Flying into CLE

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Flying into CLE

Postby kidd7 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:04 pm

I used to live in NEO. I'm flying back in October and plan on bringing my weapon. I've flown with my weapon before so I'm familiar with FAA rules, checked baggage, etc. I'm looking for any experience or insight in dealing with Cleveland or the airport itself. When I lived up that way, Cleveland was always anti-gun and I figure that hasn't changed much
Thanks.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby Werz » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:27 pm

kidd7 wrote:I used to live in NEO. I'm flying back in October and plan on bringing my weapon. I've flown with my weapon before so I'm familiar with FAA rules, checked baggage, etc. I'm looking for any experience or insight in dealing with Cleveland or the airport itself. When I lived up that way, Cleveland was always anti-gun and I figure that hasn't changed much
Thanks.

Here is my bitter experience:

I have only flown out and back from CLE. Apparently, you are familiar with the song-and-dance at the ticket counter. The problem is that it draws the TSA agents' attention to your luggage. What if you get a dishonest TSA agent? Will they steal your gun? Probably not, since the ticket agent has already seen it, too, and it would be easy to prove that you had a gun in your checked luggage. But somebody who carries a gun in checked luggage might have some other cool stuff that cannot be carried in carry-on luggage; for instance, a Kershaw Cryo II knife and an aluminum tactical pen. By the time you discover those items missing, you will be many miles away - say, Denver - and probably at your final destination, well away from the airport. So, even if you report it, they can say, "Hey, maybe you forgot to pack them and just didn't realize it. You say you had a handgun in your luggage, and it was still there, right?"

Yeah, it happened to me. Well, not the reporting part because I already knew how that would turn out. Other than that, CLE is no problem for moving through a firearm in checked luggage; it's actually quicker than DEN. But I definitely can say that I have been a victim of TSA thieves. It's also interesting to note that, on that occasion, my luggage did not contain the usual we-looked-through-your-suitcase notice from the TSA. Hmmm ... I wonder why not.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby djthomas » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:21 pm

What airline?

For firearms United uses Southwest's baggage screening which takes place right in front of you. In fact, you can't walk away until your bag clears and they mark the luggage tag as such. I've never had a problem going in or out of CLE but I've always used one of those two airlines. I don't know how the other airlines handle it.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby docachna » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:36 pm

Whenever I fly, the weapon is always secured in a gun safe, combination lock, cabled to the inside of the suitcase. Won't stop somebody with a bolt cutter, but it might slow them down or make it too difficult, in which case they'll hopefully move on to easier pickings.

You might consider the same thing for anything you really want to see inside the suitcase when you arrive at your destination.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby pediem » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:41 pm

I've had various experiences in and out of CLE, always on Delta.

One time, the desk agent was absolutely drooling over one of my rifles and said she was sorry she couldn't see how it shot. Another time, the desk agent went into complete vaporlock over the idea of guns. She insisted that I swap one handgun to another case because she didn't like how many total guns (rifles plus handguns) were in that first case.

Never had any troubles picking the cases up from baggage claim, however.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby kidd7 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:37 am

I appreciate all the insight here. I'm flying Delta. The cable locked up to the suit case is great idea, I'm going to use that.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby sdonnel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:01 pm

While my travels didn't take me through Cleveland, I did take a trip out west this summer. Having discussed the theft issue with my teenage son, he came up with a brilliant solution. When I declared my firearm in Detroit, he discretely videotaped the transaction. On the way home, the gate agent didn't check the gun safe. The TSA agent did behind closed doors. My son noticed that the agent removed my surefire flashlight and placed it on the desk near his computer. When the agent finished closing the box and locking it, he returned my keys. At that point I asked him to place my flashlight back in the safe. He stated there was no flashlight in the safe until I showed him a picture I took that morning of the contents of the safe. He miraculously remembered he took it out. He then brought the safe back out with my flashlight inside and locked it in my presence. I'm pretty sure he was {inappropriate language} I had a picture with a time stamp from the same morning. The Delta gate agent winked at my son and said "That was brilliant!".

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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby Bersa45 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:09 am

I flew out of Cleveland 2 weeks ago and it was a none issue very easy. I'm flying back today from orlando international airport and again no issues with the checked firearm. Do it right for the flight.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby rimfireOH » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:36 pm

Bersa45 wrote:I flew out of Cleveland 2 weeks ago and it was a none issue very easy.

That was my experience, too -- it was a non-issue; quite easy.

Here's roughly what happened, flying on United:
  1. I bought a hard-sided case (Pelican 1170 Case With Foam) and a pair of locks (ABUS 64TI/40) for it, got my unloaded pistol and empty magazines nice and comfy inside, then put everything in my suitcase.
  2. I packed a box of my favorite personal-defense ammo (in the original manufacturer's box) elsewhere in the suitcase.
  3. In case I got into a disagreement with United or TSA, I printed out a copy of United's firearm rules and TSA's firearm rules and put both on top of my hard-sided case in my suitcase (as well as keeping electronic copies in my phone's Evernote).
  4. I showed up two hours before my flight, partially because this was my first time flying with a firearm but mostly because the TSA seems to dislike me. (Ask me about the handkerchief sometime.)
  5. I walked past the curb-side check-in and into the terminal. When the attendant asked me to step forward, I quietly mentioned that I was "traveling with a firearm". (I decided that was better than "I've got a gun".)
  6. She didn't seem surprised and asked me to follow her to a particular pair of behind-the-counter attendants. She quietly informed them and they very politely and quietly took over.
  7. I'd been prepared to show them that my firearm was unloaded, but neither expressed any interest in seeing that. "I don't know your firearm, so why ask me to verify that it's empty?" is what she said.
  8. I was asked about how much ammunition I'd packed and I indicated about a handful. What she was asking was if it was under 11 pounds (United's limit). I confirmed that and she handed me the orange tag (below) which I read and signed.
  9. They put one of my baggage tags on it, gave me the baggage receipt and put the other stickers on the suitcase itself.
  10. I locked my firearm case, kept the key and put the orange card on top of the firearm case and closed and locked my suitcase (with a TSA combination locked to keep it closed).
  11. We then walked over to a location where we waited while the TSA scanned my bag in front of me. I believe she told the TSA what was inside.
  12. They scanned my bag, I got the thumbs up and I thanked her for making this so easy.
  13. Then I was off to the TSA screening and then a very long 90-minute wait at my gate.

Piece of cake. The whole interaction with United and the suitcase scan took less than 15 minutes. I plan on doing this every time I fly into a state where my CHL is accepted.

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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby kidd7 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:37 am

It was about that easy when I flew from RDU To Denver and back earlier this year. Glad to hear CLE is nice and easy also. I read some horror stories from other cities before. I'll be up there in a couple weeks to take my daughter to Cedar Point. Thanks again for all the info.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby KenB22 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:45 pm

Just flew from CLE to Phoenix and from SLC back to CLE. Wasn’t asked to open my gun case at the ticket counter at either location. Filled out the declaration card. Walked to TSA area with counter woman. Once I got the attention of TSA, they never asked me to open the bag or the gun case. FWIW I had my gun case locked with a combination lock and a TSA lock on the outside of my suitcase.

At both CLE and SLC airport everyone had to take their own luggage to the TSA area for screening. Other than hanging around TSA until they x-rayed my suitcase, it took me no longer to go through security than everyone else. True at both SLC and CLE.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby kidd7 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:18 pm

The flight was this weekend. Checking the bag was easy. Arriving in CLE my bag did not come down the carousel, but was hand delivered to the Delta office. That's fine, but I was not told this would happen so I wasted 20 or more minutes waiting at the carousel. The issue, though, My bag was zip tied shut with heavy zip ties and the attendant refused to cut them off. She stated you have to deal with it when you get home. When I said I'm on my way to a hotel, she state well they probably have something to open it. I told her it was BS and this was stupid, her response was basically oh well complain to Delta. The one strap did come off on the bus to the car rental office and I was able to pry the other off in line at the rental. Part of the reason for bringing my firearm was that I had an hour drive from the airport with my daughter at 10p. Plus I needed to get my contact out, my glasses were in the bag. I'm complaining to Delta, we'll see what happens.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby airforcegrunt » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:45 pm

A little late to the party, but I've flown out of CLE and CAK. Most of the times have been a non issue. Only had an attitude from TSA once in CLE. Apparently I didn't declare my firearm fast enough in Cleveland. Apparently saying, "Good Morning" before declaring a firearm is frowned upon. Flying with Delta was the easiest. Frontier was ok, and Southwest was the worst (braindead).
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby airforcegrunt » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:49 pm

kidd7 wrote:The flight was this weekend. Checking the bag was easy. Arriving in CLE my bag did not come down the carousel, but was hand delivered to the Delta office. That's fine, but I was not told this would happen so I wasted 20 or more minutes waiting at the carousel. The issue, though, My bag was zip tied shut with heavy zip ties and the attendant refused to cut them off. She stated you have to deal with it when you get home. When I said I'm on my way to a hotel, she state well they probably have something to open it. I told her it was BS and this was stupid, her response was basically oh well complain to Delta.


I don't know if something has changed with Delta over the past few years, but my experience with them has been the best with weapons. I had someone that was new one time and was kinda freaked out, but that was it.
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Re: Flying into CLE

Postby djthomas » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:25 pm

After Fort Lauderdale we started seeing reports of Delta getting squirrley with such luggage since that’s who the dude flew on. I’ve heard some folks have been throwing a cheap pair of flexible handcuff cutters into an outer compartment of their suitcase. The chances of that getting stolen are slim and it enables one to cut the wire ties upon arrival. They are better than wire cutters because they don’t have any exposed sharp edges which could poke somebody inspecting the bag and most people wouldn’t know what they are.
Never ask if you can carry at a non-posted place, but always ask why you cannot at one that is!
Just because they offer call ahead seating doesn't mean you call ahead for carry permission.
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