me of a line from a speech I gave last year to some state prosecutors.

What’s the difference between a regulated firearm being compliant to regular firearm circumventing the law?

If you’re defending it, exemplar is compliant.
If you’re prosecuting it, exemplar is circumventing.

Within the confines of this story, your view of Delta’s position is something akin to the above.

So they’re applying zip ties to passengers’ bags at the destination ostensibly to annoy anyone who wants to commit a mass shooting for three minutes until they manage to cut them off?

We asked TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein if TSA had, in fact, changed any firearm handling protocols, specifically regarding zip ties and CAGPT stickers. Their response was as follows:

“You are referring to a new policy that Delta has implemented. I recommend that you reach out to Delta for information on it and consider doing an online search on Delta and firearms. TSA’s firearm carry policy remains the same. TSA’s policy is here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition

So, our reader from the first post who indicated these new prompts were TSA-driven was in error – this appears to be a 100% Delta-driven move.

Naturally, we called Delta’s media team. Their response was as generic as one would expect.

Delta is committed to the safety of our customers and employees. Every day we look for ways to refine processes and procedures with the goal to improve safety and the overall travel experience.

Wondering what other airlines had to say about Delta’s policy or if they had any plans to change their firearm handling protocols, we called jetBlue, American, and United. Again, we got no response.

With that having been said — and seeing Facebook blow up with complaints from industry friends about zip ties and how there will be a massive exodus from Delta’s Diamond Medallion ranks — I asked a few folks why they’d be leaving Delta. The short answer: they’re refusing to be treated like criminals AND the additional time required to implement this policy at the baggage destination wastes time they they don’t have to begin with.

This begs the question: What exactly is the protocol for having law enforcement present when a passenger engages in potentially illegal activity…like picking up their luggage?

Since we were unable to get a comment from anyone at the Delta media team, we decided on an innovative approach. We went right to the origin of this idiotic policy. We called the Fort Lauderdale Airport Police.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has a district office for airport operations and we spoke to it’s captain, a nice fellow by the name of Roy Liddicott. Captain Liddicott provided background that we were unable to get from Delta.

TTAG: Is BCSO stationing law enforcement near Delta’s Baggage service office to help comply with this policy?
BCSO: No.
TTAG: Is this the first you’ve heard of this?
BSCO: Heard of what?
TTAG: Delta’s policy requiring a law enforcement presence when passengers retrieve their luggage containing firearms at their destination.
BCSO: I have not heard anything about this from Delta.

So, let’s get this straight. Delta has instituted a zip tie policy for bags containing firearms and are requiring a law enforcement presence when they pick up said bags, because someone flew Delta and shot up an airport.

The law enforcement agency at that airport has no knowledge of Delta’s new policy, much less the staff in place to enforce it. Are we to believe that this is being done for our safety? Is Delta using magic zip ties? Were they purchased from the same person who sold Jack his beans?

Good afternoon folks, this is your first officer speaking. You’re being taken for a ride.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    3 minutes? If it takes you more than 30 seconds to get those zip ties off you better have less than 2 hands.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      That’s assuming you have access to the tool (e.g. knife or multi-tool) that is somewhere in your checked luggage. If you have only one bag, that means it is inside a locked hard-sided bag that you therefore cannot open until you get home or your final destination. I do note that there is no law being broken if you get to your luggage before it is zip-tied and refuse their demand that you cannot remove from the office it until the zip tie is applied. In fact, I don’t think they have any legal right to refuse to give you your luggage.

      1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        Are a medium size pair of toenail clippers banned for carry on by TSA?

        If not, no multitool or knife needed, plus it would be fun to hand the trash to the person who just applied them and request they dispose of the trash within or 30 seconds of them being applied, even one handed.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          According to “My TSA” (http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa) nail clippers are indeed allowed in carry on. 😀

        2. avatar NineShooter says:

          I like the way you think!

      2. avatar DoomsdayJesus says:

        Zip ties are really, really easy to defeat. You need only a needle or toothpick, in case you’ve been raised in the forest by flying squirrels and have no experience.

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          Or a shoelace, or short piece of paracord.

        2. avatar Ing says:

          Yep. Just slip some little thing under the backside of that little tab, and voila!

        3. avatar Ardent says:

          You didn’t even mention that with this method you get the added advantage of ending up with a couple of perfectly reusable zip ties. Handy for, you know, restraining the Delta employee who placed them so they don’t sound the alarm while you retrieve and ready your firearms. . .

          Seriously, who comes up with this security theater? I have to assume it’s promulgated by people who truly aren’t resourceful enough to remove a pair of zip ties from an article of luggage, or by those who assume that others are incapable of same. Either way, only someone either pathetically incapable or divorced from reality could call this a ‘safety’ measure.

      3. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        Knife in zipper pocket of checked bag.

  2. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Thanks for the research. I would refuse to fly Delta, if I ever flew! What really bites me isn’t even the crap regarding firearms, it is the clear “steal me first”.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Back in the old days when I flew often, I hated to check bags. The one way that I knew for sure that my checked bag would always arrive with me, never anywhere else, was to put a gun in it. A big orange ticket saying “CHECKED FIREARM” in 2″ letters ensured my bag was always where it should be, and was generally first off the carousel. (That, and a full-size Zero Halliburton is really hard to lose, or sneak off without anyone noticing it…)

  3. avatar Noah says:

    I don’t see this as a universal policy. I have flown Delta in the past month several times domestic and international with firearms in my baggage. No zip ties, no extra tags, etc. Locations include PDX, SLC, LAX, SNA, BWI, DWI, GRK, SEA, and FRA AFAIK. In fact, I got off a Delta flight just this past Sunday with no bag zip-tied.

    1. This is system wide. It’s a fairly new procedure, March 15th, so there may be inconsistencies.
      I’m hoping they end the practice before it gets fully operational.
      You may even have some agents “forgetting” to zip tie fellow gun owner’s bags.

  4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Still trying to figure out what the CAGPT acronym stands for.

    Contains A Glock Purposely Transported?

    1. avatar Noah says:

      stands for Check And Give Protection To

      A common common carrier acronym.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Check And Give Protection To, a Delta policy apparently. It was mentioned in another zip-tie story on TTAG recently.

    3. avatar BLoving says:

      Contains A Gun. Potential Terrorist.
      Carries A Gun, Please Target.
      Created A Goat, Perverts Tremble.
      Carries A Glock, Please Tickle.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Ohh jeeez

    4. Contains
      A
      Gun
      Please
      Take

  5. avatar EJQ says:

    Hmm, a friend recently flew to a business convention with a nice pocket knife in her purse. She forgot it was in there, TSA didn’t see it on X-ray. She found it when she changed purses, at the convention. Packed it in her checked suitcase on the return flight. I have no idea what airline she flew.

    I know the odds are slim to none that someone would check a bag with a firearm, and get a knife past TSA. But, a friend who picks up someone with a checked firearm doesn’t necessarily go through security. This is simply a neon sign that screams “Steal me first.”

    You’d think Delta’s attorneys might be worried about the liability of a stolen gun used in a crime.

    1. avatar DoomsdayJesus says:

      The lawyers clearly weren’t involved in vetting this, this was some corporate do-gooder’s response to the Ft. Lauderdale nonsense. Because if a mentally ill radicalized Muslim shoots up an airport, God knows we need to treat all gun owners like children and police like personal corporate servants without prior coordination.

  6. avatar Roymond says:

    Let me get this straight:

    they want to improve safety, so they’re plainly marking items containing firearms, with the result that anyone who might want to steal one knows exactly which ones to grab?

    Sounds more like they’re aiding and abetting crime.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Gee TTAG I thought you got rid of FC after the pro-Hidebeast kerfuffle…

    1. avatar DoomsdayJesus says:

      I thought ad hominems were frowned upon by people claiming to be on the logical end of the debate.

    2. avatar FirearmConcierge says:

      Aloha motherfuckers.

  8. avatar michaelb says:

    Shouldn’t all passenger luggage be “Checked And Given Protection To”?

  9. avatar bobby b says:

    In other news, Delta Air Line Inc., a publicly-held company, has completed its acquisition of Colorado-based Zip-Ties Inc., a small privately-held concern whose majority shareholder recently married the daughter of Delta’s CEO.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Hahahaha!

  10. avatar uncle_pickle says:

    It puts me in cold rage is the story changes overnight once it becomes important to them.

    “I’m sorry, but we cannot put any special treatment into the servicing of your luggage simply because you claim it contains valuables or delicate merchandise”
    -> Puts Bond Arms Derringer in checked luggage
    -> Zips ties, stickers, flashing lights, etc.

    They’re probably doing this because some scumbag spineless lawyer told them to. A loser-pays legal system would help tremendously in my opinion.

    Lawyers have altogether too much input on how anything gets done. Bankruptcy, Collection, Patent, and contract law are basically the vital ones that you need to keep a capital flowing. The rest are just expensive distractions that arise because the laws are bad and society is doing something wrong.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Capitalist pvssies. On Aeroflot, airline zip ties you.

  12. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

    Sounds to me like a lawyer driven policy. “See we zip tied the bag with the firearm so don’t blame us if somebody shoots up the airport.”

    1. Sounds like a corporatist driven policy. The same company that sponsors a float in the gay pride parade. The same company that on its website claims to be “the most diverse airline in the industry”. The same company that just celebrated closing the “gender pay gap”.
      This is just another shout out to the political left that says “we care more”.

  13. avatar Joe R. says:

    TSA: We rub our hands all over your grandma and your handicapped kids, imagine what we do to your luggage.

    Smells like . . .

    S A F E T Y

    And THAT safety smells like patchouli and strip club.

  14. avatar Jared says:

    So is this fake news or what?

    The lack of concrete information on this is frustrating.

    1. avatar FirearmConcierge says:

      What concrete info do you want? We called Delta and got no substantive response. The only thing substantive is readers who have submitted trip reports.

      1. Quoting NBC news wasn’t helpful.

      2. avatar Jared says:

        Like Michael said, not quoting NBC for starters.

    2. Anyone paying attention knows the whole story. The dozens of comments I have posted on this subject, you can bank on.
      The frustrating thing isn’t the lack of information. The frustrating thing is the compliance to this farce by gun owners.
      Like Matt in FL said, and I questioned on previous posts, people who claim their luggage on the regular carousel are taking them to the BSO. WTF!
      DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR BAG IF IT IS NOT IN THE SAME CONDITION AS CHECKED!
      What makes it okay to have access to your gun at the ticket counter but not at baggage claim? Both areas have the same security level.
      DEMAND THAT DELTA REMOVE THE ZIP TIES!

  15. avatar Newshawk says:

    You mean Delta’s still in business? I thought they got swallowed up by a bigger competitor… like New England Airlines:
    http://www.block-island.com/nea/

  16. avatar Alfonso Alfredo Rodriguez says:

    This will last until luggage gets stolen and later the weapon is recovered after the commission of a crime with said firearm. DELTA then is exposed to lawsuits from several quarters, the firearm owner that lost his weapon and the victim of a crime involving the firearm in question or federal charges by some imaginative federal official. This is not a well though out solution. All Delta has to do is to not allow ammunition in check baggage or deliver the baggage through the airline’s desk by an official instead of baggage carousel. This is not a perfect solution but it forces a firearm owner to identify him/herself to the authorities in order to pic up his luggage and weapon. It may help deter a violent act. The other solution is not allow transportation of firearms in luggage but that will fly as a lead balloon. I know I would press for redress through the courts if I loose a valuable and expensive firearm just because my luggage was identified to every handler as having a firearm inside. Just wait for the first lawsuit. DELTA has some bureaucratic idiots with painful hemorrhoids that are not letting them think straight.

  17. avatar Matt in FL says:

    “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.”

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Heh.

      Heard on ESPN 8, “The Ocho”.

      Love that movie.

      1. avatar James Hoffa says:

        I love ESPN 8 the Ocho it has dodgeball and on Friday nights late night they have contestants that run from armed people after committing an armed robbery and they have people that have just committed of burglary caring big screen TV sets run from huge attack dogs LOL

  18. avatar James Hoffa says:

    This is absolutely horrible for Delta to do something like this next they’ll be asking Jewish customers to wear a star David on their left sleeve. Can somebody do something as far as filing a lawsuit ID sign that? If what they’re doing is in fact it legal they should be told by TSA that what they’re doing is illegal and they need to stop it it sounds like TSA doesn’t want anything to do with it.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      next they’ll be asking Jewish customers to wear a star David on their left sleeve.

      Really? I know we’re supposed to be nice here and everything, but that is quite literally the stupidest fucking thing I’ve read on this site since… well, since I don’t remember when. Jesus. I’m done with the internet for today.

    2. This shouldn’t require a lawsuit. I have a strategy. CAGPT means Delta is guaranteeing the luggage and all contents are being returned to the rightful owner. All contents.
      When you show ID and the agent gives you your bag, ask him if it has been pilfered. He’ll assure you it hasn’t. Ask for proof. Say you would like to inspect the contents before you are satisfied with the CAGPT service. You don’t need to provide a tool to cut the zip ties off. Delta needs to remove them at your request. Don’t yell or rant and rage. Be courteous and be insistent.
      It helps if you are a Platinum Medallion member.
      Nobody hates this policy more than the front line employees that have to do this. They will report your dissatisfaction up the chain. As quietly as this policy was implemented, It will fade away.

  19. avatar John says:

    I carry a pair of trauma shears in the side pocket of my carry on. Depending on the carry one, some times they are strapped to the exterior of the bag. They are medical gear, which is allowed by TSA.

    I have flown five time since the new Delta policy went into place. When I get my CAGPT box I thank them, step out the door and snip the ties off. I have made sure to deposit the plastic ties in the recycling plastics bin. We only have one world, recycle where you can please

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Why don’t you snip them off before you go out the door? The luggage has been released to you, and it is yours to begin with. Hey, since you are in a “private” office, why not go all out and gun up while you are at it?

      1. “why not go all out and gun up while you are at it?”

        I do. I usually find the nearest bathroom stall and get strapped. One time, while waiting on my ride, I loaded up and holstered right there on a bench at the curb as bicycle cops circled like sharks.
        My pistol is one of my defense weapons. Keeping it in the suitcase is worse than off body carry. I’m not waiting until I get to the hotel room to tool up. If you can tell me where and when I am going to get assaulted, I’ll only carry then. Otherwise, I carry all the time.

  20. avatar Mark N. says:

    In another piece of not well thought out legislation, as of the first of next year, people will have to have an ammunition purchase license, which means that unless you regularly travel here and can justify the $50 cost, you have to bring your ammo with you when you come to go hunting. And any ammo you buy at a licensed range has to be used at that range. So unless you can bring your own in your luggage, you will be SOL.

    1. avatar bobby b says:

      It was very well thought out.

      They’re trying to financially hurt local ammunition sellers.

    2. avatar Wilko says:

      In Australia we can only fly with about 5 lbs of ammo max, with the preference by the authorities we either send it over via common carrier or in the case of shotgun events buy at the destination/range from licensed sellers prior to competition commencing. Not much different with the exception of “ammunition license”.
      Ours is built in to the firearm license…..

    3. avatar Joe R. says:

      Thankfully red and blue maps and voting riolls are compiled at least every four years, because there’s a lotta globalist turds killing themselves to try to comply with the UN’s communist globalist Sustainability Agenda, and POS kumbaya one world doesn’t work if you get to KABA.

  21. avatar Higgs says:

    So I am thinking we sound request people who have to fly delta put big CAGPT stickers on their own bags and overlaid the delta baggage system.

  22. avatar tmm says:

    TTAG: Is this the first you’ve heard of this?
    BSCO: Heard of what?

    So….then, yes? 🙂

  23. avatar Blum says:

    I just flew Delta last week. Both my brother and I checked our firearms for the trip. Our bags were tagged cagpt. Basically what Delta told us is that bags with these tags were not supposed to come up onto the carousel. We would be able to pick them up in the baggage office and they’d be zip tied..Blah blah blah… Long story short our bags ended up on the carousel with the big old cagpt (read “steal me”) tag on them. This happened on both ends of the trip in Atlanta and Boston! In Boston the baggage employees almost had a heart attack when we wheeled our bags into the office to tell them they screwed up they’re own damn policy.

    Oh yeah and a Bic lighter takes care of the zip ties in about 5 seconds

  24. avatar Ty says:

    Just flew from Seattle to San Francisco on Delta the other day with a gun box checked. On arrival Delta said it would be brought to the baggage office. I stood next to the baggage claim carousel when it rolled off with every other suitcase. I brought it to the baggage office and they were shocked and they put some zip ties on that fell off easily when I pulled on them.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I get the desire to go to the office and say, “Look, you screwed up.” You’re the second or third person to mention doing that. What I don’t get is then allowing them to put the zip ties on after the fact. You’re also the second or third person to mention letting them do that. The luggage is already in your possession. Why would you let them? I would just say, “No thanks.” What are they going to do, chase you down? Call the cops because you refused to engage in their stupidity?

      1. avatar James Hoffa says:

        I agree I would not let them handle my luggage any more after they are more on guy underneath the carousel loaded it onto the carousel where everyone can see it thank God you weren’t delayed anybody that had bad intentions could have just stolen your pistol and your luggage to boot. The system is just absolutely retarded. I’m with you I would just say no thanks I don’t need those state law doesn’t require them TSA doesn’t require them so I don’t require them have a nice day bye bye. LOL

      2. avatar James Hoffa says:

        Hey Matt where you at in Florida I’m in st. Petersburg?

  25. avatar Kait says:

    You should probably get your facts straight. The law enforcement officer is only needed to be present if the passenger wants to open the bag containing a firearm or the firearms case within the airport… whatever they do after that is up to them. Clearly Delta has implemented this policy in hopes of other airlines following their lead. If they don’t and passengers continue to complain, then I’m sure they’ll drop the policy all together. I’m sure all these passengers complaining would feel differently if their life or life of a loved one was threatened within an airport….

    1. avatar James Hoffa says:

      The reason why the other Airlines don’t jump on the bandwagon is because what Delta is doing is against the law. You cannot single out luggage by putting a huge sticker on it by encasing it in zip ties it’s simply against the law. Once Delta is sued over this will stop doing it. And here’s an idea if you want to carry a gun and you have a concealed license to do so you would just get off of the plane grab your weapon go into the bathroom and load it and put it on your person that way if any Islamic terrorist jihadist tries to shoot up the place at least you can defend yourself and your family how about that one for safety. Give me a break on that crap if everybody has their gun in a box everyone will feel safe yeah but you won’t actually be safe because there always is a nut job. Who will break the law and do whatever he pleases to commit whatever crime he may have in plan. The only way to stop that is to have a police officer every 5 to 10 square feet in the airport or allow people to arm themselves end of story.

    2. avatar Jared says:

      What a stupid comment. Another crazy Muslim from a certain demographic…. and this is Delta’s response?

      I can care less about feelings… especially from people who ignore demographics and violent crime statistics.

    3. avatar Martin says:

      All of the people complaining about this would be the only ones able to defend themselves if someone stupid decided to do something stupid in an airport, since they too would be armed.

  26. Look on the bright side guys. You can still murder everyone in sight at check in.
    #ArrivingPassenger’sLivesMatter
    Departing passengers? Not so much.

  27. avatar Lnjk says:

    Florescent orange bank dye packs are extremely helpful in playing one of my favorite games– Catch the Felon.

    1. What?! Pretty sure if you booby trap your luggage, you’re the felon.

  28. avatar Michael B says:

    So “Diamond Medallion customers set to depart from Delta in a mass exodus” owing to the headache and inconvenience of Delta’s new firearm policy involving the application of tie-wraps and CAGPT (care and give protection to) labels? Balderdash! It’s only an inconvenience if the customer insist on opening the bag containing the firearm at baggage claim upon arrival of the bag. Only then does law enforcement get notified by a Delta agent.

    1. avatar James Hoffa says:

      I’m a little confused here did you not read the entire post? What Delta is doing is completely illegal do you comprehend that? If we has gun owners broke the law and did things illegal such as Delta we’d all be in prison trust me. This is a huge step in gun control that absolutely doesn’t work just like the rest of the b******* gun control crap.

    2. “Only then does law enforcement get notified by a Delta agent.”

      You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.
      Police officers patrolling airports are not at the beck and call of Delta. NBC is the only source that brought up law enforcement involvement. Not even Delta has made such claim. Yet you feel the need to spread ignorance in light of all the facts presented on this issue. My advice to you sir is shut the fuck up.

      1. avatar James Hoffa says:

        Yeah I’m with you there brother I don’t see local law enforcement sprinting to the baggage claim area of Delta just so a patron can get their Gun released or open the box that sounds kinda gay. Besides if you were waiting on a law enforcement officer just to get your baggage so that you can open it you might be waiting there half a day LOL seriously though probably would be.

    3. avatar Roymond says:

      Really, Michael?

      I thought the point of being concealed was to be concealed. So how is it you’re fine with someone slapping a label on your luggage that screams, “Hey, everybody, there’s a gun here!”

      It isn’t just blowing your concealment, it’s an invasion of your privacy. It’s also an admission by the airline that they’re more careless with other luggage. Some bright attorney should file a class-action suit on behalf of all the people without guns and demand that they get the security of zip-ties, too.

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