Best airline to travel with for a hunt - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Best airline to travel with for a hunt

We are going to Colorado in Oct to hunt and I'd like everyone else's opinion on which is the best airline to fly with. Im talking from a hunters perspective taking in regards the fact that we will be traveling with guns and potentially try to take some meat home as well. Spill the good and the bad...


While we are at it, shipping meat home, who have you used in the past? Or did you take it all as check baggage on the flight

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 12:49 PM
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I've never heard of systemic problems in the lower 48 if you stick with the major carriers. Just be sure you follow the TSA protocols to a T. I'd shop based on direct flights and cost. That's not to say you may not run into rogue airline employees, most of the horror stories seem to fall in that category, but that stuff is unpredictable. I avoid the discount carriers and can't say I've heard any firsthand accounts of hunters using them.

As for meat, I weighed my options and I have a butcher where I go that cuts it, freezes it, and ships it home via airline cargo (this is in ID). You pick it up at the cargo terminal in Moon. That route came out very slightly more expensive than taking it home ourselves via checked and carryon luggage. I like to cut my own meat, but it's just greater peace of mind and far less hassle. I know a lot of guys go that route, but I can't imagine lugging 200+ pounds of meat and coolers around an airport and stressing over it the entire time.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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The discount airlines are super attractive until you start adding in the baggage fees.

Thanks for your input!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 01:46 PM
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I've flown Southwest to Colorado a dozen times or more for elk hunts in CO, and I wouldn't fly with anyone else. I've checked caped-out skulls and racks (skull wrapped in thin plastic tarp with duct-tape) and foam pipe insulation on the points, and never had any issues. I've also checked 200 lbs of frozen meat (45 lbs of meat per box with MAX 5 lbs dry ice), and only once had to pull it all out of the heavy insulted cardboard boxes that the butcher provided, and repack (at the gate) in Southwest-Approved waxed cardboard boxes ($10 a box). I slipped the guy at the counter a couple of packs of steaks, and he charged me for one box instead of 4, and helped repack and tape everything up. The folks at the Southwest gate in Denver are used to dealing with hunters, so they take it in stride. Once the stuff shows up in Phila airport, it's a different story. The baggage ladies in Philadelphia are always freaked out by the head/rack, but find a way to get it out at baggage claim, as they won't put them on the conveyor belt. Also be prepared to maybe deal with a headache when checking guns at either end of the trip - I've had them spend a half hour poking around in the gun case while I watched from a distance, then tell me it's good to go before I get to watch them lock it up. I insisted they lock it before I left, and they didn't take that kindly. I also got yelled at for allowing the baggage guy carry my gun case unlocked from the check in to the gun inspection office - even though they made me open it at the gate and told me not to lock it. Just say please and thank-you, and you'll be ok. Southwest is also great with no baggage fees and reasonably priced direct flights.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 02:06 PM
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The most hunter friendly airline I have ever flown on is Alaska Airlines. I know they have been expanding their service area , but don't know if they offer CO yet.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 02:08 PM
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Southwest is the best.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 03:01 PM
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I haven't noticed a difference with airlines when it comes to transporting firearms. There are some cities where the TSA screeners are wackier than others. The smaller, more rural airports are more laid back with guns, and the baggage handlers treat your gun cases with care. The best airports....Juneau AK, Deer Lakes N.L., Missoula MT. The worst....Toronto , Chicago, and Boston. Get a good gun case.

As far as meat, when we moose hunt we have meat freighted back to Canton Ohio from Newfoundland and pick it up at a big refridgerated warehouse there. I'm not aware of that kind of set up from the West, but it might exist. If it doesn't, it would be a great business to start up. I have flown with frozen meat / capes as checked bags. Some airlines are really reasonable, others not at all. The girl at the Alaska Air gate in Juneau had me and my buddy check a frozen brown bear cape, two 40 boxes of halibut, a double gun box, and two big GI duffle bags and never charged us extra. I don't think that was the airline's policy, she was just cutting us a break. Got similar treatment once at Denver.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 12:06 PM
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southwest hands down the best
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 08:11 PM
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Had zero issues with Southwest last November.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 08:32 PM
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NOT United !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They TOTALLY and unapologetically screwed me and a buddy on, basically, what was an emergency escape from a Nebraska blizzard. TOTALLY !!!

Southwest hooked us right up.

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