Hubby and I were late fliers. We did not travel abroad, by plane, until we were in our late thirties. As such, we were both terrified and full of excitement at the prospect.
Since then tragedies, such as 9/11 have added to people's fear of flying and have made a passenger's experience at the airport more troublesome. Even without an emergency at the airport, staff are quite rightly more vigilant these days. If an emergency occurs just prior to your flight, you can expect more stringent treatment.
I am one of those people who feel torn between a rock and a hard place, as far as security measures go.
Obviously safe travel is a priority but maintaining it can create many restrictions. After the terrorist incident happened at Glasgow airport, in 2007, many new restrictions were put in place. Some were relaxed with time but of course, there have been more of these incidents around the world since. The latest one in America, to make the world news, was in January 2010.
All of this means that plane travel brings mixed feelings.
Apprehension, frustration, excitement and exhaustion, if there are delays. Most airports now require passengers to arrive at the airport at least two or three hours before their flight. This can add to the exhaustion of passengers. However, it is often necessary in order to carry out thorough luggage checks and the like.
So, if you have never flown before consider:-
- Make sure you leave ample time for your journey to the airport.
- Check out the latest instructions online. You need to be 100% clear in your mind, what is expected of you
- As you leave your home check that, you have any necessary tickets, passports, holiday insurance, any visas, credit or debit cards, traveller's cheques, vaccination documents and money. It is too late to check when you are already at the airport.
- For UK, passengers flying to European countries, ensure that you have a valid E111 card.
- Until you check in make sure that, you keep a constant eye on your luggage. Never leave luggae stood next to you and fall asleep, for example. If the bag has a handle big enough, sit with your foot or arm through the handle.
- Take it in turns to watch the luggage if necessary.
- Take a few drinks and a snack with you to the airport, unless you are prepared to pay extortionate amounts of money and want to queue for the privilege. You may not be able to take food and drink through passport control, so check out the current regulations. You can buy them once you are through passport control, but of course, they will not be cheap.
- Have any prescription medication handy, in case your flight is delayed. It is best to have a small supply, including headache tablets, in your hand luggage.
- Some medication will require you to take a doctor's letter also.
- Dress smart if you want to but consider wearing non-restrictive clothing and comfortable footwear. Light, breathable fabrics will help keep you cool.
- Sometimes the flight can be cool when you are flying at a high altitude so a thin cardigan is a good idea.
- If you feel it is necessary, buy and wear flight socks for your journey. This could be a lifesaver and prevent a DVT, deep vein thrombosis.
- Be prepared for bag or body searches by officials in the airport.
- Never be late for you flight, unless there has been a dire emergency. Apart from the fact the flight may leave without you, it is just so discourteous to your fellow passengers.
- Travel as light as possible. The baggage allowance has recently been reduced in the UK. Remember to check the weight of your luggage before leaving home. The baggage allowance these days is often rigorously enforced.
- Make sure you are up to date with current regulations regarding luggage and items allowed. You can usually check this out on the foreign office or airport web site.
- Watch out for poor deals in duty free shops. Cigarettes and tobacco in UK airports, for UK citizens, are not usually any cheaper than at home. Wait and buy them abroad.
- Most airports have a wide selection of shops. Depending what time of day you are travelling, all or some of the shops may be closed.
- Many travel companies book you a specific seat on the plane these days, when you book your holiday. If that is the case, you will not have dash for the line once check-in is open. I am told that many flights these days also allow on-line check-in, so many hours before the flight. I am not sure how this works but it should be a great help.
- Airports are exciting, bustling places but these days you need to be more safety conscious than ever. Enjoy the experience, and possibly the novelty, but always be safe and never sorry.
These days plane travel is constantly changing. You must be prepared to follow the latest advice and regulations.
Flying is still fun but in order to ensure that it also safe restrictions are necessary.