8 Basic Tips to Know Before Your First Flight

Is this your first time flying? Flying on an aeroplane for the first time can be a thrilling and very adventurous moment but it can also be extremely traumatic. All these feelings are part of what makes your first flight unique. Since it’s your maiden flight, you’re certain to have a few questions, some of which you may be too nervous to ask. 

Sincerely, being a passenger on a plane is no pressure. All you need are the precise documents, make sure you turn up on time, board your plane and relax. Because of the pandemic, you may not have the exact feeling of first-time travelers pre-COVID but nevertheless, you’re assured of an equally pleasant experience post COVID. The following tips below will help you to waft through your first flight with self-confidence and enthusiasm. 

  1. Make an Extensive Research on your Destination

Depending on the destination, it’s important to make a thorough research to know the basic requirements of the place. One also need to know the various institutions that serve the welfare of foreigners in the country, emergency numbers to call when you’re in trouble or how to find your way around if it happens, you’re lost. It is also very necessary to load money on your ATM Card and exchange some cash in hand.

2. Make a Checklist of All Items Needed for your Flight

It is always safe and easy when you make a checklist of all the items or itineraries needed before your trip. After securing each item, check it on the list to know the pending ones. Make sure you double-check all items or itineraries at least three weeks before your trip. This will provide enough time to remember an item or itinerary you’ve omitted.  

3. Gather All Necessary Documents Needed for your Flight

All your essential documents must be ready at least two weeks before your trip. Make sure your passport, visa, travel insurance and others are well placed or gathered. Your passport must be up to date (i.e., at least 3 months to its expiry date). Read through and print a copy of your insurance policy too.

In case you booked your flight ticket online, do not expect to receive any hardcopy, every information concerning your flight will be confirmed through the email you provided.

Check and make every necessary correction in your documents; especially, your full name, date of birth, Personal ID number, Passport ID, Seat No., etc. Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers close to you in case of any eventuality. 

4. Arrive at the Airport on Time

Time is of the essence when it comes to the boarding of planes. This is why you need to get to the airport as early as possible; at least two hours before your departure time. You are required to go through series of security checks before departing and these things may take much of your time. Arriving early also allows you to relax and ease any form of stress before you board the plane.

5. Check-in Luggage and Other Security Checks

Most experienced travelers sometimes get disoriented and seem to forget about their luggage rules or allowance. Therefore, it is vital for a flying newbie to get his/her head around the difference between a cabin bag and hold luggage and to know whether he/she is going in for one of them or both. All airlines have limits on the size of bags you can take on board, i.e., both hold luggage and cabin bags. Make sure you verify these details with your airline because the rules differ for every airline company.

Before travelling, check the rules of your departure country about liquids, medication, sharp objects, electrical items, laptops, etc. You would be required to show your passport and boarding pass to get to security. Going through security may be a rather busy and time-consuming procedure but it’s a routine that ensures your safety on the flight. Once you go through the metal detector or body scan, pause and wait for the TSA to signal it’s OK to move on. If your luggage gets held up, do not worry. Remember that this is simply a safety routine procedure. Keep calm, explain to the TSA and move on.

Once you go through the scanning process, rearrange your stuff. Remember you’ll need your ID and boarding pass again to board the plane. Next, you’ll have to find your gate. Check the screens for your destination and flight number.

6. On the Flight

Once you’ve piloted the airport and made it successfully onto your flight, you’re almost ready to take to the sky. Nervous? Being nervous is quite predictable but just keep calm and relax in your seat. Before you take your seat, your boarding pass will be checked by the flight attendants at the entering of the plane, so keep it at hand. Typically, your seat number consists of a letter and a number (e.g. 8W). The number displays the row and the letter – the seat (aisle, middle or window). If you have any complications finding your seat number, turn to the cabin crew. Place your luggage in the overhead compartment above your seat (or the nearest one available). Your backpack can go under the seat in front of you.

7. Prepare to Take Off

Before your plane takes off, some actions may be upsetting if it’s your first time flying, but all of these are procedures and contribute to safety on board. You’ll be taught how to fasten your seat belt, what the different lights on the seat ahead of you mean, and what to do in an emergency. Remember, every flight has to go through this process, partially because of the presence of first-time flyers like yourself! 

You’ll be greeted by the captain and the seat belt sign will go on. Time for lift-off! You may feel some sensations and some rattling sounds. No worries, this is perfectly usual and may last for about 20 seconds. Immediately the plane has reached cruise altitude, things will quiet down and flying will feel much smoother. The captain will switch off the seat belt sign.

You can now stretch your legs and enjoy your first flight!

8. Food and Entertainment

Dependent on your airline and the extent of the flight, you may be served one or more meals on the plane, as well as drinks with a limited amount of alcohol (if requested) and snacks. You’ll already know if these refreshments are included, as you’ll have been asked about your dietary requirements when you booked the flight.

Economical airlines naturally do not provide in-flight entertainment. So, come along with your own! Download some films, music or your favourite reads. 

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