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10 Tips for first time flyers, get into the airplane happy!

If you are about to take your first flight, then you must read this! Check out these recommendations for traveling by plane for the first time.

If you are about to take your first flight, congratulations! You are about to embark on an incredible adventure that for many, including myself, becomes a passion. In this article, I want to give you some tips for first time flyers, so everything goes well and that your trip runs smoothly.

Here are the tips for first time flyers

Check in online

Imagine this: it’s your first time flying, you pack your suitcase the day before and arrive at the check-in counter. When you arrive, it turns out that they reject you due to communication problems between your travel agency and the airline, with which they do not have your ticket registered. Since it was never issued, that is, it does not exist and if you do not have a ticket number, it is as if you did not, you had a place on the plane.

Clearly, there is an error, but at that counter the airline will not do anything for you, you have to go to clarify things, either with the travel agency and with the dedicated airline counter for claims. And while everything is cleared up, your flight will be already gone without you.

This situation is totally real, and how could it have been avoided? (or, at least, have more time to fix things): do the check in online.

In general, airlines open online check-in at 24, or 30, hours from the time of the flight, to achieve it you have to connect to the airline’s website and with your reservation number and your surnames you can do it. This is one of the tips for first time flyers, that should be always followed, not only when traveling for the first time. To avoid bad surprises.

Air France check-in counters

Arrive well in advance at the airport

If you are traveling by plane for the first time, one of the most important things you should do is get to the airport well in advance, if it is not the first time it is also a good idea. Arriving early will give you plenty of time to check in, get through security, and find your gate.

In case you are not certain how early to arrive, a good rule of thumb is to give yourself at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to take off, in case of an international flight, the time increases to 3 hours. This way, even if there are delays or problems, you’ll still have plenty of time to catch your flight.

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Arriving early also gives you a chance to relax and calm your nerves before your flight. If you feel anxious about flying, taking a deep breath and spending time reading or listening to music can help calm you down.

Kansai Airport
Kansai Airport

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Wear the right clothes to pass the security check

This is one of the recommendations for traveling by plane for the first time, which we sometimes forget even after having flown several times. You have to try to be prepared for the security control in terms of clothing. To begin with, empty your pockets, remove your belt beforehand and if possible, avoid bringing one. In terms of footwear, bring something that is easy to remove in case you are asked to take off your shoes (plus don’t forget to avoid those socks with holes for that day).

If you’re traveling in cold weather, know that you’ll need to take off your coats and scarves, not forgetting any hats you’re bringing. It may happen that even if you take off all your coats and even your shoes you will still beep, in some airports the metal detector is more sensitive, and it has happened to me that sometimes it beeps because of a bracelet that I have, even once it sounded because of a brooch that I was wearing in my hair. I mean, don’t be scared if it rings. The only thing that will happen is that someone will check you right there and that’s it.

Make a list of the documents you need for your trip

This is something that we sometimes tell ourselves that it is not necessary to do, but if you are traveling by plane for the first time, it is one of the basic recommendations: make a list of those documents that you already know are very necessary for your trip.

For example: if you travel to another country, do not forget for anything in the world, your passport, your visa, your invitation letter (in case you need to present one), etc. Write this list down, either on paper or on your phone, and when you leave take roll and make sure you bring everything.

Doing this will give you peace of mind.

Bring your hand luggage ready for no problem

Hand luggage is the one that will go through security with you, so it doesn’t hurt to make sure it’s ready to go through the band and that it won’t give us any problems.

Follow the recommendations on the things that you cannot take on a plane and make sure that your suitcase is free of objects that will not pass the control, since to continue your trip, you must throw these objects away. It is true that if it is a disposable water bottle, it is not relevant as much as if it is your perfume or makeup.

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Suitcases ready

Check the weights of your checked baggage

The issue of weight can become a headache, so it is better to check in advance what the weight limits of your fare are with the airline with which you will fly.

What happens if you go over the weight?

There are several options, the first may be that the airline makes you pay for excess weight and depending on how many kilos you have exceeded the weight, the price will vary. The other option, one that I had to live with, is that the airline asks you to simply reduce the weight, and how do you achieve that? Well, with great embarrassment, right there you will have to open your suitcase wide and start taking things out, if you have space you can put it in your carry-on, or if you are checking two bags, try to balance the weight. Or flat out, if someone accompanies you, give them some of your things, so they don’t go with you.

Avoid all this by knowing what your weight limit is and checking that you are within the range before arriving at the airport.

Choose your strategy to pass the time in advance

Traveling by plane for the first time can cause stress, this is due to the fear of the unknown, one of the recommendations that we can give you is to already have in mind some options of what to do during the flight. This will help you prepare mentally for that moment, not thinking about the stress of flying, but thinking about that book you are going to read, or maybe you want to watch a movie, if you are wondering how to spend time on a flight long, here are some tips.

Inflight entertainment
Inflight entertainment

Define your storage areas

When you walk in the airport you will need to have your phone, passport, boarding pass, among other things, at hand. When you have already flown several times you will know what your preferences are regarding where to put things, but for your first time flying you must define it without knowing if it will be the most comfortable for you. It is not essential, what is vital is that you know in which area you will be able to put the things that you will be moving during your passage through the airport.

To give an example, your passport, when you arrive at the airport, you bring it with you in your bag or backpack. When checking in, you must hand it off, and they will return it to you, in that case you can keep it back where it was or put it in a place where it is “closer to hand”, since you will have to remove it again shortly, preferably you will leave it together with your boarding pass.

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In case you do not have in mind where you will leave these objects, you may keep them, say, in a bag of your jacket; imagine that later you forgot that you put it there, and you start searching desperately in your bag or backpack, I say this because it has happened to me, only to later realize that you left it in the bag of your clothes.

That kind of stress is completely free and is best avoided, especially on your first flight.

Don’t leave your passport like this!

Locate yourself at the airports

To avoid the stress of not knowing where to go, although airports generally have good signage, what I advise you to do is look for the maps you need in advance. In general, the most important ones would be those of the airports where you will make a connection.

With this, you will know in advance if changing from a domestic flight terminal to an international flight terminal is laborious or not, or if you are lucky that you do not have to move much to catch your next flight.

You can also search for information about the experience of other travelers making those connections. For example, here we have documented the passage through airports such as those of Paris or Mexico City.

Map from parisaeroport.fr

Have at hand the contacts of your travel agency or airline

Going back to a situation like the one in point number 1, imagine that your travel agency made a mistake, and you are already there at the airport. Imagine that you have no idea whom to contact, since the airline tells you that they can’t do anything for you, that the mistake was made by the travel agency (and this is one of the reasons why we always prefer to book directly with the airline). To avoid this, we advise you to bring with you, hoping not having to use it, their contact information (either email, chat page, app or phone number).

In the case of the airline, the same, although with them, it will be less complicated, since many of them have counters at the airports. But in case they can be contacted by Twitter, for example, it is worth having the data at hand.

Make your first flight a success!

In conclusion, if you are planning to take the plane, keep in mind these tips for first time flyers that we have given you. But to finish, don’t forget the most important: relax and enjoy your flight!

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Olga Grijalva Alvarez

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.

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