Are you looking forward to your first flight? Anybody flying for the first time is bound to have their questions and doubts that they're not sure who to ask to or are too embarrassed to ask their friends for the fear of looking stupid. Worry not, here's everything you need to know if you belong to the group who have never flown before and are looking forward to making their first maiden flight.
Prepare the Paperwork
Preparing the paperwork before you board the flight remains one of the most essential steps to look after before you worry about other formalities. The most important document of the flyer is his Passport, which is mandatory if you’re boarding an international flight. Take care that your passport is well updated and has up to three months to go before it expires. At Indian airports, you will also be required to show your valid government ID while at the departure gate, so make sure you have a valid ID handy.
Always remember to book your travel insurance before you leave for the holiday. Keep a hard copy of your travel insurance with you and be sure to check if you have the emergency number in case you require any medical assistance.
Most airlines have made their ticketing process fairly easier for its passengers by e-ticketing in which you do not need to carry a paper ticket with you. You can just book your tickets online and you would be sent a soft-copy of your ticket at your email address. All that’s left to do now is to show it to the airport staff on your smartphone or tablet and you’re good to go.
Once you show your ticket to the airport staff, you’d be provided a physical boarding pass. This boarding pass contains essential information like your flight number, time of departure and your seat number. Your access to the airplane also depends on your boarding pass. These days a lot of airlines also offer the option of checking-in online that allows the passenger to obtain the boarding pass without having to stand in long queues.
Understanding your luggage
Each airline has its own rules of baggage allowance that you need to adhere to strictly in order to ensure a smooth flight. Baggage Allowance is the amount of checked baggage or hand/carry-on luggage that the company will allow per passenger. But being an amateur flyer, you need to understand clearly the difference between checked baggage and hand/carry-on luggage and then decide whether you want to take both or not. Usually, for longer flights lasting at least 6 hours, you will want to ‘check-in' at least one piece of piece of hold luggage that you'll be required to leave at check-in desk before boarding and it would be returned to you as you reach your destination. All you need to do it identify it on the luggage carousel.
Whereas for short-haul flights, the carrier would allow you to take a small bag with you in the airport cabin that would be big enough to store all that you need for a weekend getaway. The idea is to pack light if you're traveling for shorter distances. This way you have the baggage with you and can get away with it easily once you reach your destination. Most airlines charge extra money for storing baggage in the hold, hence, traveling light would be in your best interest.
Keep in mind to check the baggage allowance policies of your concerned airline before you pack your bags. Also, in case you exceed the allotted baggage allowance you might need to pay extra according to the fare decided by the airlines.
While in Flight
Once you’ve passed the mandatory security check, you board your flight. The first thing you need to do is find your seat and ensure that all cabin luggage is stored perfectly. Most flights have an assigned seating system and your seat number would be mentioned on your boarding pass. If your seat number is 10 C, the number relates to the row you’ll be sitting in and the letter tells you whether your seat is window, aisle or middle seat. In case you get confused, the cabin crew would be happy to help you find your seat and store your luggage properly in the overhead bin or under your seat.
Before the plane takes off, there are some simple procedures that every flier has to go through. While they may seem alarming at first for a newbie flier, yet they are completely normal and essential. Once you’re seated and the plane is about to take off you’ll be demonstrated how to buckle your seatbelts, what different lights in front of you mean and what to do in the case of an emergency. The feeling of the plane taking off might feel upsetting at first, but that is completely natural. Once, the plane is in the air, you may feel some bumps or turbulence but they aren’t anything to worry about.
Meals and Entertainment
Depending on your airline and the duration of your flight, you may be offered one or more meals on the plane as well as some drinks and snacks. You will know if the airline that you’re traveling with offers you meals or not as you would be asked that beforehand while booking your flight. Even if you weren’t asked for meals before, you could avail the meal of your preference inside the plane by paying an extra fee.
Most budget airlines limit their entertainment means so don’t frown if the means of entertainment is restricted to a tiny tv. Thus, it is recommended to the fliers to bring their own books, music or anything else on board to pass the time.
Contact Your Airline
Even if there is something that you feel unsure about or some details that you find confusing, most airlines would have guidelines written for its first-time fliers. They also offer great customer care or live chat sessions to help their customers and satisfy their queries. Feel free to contact them.
If you are a first-time flier and you have a serious fear of flying that hinders you or makes you anxious, there are flying courses offered by a lot of airlines that should help you understand the different situations one faces while flying and how to encounter them so that by the time of your flight, you feel much more confident and know your way around things. These courses make you a much more assured flyer by taking away the fear of the unknown.