Useful (and clever) tips for a first flyer that makes it seem *easy* (2023)

Congratulations! You only fly for the first time once in your life, so enjoy this moment. I clearly remember the very first time I set foot on an airplane. It was one of the most memorable days of my entire life.

As a million mile flier, my top tips for those flying for the first time are simple:

  • Pack as lightly as possible.There's nothing worse than showing up at the airport red-faced and nervous because your suitcase is too big for you.
  • Arrive early at the airportmove slowly and not feel rushed.
  • Limit your fluid intake before the flight(because using the toilet on the plane is an advanced step).
  • Above all, enjoy the experience!Flying is an amazing thing and most people take it for granted.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though, so read on for more tips that will make your very first flight experience one to remember (in a good way).

Table of contents

Tips for first-time flyers

One of the perks of being old and grumpy is that I've flown enough times to learn all the tips and tricks to get to the airport (and my destination) with as little stress as possible. These are my most helpful tips for the nervous first-time flyer:

1. Before going to the airport

through my experienceThe amount of preparation you do before leaving home can make or break a trip.I can't count the number of times I've sat at the airport and mumbled swear words at myself because I was so stupid for not taking the time to prepare better.

Double check everything!

Triple check that you've put everything you need in your bag before you leave your house. If you need a little help with this,You can see what's in my hand luggageto get an idea of ​​the things you may have forgotten.

(Video) FLYING FOR FIRST TIME? All our tips for flying, how to prepare for a flight & traveling to airport

The most important thing you need to bring (above anything else) is a valid government-issued ID that matches the name on your ticket.I would recommend a driver's license or passport. Sorry, student ID and boba award cards will not work.

If you've already messed up matching your name to your ticket, don't worry. I have written a full guide that explainshow to deal with a misspelled name on a plane ticket.

Dress simply

When you go through airport security, you will need to remove loose clothing (and things like belts and shoes). The simpler your wardrobe, the quicker you can get through security.

Not only that, you'll probably feel stressed (and nervous) at times as you make your way through the airport and onto the plane. Nobody has time for heavy jackets and frilly scarves.

Check in online (if possible)

Even if you have baggage to check in, online airport check-in will save you time. When you check in online (or via the airline's mobile app), you can enter all of your information before you arrive at the airport. The only thing you have to do once you arrive is to register at the kiosk and they will spit out a luggage tag for you.

Pack lightly (and conveniently).

Novice pilots often feel most stressed in the hours leading up to their flight.Dealing with that stress while hauling two 50 pound suitcases will really upset you.I can promise you that. The lighter you pack, the better.

Besides, no matter how much stuff you need to bring,It is important that you pack your things in the way that is most convenient for youOf.

Remember: you have to load and unload your luggage in cars. You have to push and pull them at the airport. If it seems most natural to you to pack everything in a box, do it.Yes, you can check a crate as baggage

2. At the airport

For first-time flyers, an airport can be a confusing place. TThe trick is to just focus on one thing at a time and not get distracted by all the sights and sounds.Your first priority upon arrival at the airport should be checking in your luggage and getting a boarding pass if you don't already have one. Ignore the cinnabons. The Cinnabonscan will come later.

Make your way through security as quickly as possible

Out of respect for everyone in the long line behind you, be ready to move quickly once you reach the conveyor belt at security. Place loose clothing in one of the bins provided and make sure you have removed everything from your pockets.

(Video) 10 Ways to Make Flying More Comfortable

If you areFlying with medicines, you don't have to worry as long as it's in the original packaging and the recipe is printed on the label. You may be selected for a second screening if you use an unlabeled pill box.

Eat before you board the plane

Since you're unlikely to be served hearty meals on planes, it's best to eat before boarding the plane. You know how I just told you to stop the cinnabons? Well, this is the time to eat yourself.

To pass the time while you sit there munching on 3000 calories worth of cinnamon rolls, you might be interested in learning all about itwhy airport food is so expensive. It is fascinating.

Be at the gate at least 10 minutes before boarding begins

You don't have to wait at the gate all the time for your flight to start boarding. However, I recommend you to be there at least 10 minutes before the start of the boarding process.

This is when the gate agents are most active. If any announcements need to be made regarding the flight (e.g. delays) they usually do so then.

It's good to know what's going on so you can adjust accordingly (if necessary).

Wait for your row/zone number to be called to board

Don't rush at the gate once they start the boarding process!Stay as far back as possible until your zone number is called.Otherwise you will only create confusion and chaos in the boarding area and clog up the boarding line.

Sometimes I prefer to wait until almost everyone else has boarded the plane before boarding myself. It's much quieter that way. However, I advise against it if you have a slightly larger carry-on as you will need to find a place to put it.

In this case, you want to board with your designated zone number so you have the ability to use any open luggage compartment. It's disappearing fast!

3. On the plane

I still remember the first time I got on a plane. It was a Republic Airlines Boeing 727 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), and I was massively upset that security had confiscated my plastic toy gun.

(Video) At the Airport

When I think about it, I think it was my mother who got most upset. She had no idea I put it in the suitcase before we left the house and boy did she look shocked (and scared) when they found it. sorry mom!

If possible, avoid putting things in the overhead compartment

If possible, use the space under the seat in front of you to stow your hand luggage. This gives you easy access to it (and all of its content) throughout the flight.

You'll be surprised how big a bag fits under an airplane seat. if you are curiousmy Swiss Gear hand luggageeasily fits under the seat (even when fully packed).

Do not speak to the person seated next to you unless you have spoken to them first

I know it makes me sound introverted and cold, but nothing irritates me more than a chatty neighbor who can't understand that I don't want to talk. Sure, as conversation is fun and enjoyable at times, but I guaranteeno one wants to hear your life story and how you got to this exact moment.

Small pleasantries are fine, but make sure you understand the signs that someone doesn't want to speak to you. It's not personal. That's how most people are these days.

Be prepared when the food truck arrives in your row

I'm not a flight attendant (nor do I have any desire to be one), but I do know one thing:Nothing would wear my gear down more than having to repeat the drink and snack choices for each passenger over and over again.

They usually make an announcement in advance of what snacks and drinks are available. Also, in the seat pocket in front of you is usually a menu with a list of everything. Be nice to your flight attendant and make up your mind until he or she asks what you want.

Pay attention to the seat back

Yes, it's perfectly fine to recline your seat as you wish. However,It is extremely rude to do this without regard to the person behind you.Take a moment to look back before you let it rip. If the person behind you clatters on a laptop in stress, be respectful and don't sit back. The same is true when they try to eat.

If all looks good, gently back east. Don't hit it back. Otherwise, you will quickly be identified as an inexperienced first-time flyer. You'll probably hate your guts for eternity, too.

4. Connecting to another flight

As complicated and scary as it may sound, connecting from one flight to another is an extremely simple process. It's no more complicated than what you had to do to board your first flight.

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Establishing connections (even at large airports) doesn't usually take that long. For example:

  • Short stopover in Detroitis super easy
  • Short stopover in Minneapoliscan be complicated but easy if you plan ahead
  • Short stopover in Phoenixis almost never a problem
  • DFW minimum connection timesare lower than you might think
  • A 1-hour layover in Denver is plenty of time
  • A 1-hour stopover in Seattle is plenty of timeto
  • A quick layover in Atlanta isn't too bad(but you have to hurry)
  • 1 hour is the ideal time for a layover in Chicago(ORD)

Check the flight information displays

The first thing you need to do after stepping off your plane and finding a connecting flight is to use the flight information displays, which are scattered throughout the terminal. All departures are listed alphabetically and not only the departure gate is given, but also the scheduled departure time.

It's also smart to use the mobile app of the airline you're flying with.Most airline mobile apps automatically alert you to your gate information.

5. Arrival at destination

See? Flying for the first time wasn't so bad, was it? The truth is that it's really hard to go wrong as there are airport and flight attendants everywhere to help you when you're confused. Here are two final tips to keep in mind:

Be patient when disembarking

You exit the aircraft through the same door you used to board it. This means that people at the front of the plane get off first, while everyone at the back has to sit and wait.

One of the most important things to learn about air travel is thisPatience is the key.There will be a lot of sitting and waiting. And that's especially true if you're sitting in the back of the plane.

Just stay seated and have your bag (and your body) ready to move once the people in front of you have cleared the path. If you feel like you need more time, that's okay too. Just stay out of everyone's way while waving them over.

Pro tip: you'll look like a total buffoon trying to rush and beat everyone in front of you.It's not a race. Just wait your turn.

There is no rush to collect your checked baggage

One of the most frustrating things about flying is collecting checked baggage after a flight. To find the baggage carousel, simply follow the “Airport Exit” and “Baggage Claim” signs. You will be everywhere.

However, it is important to know thisIt can take up to 30 minutes for your luggage to arrive.So take your time. In fact, now might be a pretty good time to snag another Cinnabon. 'Cause fine youtotaldeserves it.



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