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Thread: Airport Security - Joke, but not a funny one!

  1. #1

    Airport Security - Joke, but not a funny one!

    As you know some of us headed up to Scotland to do our DSC1 and we took our rifles with us. As we were flying with BA we were expecting some issues and extra time but now that we are back all I can say is that the system is a joke and we could easily have lost our rifles.

    Below is a summary both flights from the point of view of a FAC holder travelling with rifle and ammo.

    For reference both the rifles were packed within identical airline approved cases with 2 combination locks and two padlocks per case and ammo was packed in steel cases packed within the hold luggage.

    Gatwick to Edinburgh

    Checked in online prior to travel so upon arrival at airport straight to the queue for bag drop. At check in desk informed them of the firearms straight away and the lady starting the normal checks and called the baggage handling subcontractors.

    A lady arrived with firearm stickers for rifle case and hold luggage and took us away to a secure zone where all the bags were x-rayed and we were asked to open the rifle cases.

    FAC details noted but serial number not checked on rifle. The lady then asked to look down the barrel………..

    We were asked to sign that we handed over the rifles and a docket was placed inside the case and these were relocked. Later upon arrival the other end we checked the docket and both rifles were described as shotguns!!!

    We were then walked around to an entrance to airside where the staff go and the rifles and hold baggage was taken from us to be placed on the plane.

    So no police attendance and no real paperwork. The lady doing the work did not have a clue what she was looking at.

    Upon arrival at Edinburgh we left the plane and headed into the baggage reclaim. We joined the queue for baggage assistance though I did leave it at one point for 15mins to sort out the hire car to save some time and another of our party of 3 went to the loo

    When we got to the desk the man said to wait to one side and they would ring through when the rifles were to be released back to us. So we step away from the queue to be out of the way when the 3rd member of our party returned from the loo with 2 baggage handlers in tow holding out rifle cases and luggage. We said they were ours and they simply handed them to us, no checking of paperwork what so ever.

    Some what stunned we walked out of the terminal and picked up our car.

    Absolutely anyone could have taken the rifles.
    When we loaded the car it was then we noticed both cases had been damage, mine had a large ding in the back of the case and the other had had one padlock removed and some of the small feet ripped of.

    We were not happy bunnies.

    Return flight, Edinburgh to Gatwick

    Not checked in online prior to flight so up to the gate and again explained we had firearms to travel with us. They checked us in and the rifles. This time however we did not get taken to a secure area to check the rifles/ammo. The rifle cases were marked with firearm ticks but the luggage with ammo was not.

    We were simply told to take both items to the oversized luggage drop and that was that.

    Upon arrival at Gatwick as soon as we got to baggage reclaim an agent was waiting with our rifles. He did at least check our ID and handed over the rifles and we had to wait for the rest of the baggage to come through the carousel with all the normal bags.

    It was at this stage we noticed that my case had been crushed at one end, pushed in about an inch and feet removed.

    So, straight over to log a claim with the BA baggage desk in the arrivals hall.

    There seemed to be no common system in place, the holes in the security meant anyone could have taken our rifles at one point. It was also obvious the rifles were not handled well due to the extreme damage.

    It has made me think twice about travelling with rifles again in the future.

    Letters are going to be written to BA complaining and both of us are going to be claiming for new cases.

    We are also going to carefully check the rifles this week to ensure the scopes have not been damaged in anyway, especially in my case with the crushed case.


  2. #2
    That does not sound good. Has it made you re-think the case. ie do you think it was up to the job. If not what would you recommend.


  3. #3
    I think the case is fine, the only weak point is the small feet that are riveted onto the base. If the case is slid across a rough surface these can catch and could be removed but at the end of the day. But that is not a huge issue.

    The case is alluminuim so pretty strong, I have stould on mine and it was fine, for it to be crushed like that means something heavy has fallen on it and hit it hard.

    I believe the case did it's job as the rifle is unmarked but I still need to check the scope/rifle carefully


  4. #4
    Sounds sadly familiar.
    I had this sort of thing when I went to Poland. No common procedure. The Polish end was far more profesional. At Heathrow they couldn't find the aircraft we had landed on, therefor could not get our rifles to us. After an hour when they did turn up we were told "don't worry about serial numbers etc you have been hanging around too long already" So I casualy entered our very safe and secure country carrying my automatic......................................... .plus a few grenades , and whatever else I decided I wanted!
    I wonder how illegal arms get into the country?

  5. #5
    Have flown to Glasgow from Heathrow on dozens of occasions with rifles and shotguns, but the trip I will always remember was the one where I was waiting at the BMI baggage office as usual for the firearms, whilst my mate waited for our bags at the belt. Yes, you've guessed it. Both rifles came round on the baggage belt. Normally when we collect rifles at Glasgow the office staff call a police officer who then checks the serial No.s against out licences.

  6. #6
    Ahhh good old BA trust them to F///////k it up. Of all the airlines I have travelled with they have been the most useless when it comes to carrying sporting weapons.

    Mind you one only has to look at the absolute chaos caused by Good Old BA at Terminal 5 this week, to see how smooth and efficient their operation is

    Sorry hint of sarcasim there, but honestlywhat a bunch of idiots.

  7. #7
    We had a very similar experience at absolute F up. The only guy who could handle it was on his tea break, when he finally did arrive all he did was carry the case through the terminal about 70 yards to a customs point and then vanished. I think we could have managed that! We were treated like criminals at best, pariahs at worst.

    Contrast that with Halifax in Canada. A smartly uniform imigration chap greeted us warmly (he didn't have drool running down his chin like they did at Gatwick which was a bonus) Checked the rifle against the certificate, checked the cartridges (an knew what everything was and how to handle it) and signed us off with a happy 'have a great time in the woods guys' (with hindsight, perhaps he was a little too er, happy, hmmm?)

    However, think yourself lucky, a friend of mine went on his own to Zim, arrived in the terminal to find his rifle case waiting unguarded on the floor and was then given 'preferential' treatment by being ushered straight out of a side door into the street...he nearly cacked himself apparently.

  8. #8
    I flew up to Inverness from Luton in November for a spot of Hind Stalking and had a similar time.

    Arrived at check-in and informed the pretty girl I was travelling with a firearm. She then proceeded to shout to her friend two desks along “Tracy, what shall I do with this? He’s got a gun, yeh a gun!” much to my horror I looked around at the bemused faces of fellow passengers.

    I was then taken by another easy jet girl along to the end (Not a secure out of sight room) where I opened my case in full view of everyone and got the rife out for her to check the serial numbers. So there I am in Luton airport waving my rifle about waiting to hear the screams of alarmed passengers!!

    Satisfied with that, I lock the rifle back up and she takes me to the bit where you put oversized luggage in like skiing kit etc.

    Happy with the rifle a man asks to see the ammunition. It this point I would like to make clear that there was nothing on the website other than that ammunition travels in the holdall luggage.
    So, obligingly I dig out the ammo I had carefully packed in the middle of my bag wrapped in clothes. There is then a bit of phone ringing and he tells me I cant travel with it like this. Must be in a “Wooden Box or a metal box” in case there is a fire on the plane to stop projectiles going off!!!! At this point I made a witty comment along the lines of “well if the planes on fire then you’re pretty F**ked anyway”!!!

    So, anyway this chap was really digging his toes in and wanted me to leave the ammo behind which would really cock up my stalking considering I was going to the arse end of nowhere and the chances of finding an open gunshop on a Friday evening was going to be slim. I too dug my toes in.

    The end result was that I got the big cheese of easy jet at Luton to come down and see me. He did and he took one look at the ammo and sad fine and wished me well!! The very annoying little man vanished and I was on my way!!!!

    Frankly I am amazed. I see complete sense in travelling with ammo in a secure metal container and will do in the future but there is no policy at present on easy jet flights and no one knows what is correct and what’s not!! Thankfully I stood my ground and had a very enjoyable trip with my lovely rifle and new swarvo scope!!


  9. #9
    I swear it's just they can't bear to see someone having more fun than they are. God but they're annoying. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

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