Good Morning…. How are you all? I hope all well.
I am back with my new blog on the topic of first-time travel via Airplane. This was questioned to me numerous times by many of my friends on Instagram/YouTube etc.. Buddy what are the things to keep in mind if I am flying for the first time and the answer is little different for Domestic and International. I will be sharing the stepwise process, and necessary points to keep in mind if you are traveling for the first time but keep in mind that I will be doing this from my experiences majorly in Indian Airports, it might be a little different in other countries and why I am telling that because I felt the process is little different in San Francisco Airport but yes 70-80% will be common in most of the places.
Now enough of preface, let start with the flow.
The first thing first is the ticket booking 🙂 and web check-in(you may skip web check-in if you are not so sure). Also, nowadays the seat is not free for domestic travel in most of the Airlines. In web check-in, you will have the seat identified but if you do not like the seat then pay for a good one :-), nothing which is good is free my friend.
Firstly, you have to carry a photo identity proof with you as this will be required in every place for you. Though any Govt. Issued photo identity proof will work for domestic travel but it is always better to carry your passport as that will be accepted in both domestic and international travel.
When you entered in the Airport area, the first thing you need to do is to get a trolley if you are carrying heavy luggage which you cannot carry by hand, generally, I have seen in India, Canada, France, Maldives and couple of more countries it is free to get a trolley but in a few countries you need to pay a dollar for a trolley. Now, if you are ready with your luggage then proceed towards the Airport departure gate. In the departure gate, in India, you will be asked for the ticket and the photo identity proof, this is just a routine verification. In this verification, you can show any Govt. issued photo identity proof even if you are traveling abroad but keep one thing in mind that your ticket should have all the traveler name visible, why I am telling this is because the tickets uploaded in Apple wallet are also accepted but if all the travelers name are not shown in the Apple wallet ticket then you will have to show a ticket where all the co-passengers names are visible.
Now, once you entered the Airport inside, then in a few airports you need to check your luggage first from your airline luggage checking center(this is only for checking luggage, not for your hand baggage) but this is not common for all the airports, in a few airports you can directly proceed towards the airline counter. Once, you are done with the luggage checking, you may proceed towards the Airline counter.
In the airline counter, you again need to show your ticket and photo identity proof, but if you are traveling abroad then you need to show your passport here. Once you show your ticket and passport and weight your luggage then they will issue your Boarding Pass but if you have checked-in via web check-in then a softcopy of the boarding pass is already emailed to you. Two things you should keep in mind that if your luggage weight crosses your baggage allowance of the airline then you need to pay extra and the second thing is, if you have checked luggage then do not forget to get the checked luggage sticker stuck in the backside of your boarding pass as if you miss that and luggage misplaced then you cannot claim it either to insurance(if you have taken) company or to airline. Also, after getting the boarding pass check the flight number, gate number, departure time and boarding time to be safe.
I have screwed up the image and made it very clumsy but boarding pass will look something similar like this and the source of the image is Google.
Now, if you are traveling abroad i.e international travel then you need to proceed towards immigration checking which is not the case for domestic travel. There will be a queue and you have to stand in the queue but remember there are two types of queue one for the passengers who belong to the land and another who belongs to a foreign land, in an easy word citizen of the country and foreigners. Here, the immigration officer will check your passport, visa(you need to declare and show your ticket if you are traveling to a country where visa on arrival), boarding pass, ask you about your travel and finally take a picture of yours’ and then stamp on your passport. Other than a different standing queue, the process is almost the same for a foreigner.
Post this, you have to proceed towards security check, and if you are a domestic traveler then you can directly proceed towards the security check. Now, in the security check in a few airport male & females are having the different counter and in a few airports, it has the same counter. In the security checking, basically, airport security will check you and your hand baggage. You should not carry any liquid more than 100 ml, any item that is considered as dangerous goods, lighter, matchbox, knife, scissors, and even a toy gun. If you are carrying a laptop, you need to bring it out of your laptop bag or hand luggage and put it in a tray provided by the airport authority. Also, keep your coins, keys, wallet, watch and belt in the handbag you are carrying and give it for the security checking. When you will pass under the metal detector you should not have any metal with you. After you crossed the metal detector then there will be one more checking by security personnel. Finally, if you are found clean & legitimate, then you will be allowed by stamping your Boarding pass to proceed towards the boarding.
Now, it is quite common that you will have time before boarding and you can spend that time in the Airport boarding area, Airlines Lounges, Bar & Cafeteria inside the airport boarding area, and if you are going to catch an International flight then you can spend your time in the Duty-Free area.
In the boarding time, airline guys will either announce on the board if it is a quiet airport or verbally announce the boarding queue(like zones/seat numbers). You need to stand in the queue as per the algorithm announced by the airline. Once your turn will come that is when you need to show your boarding pass and proceed towards the bus/Airbus. In the flight, you will have cabin crews who can help you if you need any help or you can directly proceed towards your seat.
In flight, if you are in domestic flight then check if you have meal free/booked or else you need to buy if you want to have. In international flights, you get meal free but not all the airlines provide beverages, in-flight internet. If your flight provides aforesaid then you are definitely on a good flight.
Now, if you are on an international flight then a few minutes before landing you will be given customs declaration form, which you need to fill and keep it with you and this will be required when you will be passing the immigration and customs check of the country you landed on. If you are a domestic flyer then you need not worry about the immigration and customs.
After this, you can proceed towards the exit gate.
Happy journey. I hope this helps you with your first air travel or if you are traveling by air after a long time.