I have long suspected that Delta is the one airline whose motto is “If man was meant to fly he would have been born with wings.

Back in the day when meals instead of pretzels were standard fare in domestic travel, Delta had the best airline food in my opinion. They were my airline of preference.

Over the years, that changed. It was my experience that more Delta flights were late or cancelled than any other airline I flew.  In 1987 one of my suitcases was stolen at the Delta LaGuardia terminal; NYPD later recovered the two stolen guns therein in crack raids in Manhattan.There have been other complaints about Delta’s baggage handling.

In 2017, a schizophrenic whom law enforcement had interviewed and determined to have been harmless checked in to Delta in Alaska with a ticket to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Apparently no one saw a red flag when all he checked for a roughly 5,000 mile flight was a pistol box containing a 9mm and some loaded magazines.  When he retrieved it in baggage claim in Florida he opened it, loaded the gun, and went on a shooting rampage in the baggage terminal which left five innocent people dead and more than forty wounded.

Delta’s response was to become the only US airline to my knowledge to require checked suitcases with firearms to be secured with giant zip-ties, which the recipient was forbidden to remove while in the airport, and to require the owner to pick them up at the baggage office.

I’ve grudgingly put up with that when I’ve had to fly Delta. This past week, flying to Key West on a Delta reservation made by my client, I retrieved my suitcase…wrapped in baggage ties that went over instead of through the suitcase handles, which required me to pick the damn thing up in my arms like a baby and carry it outside, where a “friendly” with a pocket knife obliged me by removing the ties on the sidewalk. I use Type 01 hardshell suitcases which don’t have outside pockets for disposable edged tools.

Now, let’s think about this. Smart fliers with guns use suitcases with outside pouches and place a pocket knife in the latter so they can open the suitcase whenever they want. If, as happened to me once in Jacksonville, Delta puts the bag on the regular carousel, anyone who sees it with the zip-ties and is “in the know” can seize it and flee with it, obtaining a stolen weapon illegally. It took us a long time to get the airlines not to put conspicuous “Contains Firearms” tags on suitcases with guns, but it only took one stupid fiat from Delta to defeat that and create a new “steal me” tag in the form of zip-ties.

Knee-jerk reactions are generally stupid. This is a classic example.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Any potential mass murderer with half a brain can just bring a pair of emt shears in their carry on. It’s the same for “gun free zone” signs. Someone who is willing to slaughter innocent victims is hardly going to be worried about violating a simple ordinance but the foolishness will continue nonetheless.

  2. Air line security is pretty much a tattered fig leaf and often burdened with nonsensical rules and “customer service” attitudes that further diminish the security aspect. When I flew a lot, various airlines bought me luggage to replace what they destroyed. Wish the last one that got damaged had been destroyed.

    I once watched a young lady being scanned with a wand. Seemed pointless to me, the way she was dressed.

    I expect the zip ties are a combination response to theft by baggage handlers (they open it, everyone is going to know, so they have to steal the whole thing rather than ransack the contents) and hopefully preventing violence at the destination. You’re right though, it does flag the bag-unless you need the zip ties to keep your bag shut anyway.

  3. That airline didn’t do real well during what I call the “great reset” of recent years (no, I won’t mention the name of the bug), so much so that I’ll never fly with them. That said, I do remember when you got your 2 guns, shall we say, redistributed, Mas, and was glad to hear it when you got them back with no injuries involved. I never even thought about having luggage with outdoor pockets being used as you say here, thanks much for the tip!

  4. Perhaps guns (and domestic animals) should have their own airline. Both have horror stories of being stolen, some valuable, loved pets being killed, lost,mistreated etc.SAME WITH GUNS or worse. My personal opinion is drive at all possible. At least guns often can be shipped ahead. Prayer might help.

  5. That’s exactly why I use a soft side bag with outside pockets even though I hate the zipper. I secure my gun case to the frame of the bag knowing that it would be difficult to steal just the gun case. I also only travel with inexpensive (but reliable) guns in the event of someone actually being able to steal it.

  6. We flew Delta a few years ago, there were no problems with my gun, but we paid for First class for both flights, which worked out to four actual flights, the only flight we actually flew 1st class was the shortest flight.. to hell with them!!

  7. Delta is at the bottom of the list in my book! I’ve had more lost luggage and late/canceled flights on Delta than all other airlines combined. If Delta is the only way to get to a destination, I just don’t go. Some things just aren’t worth the hassle!

  8. We fly from Washington State to New England pretty regularly because one of our children and some grandchildren live on one coast and we on the other. We nearly always fly the same airline, Alaska, which seems to have a very good firearms policy. Nevertheless, Boston Logan is the hardest airport in my experience to fly out of with a firearm. For this reason I have both a .22 rimfire and a substitute carry gun, with holsters and accessories that live with my daughter year round. I no longer have to deal with declaring firearms in checked baggage.
    I suppose that if I traveled more that would change, but for the foreseeable future, this arrangement works for me.

  9. I have flown Delta a few times on intarnational trips, Carribean. Since I can’t take my piece with me overseas, that issue never came up. They ent over backwards to reroute me one tie when a flight got cancelled… pulled some strings, got me on some oather airlone, and to Atlnta in time for the overseas flight. Had they not pulled those strings, I’d have been in quite the pickle… overnight stay IN the airport, mised ground transport at destination by hired van. etc.

    Alaska did me real dirt one time… my borhter drives the big ones for American, so that’s my preferred line. On a four legged round trip to somewhere bck east, AA put me on a flight to LAX and interlined with alaska for the Wes Coast hop back home. What they FAILED to tell me is that Alaska would force me to pick up my checked bag, cleared firearms and all, run narly a mile to a different tereminal with barely enough time to recheck, but THEN I had to go pau a very much UNwanted visit/harrassment session with TSA. In LAX. Bad combo. Waiting in long lines, checking in as if I had come in off the streets, etc. I put that whole mess on Alaska for their “policies”. Next time if someone tries to force me onto laska and I’m carrying firearms, I’ll kae sure to ask some VERY pointed questions. If they’re gonna do a forced recheck at a layover I’ll go another time, pick anohter CE? Not gonna happen again.
    Of coure, since I have refused the poke in the arm (my medical science background has me more than sufficiently fully informed to tell me NO WAY) and I refuse to slap that mug nappie across my face, flying was not an option for me. Since the madness began I’ve only travelled by foot, car, or bicycle.

  10. “It was a dark, windy, bitter cold, night of snowy black” as I landed in Filthadelphia. 😀 😀 😀 Love ya, Brother. Tony

  11. Now I understand the giant Zip-Tie I once found on my bag! I complained to the attendant that my pocket knife was also required to be inside the checked bag. She shrugged and said that it was policy. Fortunately, I was able to unzip the bag and reach in to the spot where I placed the knife. On a whim, I also found I could insert a shim into the zip tie ratchet to separate the “teeth” to open the zip tie. But, Mas’ idea is the simplest.

  12. I guess I don’t have a dog in this fight as I simply refuse to fly because of TSA. (The rotten customer service doesn’t help.) I sympathize with people who must travel to run their businesses, like Mas, but even a lot of business travel is frivolous. Most meetings can be done with technology. I have long held that even a week-long boycott would bring the industry to its knees and get these problems fixed but people would rather put up with the tyranny and bad service.

  13. Flew into Arkansas to instruct at Tac-Con a few years ago and experienced the whole “zip tie” thing. Went out to the rental car to place my bag in the back seat and lifted the suitcase by one of the ties. It broke. I then grabbed the other ones and gave them a pull, they broke as well. If it weren’t for the zip tie through the zipper holes I would have been good. This necessitated a trip to a local Walmart to purchase small wire cutters (henceforth carried in an external pocket on that rolling suitcase).

    Safety theatre?

  14. About the Fort Lauderdale incident, at the time Florida was one of only a few shall-issue states which prohibited licensed carry in the nonsecure portions of airports. I haven’t checked lately.

    Shortly after I got a call from a media type. He was under the impression that in 2017 firearms in checked baggage was a new thing, and rare, and wondered why anyone would need to. I patiently explained that the new part was restricting firearms to checked baggage, and hunters, target shooters, law enforcement, and a whole bunch of other folks flew with firearms many times a day.

  15. Baggage doesn’t have to fly to be a concern. My wife and I were sitting in the boarding area waiting for our turn to get on the airplane. Since we were close to the last to get on, we noticed a medium sized bag sitting by itself over near a row of vacant seats. My wife and I both used to travel a great deal internationally. Almost at the same time we looked at each other and questioned what was with the abandoned bag? We mentioned it to the airline boarding desk and they just passed it off as, “Don’t worry. Someone probably just forgot it.” Really? A bag by itself, no one around and you’re not concerned? We were.

    • I’m sorry, I just don’t believe that.
      They make announcements all the time in airports that if you leave your bag unattended for even a minute, security will be on it like wet on a frog. Then you’ll have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get it back and be publicly shamed for imperiling the security of everyone in the terminal. I’m sure TSAs 100-percent Johnny-on-the-spot.
      [/sarc]

  16. I am going off-topic (again), but I just gave a quick read to the SCOTUS decision on bump stocks. This was a 6 to 3 decision which ruled against the BATFE regulation to ban bump stocks. This regulation was passed, without congressional approval, after the Las Vegas mass murder incident. See this link:

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-976_e29g.pdf

    The whole argument in this case revolves around the NFA language of “single function of the trigger”.

    The majority decided that a bump stock enables fast and multiple operations of the trigger. Not a single function. Therefore, bump stocks do not use a single function and are not machine guns under the NFA definition. Hence, the BATFE exceeded their authority when they issued their regulation to ban them.

    The Leftists on the Court dissented. They wrote a dissent that said, in effect, that with a bump stock, one pulled the trigger once and then used the rebound effect of the stock combined with forward pressure with the off-hand to fire multiple shots. In their book, this was automatic fire with a “single function” of the trigger. They would have upheld the BATFE ban.

    Who is correct? In my opinion, the majority is correct. With a bump stock, the firing pin gets activated multiple times but non-trigger, external actions (forward pressure by off-hand and bump-stock rebound) is necessary to make it work.

    Do you realize that, under the theory pushed in the dissent, a single-action army revolver becomes a machine gun? How so, you ask?

    Simple, with a SAA revolver, one can hold the trigger back and then “fan” the hammer to fire multiple shots. This would be multiple shots with one function of the trigger under the theory advanced by the dissenters. Thus, such a revolver is a machine gun under the plain language of the NFA statute as interpreted by the Leftists.

    However, under the majority view, an external action is being performed (fanning the hammer) that is separate from activation of the trigger. Like with a bump stock with its “rebound and forward hand pressure” separate actions, this does not count as an automatic trigger. Hence, a SAA revolver is not a machine gun under the majority decision.

    Since I would view the re-classification of a SAA revolver into a machine gun as absurd, I believe that the majority got this one correct.

    The real problem here is with the NFA itself. In my view, the National Firearms Act is an infringement upon the 2nd Amendment and has been so for the last 90 years. The whole act ought to be struck down and not just the bump stock ban.

    Anybody else have any views on this case?

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