The Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel

In case you haven’t already heard the news, our friend and critically acclaimed author Billy Coffey recently signed a multi-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing. His next book, When Mockingbirds Sing will be released Spring 2013.

The fine folks at Thomas Nelson have arranged for a meet and greet with Billy in their offices in Nashville. Which is wonderful and exciting, but also creates a bit of a conundrum, because in order to get from Virginia to Tennessee, Billy will need to get on an airplane.

Now, this wouldn’t be such a big deal for many of us, but Mr. Coffey is a man who likes to stay close to his mountains, and his one and only round trip flight on an airplane occurred during the Clinton administration. The world is a different place these days, and knowing the do’s and don’ts of air travel is quite a lot of information for a country boy from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Never fear, katdish is here to save the day. I assured Billy that I would tell him everything he needed to know before he heads for the airport, provided, of course, he would allow me to use it as blog fodder and have a few laughs at his expense in the process.

I know. I’m a giver…

So for Billy and anyone else facing the daunting task of modern day air travel for the first time, may I present the Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel.

I don’t travel often, but I have been through my fair share of airport security checkpoints. Often enough that I don’t give much thought to the post 911 security restrictions. They’ve become as second nature to me as knowing which side of the gas pump to pull my car up to. But things don’t become second nature if you never do them, and a person who never travels by airplane doesn’t give much thought to what you can and can’t bring with you.

It’s rare to find any self-respecting manly man, particularly a southern manly man, without his trusty pocket knife, but if you find him trying to get through an airport security checkpoint with his trusty pocket knife, you won’t find him there for long.

We carry handguns here in Texas, but they won’t let you on a plane with one of those either. Here’s the FAA list of prohibited “Sharp Objects” for carry-on luggage:

I feel safer knowing the guy sitting next to me on a flight won’t have immediate access to an ice pick, meat cleaver, saber or thrusting weapon, don’t you? It’s also nice to know that if you really need to take your meat cleaver with you everywhere you go, you can put it in your checked luggage.

And while some tools are allowed in your carry-on luggage, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to leave Bessie at home, Tonto.

It’s a shame you can’t bring a cattle prod with you on a flight, though. I imagine it would speed up some of those slow pokes in the aisle during deplaning.

There are also restrictions for sports equipment in your carry-on luggage, so unfortunately you’ll have to leave your baseball bat in the gun rack of your hoopty.

I’m hoping the results of your meetings will be cause for great celebration, but any celebratory fireworks or hand grenades will need to be purchased and consumed while in Nashville after successfully unboarding your flight.

But enough about all the things you can’t bring with you. Let’s discuss what you can bring.

I know you’ll want to be looking and smelling your best for your big day of meetings, and you can bring just about any of your usual toiletries you use at home, you’ll just have to make sure they are in containers which hold 3.4 ounces or less and they’ll need to fit into a quart sized, zipped topped plastic baggie.

Here’s a brief summary/explanation from our friends at the TSA:

There is a detailed list of personal hygiene items you are permitted to pack in your carry on luggage, but for your convenience (katdish = giver), I have highlighted the ones which pertain to this particular situation:

"Scalp oil? You know that's right!"


TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - YES

TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - NO

In addition to any clothes, boots, cowboy hats and above aforementioned items which will fit into a 22″ x 14″ x 9″ carry on bag weighing less than 40 pounds, you may also bring your computer, ipad, notebooks and fancy pens in your man sack, er…briefcase. The captain or one of the flight attendants (who do not like to be called stewardesses) will notify you when you may turn them on.

In conclusion, just a few more suggestions:

  • Plan on arriving 1 to 2 hours prior to your flight in case of delays
  • Make sure you wear nice socks without holes in them because you’re going to have to remove your boots before you pass thru security
  • Be prepared to remove your watch and/or any jewelry which contains a lot of metal or you’ll set off the scanner
  • Don’t be nervous. Air travel is statistically much safer than driving.

I haven’t discussed the possibility of a full body cavity search by the TSA screeners, but I’ll tell you all about that in a separate email. Snort!

Air travel these days can be an enormous pain in the back side, but I hope these tips and suggestions will make your flight plans a little less stressful. Happy flying and think of me while you read the Sky Mall catalog! Good luck.

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18 Responses to “The Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel”

  1. Sherri March 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Billy- just drive. It ain’t all that far for country folks, anyhow.
    Congrats on this special honor!

    • katdish March 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      It is a special honor to have a post written by me, isn’t it? Snort!

  2. Candy March 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Oh to be a fly on the wall of that plane. Just so you know, Billy, they do not offer beef jerky on the plane. Don’t buy it in the airport unless you have a lot of disposable income. Bring it from home, and put it where you’d normally carry that pocket knife.

  3. karenzach March 23, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Does this list work in reverse? I am flying to Atlanta on Saturday so since I’m headed to redneck country, can I take the moonshine?

    • katdish March 23, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      I don’t think you can board the plane with moonshine, but if you’re traveling to the south, I’m pretty sure they serve moonshine in tiny little mason jars.

  4. Billy Coffey March 23, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    You mean I can’t carry a knife on the plane?! You know this is how the terrorists win.

  5. Maureen March 23, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    You left out battery-operated hair brushes, battery removed. Believe me, TSA will have a great time with one of these.

    For alternate forms of transportation, be sure to check today’s TweetSpeakPoetry blogpost.

    • katdish March 23, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      Thanks, Maureen. But I’m pretty sure Billy hasn’t had need for a hairbrush–battery operated or otherwise–for a very long time.

  6. Simply Darlene March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    This is a dandy post. A little scary for a non-flier like me. Maybe Leathermans and pepper spray are allowed on trains.

    What’s that white-n-yellow box in that image? Preparation H? It’s good for eye bags, I’ve heard.

    And CONGRATS Billy! Yeehaw.


  7. Hazel Moon March 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Thanks Kat for an inspiring post! This is good information for a red neck or blue neck when flying. I lost my small knife and tiny sizzors at the check point when we changed planes in Texas several years ago. That is life when flying. 🙂

  8. Annie McMahon March 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Haha!! You don’t need lessons to know how to write humorous posts. I’m getting ready for a trip to Florida soon, so these tips come in handy. Now I know I need to leave my dynamite at home. 😉 Glad you told me! Good luck with your first flight, Billy! Just make sure you bring chewing gum so your ears don’t pop during the flight.

  9. Audra Krell March 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Billy, Cow hide headphones or even better, ear buds, are okay too. Katdish, this is hilarious. I didn’t know about the TN deal, congratulations!!!!

  10. jake March 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Hooray for Billy. Thomas Nelson is a big deal- at least in my mind it is. I suppose I don’t know. Regardless, I’m glad that he has you Kat do make sure that he doesn’t have to suffer the ordeal of a cavity check in some hidden room at the airport. Though, I’m sure that he could spin it into a great story. I bought spears for several people when I was in Kenya. I still don’t know how I got them back here… it was like magic. Or they just saw a skinny caucasian and figured I posed no threat whatsoever. Picture me killing anything with a spear. HA!

  11. Marni March 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Since these college kids keep me so busy (dumbing down education is tough work dontchaknow) I haven’t been on the Twitter much and I did not know this awesome news of the huge book deal until now. I’m pfklempt, truly, that Billy is getting to live his dream. I can’t even muster any snark in this comment because that’s how excited I am. Yay Billy!

    PS–Wear your Sunday-best underwear Billy. TSA screening has changed since you last flew. There, I mustered a sliver of snark.

  12. Jason Stasyszen March 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    You’re such a helpful friend, Kat. 🙂 What would Billy do without you? And congrats to Billy–that is awesome!

    • katdish March 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks, Jason. That is a question Billy asks often. Or in lieu of that, I ask myself.


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