Surviving Air Travel With William Petty

William Petty of Centrifuge Training has made a name for himself in the training community with his excellent vehicle close quarter combat course class. As you might expect, his specialization in vehicle-based tactics forces has him flying all over the country to teach officers and civilians how to not die should they get in a gunfight in or around a car.

Since many gun owners also do a good bit of flying and often use bags or cases that they also use when going to the range, a few words of wisdom from a dude who travels with guns, ammo, and body armor for 200-plus days a year comes in handy.

I recently was asked several times about traveling and thought I share what I’ve learned from being on the road 200+ days a year (for 3 years straight now) with all of them being outdoors…

1) Don’t over pack. (Check the weather and always pack for contingencies). That being said I’ve found less is more and good clothing is essential in the elements.

2) Always decon your carry on packs before heading to the airport. Nothing is worse than finding that loaded D60 in your backpack as TSA searches your gear.

3) Water and food. Lots of both and quality of the latter. Pack what you can in your carry on / rental car / hotel.

4) Wash your hands. A lot.

5) Learn to sleep on planes. I travel with a small fan (it does wonders when you’re at a place that doesn’t have AC or need white noise). Tylenol PM does wonders if you have a full 8 hrs on your side.

6) Charge all electronics whenever you can. There have been tons of times where I was at 50% on whatever and thought I was gtg, only to be delayed or sitting on a tarmac for hours and at 2% when trying to schedule an Uber etc.

7) Pack what your minimum is on your carry on. I.E., in my carry on I have a full med kit, Arcteryx rain jacket, light Arcteryx jacket, eyes, ears, electronics, 2 Surefire lights, thumb drives, aspirin, markers, pens etc. Everything that is my bare minimum to run a day or two on the range if the rest of the luggage is lost (which had happened). I can (and have) bum a handgun / carbine on the range.

8) An easy smile and laid back demeanor will get you farther than throwing a temper tantrum or being all honey sheep hitting wolf badger on TSA or your Airlines personal etc etc.

9) Travel in comfortable clothes…but also the clothes you could do your job in the next couple of days if needed.

10) Work out. It sucks and it’s hard to do on the road. Do it anyway. I use Anytime Fitness and there have been very very few places I’ve ever been that didn’t have a gym local or within a 20 min drive (at furthest).

11) Direct flights. Always.

12) If you don’t travel much… notify your bank. Keep a secondary form of payment on your person. Even if you notify your bank, sometimes they will cancel your debit card.

13) Researching good rates is really time consuming, but well worth it. We have had a lot of success with AAA discounts on airfare and rental cars. The government rate at hotels is usually cheapest, but occasionally AAA is better. Take time to compare before you book. Accumulating points and status via rewards programs with specific vendors can take time and cost $$ up front, but it pays off long term. We save a ton on checked bag fees and upgraded seats with American, get upgraded cars and free rentals with Hertz, and lots of free nights and upgraded rooms with Marriott.

14) Yelp everything. Nothing is worse than working all day and sitting down for your only meal of the day and it’s terrible.

15) If you’re working outside, pack heavy on underwear and socks… light on everything else.

16) Stay alert. Be aware of exits, shady people, where your luggage is, things that are odd and out of place, where the other good guys are at etc.

You can learn more about William Petty and the classes he offers on the Centerfuge Training website.

comments

  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Avoid N.Y., NJ and anywhere else your rights are abridged too.

    1. avatar bontai joe says:

      Absolutely avoid the Kingdoms of NJ and NY if traveling with firearms, even pellet guns or ammunition.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    ‘Shady people’? Everybody crammed into one of those shiny cylinders of death looks shady to me. Including me. Air travel sucks.

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      Yes, it sucks, but it’s a necessary evil if you need to go long distances in a short time, especially if it’s overseas. Driving to Europe or Asia is pretty hard. I’ve found the newer and refurbished jets with individual entertainment systems at every seat make long flights much more tolerable.

  3. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    As someone who travels for “buisness” for over 30 years here’s a couple of things I’ve learned:

    Do not wear synthetic material (over 50%) on a flight. 100% natural (wool or cotton) is best. Long sleeve is best and no shorts or flip flops.

    Pay attention to the pre-flight briefing by the crew, know where all exits are. Also what kind, window/wing, front rear, slide etc…

    Be ready to UNASS the bird in 30 seconds or less if in a hard landing/crash situation, do not let the slow or stupid delay you if you want to live. Seconds count, if you have a loved one be ready to drag her as off. Leave everything else.

    The rear of the plane is the safest place in a crash situation. I normally go for the 3rd or 4th from rear and asile seat. (1st class has the highest casualties in a crash)

    Let the crew deal with the drunk or moderately crazy, the flight deck is secured compared to 20 years ago. But if it looks serious take out the jihadi/crazy butt cold, remember since 9/11 its been the passengers who have saved their flights not Air Marshals or crews when the S hit the fan. Be careful, the asile is a great place to injure a knee or elbow.

    Traveling by air today is what traveling by Greyhound was 30 years ago, be ready accordingly.

  4. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    As someone who travels for “buisness” for over 30 years here’s a couple of things I’ve learned:

    Do not wear synthetic material (over 50%) on a flight. 100% natural (wool or cotton) is best. Long sleevest shirts if you can and no shorts or flip flops.

    Pay attention to the pre-flight briefing by the crew, know where all exits are. Also what kind, window/wing, front rear, slide etc… Wear the lap belt if not actually walking in the asile, turbulence can cause injuries.

    Be ready to UNASS the bird in 30 seconds or less if in a hard landing/crash situation, do not let the slow or stupid delay you if you want to live. Seconds count, if you have a loved one be ready to drag her ass off. Leave everything else.

    The rear of the plane is the safest place in a crash situation. I normally go for the 3rd or 4th row from rear and asile seat. (1st class has the highest casualties in a crash)

    Let the crew deal with the drunk or moderately crazy, the flight deck is secured compared to 20 years ago. But if it looks serious take out the jihadi/crazy butt cold, remember since 9/11 its been the passengers who have saved their flights not Air Marshals or crews when the S hit the fan. Be careful, the asile is a great place to injure a knee or elbow.

    Traveling by air today is what traveling by Greyhound was 30 years ago, be ready accordingly.

  5. avatar Landcrawler says:

    “Traveling by air today is what traveling by Greyhound was 30 years ago…”
    Right. On. The Money.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      A friend who travels called it bus service in the air.

  6. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    “…in my carry on I have a full med kit…”

    How do you carry scissors, a seat belt cutter, and/or decompression needle? Sometimes I get pushback for my flashlights.

    (Oh, and it’s “e.g.” (for example), not “i.e.” (in other words).)

    Good suggestions.

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