Airline Firearms Regulations

If there is any part of your African hunting safari that is practically guaranteed to give you a headache it is travelling with firearms on the world's major airlines.

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Information on this page was updated November 2018

Airline firearms regulations may change at a drop of a hat. They do not necessarily personally inform their passengers who are already booked to travel with firearms or make any changes public in any way. They may quietly change the regulations on their website and cause major problems for the travelling hunter when he checks in. The best advice is to keep checking for changes until the day you depart. It is a good idea to take a printed copy of your airline's published firearms/ammunition regulations with you, in case you come across any airline personnel who have their own ideas on the subject.

Some airlines are more informative than others on their websites and some do not update their pages promptly when they institute any changes. Some airline website firearm regulations are just plain wrong - one major airline of a popular African hunting country actually said online that they carry hunting rifles and ammo as cabin baggage!! If you have any queries about an airline's published firearm regulations, you must check with your travel agent or call the airline direct in good time before booking.

British Airways, Air France and some other airlines make it a condition in their carriage of sporting firearms that you must inform your booking agent at the time the reservation is made, that you intend to carry sporting firearms on all your flight(s). Make very sure that your firearms are described and entered in the computer reservations data as sporting firearms, so there are no issues about their purpose. This must be done when you make the reservation well before departure - it cannot be done when you check-in. Firearms will not be boarded on the flight without this prior notification. Ask for a copy or print-out showing this notification, in case you come across 'difficult' check-in personnel en route.

As more airlines are adopting this policy of prior firearm notification, you must check if this is the case with any different airlines you may use during your trip. If in doubt, just insist your booking agent enter the firearms notification on all your airline reservations. Emirates is now requiring a weapons detail form to be completed and submitted before travel. See below in the Emirates section

Some airlines charge to handle firearms and ammunition. The exact fees are omitted here as they are frequently altered - upwards. When you make your reservation, ask about the current firearm and ammo handling fees or check on their websites, so you don't get a nasty shock at the airport...particularly if flying with BA or Lufthansa!

Here we have in a nutshell, all the latest airline firearms regulations for the major airlines flying to and within Africa. Link on any airline firearms regulation link to get to their full firearm travel regulations. Once on the airline website you may need to search the special baggage list to find firearms.



American Airlines

American Airlines

American Airlines Firearm Regulations


Firearms

  • Checked baggage only in locked, hard-sided container.
  • TSA locks accepted.
  • Maximum of 3 firearms per case.
  • No limit on number of cases.

Ammunition

  • 11 lbs/5 kgs ammunition allowed per passenger.
  • BUT no more than 5lb of ammo in 1 piece of checked baggage.
  • Original manufacturer packaging OR fiber, wood or metal boxes specifically designed to carry ammunition.
  • Pack in checked baggage.
  • No loose ammunition, magazines or clips.

Special Notes

  • Does not accept firearms in checked baggage to or from the United Kingdom.
  • No firearm/ammo handling charges.
  • There will be charges for excess weight and number of cases.
  • American Airlines only publish their website firearm regulations for domestic US travel and request you contact reservations for international travel.
  • NOTE As from June 2012 American issued a new policy, "we (American Airlines) do not allow firearms as checked luggage on an interline ticket situation any longer." This means if you and your firearms are booked on a flight of any airline other than American Airlines exclusively, your firearms will not be checked-in. This includes other flights by airlines who code-share with American.

Air France

Air France

Air France Firearm Regulations


Firearms

  • Show firearm permit at check-in.
  • Declare at check-in that firearm is unloaded and ammo packed separately.
  • Carry import and export licences.
  • Firearms case included in free baggage allowance. If total baggage exceeds the allowance, excess baggage fees will be charged.

Ammunition

  • Only hunting ammo accepted.
  • Only ammunition for calibers less than or equal to 19.1 mm.
  • Up to 11 lbs/5 kgs ammunition allowed per passenger (including packaging).
  • Original manufacturer packaging OR fiber, wood or metal boxes specifically designed to carry ammunition.
  • No loose ammunition.
  • Pack ammunition in checked baggage.
  • No ammo in firearm case.

Special Notes

  • NOTE Transporting firearms requires prior approval and written authorization from the Air France customer service department. Complete the declaration form below and inform Air France when you make the reservation or at least 48 hours before your flight departure. You must then declare the firearms when you check in.
  • Make sure you have approval in the system for both your firearms and ammunition on all flight legs.
  • Download & print the Air France pdf document Declaration Of Transport Of A Hunting Rifle, Sport Rifle Or Ammunition.
  • No specific firearm/ammo handling charges.
  • As of March 2016, airlines to Central African Republic are enforcing the UN arms embargo on CAR which blocks the transport of hunting firearms. Air France is the main carrier into CAR for hunters but all other airlines travelling to CAR will also enforce this UN regulation.

Air Namibia

Air Namibia

Air Namibia Firearms Regulations


Firearms

  • Must be unloaded
  • Firearms are not allowed in checked luggage with general personal possessions.
  • firearms have to be packed separately from the ammunition and must be in a locked firearms case.
  • Firearms and/or ammunition will be accepted provided they are packed in an appropriate carriage case.

Ammunition

  • The ammunition must be separate and in its own locked container.
  • No more than 5 kg (11 lbs).
  • Pack in either its original packaging or in a suitable container that prevents movement between shells or cartridges.
  • No loose ammunition.
  • No 'explosives' labels on ammo case.

Special Notes

  • Must carry firearm permit, export & import permits for each firearm.
  • There will be a firearm handling fee on international flights and regional flights.

British Airways

British Airways

British Airways Firearms Regulations


Firearms

    • You must carry your firearm permit, export & import permits for each firearm and authorisation from local and national authorities.
    • Your firearm must be unloaded.
    • Your firearm must be packed in "an appropriate carriage case, or if this is not possible, packed securely inside a suitcase with your personal effects".
    • FOR FLIGHTS TO & FROM SOUTH AFRICA ONLY: All firearms have to be packed separately from the ammunition and must be in a locked firearms case. You will not be charged an extra baggage fee for the separate ammunition case, if you exceed your free baggage allowance. Watch out for this issue because some BA check-in personnel will try to charge you for having this extra case.
    • FOR FLIGHTS IN SOUTH AFRICA ONLY: Two of South Africa's domestic airlines, Comair (operated by BA) and Kulula and will NOT carry firearms. They will carry bows, crossbows and arrows as checked baggage.

    Ammunition

    • Up to 5 kg/11 lb gross weight of ammo per passenger and for that person's own use.
    • Packed in original packaging or in a suitable container that prevents movement between cartridges.
    • No 'ammunition' or 'explosives' labels.
    • Ammunition must be packed in "an appropriate carriage case, or if this is not possible, packed securely inside a suitcase with your personal effects".
    • FOR FLIGHTS TO & FROM SOUTH AFRICA ONLY: The ammunition must be separate and in its own locked bag/container. No charge for the extra bag(s). (This also applies to flights to & from Italy and Romania).

    Special Notes

    • Pre-notify BA at booking of intention to travel with sporting firearms/ammo preferably when you make the reservation but at least 72 hours before your flight. Failure to do so means the firearms will NOT be carried. You must notify them of number of firearms, type, make, calibre, PLUS quantity and calibre of ammo. Pre-notification of firearms is necessary to ensure compliance with government embargoes and restrictions.
    • You must pre-notify BA if you are intending to carry component parts of firearms. This excludes telescopic sights. More on travelling with rifle components or reloading equipment..
    • You must pre-notify BA (if you intend carrying firearms) and booking online using www.britishairways.com that may include a flight operated by another airline. This is to check if the other airline is able to carry your firearms - eg.Comair in South Africa, which will not carry firearms.
    • Make sure your sporting firearms calibres cannot be interpreted as any military calibres.
    • Check-in at least 2 hours before your flight, to allow sufficient time to process firearm paperwork.
    • Passengers or groups with 10 or more firearms or boxes of ammunition must be at check-in at least 3 hours before their flight.
    • Each case containing firearms and/or ammunition is subject to a each way handling charge + the applicable local service fees of BA's specialist firearms and ammunition handling partner. This is payable at check-in.
    • You will incur extra baggage charges if firearm case is in addition to, or heavier than the free baggage allowance.
    • Hunters with bows, cross bows and arrows, which must be packed in checked baggage, do not need to pre-notify BA before travel.
    • Hunters carrying knives with blades longer than 6cm must pack them in checked baggage.

    Brussels Airlines

    Brussels Airlines

    Brussels Airlines Firearms Regulations


    Firearms

      • Must carry firearm permit, export & import permits for each firearm
      • Must be unloaded.
      • Must be suitably packed in a strong rigid container.

      Ammunition

      • Packed separately from the firearm.
      • Packed in a strong outer container made of wood, metal or fibreboard.
      • Protected, inside the container, against shock and secured against any movement.
      • The quantity limitation for ammunition is maximum 5 kg per passenger.
      • Firerms and ammunition to/from Italy must be packed separately and transported separately in two different bags.
      • For all other Brussels Airlines flights, weapon and ammunition need to be separated but can be packed in one same bag.

      Special Notes

      • There is a firearm handling charge for flights in Europe and intercontinental. If travelling to/from Italy and Spain there is an additional service fee for transportation of weapons and ammunition, over and above the standard weapon and ammunition charge.
      • For bookings with multiple flights legs, the fee will be charged per piece for each flight. The fee will be charged irrespective of whether or not the weapon/ammunition is included in the free baggage allowance.
      • It is no longer allowed to transport arms and ammunition on flights to/from the UK.
      • Transportation of ammunition must be pre-notified. Contact Service Centre

      Delta

      Delta

      Delta Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • In checked baggage only.
      • Declare firearms at check-in and security point.
      • Pack in a locked manufacturer's hard-sided container specifically designed for the firearm, a locked hard-sided gun case, or a locked hard-sided piece of luggage. A maximum of four firearms in 1 case.
      • As of April 2017, all firearms checked as baggage will receive special tags and must be picked up at the Baggage Service Office upon arrival.

      Ammunition

      • Must be intended for that person's own use. More than one passenger may not combine quantities into one package.
      • Pack in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, plastic or metal boxes that provide separation for cartridges.
      • Up to 5 kg/11 lb gross weight per passenger, inclusive of packaging.
      • FOR FLIGHTS DEPARTING SOUTH AFRICA ONLY: The ammunition must be separate from firearm and in its own locked bag/container for checked baggage.
      • FOR FLIGHTS DEPARTING UNITED KINGDOM ONLY: Firearms and ammunition must be packed in a small locked box or case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition must not be stored in the same case as the weapon.

      Special Notes

      • Sign 'Firearms Unloaded' declaration card and place it in gun case.
      • Carry firearm entry permits for the country or countries of destination or transit.
      • A firearm permit from the United Kingdom is specifically required.
      • Delta does not approve of TSA locks on firearms cases.
      • Delta passengers departing Brussels, Belgium are not allowed to check weapons including, antique, sporting, hunting or toy rifles in their checked baggage.
      • One bow and quiver of arrows and maintenance kit must be enclosed in a case or container strong enough to protect the bow and quiver from accidental damage.

      Emirates

      Emirates

      Emirates Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • You must be in possession of the original firearms licence in your name and all original documents stating the appropriate clearances and permissions (if applicable) to export and/or import the firearms, weapons and ammunition.
      • Firearms only carried in checked baggage.
      • Unloaded and, if possible, dismantled and packed in suitcase or standard gun case.

      Ammunition

      • Up to 5 kg/11 lb gross weight per passenger
      • More than one passenger may not combine quantities into one package
      • Pack in a strong, sealed box packed inside a suitcase and surrounded by other contents
      • No 'explosives' labels

      Special Notes

      • The carriage of any type of firearm, weapon and ammunition must be approved by Emirates no less than three days before your flight. Emirates requires all passengers travelling with firearms to complete Emirates Airlines Details of Weapons. PLEASE NOTE: Completing this form does NOT mean you are automatically approved to bring the firearm/ammo on your flight. Your application will be reviewed and if it is approved, you will be contacted by email to confirm. Do not proceed to the airport without receiving approval.
      • FOR DUBAI: Firearms and ammunition coming into the UAE must obtain prior clearance from UAE Customs and the UAE Ministry of Defence. This clearance is obtained by Emirates after you submit 'Emirates Airlines Details of Weapons'
      • FOR DUBAI TRANSIT: Passengers with firearms who are connecting to onward flights, need prior clearance to travel with from the Dubai Airport Police Department and the Department of Civil Aviation. This clearance is obtained by Emirates after you submit 'Emirates Airlines Details of Weapons'

      Ethiopian

      Ethiopian

      Ethiopian Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Only hunting or sport firearms accepted checked baggage.
      • Must be unloaded, suitably packed and have the safety catch on.
      • A copy Firearms Declaration Form must be completed for each case containing a firearm and placed inside the case. Additional copies must be made for use at boarding and for the flight file.

      Ammunition

      • All ammunition shall be carried in the aircraft hold as checked baggage only and with approval of concerned Security Authorities.
      • Small arms ammunition for sporting purposes in quantities not exceeding 5kg (11 lbs.) gross weight per passenger, securely boxed can be carried for personal use.

      Etihad Airways

      Ethiopian

      Etihad Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Only hunting or sport firearms accepted checked baggage.
      • Must be unloaded, suitably packed and have the safety catch on.

      Ammunition

      • No specific details on carriage of ammunition given on website. Contact Customer Service

      Iberia

      Iberia

      Iberia Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Allowed max of 2 firearm cases that may hold a maximum 2 firearms in each.
      • Must be packed unloaded, disassembled (if possible).

      Ammunition

      • Up to 5 kg/11 lb gross weight per passenger.
      • Carried as checked baggage only.
      • Must be packed separately from firearm.
      • Pack in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, plastic or metal boxes that provide separation for cartridges.

      Special Notes

      • To be able to check in at the airport, you should first go to the 'Airport Weapons Intervention Department' office which is within Madrid airport and has the appropriate forms to complete. You must then put one copy of the issued authorisation document in the case containing your firearm and retain the other copy yourself to be produced as necessary, such as at check-in. This office is also where firearms must be collected when arriving in Madrid.
      • Firearms are handled as special baggage with a fixed handling rate per flight.

      KLM

      KLM

      KLM Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Must be unloaded and safely packed in a suitcase or other case.
      • Each firearm counts as a single item of baggage. Excess baggage fees may apply.

      Ammunition

      • Must be carried separately from firearm.
      • Must only be only of a type for sport shooting sport.
      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger.
      • No 'explosives' labels.

      Special Notes

      • Pre-notify when making your flight reservation of intention to travel with firearms/ammo.
      • Further KLM information on firearm permits and licences.
      • Complete the KLM firearm declaration form. Declaration Of Transport Of A Hunting Rifle, Sport Rifle Or Ammunition.
      • Make sure you have approval in the system for both your firearms and ammunition on all flight legs.
      • You must get the advance permission of the Dutch Customs service to travel to and from or transit through the Netherlands. Application for Consent for Weapons and Ammunition. Full instructions in English are available here.
      • At check-in you will need to declare that your rifle is unloaded and the ammunition has been packed separately.
      • Must carry firearm licences and import/export permits for the countries concerned.
      • Firearms and ammunition should be packed separately from other personal belongings that are being checked in.

      LAM (Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique)

      Lam

      LAM Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Accepted as checked baggage provided unloaded and securely packed.
      • Passengers must have the correct documentation for their firearms.

      Ammunition

      • Total weight not to exceed 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger.
      • Ammo of more than one passenger cannot be combined in one or more containers.

      Special Notes

      • Firearms and ammo must be checked on arrival and departure by the PRM (Mozambican police).

      Lufthansa

      Lufthansa

      Lufthansa Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Rifle must be unloaded.

      Ammunition

      • Must be carried separately from firearm.

      Special Notes

      • Handling charge per firearm cases.
      • Additional charge for handling firearms in South Africa.
      • You need the permission of Lufthansa to carry a firearm. This permission is not given in writing. It is given upon request and confirmed verbally at the Service Centre in your country or, as Lufthansa says "at the latest, when checking in at the airport" - possibly not to be recommended, best do it in advance.

      Qantas

      Qantas

      Qantas Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Firearms may be carried as securely packed checked baggage.
      • No operator approval is necessary.
      • Pack unloaded & secure within a locked case.
      • Declare firearm at check-in and present your valid firearms licence or permit.

      Ammunition

      • Carried as checked baggage provided operator approval has been given.
      • Prior operator approval necessary for ammunition. E-mail dg@qantas.com.au to request an airline approval.
      • When ammunition is packed within a locked firearms case, the ammunition must be in a separate locked container.

      Special Notes

      Qatar Airways

      Qantas

      Qatar Airways Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • All firearms must be unloaded and securely packed.
      • The appropriate import and export licences must be presented to the airline prior to travel.

      Ammunition

      • Sports ammunition is limited to a maximum of 5 kg per passenger.

      Special Notes

      • Contact Qatar Airways for notification and clearance with the airline which is required before transporting sporting firearms and ammunition as checked baggage.

      South African Airways

      South African Airways

      South African Airways Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • No firearms in ordinary checked baggage.
      • Must be packed in suitable lockable firearm cases. Firearms and ammunition in your checked baggage will result in your baggage being rejected.
      • Check-in staff will issue the relevant baggage tags then direct you to the Firearm Desk for inspection and processing of firearms and ammunition for secure handling to the aircraft.

      The Firearm Desk Requirements

      • The owner of the firearm will be required to produce a valid license or temporary import permit for the firearm(s) and ammunition.
      • The owner will be required to make and declare the firearm(s) safe for carriage.
      • Security staff will request the owner to open his/her checked baggage to verify that ammunition is securely packed and that the total weight of ammunition per license holder does not exceed 5kg in weight.
      • The owner will be required to complete a firearm register for handover to security staff, who will ensure the secure loading of such items.
      • The staff at the Firearm Desk will send a message to the receiving airport, advising them of details and loading positions of firearms.
      • Checked baggage containing ammunition will be affixed with a special tag, indicating that the bag has been inspected, to avoid delays or confiscation of the baggage at further security controls.

      Ammunition

      • Ammunition must be in a separate, locked, hard-sided ammunition case for all onward SAA flights within South Africa. It cannot be in regular checked baggage.
      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • No loose ammunition.

      Special Notes

      • Firearms may not be checked-in at the check-in desk but must be checked-in at the Firearm Desk.
      • SAA recommend that ammunition be packed in lockable cases which can be handed in as separate items at the Firearm Desk to avoid possible delays during checked baggage screening.
      • A handling fee is charged for the separate carriage of handguns. Payment will only be accepted by credit card or cash at the Firearm Desk.
      • No charge for handguns carried in the same case as hunting rifles.
      • Rifles must be processed via the Firearm desk and may form part of your free baggage allowance. Excess baggage charges will be applied if necessary.

      Swiss

      Swiss

      Swiss Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Carried as checked baggage only
      • Must be packed in suitable lockable firearm cases

      Ammunition

      • Must be checked in.
      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • Swiss must be informed in advance about the transport of ammunition.
      • Must be packed separately from the firearm
      • Must be packed in a solid wooden, metal or fibreboard container
      • FLIGHTS TO/FROM SOUTH AFRICA ONLY: Ammunition must be packed in a lockable ammunition box.

      Special Notes

      • Advance notice is required for the transportation of firearms & ammunition. Contact the Service Centre when you make your flight reservation to notify them about your firearms.

      TAP

      TAP

      TAP Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Carried as checked baggage only
      • Must be unloaded, dismantled and properly packed at check-in.

      Ammunition

      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • Original manufacturer packaging OR fiber, wood or metal boxes specifically designed to carry ammunition

      Special Notes

      • Must carry firearm licences and import/export permits for the countries concerned.
      • A fee is charged for transporting firearms and ammunition on each flight.
      • Handguns may not be carried on TAP aircraft.
      • Allow an extra 1 hour check-in time with firearms.

      United Airlines

      United Airlines

      United Airlines Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Carried as checked baggage only. A maximum of 5 firearms per case.
      • Must be packed in a hard-sided locked container. Key or combination must remain in the customer's possession.

      Ammunition

      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or separately
      • Must bepacked in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers.

      Special Notes

      • Firearms carried in addition to the free baggage allowance will be assessed at the current excess baggage charge.
      • Must sign a Firearm Declaration Tag.
      • TSA locks are not approved by United Airlines for securing firearms.
      • Firearms are not accepted on United flights to and from the United Arab Emirates or Qatar.

      South African Airlink

      South African Airlink

      South African Airlink Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Must be packed unloaded with the safety catch on
      • Must have all documents legally required by the countries of departure, destination and any stopovers.

      Ammunition

      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • Ammunition must be in a separate, locked, hard-sided ammunition case for all onward SA Airlink flights within South Africa. It cannot be in regular checked baggage.
      • Must be packed separately and securely from the fire-arm case.

      Special Notes

      • Advance notice is required for the transportation of firearms & ammunition, no less than 3 working days before your flight. Airlink Reservations Control Tel +27 11 451 7350.
      • Hunting rifles, shotguns and hunting handguns may NOT be transported as checked baggage to/from George.
      • Bows and arrows may be accepted as checked baggage subject to prior approval.
      • Firearm handling charge at Kimberley and Richards Bay for both loading and off-loading per hunting rifle and shotgun.
      • Hunting rifles ONLY may be transported to and from Windhoek, Namibia. (No handguns).

      South African Express

      South African Express

      South African Express Firearm Regulations


      Firearms

      • Only hunting rifles and shotguns (no handguns) may be transported on SA Express.

      Ammunition

      • Max of 5 kg (11 lbs) per passenger (who is carrying the firearm).
      • Must be for sporting purposes.
      • Ammunition must be in a separate, locked, hard-sided ammunition case for all onward SA Express flights within South Africa. It cannot be in regular checked baggage.

      Special Notes

      • No firearms may be transported to/from George Airport

      More On Travel With Firearms

      Useful Travel With Firearms Links


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