First Time Flying on a Plane : What to Expect
Flying for the first time can be scary : here is what to expect and what to do when you are at the airport. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine with our tips.
Before the Flight
The first step, when you decide on the destination, is to book a flight. When that is done, you will likely have to check in online. Don’t forget to do that, it’s an important part of flying nowadays. It will save you time and stress when at the airport, believe me. Plus, some airlines don’t offer Airport check in easily anymore. The benefit of online check in is that you will be able to choose your seat. For first time flyers, we recommend choosing a seat above the wings. You feel turbulence way less above those two big things that maintain the plane in the sky (what is Turbulence ? Here is our explanation)
Make sure you have all your documents ready updated. You need a passport, first, but depending on the destination, you might also need a visa. Those documents sometimes take time to obtain, so make sure to check for visas as soon as you have chosen your destination. Other documents that we recommend taking as both paper and digital formats are boarding passes, hotel infos, a map of the City you’re going to. Bring some cash too, but not too much. Just enough for emergencies if you happen to lose your credit car.
Book your travel insurance before you go. Make sure to read all the options you have at your disposal. Make a list of local emergency numbers. Let me remind you that credit cards also have insurance if you have booked your trip with it. It won’t cover everything, so make sure to check the conditions, but it can help in case of an injury.
Don’t just overpack. It’s not necessary to bring too many clothes when you travel (here is our guide). Bring some clothes for the plane, something comfy. And carry-on must be light too.
Hand luggage and Check-in bags
Be Careful about the two. Carry on bags have a limits both in size and weight. I always recommend a backpack for holiday travelers, as it’s easier to carry around the airport, compared to those small lugagge with wheels. You are not a businessman, or a flight attendants. Plus, it will help your back be stronger…
Airlines also have rules for Check-in bags. Maybe they are not even included in your tickets bundle. So make sure to check that beforehand. Size, weight also need your attention. And also, what’s inside. There are many things you can’t bring on a plane.
This is ooooh scary… The first time. And bit too every time i Go through security. Even though i know i have done nothing wrong, there is always that little thrill that the TSA agent may find something forbidden in your bags. It happens to most passengers, that little fear. So don’t worry too much. Everyone is stressed. Study recommend going left to go through security, if you can, those lines are generally faster.
As for the security itself : liquids, medication, sharp objects, electrical items, laptops, everything will be examined. You will need to put your laptop and smartphone separately from your bag. And too show passport and Boarding Pass. Obviously. Don’t be afraid by staring look of the TSA agent, it’s their job to be scary ! Just wait, listen and follow the rules and you will be fine. You will have to remove your shoes too and maybe go through a body scan after the metal detector, or even an additional search. Don’t be annoyed by this. They do it at random.
You made it. You’re in the Duty Free Zone. Keep your passport, boarding pass and bags within reach at all times. Keep on eye on it. And don’t buy too much alcohol, this will raise a red flag within the plane. Flight attendants will be warned how much you bought.
Boarding the plane
If that’s your first time flying, don’t be fooled by the queue. You just don’t need to queue. Some people want to be first on the plane for obscure reasons, but i recommended boarding as last as possible. You ill likely spend more than 5 hours in this thing, there is no rush. No one will take your seat unless it’s a flight with no reservation. Some airlines board passengers row by row. Simply wait for your number to be called, wait a bit for people that are in a rush and then go. I always board among the last passengers.
Finding the seat
Flight attendants are here to help you. Show your ticket and they will indicate the way to your seat. There’s two rows at most on big planes, so you will be asked to follow one row or the other. Your seat number most likely has a letter and a number (12B for instance). 12 here is the row number, and then the letter is the seat itself : aisle, middle or window. You then have to put your luggage in the overhead compartment above your seat. If you have a smaller backpack, you can put in under the seat in front of you. But i always recommend taking essentials from your bag and then putting it in the overhead compartment. you will have more leg room and will feel more comfortable during the flight.
Make sure to follow closely the safety procedures from flight attendants just before take off. Ok the first time, it’s a bit scary. I won’t lie. t moves in every direction and then suddenly you feel the plane taking off the ground and up in the air. It can be magical too if you are seating in the window seat. I always look out to see what’s happening. It’s pretty calming, let me tell you. It feels way less chaotic that just staring at the seat in front of you. Then, when the plane reaches its altitude, the plane tends to “calm down” and you can relax.
This is the time to enjoy yourself. Take some drinks (but choose wisely), read, play, watch movies or Tv shows. There’s plenty to do during a flight. Again, i recommend looking out the window as often as you can. It’s very peaceful in the sky. With music in your ears, it can be heaven. Watching the sun set or rise, the blue sky… It’s an amazing experience.
You might feel like your ears are going to explode. But don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Some people will feel it more than others. It’s a change of pressure. What you can do to make it pass is yawn, swallow a few times or close your nose your fingers and then blow with your mouth closed. It will likely help get the pressure of. Do that again after landing.
Same as take off, it can be a bit scary. On long flight, the procedure can last up to one hour. Stay calm and follow indications from flights attendants.
That’s it ! You made it ! Your first flight, see that was so scary. You will then be directed to security, so take your passport and boarding pass again. When coming back to the US, this procedure can last a long time. Sometimes even 2 hours. Be patient.
Don’t forget your checked in luggage
You will then have to get your checked in luggage. It’s the funny part, when everyone is waiting around those baggage carousel. Sometimes it can bit a bit of war, let me tell you. People going in front of you, hurting or hitting you with their luggage… Stay calm and wait for your luggage, it will come.
But what if it doesn’t ? Sometimes, luggages are lost or simply put… in another plane. You will then have to file a complaint. There is usually a desk at the airport for lost luggage. Be sure to have your receipt with you.