If you have flown much as a hunter, you already know there are airlines out there that do a terrible job of handling your special travel needs. Some don't bother to inform check-in agents about your rights to travel with a gun. Others simply lose gun cases or do horrible things like turn trophies over to Customs and allow them to be destroyed. Even bigger problems may be on the way for hunters in the form of United Nations resolutions and European Union regulations. All of these problems are on top of those that all travelers face nowadays - increasingly cramped seats, lost bags, poor food, etc. Against this background, we decided it was time to start holding airlines accountable for the complaints they are generating. Hence this new monthly column, which will explore emerging problems hunters are facing with airlines and digest the many complaints we are receiving each month from subscribers who either write us directly about airline problems or mention them on Hunt Report Forms they are filing. Your assistance as a traveling hunter is essential if this column is to have an impact. What we need is your detailed feedback on problems you are having. Whenever possible, we need names, flight numbers and dates. In the case of verbal abuse by check-in agents, we also need witnesses who are willing to confirm what you say. These details will allow us to follow up with the airlines and insist on change. Do get involved with this column. Help us make it tough enough to deal with the anti-hunting ideologues and every-day bumblers out there who are making hunting travel harder than it needs to be.
Kudos of the Month: Two airlines deserve positive mention this month for steps they have taken to address hunter-related problems. The first is United Airlines, which has admitted it was wrong in requiring hunters to sign a "Release of Liability Form" (see last month's issue, page 9-10) before it would accept firearms as checked baggage, on a recent flight from Santa Barbara, California to San Francisco. United spokesman Dan Harris said the problem stemmed from an individual........(continued)