Are you flying for the first time? Are you terrified? Unsure what to expect or what to do? I remember those feelings very well! So, I put together some tidbits of info to help other prepare for their first flight. These are things that would have been helpful for me to know ahead of time, so I definitely want to share the knowledge.
Most of these are basic airline etiquette, some are bits about luggage, and some will help you have a more enjoyable flight. Take a look to help you better prepare for your first flight.
Choose & Know Your Seat Ahead
When you purchase your ticket, your seat on the aircraft may or may not be assigned. Make sure you choose your seat ahead of time, or, if you prefer, wait until check in and one will be assigned for you.
Once you do know your sign assignment, take a look at the seating chart online so you’ll know exactly where to head once you board the plane.
Baggage Rules & Don’t Over Pack
Know your airlines’ baggage rules ahead of time. Each airline sets their own rules, so don’t assume they are the same as when Aunt Sally told you about her flight last summer. If you’re taking a carry-on make sure that it is the appropriate size for airline standards. Typically, this is the smallest rolling suitcase in a set of luggage.
One of the biggest challenges that I have overcome since becoming a frequent flyer is over packing. Over time I’ve realized that I don’t need near as much as I pack, and have honed in on what I actually need and how to pack less. There is nothing worse than hauling hoards of luggage across the airport, so it is quite the relief to pack light. If you’re checked bag is too heavy, you’ll be charged an additional fee.
Gone are the days of dressing to the nines for a flight. People don’t take flying quite as seriously as they once did. However, I’ve found, when I dress well (sans sweats and flip flops) that I not only feel better, but am taken more seriously. I dress well, while keeping comfort in mind. I prefer long dresses or leggings or loose fitting pants/capri pants with a nice shirt. I try to wear easy to take on and off shoes for going through security.
Before departure, you can check-in online with most airlines. You can access your boarding pass via an app. When you arrive at the airport, if you are checking luggage or simply want a paper boarding pass (a great souvenir), you’ll check in at the counter or curbside check-in. From there, make your way to security.
Going Through Airport Security
Going through airport security can seem intimidating the first time, but remember millions of people take the same trek every single day. Read the signs, follow directions, and read up ahead of time on the TSA’s website. Main objective when packing your bag is to put liquids (shampoos and such) in your checked bag, or follow the 3-1-1 rule if carrying on. Be sure to remove your 3-1-1 bag and electronics from your bag when going through security. Place your laptop in a separate bin. Don’t forget to remove your shoes, belt, and jewelry and place those in a bin before heading through. If you’re stopped for a sweep, remain calm, follow directions, and you’ll have no problems.
When taking a bag on the flight, keep the items that you want during flight in your personal item that you’ll please under the seat in front of you, at your feet essentially. If you put it in your carry-on, that will go in the over-head bin. You won’t want to get up and down to get what you need, instead have it all right there where you need it, easily accessible. Whether it be a book, your tablet or laptop, or your headphones, you’ll have them close by.
Turbulence & the Seat Belt Sign
Take off and landing if far more smooth sailing than I had envisioned, but turbulence was something I wasn’t sure how to react to. I’ve come to realize that, though it doesn’t happen quite as often, turbulence on a flight is like a car running over a little bump in the road. In other words, it is completely normal. If you experience it on your flight, keep your seat belt on, remain calm, and focus on a book or the in-flight entertainment.
You also may notice the seat belt sign. Though it does not stay on 24/7, keep in mind that it is recommended to keep on as long as you are in your seat.
Sometimes we just need to get up to stretch our legs or head to the restroom. If so, don’t terry long in the aisle, and try to keep it at minimum, especially if you are in the window or middle seat. You don’t want to be the annoying flight-mate who can’t keep still.
Don’t Booze Up
This one is a biggie. I know you may want something to take the edge off for your first flight since you don’t know what to expect, but don’t over do it on booze. Better yet, steer clear of it all together. You’ll feel physically better without it.
Relax & Enjoy the Ride
Most importantly, relax and enjoy the ride! Flying is truly magical! Take that window seat, sit back, and enjoy the view.