Contributors to this thread:
After 6 trips flying to Quebec I've learned a few things that not many realize. I'm sure many of you will know what I list but I would love to here new and better options as well. And it doesnt have to be just for flying to canada, anywhere you fly.
1) Fly 1st class. On my flight with Delta, 1st class is allowed 2 70# bags. Flying coach you are only allowed 50#s per bag and you pay for each check bag. The cost difference after paying for bags is $150. 1st class has better seats, shorter priority lines and loads and unloads 1st for the times you have short layovers.
2) On hunts where weather can lock you down for days, purchase insurance. $50 in insurance can save you hundreds when the weather locks you in camp
3) Make sure to check bag weight limits. On my recent hunt I learned that 2 of my camp mates flew bags over the 50# limit. The overweight charge was $150 each. They could have flown 1st class for that oversight.
4) When flying home with meat, look into shipping your gear home ups. Usually the 1st and 2nd check bags are cheap but on my trip the 3rd was $150 and after that the 4th was $269. Looking back I had an extra day I'm sure I could have shipped my gear home and got down to just extra checked bag.
5) Flying antlers home is $150. On my hunt with JHA there is a taxidermist waiting at the hotel when you get back. By leaving my antlers with him to preserve the velvet I didnt have to fly with them and they will be shipped to my door for the same price as flying them home and taking them to my taxidermist. So basically its the same price, just no airport hassle.
6) Always check to see if anyone close to you is driving up. You may not have the time to drive up, but someone a few hours from you maybe. If they are, see if they would haul your gear. You would still need to worry about the meat and/or a firearm. But it still saves money from flying.
Please feel free to add tips. Anything that helps save time, money and hassle is always welcome.
GREAT tips. Had to learn these the hard way myself.
Let me add that when u travel to Canada the antis have become very aggressive in Vancouver. I was warned by Mark at BSC not to use a bow case that looks like a rifle case and if you do need to write "archery gear" on it. I use the Badlands rolling duffle/bow case for all my trips so not a problem. However , the hunter following me had his hard double case crushed by bag handlers in Vancouver. Had been run over by some sort of vehicle.
Look at Badlands Terra Glide if your bow is short enough it is a godsend , great for non hunting travel too. Unconditional lifetime warranty as well
I should note, fly non stop whenever possible. Even if that means driving a bit farther to a different city. Luggage can get lost on any flight, but the less its handled the better.
If you do plan to fly back with antlers, be sure the aircraft you are scheduled to fly can accommodate them. It may be a rare occurence, but sometimes that first flight is on a small airplane. The airline may fly antlers, but that particular flight not be large enough. It happened to me. I checked that my airline would take caribou horns, but when I checked in at 6AM, the ticket counter person explained he had to change my flight since it was over-booked. Then he casually stated it was fortunate since it would not have taken my trophy anyway. I do not want to imagine what I would of had to do if that first flight was my only choice!
Good to know and thank you!
Flying tips should be no less than 20% of the ticket cost...no exceptions ever
good point elk elsewhere. Now, what kind of broad head is best to fly with?
I don't even bother locking my bow case any more, tired of buying TSA approved locks only to have them disappear.
If leaving the antlers in Montreal you can have any trophy bull scored for P&Y or B&C by the taxidermist before the rack is split also saving some money on not having to ship an unsplit rack.
If flying to Alaska, Alaska air has reasonable baggage fees. And once you hit your 3rd bag it can be overweight (51-99 lbs) and oversize and it still costs $75 each. I brought back 3 meat boxes, total weight 190 lbs, for $225. If limited to <=50 lbs per box it would have taken 4 boxes, so that saved $75.
...the only thing I would add is give yourself an extra day going in....just in case your bags don't end up where you are.....
Hey Luke- can you elaborate on #2? How exactly does the insurance save you $$?
I'll second the first class thing, at least check into it.
My wife and I are about to leave for WY for a deer/antelope hunt. We did the math, with baggage fees for luggage checkin including about 200 lbs of meat, the first class option for us both, FOR ONLY COMING HOME, was about the same as the baggage fees we would get hit with in coach.
First class your first two bags tend to be free and can weigh 70 lbs. For two of us, that saves a couple hundred, PLUS less boxes of meat as we pick up 80 lbs advantage total.
The small difference for us was worth it for bigger seats (I'm 6'2", free food and drinks).
Rut Nut I'll put in a link to Delta's Trip Protection. It states you will get reimbursed for airline fees if you need to make changes to your flight. Pretty sure it was $50 on my flight. And the cost of changing flights is $200.
Be sure to always check into flights as early as possible to. You can save $300 or better on a flight by booking early. I just checked what a flight would cost today for the trip I just took, coach is now $30s cheaper than what I paid for 1st class with 2 free bags. It would actually cost more by the time you added baggage. Plan ahead.... Believe it or not, not everyone worries about every last detail a year ahead of time....
My tip applies to any flight domestic or international. ALWAYS put your binos, range finder, cameras and other electronics in your carry-on. If you make it, your carry-on makes it. Wallet, money and passports should be on you.
I've been on two trips where people had their cameras and video equipment stolen out of their bags. You don't get a second chance to take pictures and video once your hunt is over.
Oh, ok- thanks Luke! Haven't flown much so wasn;t sure how that worked. I guess with weather being a serious concern up there, $50 is well worth it!
Good tip on putting binos etc. in carry on. I also try to put one set of clothes in carry on, just in case.
Just remember, no knives, broadheads etc.
Bob, excellent tip that I failed to mention. They gentlemen hunting with me this year never received their luggage. All they had was what was in their carry ons and gun cases. Luckily the weather was beautiful. We came up with a list of gear that should be in carry ons after that. We also included wearing your hunting boots on the plane. Right in deltas rules a Jacket doesnt count. So you can stuff your bag full and leave your jacket out. Same went for a camera case.
FYI--When changing flights on United, there is the change flight fee plus the cost of the new flight IF it is higher than your original flight cost. If you are a United member, only the flight change fee ($100 plus $25 processing fee)
On my last trip up there, (before they started charging for more than one bag or whatever it is,), they were going to charge me $50 to ship the meat home. I told the lady at the airport in Montreal to just take the meat home, I wasn't paying it. She did not charge me. Guess she didn't like caribou meat. I think that was about '97.
Whole trip cost me about $800 and that was for airfare and license. The hunt was comped. I went up four or five times had some great trips.