I still remember the first time I traveled by air; I think I was about 14 then and just a few months shy of completing high school. You could easily tell it was my first time right from the airport to the plane! In fact, when I look back at that experience, I seriously want to cringe…,and laugh my insides out. I mean, who else listens to the flight attendant with rapt attention, and still ends up sticking the seat belt the wrong way?!
Take-off was a whole new drama on it’s own; but I’ll save that story for another time, haha. For now, I just want to ensure that if it’s going to be your first time flying, your experience isn’t nearly as “terrible” as mine. So, fasten your seat belts (pun intended) and let’s do this!
First, a few things you need to know just before your flight…
1. Ticket prices increase dramatically towards the flight date. So, if you’re looking to get cheaper prices, be sure to book a week or two to your departure.
2. Booking a flight is not rocket science, like it appears to be. If you’re internet-savvy, you can easily get a hang of the procedure. Although I only have experience with local flights, the procedure for international flights may be quite similar.
3. Travel light, where possible. It’ll save you all the time and hassle required to check-in extra luggage (up to 20 kg), and to reclaim upon landing. If extra is unavoidable, then be sure to make your luggage easily identifiable.
4. Please be punctual for your flight. In some local airports, check-in could take as long as forty minutes with long queues and all. And most airlines stipulate that the cabin doors close exactly fifteen minutes to departure. So, it’s safe to get to the airport at least an hour before departure time.
5. Listen carefully to boarding announcements, and don’t feel shy to ask questions too. Once, I nearly missed a flight because the boarding call was for a different destination, and I wasn’t aware till the last minute that it was actually a direct flight (Google, guys).
…during the flight
6. The boarding pass (issued after you check-in) contains the seat number assigned to you, usually a row number followed by a letter. For instance, 16A will represent the seat by the window (or aisle) on row 16.
7. Seat belts can be nightmarish if you don’t know how to. I had no luck getting a photo that clearly showed this procedure but always remember to plug into the smaller end of the buckle.
8. Flight food is bleh. So don’t bother getting your hopes up, except you’re flying first class, maybe. P.s. I totally have no idea about in-flight toilets.
10. Ear-popping syndrome is real, and very painful too. A doctor-friend once advised me to chew gum during flights; it helps relieve the pressure in your ears.
I was going to talk about phones but we’ve probably had that drummed into us a million times, may be for the wrong reasons but all the same good reasons.
…and just after landing
11. Wait for the cabin doors to open before leaving your seat. There’s no prize for the first to reach the terminal building.
12. Keep your boarding pass safe, it’ll come in handy if you need to reclaim luggage.
Okay, that’s a wrap though I feel I could go on and on. All the other things left to say, you’ll definitely figure out on your own and have experiences to share as well.
If you’ve had the first-time experience, how did it go for you? Any embarrassing incidents or life-saving nuggets? Please share with us in the comments. Got any questions too about flight procedures? Feel free to use the comments box. And for our “veteran” flyers, did I miss anything?
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