I remember my first air travel and all the kinds of emotions that are in roller coaster before and during my flight. I still don’t have the access to mobile Internet during that time and I tell you, I wish I had some help preparing.
So if you are a first time air traveler, don’t worry you’ll be okay. One step at a time and here are the things you might want to start checking first:
Passport and Other Paperwork
The stress starts with passport and making sure you have completed all the paper work required for your air travel. It is definitely nerve wracking to see yourself repeat from the top of your list what needs to be completed. It’s like going over and over again to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Trust me, I was like that and you are not alone.
But imagine the nightmare of being in the airport and just realizing that your Passport has expired? Isn’t that why we are being compulsive with our passport and paperwork?
With that said, it pays to list down the paperwork needed and take photos just in case. Updated passport? Check. Booked travel insurance? Check. Written emergency numbers? Check. E-tickets printed? Double check!
Once you go over and accomplish it one at a time without rushing, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make sure that these documents are checked and completed.
Luggage and Carry Ons
Airline rules about baggage allowance? Sounds like a pending anxiety to me just thinking about it.
But don’t panic. You don’t need to figure this out by yourself. Make sure to check with your airline and speak with them or visit their website, if necessary about your luggage and the size of carry ons allowed that do not require extra fees.
While it varies from an airline to another, one checked suitcase (often, one weighing under 50 pounds) will cost you $25 to $30; checking additional bags could cost more. On the other hand, two carry-on items can be for free: one full-size carry-on the size of a small rolling suitcase or smaller, and one small personal item, such as a purse or backpack.
Time and Schedule
Catching a plane isn’t like catching a bus; it’s a much longer process. In fact, the TSA recommends showing up at least two hours before takeoff for domestic travel, and three hours for international travel.
Ultimately, you need to give yourself enough time to get your boarding pass, check your bags and go through security before your plane starts boarding. Sometimes, that takes 10 minutes. Other times, especially during peak travel times, it can take much longer.
It’s worth keeping in mind that boarding the plane isn’t a free-for-all, either. Airlines typically start boarding passengers 30 minutes before takeoff in groups. Generally, a boarding time will be printed on your ticket.
Finally, Facing Your Fear
Let’s face it. If you are a first time flier, there can be anxiety induced by just thinking about it. Sometimes, no matter how you tell yourself it will be okay, you cannot help but overthink. Fear of flying is a serious phobia, that’s why most airline launch courses to help alleviate this fear especially for first time fliers. That way, flying for the first time will not really be a ‘first’ since you’ve taken the necessary preparation before flying.
Yes, these courses are not for everybody. Definitely not for those who do not have the luxury to do that. There are many anxiety-management practices you can do before flying and we’ll probably discuss them to you in a more detailed article.
Back Up Plan
Not being a pessimist but just what if, what if you missed you very first flight? What a disaster right?
But I advise you to relax, take deep breaths and remember YOU WILL BE OKAY.
If you miss your plane because of unforeseen circumstances, such as a major traffic delay, the airline will often put you on standby for the next flight without charging extra. Just remember that you generally need to notify the airline within a couple of hours of missing your flight to get rebooked for free.
The key here is to communicate. Have the airlines’ number ready and you should be okay.