There are many modes of travel, and people usually use the bus, train to reach a point. However, many remain unfamiliar with Air travel. Air travel comes into the picture only when you want to visit a different city, and still, many are unaccustomed to an airplane. Only a few people have the luxury of using air travel frequently. Therefore, many people have that nervousness before flying somewhere. If you are a first-time air traveler, these are some basic things you need to know.
A most prevalent fear amongst the first-time air traveler is not knowing the basic things such as checking the terminal, gate number, checking in before the flight, immigration questions, luggage check, what is allowed/unallowed, and which order to proceed.
Always carry a government-approved identity card, PNR number, and make sure you check in to your flight 24 hours before your travel date. Although airlines are pretty proactive and send you notifications related to flight changes like flight reschedule and flight cancellation. I recommend downloading your airline’s app, it makes things way more manageable, and you get all updates. Check flight timings, gate number, and terminal on the ticket. There is no way that someone might forget to check their flight’s airport terminal/airline your flight is leaving from. Hypothetically if someone does, this might assist.
Make sure your luggage weight must be less or equal to what airlines allow. I recommend you carry a kg less than what the airlines recommend. If you have luggage with you, you will get a trolley outside the airport. You can take keep your luggage on it and proceed towards the security gate.
When you enter the airport premises, there will usually be an electronic display for “gates” pay attention to those. Most of the time, there is a general queue for passengers, and sometimes they are split up by gate number your plane is leaving from. Pre-check, etc., also have separate lines. At security, make sure you don’t bring any liquids/drinks, etc. Any liquid is prohibited. Keep your ID ready; they ask for it before entering the airport premises.
You’ll be asked by security to remove belts, shoes, hats, jacket, and things out of your pockets during security check. This is generally done to detect sharp objects, and metal items are prohibited. If you have a laptop, keep it in the box along with your other electronic gadgets. When you are standing in the queue, read the instructions for exact requirements and be prepared. Keep your mask on at all times. The security personnel checking your ID will ask you to pull it down for a while for verification.
Keep boarding pass handy. If you don’t have a boarding pass, you will have to go to your respective airline counter when you first get to the airport and enquire about the same. You can also look out for the kiosk machine to print out the boarding pass. If you need to check luggage, you do that here.
Then go immediately to your gate (look at electronic boards to double-check if they have moved, if you have the app, you will be notified online by the airline)
Sometimes, you need to take a shuttle and make sure you don’t miss this; missing this will cause many problems. Once you spot the gate feel free to roam around. Usually, there are waiting/ seating areas where you can use the free wifi. (Download stuff so that you don’t get bored on the flight). Boarding starts about 30 minutes before departure. All the instructions for the same will be there on the ticket.
You will see agents standing outside the aircraft to check your boarding pass/assigned seat and let you enter the plane. They will call the group of people when the time for the departure is nearing.
Snacks and juices are available at the airport and can be carried inside the airplane, though out of courtesy with Covid, I would reduce mask off/ eating time on the plane. Eat before or on the plane quickly. Just water and a small snack are served by some airlines. In some countries, for domestic travel, if the flight duration is less than two hours, snacks are also not served.
If you have a carry-on on, you can keep it above your seat. Above-seat cabins are there to keep your carry-on luggage. Jackets, smaller items, food, anything you will need during the flight, keep it out with you.
And it is advised you reach the airport 2 hours before the flight. It is recommended to avoid last-minute struggles.
Follow below suggested advice so that you don’t get bored and have a relaxing time on the flight.
- If you have a long-haul flight or a connecting flight with a layover, download all sorts of entertainment, more than you think you’ll need. Download series/movies on Netflix. Download offline games and carry books that you always wanted to read but didn’t get time to read.
- Don’t forget the headphones. Headphones are a savior if the flight is of longer duration.
- Carry earplugs, sleep masks to block out any lights, download relaxing music.
These are some essential tips for first-time air travelers. I hope you get the confidence after reading this post. This post is also helpful if you are a first-time air traveler and traveling somewhere during corona times.