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We recently related Matt H.’s tale of woe while flying the friendly skies via Raleigh Durham airport. Against all odds, his story has a happy ending:

Much to my surprise my complaint was actually addressed. A representative contacted me directly (a different one from the person originally claiming to be a manager) and took the details of my experience, telling me that the process I went through was not the correct procedure for RDU as it had been explained to her and that she would follow up with me. I received a second call the next day . . .

with the contact information for two on-site managers, one for the day and one for the evening shift, as well a confirmation that their procedure would be different for my next flight. The procedure they told me they’d be following going forward was to have someone from TSA come to the oversized baggage area for an inspection, at which time I could lock my case and be on my way.

Before my next trip, I called one of the managers in advance of arriving at the airport. They met me at the ticket counter and brought me over to the oversized baggage area where an individual was waiting to inspect my bag. A few minutes later and we were locked and done.

I received an apology for the previous treatment and confusion. They let me know that apparently an individual cut the first lock before realizing that the bag contained a firearm, but stopped as soon as they realized their mistake. They assured me that this should be the procedure I ask for at the ticket counter any time I fly through RDU in the future.

This was precisely the type of response I was expecting during my first incident…in fact I would have been happy had I simply gotten an apology over the phone on my first call and an investigation and confirmation of the proper procedure on my next flight.

I’m not sure if all of their staff have been updated on the proper procedure, but at least I now have an escalation point should it happen again. I don’t think it would be inappropriate for me to publish employee names and numbers through this medium. I would advise anyone traveling through RDU to call and see who the manager on duty is and get their contact number in advance of your arrival and clarify the process…just in case.

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  1. Don’t think it would be inappropriate, or don’t think it would be appropriate?
    (seeing as how you either didn’t do it or if you did somebody edited it out)

  2. Nice to know some of them are pliable and reasonable. I once was confronted at the San Antonio airport by a squat female TSA agent with a German accent who called on her radio,”I haf an irate passenger; vould somebody help me viz an irate passenger”. I kid you not, this Brunhilda could have stepped out of central casting as the lead Gestapo interrogator in some cheesy WWII flick. This actually happened to me while I was in my Air Force uniform, traveling on official orders. All I wanted was to move to the head of a very long, bottle-necked and delayed line because my flight back to DC was announced over the intercom as about to take off, despite my having arrived several hours early.

    • Flying on orders always sucks. Flying in USMC uniform is just as bad. You hit the TSA checkpoint and you practically get strip searched.

      Though to be fair, anyone can buy a uniform and act like a douchebag… my biggest suggestion is to have all that annoying government paperwork right at hand and be polite and friendly. It seemed to work for me, providing the right balance of “This is a person I want to help” with “This is a potential problem I want to move on as quickly as possible so it can be someone else’s problem”

      • … Addendum: Though in your case it might not have helped. She may have still been carrying a grudge about what the AAF did to places like Schweinfurt and Berlin.

  3. As a retired TSA baggage supervisor I’m pretty confident believing they did not follow clearly documented procedure. More than not following standard procedures, you also noted that this particular airport was deviating from that standard you have experienced elsewhere and that would be of greater concern to me.

  4. Last week, I flew out of Boston’s Logan Airport with guns, bound for Las Vegas where I intended to visit my money (BTW, I love what they’ve done with it).

    I had exactly zero problems. None. Just as I had zero problems flying out of T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.

    • Ralph, I regularly fly out of Logan without issues, except for the last time I flew JetBlue. The ticket agent had never dealt with a passenger checking a firearm case, and I had to explain what to do, and she also had to spend 10 minutes on the phone with a supervisor. That wasn’t a big deal, except that instead of walking me over to a baggage inspection point, she walked me downstairs to baggage claim and a TSA goon came out of a secure door and requested my bag and keys. I was pretty firm that he was violating federal policy, but he didn’t want to hear it and treated me like I was the idiot. I was forced to give up my keys and have the case inspected behind closed doors (anyone could have stolen anything from my bag without my knowledge). I was able to lock up the bag afterward and hand it back to him. I have been meaning to contact JetBlue and TSA about this. Until they fix their system, I don’t recommend flying JetBlue out of Terminal C at Logan Airport.

  5. Last time I drove into RDU they had a big sign on the road “No firearms allowed”.
    So you can take one in when you fly, but not just to pick up?????


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