Top Tips For First-Time Flyers
The first time you fly can be a very apprehensive, even scary time. It is impossible to understand what flying feels like without actually going on a plane yourself. It is only natural that first-time flyers would have a lot of questions about flying and about the processes involved. If you are feeling very nervous about the prospect, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
The more you know beforehand about what to expect, both as you prepare for your journey, and when you get to the airport, the less there is for you to worry about. The following tips are the most essential for any first-time flyer. Stick to these and you will remove the most common sources of travel stress.
Prepare Your Paperwork
This is one of the most common and most natural worries for any first-time flyer. If you don’t have the correct paperwork with you, you run the risk of not being allowed on your flight, or not able to pass through customs when you get to the other side. Ensuring that you have all of your paperwork before you leave for the airport will help to reduce this stress. You should find out exactly what documents you need right after you book your flight. This will allow you to get them in order as soon as possible.
As well as your passport, flight booking, and other travel documents – you will also need your travel insurance documents. Make sure that you keep a copy of your policy documents with you when you are travelling. You should also make sure to write down the emergency number for whatever country you are visiting.
Many airlines will issue you with e-tickets, which are stored on your smartphone, instead of being printed out like traditional tickets. Alternatively, some airlines only require that you show your confirmation email to staff at the airport.
Mark Your Luggage
Even those who have extensive experience travelling are prone to confusion over their luggage once it’s time to retrieve their luggage at the baggage reclaim area. Unless you happen to have a very distinct bag for all your stuff, your luggage is going to look a lot like many other traveller’s bags. As well as adding a name tag to your bags, a simple thing like tying a small coloured ribbon around a handle will make your luggage stick out compared to the other baggage.
Cabin or Hold?
You should check the rules of the individual airline you will be flying with to see what their specific baggage policy is. If you are flying long-haul (a flight that lasts for six hours or more) then you will usually want to place at least one bag in the hold. This bag will be turned in at the check-in desk before your flight and collected from the baggage carousel at the other side.
If you are taking a shorter flight, most airlines will allow you to bring a bag or case on board with you, which can then be stashed overhead during the flight. By keeping your luggage with you throughout the flight, you can save time when you land as you won’t have to wait for your luggage at the carousel. You will also often save money, as checking a bag into the hold will generally incur a fee.
The restrictions on the size of the bag you are allowed to bring with you will vary from airline to airline. These restrictions can apply to luggage stored in the cabin or the hold. Often, the restrictions will be different for both. You should check this with the airline in advance of your flight.
Once the time comes to get on your flight, the only thing you need to do is relax. It is inevitable that any first-time flyer will be at least a little nervous about the prospect of flying. During the run-up to your flight, consider what sort of in-flight entertainment you can bring that will allow you to distract yourself from the fact that you are thousands of feet in the air in an aeroplane.
If Your Flight is Cancelled
After all that preparation and psyching yourself up for the main event, it can be even more frustrating when a flight is cancelled. Before you depart, familiarise yourself with the rules surrounding flight cancellation and your rights.
In situations where your flight is cancelled, and the airport doesn’t give you at least 14 days’ notice, or offer you an appropriate alternative flight, you may well be entitled to flight cancellation compensation of up to €600. By applying for compensation through a flight compensation service like AirHelp, you can get things sorted easier and quicker, than you would by trying to approach the airline yourself.
Flying for the first time is both an exciting, and a nerve-wracking, experience. By taking the time to research and prepare beforehand, you can reduce the amount that you have to worry about.