In a mid-December e-mail sent to Hunting Report Editor Barbara Crown, a spokesperson for United Airlines wrote, "As you recently contacted us, I wanted you to be the first to know that we have heard our customers' feedback about our Antler and Animal Horn policy and are responding. Soon we will begin accepting antlers and animal horns as checked baggage again."
The email did not specify when the change in policy would go into effect, but it did go on to point out that there would be new packing and cleaning requirements that were not previously part of United's policy for accepting antlers as baggage. Also, there will be new restrictions on the size of antlers and animal horns accepted based on the type of aircraft being flown (i.e. traditional jet versus a regional jet). That will become particularly important should you get bumped to another flight or a different craft. There will also be a special handling fee similar to the ones United already charges for other items that require "special care." The email did not say how much that fee would be, but according to the Baggage section of United's web site (www. united.com) the costs to check "special items" run $175 for items with a maximum weight of 50 pounds or a maximum of 62 linear inches, and $250 for items up to 110 pounds and 109 linear inches.
What's particularly interesting about this is that everyone thought United's ban on antlers was a brand new policy implemented this season. It actually went into effect in mid-October 2008. Because it did not apply to any fares purchased before that and hunters had already purchased their flights for the 2008 hunting season, the new policy went unnoticed. Sportsmen first learned of the ban on antlers this........(continued)