In 2019, there were 805 million Americans that flew on a plane.
While that may seem like a lot of people flying, there are still some people who’ve never been on a plane.
Is this your first time flying on an airplane? You’ll need to plan the whole airport process, from airport transportation to finding your gate. Here’s a guide!
A Few Days Before Your Trip
There are a few things you can do on the days leading up to your trip.
Make sure you pack beforehand; this will help make you feel more relaxed, which makes it more likely you’ll pack everything you need.
Check with your airline company to review its policy on checked and carry-on bags. If you’re bringing a carry-on, you’ll also need to check with TSA guidelines to see what you can and can’t bring on your flight.
Twenty-four hours before your flight, you should also be able to check into your flight online. You can also do this at the airport if you want.
Getting To the Airport
On the day of, you’ll need to figure when and how to get to the airport.
You can always get some airport transportation services, like a shuttle, or you can have a family member or friend drop you off.
Most airports recommend that you get there two hours before you’re scheduled to depart for a domestic flight. If you’re flying internationally, arrive three hours beforehand.
This will give you time to get your boarding pass, check luggage, and go through the security screening.
Most airlines will impose hard caps on when they won’t be able to check you in. They may also stop accepting bags at a certain point as well, so make sure you get there on time.
Go Through Security
Once you’ve checked your baggage in and gotten your boarding pass, next you’ll need to go through security.
To do this, you’ll need your ID or passport along with your boarding pass.
Once you get past the initial screener, you’ll have to put any carry-on luggage, jackets, and shoes onto a conveyer belt.
The bins with your belongings will go through an X-ray machine, where a technician will scan your things for anything suspicious.
If your baggage passes, you’ll walk through the metal detector and pick it up on the other side.
However, you may be selected for a random screening or be pulled aside and asked questions if you are found with anything suspicious or forbidden.
Wait to Board the Plane
Once you get through security, next you’ll have to wait to board the plane.
Depending on how early you arrived at the airport, you may have some time to kill. There are normally shops or restaurants around that are willing to entertain you until your flight is about to leave.
If you’re right on time, you can make your wait to your gate, scan your boarding pass, and board the plane.
Boarding the Plane
Normally the plane boards in different groups. Your boarding group should be listed on your boarding pass.
The agent will then scan your pass when your group is called. You’ll have an assigned seat on the plane, and you can ask a flight attendant if you need help locating it.
Normally, A seats are located next to the window, B seats are in the middle, and C seats are the aisle row. There should also be little diagrams on the overhead bins to help you if you aren’t sure.
If you have carry-on luggage, you can find a spot in the overhead compartment to store it.
On the Plane
Once you’re on the plane and have found your seat, then you’ll have to wait while everyone else continues to board.
If you have extra luggage that won’t go in the overhead bin, you’ll have to make sure it’s tucked underneath your seat, clear of the aisle.
Before the plane takes off, make sure that you have your seatbelt buckled across your laptop. The flight attendants will come to check to make sure you’re buckled, so make sure no jacket or blankets are covering it.
The flight attendants will let you use your electronics for a little while, but before they take off, you may be asked to put them into airplane mode.
There will also be a brief safety demonstration, and then you’ll take off to head to your destination!
Once You Arrive At Your Destination
Once you get to your destination, there will also be some things you have to do.
If you’re making a connecting flight, make sure you figure out where your gate and time is. Normally your checked luggage will be transferred to the next plane without you having to do anything.
If you aren’t on a connecting flight, follow the signs for baggage claim. You should be able to find the carousel that had your flight number. You’ll be able to pick up your checked bag there.
After that, make your way to the pickup area or the car rental service to get to your next destination.
Learn More About the Airport Process
The airport process can be really scary, especially the first time.
It may look like everyone around you knows what they’re doing, but keep in mind that no one is judging you. You’ve done the right thing by doing research and preparing beforehand.
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