There is always a first time! You learned to walk, talk, read, ride a bike or drive your car. Now it’s time to learn everything about flying. By using the advice below you will get ready for the first flight in your life in no time!
This article is divided into 3 parts. Part I Preparation will help you plan your trip, find the best tickets and prepare your luggage. You can read this part of the article below.
In the second part, I will explain you all the things you have to do at the airport: the ckeck-in, the security control and the boarding.
The third part will deal with the easiest part of your trip: the flight. I will explain you what it is all about, what you should or shouldn’t expect during your first flight.
But let’s start from the begining. Let’s talk about the preparation for your trip.
1. Plan your trip
You probably know exactly where you want to go. But do you know just how much money you can save if you are willing and able to be flexible? By being flexible I mean:
- considering secondary departure/arrival airports
- considering flying during the week, instead of weekends. Check out these tips for trip planning for more information.
2. Buy the best tickets
Do you want a large, comfortable seat and a meal on the plane or are you on budget and prefer to pay only for what you need? Either way your flight will be a safe one, as no airplane is allowed to take-off without having passed all the proper technical controls. The only difference between the two types of flight consists of the additional services provided and of the price.
If you prefer the comfortable seat and you have no budget restrictions, I advise you to contact a travel agent who will be able to make you a proper offer. You will pay for the flight and for the travel agent’s fee, but you will not spend hours searching for and comparing offers and deciding which one suits you best.
If you are on a budget, you have to learn how to buy a lowcost flight ticket, so that you get a good deal. There are many things you may want to consider, but the most important is WHEN to book the flight, in order to get the best price!
The items that you absolutely must have with you on any trip are:
- your flight tickets (or a print-out)
- your id card (or passport if you travel abroad)
- entry visa for the countries that require it.
There are 2 types of luggage that you can take on a plane:
- Carry-on luggage
- Hold baggage
The Carry-on luggage or cabin baggage should be a small suitcase, as it is subject to size and weight restrictions. Usually, the maximum dimensions are 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (or 24 x 16 x 10 inches) and the maximum weight is 10-15kg. Most airlines consider handbags, briefcases, laptops and cameras as one separate piece of luggage, so they will ask you to put such items inside your suitcase or pay for them as an extra hold luggage.
You can put anything in your carry-on luggage, except for:
- liquids in containers larger than 100ml. If you need to carry more than 100ml of a certain liquid, you have to put it in separate containers. Each container should have a maximum capacity of 100ml.
- sharp objects (like knives, razor blades, scissors)
- sporting goods (like baseball bats, golf clubs, ski poles)
- guns & firearms
If you intend to travel with such an object, you will have to put it into your hold luggage. For a complete list of items that you can or cannot carry in your cabin luggage, please check the official list from the Transportation Security Administration.
The Hold baggage consists of one or more larger pieces of luggage that you can’t carry with you in the cabin. You have to drop these suitcases at the airport check-in desk and collect them from the baggage conveyor belt after you pass the passport control at your destination airport. The airport employees will take care of loading and unloading your hold baggage from the plane.
Before leaving your house, weigh your luggage to make sure that it doesn’t exceed the weight limit specified on your flight ticket. If you fly with lowcost airlines you may end up paying 10-15 Eur for any kilo of excess weight.
At this point, you know everyting about the trip preparations. You’ve bought your tickets, prepared your luggage and are now ready to leave your house! Tomorrow I will explain to you what you have to do at the airport and how early you should be there in order to be sure you have plenty of time for everything.
If you have any questions about the preparation phase, ask them in a comment and I will be more then happy to answer! Otherwise, I’ll see you back here tomorrow.