Any sportsperson who needs to travel for international events and competitions (or simply to pursue a passion for their hobby) knows the challenges of taking a commercial flight with unusual or oversized equipment. But if your interest and talent involves anything to do with firearms, the logistics become just a little more interesting.
Travelling abroad with sporting firearms and ammunition takes some careful planning and, often, quite a lot of pre-trip research to ensure all the details are in place. But, as any sportsperson knows, there’s no gain without a little pain, so it’s certainly no reason to throw up your hands and concede before you’ve even had a chance to get in the game!
Finding an Airline
As you might expect when flying with items as sensitive as sporting firearms, there’s a fair bit of red tape involved. Some airlines will not handle firearms at all, while others may include them in their baggage rules under the headings, restricted baggage, prohibited articles or, a little more clearly, sporting firearms.
When you’re searching online for an appropriate airline, however, it’s not always clear what their terms and conditions are, and even if they do include firearms information on their website, it’s often frustratingly vague or difficult to find. It’s a good idea that, before you hit the booking button, you make a call to your chosen airline and double check the rules and regulations about both sporting firearms and ammunition. Ask for the name of whomever you speak to and, if possible, request an email confirming what they’ve told you. The key is to check and recheck every detail – don’t leave anything to luck or chance.
Pre-book Your Ground Transport
It’s important that you don’t consider your transport arrangements as simply your flight – you’ll also need to get yourself and your gear to your accommodation or sporting event. When you’re carrying sporting firearms in public, the safest, easiest and most reliable way of doing this is by pre-booking a dedicated airport shuttle. You’ll be met at the airport and taken to your final destination without having to take on the prospect of public transport or expensive taxis.
Packing Like a Pro
When it comes to packing your sporting firearms for travel you need to consider not only the safety of your equipment, but also the safety and security of the general public (and yourself, of course).
Any firearms equipment (including replicas), apart from a rifle scope, must go as checked baggage and need to be packed in a hard case or container, which is fully lockable and completely secure – and, of course, the firearm must be unloaded. There is a plethora of cases available, and it’s important you choose one purpose-built for firearms and don’t simply opt for the cheapest. You can pack rifle bolts, frames, clips, magazines and receivers in the same case as your firearms, and the more expensive ones will have separate compartments within for the purpose.
Ammunition must be in a separate lockable box or case and also put on as checked luggage. (It should be noted that for some countries it is forbidden to pack ammunition in with any other personal items, including clothing, so make sure you research this beforehand.) Weight restrictions apply in terms of how much ammunition you can carry and, again, this is something you’ll need to check with your airline.
At the Airport
If you’re travelling with sporting firearms you’ll need to allow some extra time for your check in. This is simply common sense, as the likelihood of hold ups is far greater. Arrive prepared, with print outs of any documentation or correspondence to produce at the check in counter. Firearms’ laws vary from country to country and, in the USA, even from state to state, so you’ll need to declare everything at check in, and it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re complying with the rules of your destination. Have any licenses and permits on hand to save time.
At the other end, to ensure a smooth transition through customs and security, again, make sure you have all your documentation in order and to immediate hand.
Shuttle Direct Makes Your Sporting Life Easier
Our Shuttle Direct airport transfer services make your life easier by catering to your specific sporting baggage needs. If you’re travelling around the world to events, competitions, or just to pursue your hobby, we can take the headache out of your airport arrivals and departures. Our simple online booking system means you’ll get an immediate confirmation, and we’ll meet you at the airport and get you and your sporting firearms to your final destination safely and quickly.
Let Us Know So We’ll Be Prepared
It’s extremely important that if you’re travelling with sporting firearms and ammunition you advise us at the time of your service booking request, so we can dispatch an appropriate vehicle for your airport transfer. Our Customer Care team is always on hand to answer any questions, so please contact us if you need any assistance.