9 Tips for a First Time Flyer
Your first plane ticket ever is booked, and you need to get ready for the trip. Making a long-haul air journey to Asia with a connection in a hub airport and taking a domestic direct flight requires different tactics. In this article, we arm you for all occasions.
Be Aware of Airport Procedures
You are expected to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight. You register for the flight through check-in. Check-in closes about an hour before the flight. Some airlines let you check online, normally 24 hours before the flight, while others do airport check-in only. After registration, you get a slip called a boarding pass with your seat number on it. If you have a couple of connecting flights, normally, you can get all passes simultaneously.
If you have check-in luggage, you will have to hang it over to the airline representative at check-in. It will be placed in the cargo area of a plane. Then, you head towards the security control.
When traveling abroad, you might be required to do customs too. After this, you get into the waiting area. You need to arrive at your boarding gate half an hour prior to departure. The gate number is stated on your boarding pass, but it is subject to change. The departure area has screens listing all pending flights with gate and time of departure updates.
If you have a connecting flight, then, when the plane lands, you need to follow the transfer signs and head directly to the waiting area to find a new gate for the next boarding. Upon arrival at the destination airport, you do customs again and collect your checked-in stuff in the baggage claim area.
Pay Careful Attention to Luggage Restrictions in Advance
Airlines have various limitations on the size and weight of items you are allowed to carry. Check the airline website to know for sure. You are normally invited to take one small suitcase and one small personal item with you for free. If you exceed the limits, you will be forced to check the bag in and pay for it additionally.
You can buy an extra room for the things you want to carry with you at any moment.
Remember that it is forbidden to take sharp objects and liquids above 100 ml in the carry-on baggage.
Don't pack anything fragile into your check-in baggage. Suitcases are thrown around in a rather harsh manner. Don't pack valuable things in the check-in luggage either.
Do Online Check-in if It Is Possible
Some economy airlines require online check-in and charge you for the service in the airport. Even if online check-in is not compulsory, it is a good idea to do it anyway. You will save time in the airport and occasionally will get a chance to choose a seat. Usually, having a boarding pass downloaded to your phone is enough; no printing is required.
Wear Something Comfortable
Airports and planes are heated too much in winter and air-conditioned excessively in summer. Be sure to dress in layers and be able to take one layer off or have something to put on when needed.
If you wear high boots, with lots of metal elements, they will make a detector beep; so, you will be asked to go through it barefoot. It is better to wear trainers.
Be Organized at a Security Check
Take all metal objects from your pockets. Present a bag with liquids and a laptop separately.
Store your passport carefully.
Prepare Things that Make You Feel Good to Bring Along
You can buy some sandwiches, coffee, and chocolates at the airport. If you are a bit picky, you'd better pack some nuts, fruits, or favorite vegan cookies in your hand luggage.
Consider some entertainment like a nice book or magazine and headphones if you want to listen to music or watch a film.
Take some sedative in case you feel a bit nervous on your first flight. Ask your doctor for the prescription in advance.
Investigate How to Find Your Connection Beforehand
Trying to study the airport map in advance might be useful but a bit tricky for the first-time flyer. Talk to somebody who's been to the airport or read the reviews online to understand if a certain airport is problematic in terms of connection.
You might find a boarding gate 2 minutes' walk away, but occasionally, you need to move to a different terminal; sometimes, it requires taking a train.
Pay attention to signs and info screens. Address any land staff if your boarding is about to begin and you can't find your gate.
Ask for Help as Soon as Possible if Your Flight Is Not on Schedule
If the flight left later than expected and you worry to miss your connection, ask your flight attendant for help. They might alert the land personnel to help you get to the gate of departure quicker. If you miss the connection, address your airline representative upon arrival to get your route rescheduled.
Find the Place to Complain if the Check-in Bags Didn't Arrive
If your suitcase didn't appear on the baggage carousel, address the airline and request it to be delivered to the place where you are staying.
Be aware of the fact that your bag might be delayed or even lost. This is highly unlikely, but if there are things you can't do without, pack them in your handbag. Don't forget to pack the medicines you need to take, sight glasses, important papers, chargers, etc.
Every person has to do something for the first time. Don't hesitate to ask for advice from people around you. They had their first flight themselves; so, they know how it feels and are ready to help.