First time on a plane. Part III On the airplane

Today is the big day – you’re going to fly for the first time in your life, and I can guarantee you – it will be easier than you’ve ever imagined.

Yesterday you’ve learned about check-in, boarding and security at the airport and 2 days ago about the trip preparations and about what you are allowed to take with you on the plane. Today, you will learn about the easiest part of the trip: the flight itself.

8. Take your seat

In case you do not board the plane directly, through a passenger bridge, but you take a bus or walk from the gate to the plane, you will be able to board the plane using either the door at the front or the one at the back. The front door is generally much more crowded than the back door, so I advise you to use the latter when boarding the plane. When you get on the plane, a crew member will check your boarding pass (for the last time!!!).

Most lowcost airlines have a “free seating” policy, which means that you can seat anywhere you like on the plane (except for the seats that are next to the emergency exits). If this is the case, just choose any available seat. First time fliers may prefer to sit in the front half of the plane, as turbulence is felt more in the back seats. Also, think beforehand if you prefer a window or an aisle sit.

Some lowcost airlines (like Blue Air) still assign you a seat. If this is the case, you will find the number of your seat on your boarding card and you will be able to quickly find it by checking the row numbers on the panels above the seats.

9. Enjoy your flight!

Once you’ve found your seat, put your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment. Fasten your seatbelt and turn off all electronic equipment, including mobiles, smart-phones, play stations and laptops. In a few minutes, the crew members will start demonstrating the safety measures on board of the aircraft and you will learn what you need to do in the unlikely case of an emergency.

During take off, the aircraft’s engines run at their full power. In order to take off, the plane has to accelerate considerably, so you will feel the inertia pushing you against your chair. This feeling will last for less than a minute, till the plane will be completely in the air.

Once the plane is airborne, it will rise pretty fast, in order to reach the cruising altitude. You have to remain seated with your seatbelt fastened, until the captain will switch off the seatbelt sign (which you can see on the panel above your head).

Aircraft were designed to handle all the various situations that can occur during the flight:
- sudden drops. The aircraft normally flies straight and smooth, but it sometimes passes through areas with lower pressure or with descending air and it may “fall” for some meters, up-to tens or even hundreds of meters. However, this is a normal occurrence, and it poses no danger to the aircraft, so you needn’t worry. You will feel the sudden loss of height but the aircraft will go back to flying smoothly in a second.
- bad weather. The equipment on board of the aircraft is designed to allow it to fly safely during storms or other bad weather conditions. The only inconvenience bad weather causes during a flight is a slight discomfort for the passengers. That’s why pilots try to avoid crossing the storms for the comfort of their passengers.

These situations are normal, you don’t have to worry if any of those happen. The pilots are well trained and the airplanes are designed to cope with them.

During the flight, you can read the on-board magazines, a newspaper or a book, watch the clouds or the views, think of things to do at your destination or chat with your friends. With so many different thighs to do time will “fly”.

10. The landing

The landing is much smoother than the take-off, and you will be able to enjoy the views of the houses and the fields for much longer. When the plane touches the ground you will feel a small bump, after which the airplane will slow down and head towards its final parking position at the airport. You should wait until the planes stops completely before unfastening your seatbelt, standing up and taking your carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment. After you get off the plane you will reach the airport building, through a passenger bridge, by bus or on foot (at very small airports). If your flight was an international one you will have your documents checked again. It it was an internal flight or a flight between two Schengen states, you will reach the baggage claim area directly.

If you travelled with hold luggage, when you reach the baggage claim area you will have to find the luggage conveyor belt where the luggage from your flight will be delivered. Check the electronic displays in the area and wait for your suitcases to arrive. Before taking any piece of luggage off the conveyor belt, check the name on the label to make sure you’ve got the right suitcase and head for the exit. If you have items to declare, you will need to pass through the “goods to declare” area and go through the necessary formalities. If not, you can just exit the baggage claim area through the “nothing to declare” door.

Hurray! Your first flight is over. Enjoy your trip and don’t forget to return to my blog: http://flights-blog.lowcostroutes.com .

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