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September 27, 2007

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The Unfriendly Skies

Flying with firearms just became more difficult. American Airlines announced that the company will no longer allow civilians to check guns with their baggage if the flight includes a stop in the UK. The reason stated for the prohibition is the onerous restrictions on guns imposed by British authorities.

This new policy is actually a modified version of a more strict set of regulations that the airline came out with that would have banned firearms on all flights going to Europe and Asia. Thankfully, the NRA and other groups convinced the carrier that such regulations were too far reaching. More on this reversal here.

Restrictions of this sort are part of a disturbing trend of backdoor gun control. Starting last year, Air Canada instituted a $50 baggage fee (each way) for checked firearms. When it first rolled this regulation out the carrier insisted it wasn’t an anti-gun measure, simply an appropriate surcharge to handle the bulkier baggage. That no such similar charge was leveled against other oversized baggage such as golf clubs, ski equipment and musical instruments quickly exposed Air Canada’s position for the lie that it is.

My own experience flying Air Canada bears out the fact that the airline is staffed with a bunch of anti-gun nitwits. I’ve had the privilege of sitting on a plane about to depart for Prince George, B.C. while watching my rifle case—along with those of all other seven hunters on board—being unloaded from the cargo hold and dumped on the tarmac with no explanation given. No non-hunters had any baggage pulled off the plane.

Likewise, when coming home last year from a caribou hunt in the Northwest Territories I had a revealing, if somewhat bizarre, conversation with a woman behind the Air Canada counter. She was giving me and the other hunters in line an especially difficult time with our baggage when I said to her, “You don’t like hunters much, do you?” To which she replied, “Well, we are a peaceful people.” Given that she was clearly of Indian descent and, therefore, that her grandfather, if not her father, had survived in the tundra solely on account of their hunting skills, I could only shake my head in disbelief.

John Snow

Update: American Airlines has issued a statement saying that the company is working to figure out a way to allow the transportation of firearms into the UK in the near future. Those interested can see the newest statement here.



The handwriting is on the wall. These people and companies don't want to fool with hunters. They want to make our lives miserable.

I don't understand why some head of an airline doesn't read these types of stories and look @ this as an opportunity to make hunters a big priority with their airline.

Hunters tend to be a loyal group and I'm sure an airline that was "Hunter friendly" could generate tons of income by treating us like human beings.

Just a thought.



Your idea that an airline cater to hunters is great. The anti-cooks will holler loud and long and the airline will fold to the demands of the kooks. The makeawish people did after a terribly ill young man wanted to go on an Alaskan bear hunt. I really wish they would cater to us but we will have to holler loud like the kooks. Unfortunately that is not most of our styles.


The airline doesn't have to "cater" to hunters, just treat them like the paying customers they are instead of treating us like we are all "kooks".


I'm right with you jstreet. Ijust get pissed because we dont have a voice loud enough to be heard about our economic impact. If we did i'm not sure it would'nt hurt us. Damned if you do damned if you dont!!!

William Giordano

The best revenge is to stay out of Canada . Hunt your carabou in Alaska. Hunt and fish the USA. If no Americans spend a dime north of the border [ except Alaska ], they just might get the message.

James A. Brucher

Forget about putting your firearm on the plane on your next hunting trip. A friend of mine says to call Fed/X and they'll take care of it for you and guaranty its arrival. Maybe all the paperwork as well. Check it out.

Scott in Ohio

This is very, very frustrating.

On a related note, when Canada passed a new law over 5 year ago charging US hunters $50/gun to take their own shotguns/rifles into Canada I had to fill out extensive paperwork to ensure that my gun would be tracked while in the north country and properly returned to the US. When my huntng trip was over and I stopped back in the customs office to show the border guards my paperwork and gun they told me they did not need to see it. I'm thinkig to myself what the heck???

I propose that due to the need to enforce our own borders and the associated increased cost to the US Customs office and Dept of Homeland Security we should impose an extra $25 charge to search and document each Canadian citizen who vacations in Florida.

With the equality of the U.S. Dollar and Loon Dollar now, the Canadians can afford it.

Scott in Ohio

Forgot to add that this annual hunting trip used to take place on the St Lawrence seaway near Kingston, Ontario. I haven't spent a cent in Canada since that trip and have hunted on the New York side of the St Lawrence River every fall since. my buddies and I shoot the same ducks, without the Canadian goverment quacks.