Flying for the first time can have you feeling unsure and nervous, From navigating the airport to understanding the safety procedures, all of these can be pretty overwhelming, Don’t sweat over this because, with the right preparation, you will strut down the aisle feeling as confident as a pro flyer.
In this blog post, we will share our top tips and a comprehensive checklist for first-time flyers to help you feel prepared and enjoy a seamless travel experience. Let’s get started!
First Time Flyer Tips: Step-by-step guide and checklist
Whether this is your first time flying or your first time in a while, Let’s walk through the step-by-step process of what to do from the time you book your ticket to the time you land at your destination;
1. Booking Your Airline Ticket
Booking an airline ticket can be overwhelming, Consider the time of day and day of the week as flights that depart early in the morning or late at night tend to be less expensive than flights during peak travel times, which will help cut extra costs. When comparing prices and seating options across different airlines, keep in mind that some airlines may charge extra fees for things like checked baggage or seat selection. Be sure to read the fine print before booking to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Another important thing is to Book early for preferred seating options, at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
2. Setup Airline Notifications
After purchasing your airline ticket, it’s important to stay informed of any changes that may occur. To do this, sign up for notifications from the airline. Text notifications are recommended as they will be sent directly to your phone. To set up notifications, go to the airline’s website, enter your name and confirmation code, and select the option to receive text notifications. This way, you’ll stay up-to-date with any changes such as delays, gate changes, or cancellations.
3. Baggage Allowance
It’s important to understand baggage allowances to avoid any issues at the airport. You are allowed to bring three types of baggage: a carry-on bag, a personal item bag, and a checked bag. A carry-on bag should be small enough to fit in the overhead storage compartment and not larger than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches high. You are only allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item bag, such as a purse or backpack, which must fit under the seat in front of you. A laptop backpack is recommended for this purpose. Anything larger than a carry-on bag will need to be checked, which incurs a fee. It’s recommended to check your airline’s website for additional information on baggage allowances.
4. Arriving at the Airport
I have to warn you, arriving at the airport might be overwhelming and chaotic for a first-time flyer, from trying to navigate through a swarm of people to find your way to the right terminal, it is always advisable to arrive at least two hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flight before your flight’s scheduled departure time. This will allow you sufficient time to check in, if you haven’t checked in online, Go through Security and Find your Gate. All these processes will vary depending on the airport and time of the day.
5. Check-In for Your Flight
To check-in for your flight, you have two options: online or at the airport. Online check-in typically opens 24 hours before departure and requires your booking confirmation number and ID. If you’re checking bags, find your airline at the departures ticketing area and use a kiosk or approach an agent to check your bags and print your boarding pass. Double-check your flight details and boarding time. Once you’ve checked your bags, walk to the airline counter to have them weighed and loaded onto the plane. For international flights, you may need to see an agent to check your passport and other requirements. Check your boarding pass for the terminal and gate, and follow the signs to the correct terminal.
6. Navigating Airport Security
When you reach the terminal, There would be different lines for general screening, first class, frequent flyers, and TSA PreCheck. For general screening, have your boarding pass and ID ready for the TSA agent. Put your shoes, quart-sized bag of liquids and gels, belts, coats, jackets, watches, and any electronic devices larger than a cell phone in bins. If you check in online or through the airline’s app, you can head straight to security lines, skipping the check-in counter. it’s important to find the right line for you. If you’re a member of a frequent flyer program or have purchased a first-class ticket, you may be eligible for a separate line that could save you time. Additionally, if you’ve signed up for the TSA PreCheck program, you can use a dedicated line for expedited security screening. Keep in mind that these lines may not always be marked, so don’t hesitate to ask airport staff for assistance if you’re unsure which line to use.
7. Boarding Procedures
Make sure you have the proper documentation with you. If you are traveling internationally, you will need your passport, and it’s important to ensure it won’t expire within six months of your trip. Additionally, check the requirements of the country you are traveling to, as some may require vaccination or testing to enter. you will need to pass through a full-body scanner, If you feel uncomfortable with the scanner, you can opt for a full hand pat-down by a TSA agent. Once you have completed the body scan, retrieve your bags and items from the bins and head to your gate. In the waiting area of your gate, be sure to listen for announcements about your flight, including any possible delays or gate changes, and the start of the boarding process. When the boarding process starts, have your boarding pass ready, and look for your boarding group and seat number on the pass. Listen for the gate agent to call your group boarding number, and present your boarding pass once your group is called, Once it’s been scanned, you are free to board the plane.
8. The Final leg
Overcoming your flying fears and anxiety as a first-time flyer.
Being 30,000 feet in the air isn’t particularly an easy feat, it’s completely natural to experience some anxiety or fear when traveling by air. Some of the known reasons some people are afraid to fly are ;
- Fear of crashing
- Fear of being out of control
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of heights
- Losing a loved one in a plane crash / Feeling claustrophobic.
Explained Ora Nadrich, a certified mindfulness meditation instructor and life coach.
Here are some first-time flyer tips to help you feel more comfortable and prepared for your upcoming flight.
1. Adequate Knowledge of the basics of flying
One of the best ways to ease your flying fears is by understanding the basics of flying. This includes learning about the physics of flying and how planes work, how it takes off and lands, like the phases of a trip and the sounds that planes make, and what to expect during turbulence. By educating yourself about the process of flying, you’ll feel more in control, comfortable, and less anxious.
2. Choosing the right seat
Choosing the right seat can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel during your flight. If you’re nervous about turbulence, Choose a seat toward the front of the plane. This area experiences less movement during turbulence. You may also want to opt for a window seat so you can see what’s happening outside the plane. This can be comforting for some first-time flyers.
3. Arrive early
One of the biggest sources of anxiety for first-time flyers is the fear of missing their flight. To avoid this, arrive at the airport early. This will accord you plenty of time to check in, go through security, and find your gate. Arriving early will also allow you some time to relax and get used to the airport environment.
4. Use relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualization can be extremely helpful in reducing anxiety and stress. Practice these techniques before your flight and during your flight if you feel anxious. You can also try listening to calming music or an audiobook to distract yourself and help you relax.
5. Trust the professionals
Remember that flying is one of the safest modes of transportation, and pilots and flight attendants are trained professionals who know what to do and how to handle any situation that may arise. Trust in their expertise and experience, and assure yourself that you’re in good hands.
6. Focus on the destination
Focus on the destination rather than the journey. Engage in exciting thoughts about your destination and the fun activities you have planned. This will help shift your focus away from any fears or anxiety you may be feeling.
7. Choose a comfortable outfit
Wearing a comfortable outfit is essential and will help you feel more relaxed during your flight. Choose loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics, and avoid any clothing items that are too tight or restrictive. You should also bring a sweater or jacket in case the cabin gets chilly.
Best Airlines for First-time Flyers
After Researching safety ratings, Customer Service, overall rankings, and most importantly, available distractions on board that will take your attention away from flying, which is a good thing for Nervous first-time flyers, Here are Best Airlines for First-time Flyers;
- Alaska Airline
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- All Nippon Airways
- Air France
- Swiss International
- Cathay Pacific
- Singapore Airlines
Remember to prioritize your health by staying hydrated and moving around frequently to avoid blood clots. Additionally, don’t forget to protect yourself with travel insurance – it’s a must-have for any trip. Safe travels!”
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