I will share 5 tips for your first time flying in an airplane.
If you have never flown, you will be totally prepared for your first flight.
- Before the First Time in the Airplane:
Make your packing list.
- I have an ultimate list that you can use to pack travel essentials for any trip and leave home what you do not need.
Pack in a carry-on bag or checked suitcase.
- Google your luggage requirements. Each airline has different regulations on the size or weight for domestic or international flights. Example: I would google delta airlines + personal item size.
- Many travelers pack in carry-on bags for 3 reasons:
- 1 so they do not have to wait in baggage claim for their suitcase
- 2 so they do not have to pay to check luggage, and
- 3 to minimize the risk of the airline losing their suitcase. You can buy those luggage trackers-our favorite is the apple trackers. But the large airlines have a system. So it is not absolutely necessary. But it can give you peace of mind.
- Watch how I pack outfits in only a carry on bag.
Do not buy third party tickets if at all possible.
- You have more rights by buying it within the airline’s app. Or at least read the very fine print if you pay for coverage.
Pack travel documents:
- passport or ID and boarding pass
- Pack 2 health documents: health insurance card or a card that lists all the medicines you take.
- If you are in an accident like my mom was while in another state, your family member whips out that card to give to doctors.
Here is a travel hack:
Take a photo of your health insurance card and list of medicines. Then go to the Notes app on your phone, open a new note and write Vacation Info:
- You will see a camera icon at the bottom if you have an iPhoone 14pro. 2. Tap Insert Photo. You may also see Scan Document or Insert Photo if you press down on the screen of the note.
- If you need a wheelchair or assistance, tick the box on that website if you have any disability then-if you need a wheelchair for example. It is almost impossible to go back and change it later. TIP: know that you MIGHT have to wait at least 15 minutes probably 30 minutes around holiday dates for a wheelchair after or before a flight.
- Wear a comfortable travel outfit.
- I have a post teaching you what not to wear in the airplane based on mistakes I have made over the 20 years as a pilot’s wife, and it was either really uncomfortable or put added stress on me that was unnecessary. You can also watch the video of travel outfits to not wear too.
Charge electronics before your first flight.
I have forgotten my cell phone charger before. Learn that travel tip from me!
I pack a portable charger that will charge my phone twice. But I also have my block for night time charging of my phone, watch and AirPods for example.
2. Arriving at the Airport:
– 24 hours before your flight, you can check in online instead of checking in at the airport. You check in with a confirmation number with random letters and numbers you got when you bought your ticket. You will receive an email or a notification on your airline app (which we recommend if taking carry-on bags only) the day before your flight telling you that you can check in online if you wish.
Arrive 2 hours before your plane boards for 2 reasons:
- 1. to allow for long lines in airport security and
- 2. because airlines make you get in the plane 30-45 minutes for the take off departure time that is on your ticket or boarding pass.
So if your flight is at 2 pm, the airline will board at 1:15 or 1:30. Therefore you would be inside the airport by 11:30 am.
This airline and airport travel terminology video may help if this is your first time flying or being in an airport.
- With large airports like IAH, you can park at any terminal. But American Airlines, for example, is only at the A terminal. So you want to know for sure in that email you got telling you to check in – which terminal your airplane is parked at.
- Navigating the airport signage: When you arrive, you will see a Ticketing counter. That is for you if you need a pass or ticket to get through airport security and onto your flight. If you have that ticket (or bar code) on your phone, you do not have to go to the ticketing counter.
- But if you are checking your luggage into the belly of the airplane because it is too large for a carry-on size, this is where you check your bag.
Watch how to go through the TSA line for the first time.
3. Airport Security:
– I have a walk through video to show you how to go through airport security for the first time.
If you do not have precheck you will have to remove 5 things in line on the conveyor belt:
- 1 shoes, 2 liquids, belts, 3 jackets/sweater, 4 most jewelry and 5 electronics larger than a phone.
- The reason is that the security machine has to screen those things with nothing blocking them. I also have travel tips for what not to wear in airport security if that would help.
- TIP: update for 2024 is that you most likely will no longer have to take out your bag of liquids, but it’s not in print yet.
- The permitted sizes of containers holding liquids are 3.4 oz or smaller and they must all fit in one quart sized clear bag.
- TIP: if going to Europe, their quart sized bags are smaller than ours made by Ziploc, and you will most likely have to move your liquids to their bag. You may not.
- Right after airport security is a bunch of monitors with where your flight information is displayed.
- TIP: Your airline app is updated sooner than these monitors fyi.
4. Boarding Gate:
– When you arrive, listen to what the gate agents say. Follow their instructions and announcements.
Board the aircraft when your designated zone or group is called.
- Your boarding pass or ticket could say a myriad of things like Boarding zone: 4 or Boarding group: B
- One tip for getting on the airplane is that some airlines have 5 groups that can board first before they even start with the zones. So there is a chance that your suitcase may be checked because there is not enough overhead bin space left.
For that reason, my travel tip is to pack your travel essentials like medicine and chargers in your personal item bag.
5. Inside the Airplane:
– Your assigned seat will be on the boarding pass. If you see Not Yet Assigned, just ask the gate agent when you get to the airplane.
– Stow your carry-on luggage in the overhead bin that is at your row or seat.
- The seatbelt sign will stay on until it is safe enough for passengers to get up. If it is lit up, you cannot get up.
- That could take 20 minutes plus the time you stand in line 30 minutes before the flight, so use the restroom before you board.
I made a video of how I save space when packing toiletries that may help you.
I hope you have a wonderful first flight!
Grab some free travel hacks below before you pack for your first flight and thank you for visiting!