Continental Airlines Complaint - Their Employee's Each Have Their Own Standards And Policies
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Continental Airlines, flight 17031 LAX to Newark then to Lisbon-Portugal, on April 20th 2008. My flight was originally going to leave at 10:20am but the plane was late and since we (me, my boyfriend, and my parents) arrived three hours early, our plane was changed to the earliest flight, which leaves at 8:30 am. We intentionally came three hours earlier instead of two because we were bringing with us an Airsoft gun, its a sports gun (not a real one) which uses BBs like paintball guns use paintballs. About 3 days before, we looked online with their luggage policies and other information that can tell us about whats needed, or if it was ok to travel with a sports gun. For real guns the policies said that a hard case with locks, lock combinations known by owner, and let the airlines know you are carrying a gun to sign some papers and so forth.
Since it wasn't a real gun we got the hard case and locks so it can travel in a more appropriate manner, and save us some trouble at check in. We also called customer service to double check on our issue and they told us they don't see any policies about Airshot or BB guns, But that we should carry it in a hard case with our locks and just inform the people at check in. When we checked in our luggage we let them know about the sports gun we were taking (it looks like a real Pistol 9mm Glock 18C, gas). So they called the manager to seek his approval, and the old man helping us with our luggage told us it shouldn't be a problem since its not a REAL gun.
Once the manager laid eyes on it he quickly told us we cant take the gun. Saying, and I quote, It doesn't matter if it doesn't work like a gun, Its not classified as a toy, It looks like a real gun, So I'm going to treat it like its a real gun. My boyfriend and I tried to explain to him that its not a real gun, and you cant classify its a gun when it cant use BULLETS. He insisted that the looks of the gun, made it a real gun, and then he told us we needed to get a permit from Portugal that its all right to travel with it. It made no sense to us, he wasn't making sense of himself either, we asked him How can we get a permit when its not a real gun? Theres no such thing. He was asking for something that didn't even exist. Also his request for a permit wasn't even on their website! even for international travel.
My father tried explaining too but his English is a bit troubled (he speaks Spanish) but the man was stubborn and rude to us, not wanting to hear us anymore and trying to dodge us by getting in the crowd and keeping order. Time was running out for us, while we were trying to think of anything, my mom was calling this number Specifically to Continentals head of customer service. They were telling us we should be able to travel with it, we told the Manager once more that we are allowed to travel with the gun. We even told him that the lady helping us on the phone can talk to him about, He refused to talk to anyone, he was telling us to call this other number which I'm sure would be agreeing with this man. We even saw him go on his computer, most likely looking for policies or anything to back him up in this situation. With short amount of time since our plane time changed to an earlier time, we had to focus on not missing the plane.
Our time was ruined, I was bitter and angry when I just wanted to enjoy the last few minutes we had with my parents. We had to leave them quickly, like 5 minutes, our goodbyes were short. I know its understandable that our airports are more strict from all our incidents in the past, But one thing is keeping the airlines safe, another is asking for something that cant be done. Once our plane left, my father called their Customer Service and it was a man now. First he was saying that their shouldn't have been a problem, but then he changes his mind once he sees the Managers message about the gun looking real. So now Mr. Jeff M. is trying to cover himself, but why? was he wrong then? He shouldn't have to leave a note if their policies are what he says they are.
In all honesty I had faith and patience with this airline. But if they're going to be sneaky and just cover each others back for their own benefit, I find that untrusting and unreliable. All in all to this date my parents have investigated everything, even contacted the Portugal Embassy and they themselves told my parents that its fine to travel with the Airsoft gun because its not real and looks shouldn't have mattered. Also even if the airlines would insist on such a permit, the Embassy said theirs no such permit or document they can give us. Basically we could have travel with the fake gun, and all that trouble was for nothing. Its all a waste of stress, time, and breath. I wish I could have said goodbye to my parents with a better moment. I hope this comes to better use for all the people out there who have fun with Airsoft, and try to travel with their not so cheap equipment. The Airsoft gun cost us over $100 dollars, not including the magz.
So in all honesty if your traveling CO airlines your going at your own risk. Their Customer Service are unreliable and won't help you, their website is a joke because they brag about being the best when they're the worst and their policies/info doesn't apply to the policy of each their employees. Each of their employees have different info about the Airlines policies, that or CO thought them how to use them only when it benefits them... My parents are still trying to show the error CO and their manager [snip]. made. Hopefully a lawyer can help us, if not were not traveling with CO ever again!