A Warning To Hunters Connecting From Flights with Delta Airlines
(posted October 26, 2012 - The Hunting Report)
|Delta Airlines has announced a "clarification" on their baggage check policies that will likely affect many hunters, especially those flying to Johannesburg and connecting on other airlines to a final destination elsewhere in Africa. The policy goes into effect on January 15, 2013. Basically, Delta will not check through any baggage when the connecting flight is booked on a separate ticket. In other words, if you book a flight to Joburg on Delta on one ticket and a flight on South African Airways to Harare on a separate ticket, Delta will not check your bag through to Harare. But if both flights are booked on a single ticket then Delta will check your bags through.
What this means for travelers booking separate tickets is that they will have to claim their bags at their connecting destination and recheck them with the second airline to their final destination. In Johannesburg, that means you will have to clear Immigration and Customs and go through the firearms importation process before checking in with your second airline. Hunters who must do that will find it necessary to add more time between flights to complete the process in time. (The usual two-and-half hours will not be sufficient, especially at the peak of the safari season when up to 70 hunters may be in line to clear firearms.) The same complication will occur at any other connecting destination, so make sure you are not making such a connection in a country that will not allow you to enter with a firearm in this manner.
Note that this is different from the new policies of American and United Airlines, in which they will not transfer firearms to ANY second carrier, no matter how your flights are ticketed (The only exception is on connections from United to South African Airways and only because of intervention from SAA).
In the past, Delta has agreed to check through baggage to final destinations even when travel has been booked on separate tickets. But according to a notice distributed to travel agents yesterday, October 25, Delta will no longer do this. The alternative, of course, is to book all your travel on one ticket, but that typically means more expensive rates. Also, many frequent flyers often book international travel on separate tickets in order to use their free miles, and those travelers need to be very careful how they book their flights now when traveling with firearms. We are indebted to Turner for giving us the heads up on this situation.