Flying for the first time can be incredibly daunting, so I’ve composed this blog post to help ease your concerns. I’ve always found flying to be an incredible experience and I’ve been flying all my life and never had any issues.
So let’s get started with your first time flying tips!
Before leaving for the airport:
1. Log onto the website your purchased your plane tickets, and check into your flight online. This is usually done up to 48 hours before take off.
2. Check the size and weight restrictions of your luggage, and make sure you have paid for your luggage as it isn’t always included – I have made the mistake of assuming it was so check!
3. Have a clear bag full of liquids (max 100ml) in hand luggage. This is Gatwick Airports security advice which should give you a helpful guide but you can always check with the airport you’re flying with.
4. Double check all paperwork and that you have your passport!
5. Take a picture of your luggage, just in case you lose it, and also put a tag on your bag with your name, address and phone number
6. If you’re flying during the pandemic, then check out this post of my experience of what the airport was like!
While at the airport:
1. Arrive at the airport, keeping your flight number and departure time in mind. Look on the big departures board and find your check in tills.
2. The check in tills are where you drop your baggage (not carry on), and where you present your passport. You usually are presented with your boarding card, but sometimes you can have it on your phone
3. After dropping off your luggage, you then make your way to security. This can seem daunting but it isn’t. There are attendants which tell you what you have to do, but usually you have to remove electronics and liquids (which you should have bagged before leaving) from your bag and put them in a box. Your bag goes in a separate box, as should zip up hoodies / coats and boots. You’ll always need to empty your pockets as well. Once this is done, you walk through a scanner and grab your stuff on the other end.
4. Occasionally, your bag may be checked but it’s nothing to worry about if you’re not carrying contraband.
5. Next stop is passport control, where they check your passport. It’s easily done, you just hand it over, they check the picture is you and do something on their computer and you’re on your way!
6. At this point, you’ve reached the waiting part of the airport. First thing I suggest is going to the departures board and looking for your gate number. The board will also tell you if you’re gate is boarding, which means go straight away, if your gate is closing, which means run, and if it’s neither, it’ll give you the time the gate does open. I recommend checking this regularly.
Sometimes your flight may be delayed, and the board will tell you if this is the case. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do but wait until the gate is boarding if there’s a delay.
7. Until your gate opens, you can check out the shops or eat at one of the little restaurants. It’s mainly just a waiting game at this point
8. Once your gate is open, use the signs to get to the gate. They then check your passport, boarding pass and visa and let you board the plane!
While on the plane:
1. Hand luggage typically goes in the cabin above your head, or under the seat in front of you.
2. They go through a safety briefing once everyone is seated. This takes about 5 minutes. You’ll usually be waiting about 20 minutes while cabin crew get prepared for flight. Be sure to put your phone on airplane mode.
3. It’s time for take off, and I recommend either chewing gum or putting headphones and loud music on as your ears will pop. Take off is my favourite part of the plane journey; you’re hurtling down the runway when all of a sudden, you’re going up and up and up. The city below you starts getting smaller and you get the most incredible views. Many people find this part terrifying, but try seeing the beauty and you’ll be amazed.
4. The flight itself is also a waiting game. If you’re doing a long haul flight, then check out my post (here) for tips on how to stay entertained. I recommend bringing a book or an tablet or something just to keep busy. A lot of people sleep, which is something I’m unable to do unfortunately.
5. Finally, you land! This part can be quite jolting but it’s how you know you’re in the destination of your choosing!
1. Once the plane has hit the ground, it takes about 10 minutes for the doors to open and people slowly start filtering out. You can either be one of the first ones in the aisle, grabbing your bags from the overhead lockers, or you can wait for it to clear a little before getting out.
2. Sometimes, planes park a bit too far away from the terminal, and so there might be a bus waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs. You just hop aboard and it takes you to where you need to go!
3. You arrive then at passport control. Usually this part takes a while and you’re just standing around waiting, but you get into the right lane and hand your passport over to be check, and possibly stamped.
4. Once you’ve been through passport control, it’s time to collect your luggage. I’ve never had an issue with my luggage and I’ve flown at least 50 times! The luggage carousel will start and slowly bags will go round and round, and you can pick yours off. If yours doesn’t show, check out this post and just remain calm!
5. Walk out of the airport!
At this point, you’re in your dream destination! Congratulations!