Are you a first time flyer? A guide for first time flyers

Lots of people who have not traveled on an aircraft experience the jitters when attempting it for the first time. The thought of being 30,000 feet above in the air enclosed in a tube like flying machine is enough for some to think twice. However, slowly as more and more venture out, this fear has greatly diminished. Furthermore, with a host of security features and a lot of backups the aircrafts have generally become a safe and faster mode of travel. Distances are covered in a much shorter span of time and the world has become much smaller with the advent of such machines.

When thinking of traveling, it’s not only the factors of being in the air that have to be thought of, but also the ground realities that have to be taken into consideration. The process of flying actually begins on the ground. Much earlier traveling from one place to another was a simple affair. One required just a passport, money for the ticket and  you were ready to go. However, now with technological advancement and terrorism on the loose, a lot of features and processes have been integrated and incorporated in order to travel by air. The following initiatives would definitely be a guide to cross the hurdle of being the first time flyer.

  1. Planning your trip:

The destination plays an important part in choosing your options. It will decide for you whether there is one carrier or multiple ones operating to it. The more the merrier because the timings for departure are then spaced out then you can then plan accordingly and make a choice of your flight. Of course, the cost factor will also be involved in your choice, so plan judiciously.

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  • Contact directly the airline concerned or the agents and extract the most economical fare to suit your schedule.
  • Correct information on the documentation/baggage/health requirements for your destination.
  • Find out the availability of transportation to the airport according to your flight schedule.
  • Buy the ticket when you are absolutely satisfied with your preparations.
  • Make sure that there is a minimum gap in your query of the fare and purchasing the ticket because the fares keep changing at a pretty quick pace. A fare quoted to you may not after ten minutes be available.
  1. Self Preparation:

Once you are organized with your paperwork, you need to prepare yourself with certain basics that could ease out your travel. Ensure that your check-in and hand baggage are within the specifications laid out by the airline you are travelling with.

Teenage girl (16-18) kneeling on full suitcase, close-up

  • The check-in baggage should be kept unlocked or locked as per TSA specific lock.
  • In your hand baggage ensure there are no security specific items that could cause an embarrassment to you at the airport.
  • As one is asked to remove shoes at the airport security, it is advisable to wear ones without laces as they are easily removed.
  • Metal stuff should be avoided (even metal belt buckles) as the metal detectors start buzzing.
  • Carry your important documents and extra pair of clothes, night suit, inner-wear, toothbrush, paste, shaving kit, cream etc in your handbag.
  • In the event of your check-in baggage getting misplaced, the items in the handbag become handy.
  • Carry some chewing gum or mint too because when the depressurizing of the aircraft cabin takes place in the air the ears tend to get blocked. Chewing helps in the ears popping open.
  1. Airport entry:

An entry to the airport for the first time can be quite intimidating especially if you arrive at the airport in the peak hours. The area would be bustling with activity. A huge horde of passengers would be seen moving around or queued up. Airline personnel would be seen moving around in hurry and manning the check-in counters. Porters would be seen maneuvering wheelchairs and baggage trolleys. Security would be seen intermingling in a bid to locate the probable troublemaker. All in all it would be a seemingly crazy scene.7627260022_b93f4bf76d_b

  • Follow the signs and the big board’s displaying prominently the row numbers for check-in and the gate numbers for departures for all the airlines as no one would probably have time to respond to your query.
  • Passengers are required to preferably report two hours prior for domestic and three hours
  • prior for international flights.

The check-in counters generally have one counter designated for passengers travelling First Class, one for Business class and a few for Economy class.

  • Check-in at the appropriate counter and then proceed towards the security and thereafter, the departure gate.
  • Spend time in cafes, restaurants, shops and a lounge area in case you are there early (there would be an open area after passing security
  • Keep an eye on the boards displaying the activity required by your airline. It will display security till the time the boarding is announced and then it shall start reflecting boarding.

That is the time you make sure that you move towards it (in case you are not there already) as fast as possible.

Most airlines board as per rows starting from the rear so that the aircraft fills in from the back to the front. That way there is no confusion or pushing and jostling amongst passengers.

  1. Inside the flight:

For some first timers, this is where the ordeal begins. As the boarding commences a sense of foreboding prevails. It’s like being lost in the woods except that this is an enclosed space with lots of people around. But you must keep yourself calm.

A smiling flight attendant welcomes you on board and behind the smile is an unspoken assurance that you will be taken care of.Austrian_Airlines_flight_attendant_and_passenger

  • Put your hand baggage on the overhead bin above your seat. If it’s small then it’s advisable to put it under the seat in front of you.
  • Note your surroundings. In the front pocket of the seat, in front of you, you will find handouts giving you aircraft specifications and also the emergency procedures to be adopted in case of an emergency.
  • On your armrest will be controls for switching on the light above your head and calling the attendant .If not on the armrest then under the overhead bin.
  • Always pay attention to the announcements made on the flight.
  • If you are seated on the aisle or window seat be gracious enough to allow the middle seat passenger to use the armrests as his space has been squeezed out. Hopefully, you will be allowed the same if you are in the middle seat!! If you are on the window seat use the window shade in a manner which should not annoy your neighbors.
  • Use the toilet initially so that you don’t have to disturb them again and again. In case you suffer from such a problem then it is best that you request the aisle passenger to interchange.
  • As the engines rev up and the aircraft gathers speed for taking off the sense of foreboding may return. It’s best to start chewing gum now because after takeoff the pressure inside the cabin starts changing and the ears start getting blocked.
  • In 35 seconds after the aircraft has revved up and pushed forward gathering speed the flight takes off.
  • Do not panic if you start hearing weird sounds giving the impression that something is falling apart. It’s only the landing gear being retracted and also a bit later on as the flight climbs to its level sounds of the flaps being retracted can also be heard. The level been reached, you can have a sigh of relief and thereafter relax till your flight lands at your destination.
  1. Arrival:

Landing is the penultimate chapter to your journey’s end. After landing and the aircraft coming to halt there are occasions when passengers in a tearing hurry to disembark rush toward the exit gate unmindful of the fact that like boarding there is a system for exiting the aircraft too. It is board0_139874477601_newsing procedure in reverse-allowing the passengers ahead to exit first. So be conscientious and courteous enough to follow this system. After disembarking the final phase is the collection of baggage from the arrival hall. It takes a little while for the bags to be transported from the flight to the concourse in the arrival hall. So a little patience is no sweat and then you are free to go.

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