Sorry I took so long to give an update on my travel case.
The case traveled extremely well. No damage to either case or kites. 1st Flight:
On my trip from Philly to Atlanta, I was asked by a couple of baggage personal if there was a gun in the case (which I expected). Some may not be aware but you can travel by airliner with a rifle or handgun but there are procedures that are required ..and the baggage has to be 'checked in' of course. Airline security will also have you open the case for inspection to insure the weapon isn't loaded during travel, after which you will need to lock the case with non-TSA secure locks. The ONLY problem I had on my trip south was after landing, at the baggage claims area.
My flight was slightly late which caused a delay with the baggage handlers unloading the baggage for the entire flight. I discovered that baggage handler's are on a "schedule" for all incoming flights and if there is a flight delay, they will leave that flight dock area and go to another flight and unload their baggage first ...returning to the late flight when they can. MY flight wasn't that late ...ONLY 10 minutes or so but this is travel in America, as we have come to know it!
After the baggage for my flight started to load for delivery at my baggage terminal ...my clothing luggage was there but ...I waited & waited ....NO 'KITE' CASE! I started to worry. After calling a friend that travels a lot by plane, he suggested I check all the other baggage terminals ...noting that sometimes an odd shaped baggage will be loaded on a different baggage terminal than the one for my flight ....due to special handling and in the event that the TSA agents opened and inspected my case.
...there were about 8 baggage terminals for incoming AirTran/Southwest flights. After going back and forth for approximately an hour ...between all 8 of the baggage terminals, looking for my case and checking in with the baggage claims office several times, for my case ...I finally got a baggage claims agent to try to locate my case!
Panic was starting to set in that they may have lost my case/baggage .....when suddenly the agent found my case. This agent was very curious about my kites when he learned what was in my case. I had my Samsung Tablet with me, and after sharing some general information about stunt kites ...I showed him some pictures from my tablet and a flying video. He seemed genuinely interested in our sport. He wanted to know where he could buy a stunt kite like the ones I showed him, so I shared a kite maker or two, gave him my email address and steered him to our GWTW forum so he could learn more if he chose to. That conversation and being able to share my interest and enthusiasm for our sport took ALL the pain out of my ordeal in getting my 'kite case'!2nd Flight:
Traveling back to Philadelphia International airport from Atlanta went far smoother. Although my case was not loaded onto the baggage claims terminal with my other bag and the other passengers' baggage, I was able to ask a baggage claims agent right away to see if he could find my baggage. After giving him a description of my case, he went off to locate my case and within a few minutes showed up with it, asked to check my ID ...and off I went to get a cab home! SYNOPSIS:
It appears there are no serious issues
traveling with the case but based on my experience, airport baggage personal WILL handle the case separately from the other baggage with varring delays in obtaining the case after your flight. Was it worth it? IMO, YES!
I was able to bring nearly twice as many kites along with me this year to TISKC without paying any extra shipping cost for my kites as in previous years. Booking flights on Southwest Air allows for two checked-in bags at no charge!