This came up when a friend was unable to access his airplane because the security guard refused to open the gate. It was a mountain flight in a small plane, and so a timely departure was urgent for safety. The security guard didn't have a reason not to let the pilot access his plane, he simply felt he didn't have the authority to make that decision.
In the end, he was only delayed 45 minutes and didn't miss his weather window. But after I heard the story, it got me thinking what we should do when confronted with this situation, especially if the delay will cause severe consequences (missing a weather window, for instance).
In the US, under what normal conditions can a pilot be forbidden access to her/his plane, and what are the legal justifications for that? I have flown out of the obnoxious KBED and so am familiar with heavy-handed escorts, but this is different from arriving after-hours and being simply prevented from accessing your airplane. That would seem to run afoul of rules about private property, esp. since the tie-down is freely accessible if you fly in.
Generally, as a pilot I have always understood that I have the right to access any public airport for normal flight activities, baring some kind of NOTAM or other abnormal situation.
Are GA airports typically accessible 24/7? somewhat touches upon this subject, but it isn't well documented that these are "private (or state-owned) businesses". Indeed, airplanes and public airports are regulated by the FAA, and as such probably fall under all kinds of interstate commerce laws.