Hundreds of thousands of people take to the skies every day of the year, but what happens if you have never been on a plane and the trip you are taking is your first time flying? We guarantee you are feeling some anxiety over it all and are even wondering what you need to do to get through your first airplane ride especially if you’re a young traveler or a solo traveler
Well, as a first-time flyer, you are going to want to relax and understand that everyone has a first time when it comes to airplane rides! Therefore, everyone has been where you are at one point or another. So, do not worry. You will survive and hopefully, you’ve planned your trip with the best travel planning apps to make your life easier.
Here are 8 things to know when flying for the first time:
1. Check-in Policies
Every airline has different policies when it comes to check-in procedures, but most of them will allow you to check-in online before you arrive at the airport. While this isn’t really necessary for flights where you have your seats reserved, it does come in handy with airlines like Southwest, because the time you check in determines what section you are in for the boarding process.
2. Weigh Your Suitcase Before Leaving for the Airport
Almost every airline will charge you to check a bag, but you don’t want to arrive at the airport to find out you need to pay even more because your luggage weighs more than it should.
3. Pack Your Identification
You are not going to get too far at the airport without your identification, as you need it to clear security. A driver’s license will work within the United States, but a passport will be required for international travel. If you are traveling internationally, you may even need a visa as well as other must-have essentials for the destination you are visiting.
4. Put Your Medications in Your Carry-on
Checked luggage doesn’t get lost too often, but it does get delayed from reaching the destination on occasion. Therefore, we always recommend placing your medications and other important information inside your carry-on bag.
5. Check the Status of Your Flight Before You Reach the Airport
Flight times can change, and delays and cancellations are always a possibility. Therefore, you should always check on the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. Most airlines make this easy by providing this information on their app or website, and some will even send text alerts or emails with updated information.
6. Arrive at the Airport Early
TSA recommends that everyone arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to the departure of their flight. Since this is your first time flying on a plane, we recommend arriving a little earlier than that. This will ensure that you can check in your luggage, find the security checkpoint, get through security, find your gate, and work off your pre-flight jitters. And don’t worry. There are plenty of people around if you get lost or have any questions!
7. Be Prepared at Security
When you reach the line for security, you will need to have your boarding pass and identification out and ready to show the TSA agent. When you get to the conveyor belt, you will need to remove any liquids from your bag, as well as all electronic devices, and place them inside a bin. Your shoes, coat, belt, cell phones, and anything else in your pockets may need to be placed inside one of the bins, so they can be scanned. You will then walk through the scanning machine and collect your items at the other end. Make sure you are not carrying large amounts of liquids and that they are all in a Ziploc or small quart-sized sealable plastic bag, or TSA will make you throw them out. You should also make sure you are not carrying any other prohibited items.
8. Listen Carefully for Boarding
Once you have reached your gate and it is getting close to time for boarding, you are going to want to listen carefully. Most airlines will allow families with children and those passengers who need extra help to board first. First class and business class passengers will board next, followed by all other passengers. Some airlines, like Southwest, have passengers line up according to their boarding zone, while others will call out seat rows for the boarding process.
This probably seems like a lot of information for your first time flying, but it is much easier than you think! We recommend you take your time, read the signs that are everywhere inside the airport, and take the time to think about each step of the process. In fact, it is a good idea to stop after each step, so you are mentally prepared for the next one. And hopefully with kids the next time!
Don’t worry. Your nerves will disappear once you are in the air, and by the time you reach your destination and get your checked luggage from the baggage claim area, you will be a pro! And if your destination was international, we hope you considered protecting yourself and your trip with travel insurance. And when you’ve claimed that luggage, you may even wonder why you were so nervous about flying in the first place!