First Time Flyer Tips
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Over the last few years, my traveling has really picked up! My first time flying commercially was when my parents gave me a graduation gift in high school to Los Angeles. Flying is exciting and fun for me, and I have now mastered flying with others and flying by myself. Here are some tips on flying if you're a first flyer!
How to Buy a Plane Ticket
I fly Delta and their partners (Air France/KLM) the most. I am member of Delta's miles team and I can rack up mile points. I always check Delta's website FIRST before researching. Then I go to JustFly.com or Momondo.com to compare flights/times/etc. I have bought some flights off these sights, and I have never had an issue with either! I have even bought our flights through a travel agency (CheapCarribbean.com) and did not have an issue as well.
One time I bought a flight through another website and the confirmation number changed, so I called the website and confirmed this with them while I was on my computer typing it in on Delta. If you have concerns, do not hesitate to call! I suggest buying all flights with credit cards as well.
Be picky with your Airline
Believe me when I see cheaper flights, I immediately want to book them BUT cheaper is NOT better or actually cheaper in the flying world. Airlines like Spirit and Frontier charge more than Delta/American Airlines/etc to have baggage. So you could be paying the exact same total to fly with a crappier airline. Also, speaking from a trusted source, some of these "cheaper" airlines do not fire their pilots for flying drunk. So if I were you, paying a few extra dollars is worth my safety and experience flying.
How to Pack
You want a sturdy, hard shell suitcase. You will see those airline workers throw your bags, and if you have a soft shell suitcase, your things could be broken easily. I have a Samsonite collection for a great price! Belk's has a great sale on them usually so I would check there or Amazon!
Checked Bag: The typical weight limit for checked baggage is 50 lbs. Weigh your bag at home then airports typically have scales as well so you can weigh before checking it. I have absolutely opened my suitcase in front of everyone to move something from my checked baggage to my carry on. It depends on the airline worker you get! Some let you squeeze by with 52 lbs while others want you at 49 lbs.
Carry On Bag: Put all of your valuables in your carry on. This includes cameras, GoPros, jewelry, makeup, etc. Bascially anything you would be absolutely devastated if you lost and money can't replace. I also suggest you pack an extra outfit in your carry on in case your checked luggage gets lost. Carry On bags have a specific height/width but anything that can fit in an overhead bin is okay. I've seen people with full size luggage and the airline just checks it in for free LOL
Download the Airline App
I fly Delta the most frequent, but every airline has an app. With an app, you don't need a paper boarding pass, you can check in 24 hours early, pick/change your seat, track your bags, and see if your gate changes. I love having an app because I miss the kiosk for grabbing my paper boarding pass, which just gets annoying to me, and I can add the pass to my wallet. With Iphones, you don't even have to open your phone or the app because on the day of your flight it pops up on your screen without you having to do anything! Plus, I can check and change my seat if needed.
At the Airport
You should get to the airport at least 2 hours ahead of your flight time. I know I know....why in the world would it take you that long but trust me you would rather have extra people watching time that racing down the terminal like the family in Home Alone.
If someone is dropping you off, you will figure out which terminal you are leaving from and have your driver drop you off there. If you are driving yourself, research your airport for Park and Ride options. For Atlanta, it's $10 a day to have your car parked and a bus will pick you and drop you off at your car. Super easy just give yourself a few extra minutes!
Walk into the terminal, and if you need a boarding pass you will go to a little kiosk and type in your confirmation numbers and BOOM it prints it out. They prefer for you to pay for your bag at the kiosk, especially if it's busy. Then you will head to the counter if you have any checked bags, and have them weigh your bag and give your a number to track your bag. (if you have the app, it tracks it for you ;) ).
Next, is the longest part of getting to your flight....security. In Atlanta, I always go to the South end (Idk it's always been faster to me). You will need your ID/passport and boarding pass ready. After this is checked, you will move to the bins and security check. This is where you lose all faith in humanity because people can't seem to understand the process of moving along. Move to an OPEN bin station. Yes even if you pass another person you can go to an open bin area. Take off your shoes/jackets/hats, place everything into a bin, and a new rule is even food is needed to be taken out to examine in the bin separate from your bags. Your tablet or computer must be placed in a separate bin by itself. No charger included. Your iPhone doesn't count. Just larger electronics. Push your bins when asked by the TSA agent and move to get scanned quickly.
I have been stopped before because of my makeup in my carry on and they let me keep it. You cannot have over 12 ounces (I think) of liquid. So put your shampoo/conditioner/perfume in your checked bag.
Next is the best part....FOOD and People Watching! I always go straight to my assigned gate to ensure it's correct. I then scope out a snack or meal and eat at my gate. This is your time to relax, take pics, catch up on emails, etc. Your flight will board about 30 minutes prior to departure. They will call your seats by zones so check your zone, which is on your boarding pass.
If you get to your seat and someone is in it (yes people will do this), tell a flight attendant immediately and let them handle it. DO NOT take someone else's seat. Everyone is assigned a seat.
Now it's time to Fly
Heights and flying have never scared me. It's less exhilarating than a roller coaster in my opinion so no need to stress over feeling a huge motion. Turn your phone to Airplane Mode and relax. Watch a movie. Color. Read. Every flight gives out snacks then if you have a longer flight they will give you a meal. Keep your seat belt on at all times. Just my safety tip unless you're going to bathroom.
Once your flight lands, no need to jump up right away unless you're in the first class. It's going to take about 15 - 20 minutes so just turn your phone back on and entertain yourself. Once you're out of your plane, head to baggage claim and pick up your bags! Your app will have what baggage claim your bag is on as well.
Enjoy your trip!
Flying Extra Tips
ALWAYS use a credit card....with anything online I always use a credit card because it's safer. With most airlines, you can cancel a flight purchase for a full refund within 24 hours. But credit cards will keep you safe from scammers
Flying during the summer is always more expensive
You can take your own food with you passed security but not drinks. So pack a few of your own snacks because airport food is more expensive
Get the Hopper App to check when prices might go down or up
Checked Baggage Prices in states are usually $25 for your first bag then $50 for second bag; internationally it depends but when flying to Europe, it's free for your first checked bag
If it makes you feel better, download a map of the airports you'll be in
Put all your liquids in a Ziploc Bag. Whether it's in your carry on or checked bags. You don't want something exploding and getting all over your clothes/belongings.
If you need a passport for your trip, you need to start the application at least 3 months before your trip
If you're confused in an airport, don't be afraid to ask for help! I was in Amsterdam by myself and couldn't find my gate so I asked for help from an airport worker
I think I will do a International Flying Blog.....
Message me if you have more questions!