Since I started writing for TTAG I’ve been spending more of my weekends traveling to and from various places in the United States doing gun-related stuff. It’s great, since I love to travel and see new places, but it means that I have to deal with airline policies on a regular basis. One policy that always frustrates me is AirTran’s firearms policy . . .
This is how I prefer to travel with my carry piece. Everything has its place and the foam keeps all the bits safe during transport. Also, if I ever get stranded a la Lost I know that there’s a firearm and ammunition lying somewhere around that beach with my name on it.
Most airlines consider this to be an acceptable configuration for carrying a firearm and ammunition. The standard requirement for ammunition is that it be in the manufacturer’s original packaging or a cardboard or similar box that keeps the ammunition separated, which I can understand. No one wants an errant pointy bit of your luggage connecting with a primer at FL350. And allowing the ammo to be packed in with the firearm means that there’s probably some padding to keep the ammunition safe and secure.
AirTran is having none of that “safety” stuff.
Their policy explicitly states that the ammunition cannot be in the same piece of luggage as the firearm, meaning (for me) that my box of 45ACP gets thrown in with the rest of my clothes. The issue here is that it is vastly more probable that something will contact the primer (like a pointy bit of airport equipment or due to rough handling) now that the ammunition is floating around in the soft squishy unlockable luggage.
My ammunition would be MUCH safer meticulously tucked away in the foam of my hard and secure Pelican case, but AirTran requires me to put it in a less secure and less safe location while on the airplane.
Which begs the question: WHY? The only explanation I can think of is that AirTran is afraid that a round of ammunition will find its way out of the manufacturer’s container and then roll around until it magically ends up in the chamber of the firearm (an unloaded firearm with the bolt closed, mind you), somehow trip the bolt to go forward, and then a fairy will come by to pull the trigger and set the thing off. It’s a series of events that are physically impossible.
So instead of allowing me to safely stow my ammunition where it should be (the hard sided case) they make me put it in the soft luggage, where it is free to connect with an errant bolt in the fuselage of the plane and detonate at 35,000 feet.
I just want to be safe, but AirTran won’t let me.