For first timers, or those unfamiliar with flying, preparing for an airplane trip can be daunting. These are some tips which will help with making a checklist, or to use as a prompt of things to find out about, or be aware of and prepared for before flying.
When choosing flights, it is important to know just what each different airline includes in the price. For instance does the price include checked in baggage? Food and drinks during the flight? It could be that the flight that looks the cheapest turns out to be more expensive when all the extras are added on, compared to a flight where the price seems higher but more is included in that price.
When booking online, there may be the option to choose seats, and to check-in online, too. Be sure to print out all documents, such as itinerary, and boarding pass. As for seats, if you do not want to be disturbed during the flight, you may want to try for a window seat. However, if you think you may need to get up during the flight, an aisle seat may be your best option.
Make sure you specify any special dietary requirements that you have when you book your flight.
Check which items are not allowed to be carried at all. A list of dangerous goods should be shown on the airline’s website. Do not pack any of these.
Be sure to note when you need to arrive at the airport. (It could be sixty minutes before the departure time for a domestic flight, and more for an international flight). Allow plenty of time for the journey to the airport. Missing a plane is not like missing a bus, there is not another coming long in twenty minutes that you can simply hop onto.
Read all of the information provided to you by the airline when you receive your ticket.
Make sure you read and understand the baggage allowance. There will be a weight limit for checked in baggage. For cabin baggage there could be a limit to the number of pieces that you can carry on with you. There could be a combined weight limit for cabin baggage, or a limit on individual pieces. There are usually specified maximum dimensions, as it has to fit either in the overhead lockers, or under the seat – on fully booked flights space is a concern.
It is a good idea to take any valuables with you onto the plane, do not pack them in your suitcase. The same applies to medications, you cannot afford to be without these if anything should happen to your checked in luggage.
In your cabin baggage you may want to pack a change of clothes and some basic toiletries, as sometimes your checked in baggage may go astray and be delayed, so at least you will have the basics with you.
Label your checked in baggage inside and out with your contact details. If you have a suitcase that is hard to distinguish from others (there is a lot of black luggage out there!), then you can make it easier to identify by attaching to the handles a contrasting piece of ribbon, cord or cloth.
Many people travel with electronic devices for entertainment on the airplane. They could be laptops, iPods, iPads, Kindle or other electronic readers, or gaming devices. Be aware that these cannot be turned on while the plane is taking off or landing. You may want to take a good old-fashioned book that you can read at all times during the flight.
Phones need to be turned off for the duration of the flight, unless they are in airplane mode. Airplane mode is allowed only when the plane is in the air. Make sure to switch to airplane mode before you turn it off, or you will not be able to use it at all.
A last reminder
Be sure to remember any tickets, itinerary, or boarding pass, and make sure you have the correct I.D. with you before you leave for the airport.