Flying through the UK to Africa to hunt, I had a minor hiccup at Heathrow. In case you didn’t know, The Land of Hope and Glory does NOT like firearms. That may account for South African Airways’ inability to fly Americans’ firearms through London into the Dark Continent. Here’s the latest news from a Safari Club International e-mail blast:

Member Alert
Hunters/Shooters May Not Transport Firearms To/From London On South African Airways

SCI has received information from the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) that effective immediately, hunters and sport shooters travelling to or from Heathrow Airport in the UK may not check their firearms on South African Airways (SAA) flights.

This prohibition is due to an administrative problem the airline is having with the renewal of their license to transport firearms into or out of Heathrow. SAA insists that it is a temporary problem and that they are working urgently to resolve the issue with the UK Police.

Until the matter is resolved, hunters and shooters with plans to travel on SAA flights through Heathrow Airport with firearms should make arrangements to fly with other airlines that do allow firearm carriage.

If you have any questions about this situation, SCI recommends that you contact SAA or PHASA (ceo@phasa.co.za) directly for more information about your options. SCI will provide updates on this issue as they become available.

Hopefully, this situation IS temporary and will be resolved quickly.
Be vigilant fellow hunters!

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46 Responses to South African Airways: No-Go for Guns

  1. If you have trouble in the future you can just leave that case full of goodies at my house. I’ll take real good care of everything.

    P.S. love that Mannlicher stock

      • That Big Horn Armory lever gun is no slouch, either.

        Not sure if my next purchase will be a Henry lever, another revolver, or an ugly but accurate Ruger Precision rifle in 6.5.

      • I passed-up buying one of those in 1991, but over the years, I’ve gotten a chance to shoot a few owned by others.

        I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

    • Ditto on the stock.
      I fell in love with Mannlicher stocks when I first picked up my favorite rifle of all times, a 1903 Mannlicher Schoenauer carbine. Love the way the bolt handle is forward too.

  2. These people make it difficult for a person to spend their money over there. Give them their wish. Don’t spend your money in the UK or SA.

    Spend your money in more friendly, developed nations. Like the US for starters.

    • How is that a South Africa problem – It sounds like the Brits are dicking around SAA.

      If you want to go to South Africa on SAA, just go via Atlanta.

    • Love you thought process. There are many fine places to shoot & have FUN & be SAFE. I do not think you can say the same when leaving the country. There are plenty of Americans that wILL HELP YOU FOR MUCH LESS $. yOU DO NOT NEED EXPENSIVE PRE-TRIP INJECTIONS-NOT COVERED BY INSURANCE ETC.

  3. We just did Denver—D.C.—Jo-burg—Kimberley and the reverse with no problem, aside from some “gratuities” in Jo-burg to speed things along. Have heard, but have not confirmed, travel with guns through Germany to S.A.

    • How expensive were the ‘gratuities’?

      (I’d just like to know at what point does it become an outrageous shakedown…)

      • A C note gets me through customs/gun check in less than half an hour. The other guys that are there when we walk in and out have this stunned look on their faces.

        • Jesus christ accepting bribes at customs? Please tell me you’re kidding?

          To think that South Africa used to be a real country…

        • SA a real country? Missed the last 20 years of looting, corruption, and decline I take it. It was always second-world at best, it’s just slightly above banana-republic these days.

    • Michael and Tom, thank you very much for adding to the corruption in our country. Very ethical of you both.

      Next time you come here a C-note will be required, and none of the local hunters will be able to afford the bribe to transport their own fireararms either because of cost or because those who bribe get moved to the front of the line.

      Shortly after that people will be saying “Don’t go to hunt in SA, the system is corrupt and you have to pay exorbitant bribes!”, and from there it can escalate even further.

      I hope your convenience is worth this.

      • I don’t know that I’d believe their story. How does a South African convert currency? I’ve never spent more than 30 minutes in immigration and customs in SA, and that includes being in JNB during 2009 when it was World Cup construction hell. SA is one of the easiest countries to get into, about as smooth and friendly as Canada. I’ve never been nudged, by anyone in SA, that a bribe will speed things up or clear up a problem. Then again I’ve never been traffic stopped by the Johannesburg metro police either…

        • ” How does a South African convert currency?”

          A US $100 bill is like *gold* nearly everywhere in the world, and *especially* in the borderline third world countries.

          It has an impressive capability to improve attitudes towards ‘ugly Americans’.

          To all those screeching about corruption, it is quite simply a fact of life in much of the planet…

    • While we are trying our best to keep GunFree SA off our backs and fighting hard to keep our firearms, guys who who hop and pop like you are ruining it for us. You have just admitted to international arms trafficking. Congratulations. I hope they nail the bastards who took your corrupt bribe as well so you can share a cell. Thanks for nothing.

    • Michael and Tom, nothing like that New York attitude that money buys you rights denied to everyone else, huh?

    • If you’re bribing public officials just to make your life more convenient you are a huge part of the problem.

      And while we’re on the subject, who thinks it’s a good idea to promote corruption on The Truth About Guns? It doesn’t exactly promote an above-board image of firearm ownership.

      • Never been to a third-world country, eh? Or even a second-word one? You are a foreigner, with no rights, no defense, and likely no friends in high places (because if you had them, you’d have been spared this indignity).

        When a Mexican Federale pulls you over for driving while gringo, you’d damn well better have the pesos for the “fine”, or you’re gonna visit a lovely Mexican slammer. Eastern Europe, Africa, whatever – one should know the local bribery customs and amounts before going – it’s a fundamental part of traveling. The suggestion that somehow understanding how to make things happen is contributing to the deeply ingrained culture of corruption is rather laughable.

        These government servants often can’t eat, or pay their rent on their government ‘salary’. When you go to one of these primitive places, quit expecting it to treat you like you get treated in the first-world. The rules are different, you are a guest, behave as they would like, follow the customs, or simply don’t go. Whining about bribery is like some idiot American visiting North Korea and thinking he should be able to steal a propaganda poster. Unfortunate what happened to him by American standards, totally predictable if he knew the first thing about the utter s-hole he was visiting.

        • “Eastern Europe, Africa, whatever – one should know the local bribery customs and amounts before going – it’s a fundamental part of traveling.”

          Preach it. Your example of Mexico is spot-on accurate.

          A healthy percentage of the planet’s population doesn’t like America and would be happy to cut you down to size. Even more so among the civil ‘servants’.

          Don’t give them an excuse to show you just how much their country isn’t like America, I guarantee you won’t like it…

        • Quite right. I look at as a customary tip. (Too Insure Promt Service).
          Same as rewarding a waiter or waitress for treating me right.

        • You nailed it.

          Principles are nice things to have… but in the real world, cash is king.

        • Nice to see that some of us have traveled to the less Westernized places of the earth.

          For those who haven’t, understand that what we see as a “bribe” or “corruption” is just the way their system works. It’s part and parcel of doing business, let alone actually living there. It has many names, but the bottom line is that if you want something done, someone has to get some consideration – because their “system” doesn’t give them that automatically.

  4. Atlanta non-stop to Johannesburg. Problem solved.

    Seriously, if you’re going to SA why the hell are you transiting through London (unless you’re from the UK of course)?

    • My little sister lives there. I thought a half day layover to see her and her hubby was a good idea.
      And the Atlanta to Joberg flight? 16.5 hours there. 17.5 coming back. Never again. That was way too long to be cramped up in a tube.
      Next year it’ll be a layover in either Frankfurt or Paris.

      • Long flights like that don’t bother me. I just sleep through them.

        I’d rather wake up and be on the ground where I’m going than have to do a layover or switch planes.

        • About 8 years ago I went to the Netherlands with my parents, sister and cousins. We had direct flights to and from SF/Amsterdam. On the return flight we had to wait in the plane for quite some time before takeoff, and both my mother and I fell asleep. On takeoff we woke up and couldn’t sleep for the rest of the flight. That was a bummer.

    • There are no SAA flights from the U.S. to Heathrow. So, you’d have to fly some other airline to Heathrow then fly on to Johannesburg on SAA. This notice really doesn’t impact anyone, well maybe the 2 people a year who fly LHR-JNB (with a firearm) and not fly on Virgin or BAA (both of which have much better flight offerings and inflight amenities than SAA)

  5. I’d be way too paranoid to ever fly to Europe with guns no matter what the occasion. Just way too Stalinist level gun control. Even if you do cross all your T’s and dot your I’s, they could easily confiscate your firearms and arrest you on a whim. I’d suggest trying to fly an alternative route if any are available. If I ever make the kind of money to go on all out hunt like that, I’ll think I’ll buy American and go on an Alaskan hunting trip.

  6. Air New Zealand is ok with firearms if they have a flight that matches where your going.
    Just used them to bring home another 30-06 plus scope etc from USA / Canada trip.

  7. Why not avoid the majority of the hassle and ship it over beforehand? FedEx is international, UPS as well…

    (*Heavily* insured.)

    • Because you can’t?

      Or do you just think the thousands of us that have done and will do this are clueless?

      • “Or do you just think the thousands of us that have done and will do this are clueless?”

        Now, *I* didn’t say that… 🙂

    • He’s just a slimy, lazy-assed Obama-type that wants to give the country “back” to the blacks. However, he also sees that productivity has fallen, or is non-existent, at locations where that has happened.

    • The country is in turmoil, the economy crashing, white genocide is just around the corner ala what’s been already happening in Zimbabwe, and will go basically unmentioned by the world “press”. In fact, now that the experiment has inarguably failed, there is precious little reporting about the whole of Africa

      https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/106411/zulu-king-apartheid-government-respected-me/

      As Dennis Miller observed of the ME, it’s the few rotten million that ruin it for the other eleven..

    • The rifle on the left is a Sako AV in .375 H&H. The scope is fixed power at 1 3/4.
      The lever gun is RF’s. He let me borrow it for the trip. It’s a Big Horn Armory in .500 S&W. The sheath knife is a Criswell. Very stout blade. I can baton ironwood with it.
      Binos are Weaver Kaspa series fixed 10 power.
      The fishing pole is a two piece ultralight G. Loomis. Cause tiger fish are delicious!
      The round brown thing is an Otis kit.
      Then frog lube paste and liquid.

  8. That’s why we’ve avoided Heathrow completely on our previous trips. Trying to use “air miles” to fly for free limits the options which we used years ago and when through Madrid vs. the crap hole of Heathrow. Since then, a straight shot to Atlanta then onto Joberg is the easy way to RSA.

  9. There was a lady gored by a forest buffalo here in Cameroon a week or two ago. The PH jumped on its head just before it as going to go for her stomach and it got her in the leg instead. I heard the story second hand from the pilot who flew them back out of the bush. The buffalo appeared just in front of them. She got to rounds off and hit with both before the animal got to them. I guess it charged for no reason other then they were close. They did not know it was there.

  10. A little bit of a misleading headline there, don’t you think? Unless you’re transiting through London on SAA there is no issue checking a firearm with SAA.

  11. “Until the matter is resolved, hunters and shooters with plans to travel on SAA flights through Heathrow Airport with firearms should make arrangements to fly with other airlines that do allow firearm carriage…”

    Oh, delightful. And will SAA be covering the difference in price for going from a ticket booked in advance to one booked on short term notice with another airline?

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