Foolproof Trick to Prevent Lost Luggage Doesn’t Work on United and Citi Customer Service To Get Worse?

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A few comments on the “starter pistol” trick: 1) You don’t need a firearm of any kind, you only need a pelican case with locks on it and it’s treated as if it’s a firearm. Federal regulations prevent it from being labeled as such, so it’s handled the same way. This is important if you get diverted to a place where you can’t normally possess a firearm, such as New York City. You don’t want to go to jail because they can’t tell that you have a starter pistol.

    2) Most airlines will have special handling for things that they think are firearms in that they require you to claim them separate from the rest of the luggage. Given United’s track record at following their own policies, I’d chalk this up to a mistake.

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