Have you never been on a plane? Is your head filled with a thousand questions? How does check in work? How and when do you know where to board? What do you need to go through security and customs? Are you scared of getting lost in the airport and miss your flight?
Don’t panic! It’s all going to be OK!
• You will probably have to do your check in online. You will receive an email from the airline to remind you to do your check in. This email will arrive between 48 and 24 hours before the departure of your flight. You will have up to 2 hours before departure to do it, so be careful! Once done, you will be able to print your boarding passes. You can also retrieve them online with your reservation number. If you haven’t done it online, it is possible to do it at the airport, but you will have to pay extra fees for that service. In some cases, you won’t receive an email, the check in will be automatic and you will only have to present yourself at the check in desk with your passport on the day of your departure!
• For national flights, you should arrive an hour before take-off. When it comes to international flight, it is better to go to the airport 3 hours in advance. You will have enough time to check in your luggage and have a coffee before going through security.
• In case you have a luggage to check in, look for the check in desk for your airline as soon as you arrive. Don’t wait until the last minute. You will gain time, and if you stay close to the desk you might be among the firsts in line.
• To check your luggage in you will need your passport and your boarding pass if you already have it (whether you have a hard copy or have it on your phone in case of an e-pass).
• Once your luggage is checked in, before going through security, you are free to walk around the airport and even go outside.
• Going through security can take quite some time, be patient!
• To go through security and customs, you will need your passport and boarding pass.
• Prior to your departure, check the size and weight requirements for your hand luggage. You will find this information on the airline’s website.
• You aren’t allowed to carry any liquid over 100 ml in your carry-on luggage. There will be no possible negotiations, you will be asked to throw away anything that doesn’t comply with the rule. To avoid any waste, bring with you only sample sized liquids. Most of the times those will have to be placed in a transparent zip lock bag that you might have to take out of your luggage when putting it through the x-ray machine.
• While your luggage is being scanned, you’ll have to walk through a metal detector. You will have to remove your belt, your jewellery and sometimes even your shoes. Don’t panic, this is all normal procedure!
• And finally, be careful to not leave behind any of your valuables! It’s easy to forget your phone, your passport, your jewels, …
• Once you’ve gone through customs you will enter the duty-free zone. You will find stores, restaurants, cafés … (it varies from one airport to the other).
• Keep track of your boarding time. There are screens all over the airport that will show you the boarding time and location. Make your way to the gate once the number appears on the screen.
• As you board the plane, the flight attendants will ask you to show your boarding pass and your passport one last time.
On the plane:
• Once you have shown your boarding pass, the flight attendant will show you the direction of your seat.
• Everybody on board speaks English!
• Make yourself comfortable: there is a small pillow provided to help support your back, but I highly recommend you bring a travel pillow to avoid any neck pain.
• You can remove your shoes if you like. It is not a problem to walk around in socks during the flight.
• Fasten your seatbelt, put away your tray table. You are now ready for take-off! Don’t worry, it’s going to be great!!!
• It is very important to stay hydrated during your flight. Don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants for water, it’s completely free.
• The best time to go to the toilet is before they serve meals. After, you will often be facing a big queue! Don’t try to hold it, even if you’re scared of bothering the person sitting next to you… Because when you will finally make your move, there will probably be a long line too!
• Get ready for landing: fasten your seatbelt and put your tray table away! If you’re sitting at the window you will really enjoy landing! You’ll get the chance to take some great pictures from above!
When you arrive at your destination:
• Once you’ve landed you will have to go through security yet again, so get your passport ready. There will be some waiting time as well.
• If you are on a long-haul flight, make sure to fill in the form that will be given to you on the plane. You will have to hand it in to customs to enter or leave the country.
• Now, time to get your luggage back! There will be screens telling you at which conveyer belt you will be able to collect them. This may take a while (20 minutes to an hour) so don’t forget to take it into account when making your travel arrangements.
• It isn’t necessary to exchange money upon arrival at the airport. You will often be able to find exchange bureaus outside that will be less crowded. You might find better rates elsewhere too. Look up the exchange rates online to have an idea of how much you can get for your money’s worth and not get ripped off! That’s it!