John Reber, spokesperson for Air Canada, tells us the charge reflects costs incurred for "special handing requirements." When asked what those requirements are, he declined to say for "security reasons." When asked if other sports equipment was subject to special handling fees, Reber indicated that bicycles and surfboards are. Indeed, we checked the Air Canada web site (www. aircanada.com) and confirmed what he said about bicycles and surfboards. On the other hand, we found that golf clubs, skis, snowboards and other sports equipment - larger, bulkier and more difficult-to-handle objects than gun cases - are all treated as part of a passenger's free baggage option as long as they do not exceed weight and dimension limits (70 pounds or 115 inches x 80 inches).
Here at The Hunting Report, we have always felt that it was probably reasonable for airlines to charge extra for handling guns. In fact, we have considered proposing that to the airlines in return for the creation of a universal, guaranteed procedure for handling firearms - one that would help reduce the number of lost guns and stop the harassment hunters face at airlines' counters. But $114 in extra charges to fly to Canada and back? That's anti-gun bias in its rawest form.
We think the charge deserves a response from the hunting community, and we think the most effective one is to boycott the airline entirely until it rolls this fee back to an acceptable level. We realize some hunters may have already bought tickets for this spring and also some hunters will have to use the airline because of scheduling problems. All other hunters, however,........(continued)