Wednesday 3 July 2019

Booking flights for a shooting competition

In the last week I got the flights booked for me to go to Croatia for the World Cup at the end of this month. Those of you who are either not a shooter or are a shooter but have never competed internationally may have wondered about what is involved in flying to a competition with an air rifle. In this post I will discuss the process of booking the flights and arranging carriage of the air rifle. It is a simple enough process when you know what to do, but there are certainly things to watch out for.

The first difficulty is to find an airline who carries firearms. In general the low-cost airlines do not and the national airlines do. There are some exceptions to that rule so its always worth checking specific airlines before booking. This can affect the route taken. For me flying to Croatia, Zagreb is the most logical airport to fly to normally, but when you remove the airlines who will not take the air rifle the flights are expensive and/or involve multiple flights. Also it is worth checking what fees the airline charge to carry the air rifle, these can vary considerably. I have even once come across a flight which was a codeshare between two airlines, yet one airline charged much less for the rifle than the other. So if cost is important remember to add the additional fees to the ticket price.

I started to look for alternative destination airports. The most promising with a choice of cheaper direct flights with airlines who would carry the rifle was to fly to Budapest. Whilst the drive from Budapest will be a similar distance as it would be from Zagreb, it does mean we will be in another country and so need to check the laws of that country in relation to the air rifle. Within Europe this normally is not to much of an issue for match air rifles such as mine as it is of a low power. However typically there can be some confusion when discussing it with officials not realising what it is and so asking to see the gun license. After a bit of discussion they realise its a low power air rifle and then things are fine.

From this point on it generally starts to become simpler. In one case I was able to book the air rifle on the airline website at the same time as making the flight booking. However in most cases you need to phone the airline to add the rifle to the booking. I normally book myself as a blind passenger when booking the tickets, so I have always wondered what the person taking my call thinks when a blind person is adding a rifle to their flight booking. I have never recieved a comment or question about it, so either their training says to not ask such questions or they just don't notice or link the two facts.

After all this everything relating to the flights is now arranged. All that remains is to turn up at the airport and actually do the flight. I will write another post about that part around the time when I fly to the World Cup.

Experience of creating shooting videos

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