You have finally decided to take that first flight either for business or pleasure, and now you’re wondering what you should do to prepare for this new adventure.
With all the bizarre stories of security issues and lost or stolen luggage, plane delays, or cancellations, it can seem overwhelming and even cause anxiety for some. Here we will give you some tips that will hopefully help make your first flight take off without a hitch.
1. Learn the procedures for the airport you intend to use
And do this for both the departure and arrival airport as they can have drastically different procedures. It will only slow you down and cause unwanted interactions with security or other airport personnel if you don’t know what their procedures are.
You may even want to visit the departure airport before your scheduled flight so that you will have a general idea of where you need to go upon arrival at the airport. This will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed as you check baggage or go through the security check.
2. Check-in online if the airline offers it
When you purchase your ticket witch, you will most likely do online see if the airline offers an app and online check-in capability. This can save you time and frustration when you do this in advance online if you wait until you arrive at the airport to check-in you could be stuck in a long line if you are not checking any baggage.
If you need special assistance or are traveling with anyone who needs assistance, then you will need to check-in at the airport upon arrival to facilitate the extra help needed.
3. Understand the luggage and baggage fees and types
The three different types of baggage you should familiarize yourself with are;
This is the type of baggage that gets loaded on to the plane into the cargo storage area and can’t be accessed during the flight. You should get the baggage size dimension and weight restrictions from the airline so you can pack according to their regulations. You also may have to pay for each piece of checked baggage so you can find out this information in advance as well.
This is a small bag that can fit into the overhead compartment inside the seating area of the plane. There are a very specific size and weight requirements for these bags, so make sure you are familiar with the airlines’ restrictions, and this may vary amongst the different planes in the fleet due to the plane size.
You may also have to pay for this luggage and be restricted to only one carry-on per person so plan accordingly and confirm with the airline ahead. You don’t want to have to purchase luggage at the airport and repack on-site to get your luggage on the plane.
This is a bag that will fit under the seat in front of you on the floor, and not all airlines allow for a personal bag, so check in advance. You will be severely limited on the size and weight of this bag, and this bag and a carry-on will have regulations about what can be carried on to the plane.
Both a carry-on and personal item bag will go through the security checkpoint and x-ray, so make sure you are familiar with the regulations. Not knowing can cause you to become delayed in the security area and may cause you to undergo additional security measures.
4. Have the proper travel documentation accessible
This may only be your drivers’ license for interstate travel, but on international flights, you will need your passport and visa papers as well, or you could be denied boarding the flight or entering the country when you arrive.
Keep them in an easy to access place on your person and regularly check to make sure you still have them in your possession throughout your travels.
5. Dress comfortably and accordingly
You don’t want to land wearing shorts and a tank top when the arrival destination is covered in snow or vice Versa.
Dress so that you can be comfortable on the plane and when you arrive at your destination. You may also want to consider bringing a light jacket along as it can get very cool on a plane during the flight.
6. Pre-select your sea
This may be for your want of window or aisle seat, but on some planes, it could mean having one person next to you or you being in a row of four or five strangers. Think about your comfort level here and arrange this ahead of time for you to have the best experience. Don’t forget about connecting flight if it’s possible and return flights.
7. Don’t let security procedures overwhelm you
Understand that they have a job to do, and none of this is personal. The security checks are usually random and conducted respectfully and quickly as not to delay you. With this being said arrive early for your flight at least 2-hours is recommended so you will not be rushed while going through security.
When on the plane, the airline staff will go over all safety procedures and cabin rules before the plane leaves the ground. This is for everyone’s safety, and you should not be alarmed by this; it happens before every flight.
8. Think about your money needs
Can you use your debit card if you are leaving the country? Will you need to exchange money? Plan for this in advance you don’t want to overpay for any of these exchanges. It is always a good idea to have at least a small amount of cash on hand in case you were to need it.
Yes, you will want something to help you pass the time. Even if it is a relatively short flight your first flight could have you a bit nervous so having your music or a book could help you remain calm.
On a longer flight, you may want to bring electronics, headphones, cards, magazines, etc. to help you pass the hours. Keep in mind that you may want to bring a couple of choices with you on any flight, so if you are delayed or have a layover anywhere, you will have something to do with your time.
10. Comfort items
Especially for a longer flight you may want or need a pillow, sleep mask, earplugs whatever you need to nap or remain comfortable while in route.
11. Hydrate and Eat
Yes, you can bring your own food and drink on to planes after you have gone through security. You will want to stay hydrated on the flight as the cabin of an airplane can be a very arid climate, and you could easily dehydrate so bring along your favorite beverage to help you out. In-flight purchases could be costly.
Having your favorite comfort snack on board may also help ease your nerves. If this is your first time on an airplane, you may be a tad nervous, and a familiar snack may help you relax.
12. See your doctor before you fly
If you are leaving the country, you may want to check and make sure you have all of your medications you will need and if there are any needed vaccines for your destination. If you are staying in the states, then you could speak to them about medications to help you relax while you fly if you feel overly anxious about taking that first plane ride.
Relax and Enjoy the flight
No matter where or why you are going on your first flight remember to enjoy the ride. It’s not often we can relax and let someone else do all the driving. Your first flight is an adventure and should be enjoyable, yes things will go wrong, and there will be unforeseen issues here and there but try to relax and enjoy the trip it will be over before you know it.