Step by Step First Time Air Travel Guide

First flight fears? Let Skyscanner help you to transform into confident frequent flyer from nervous airport virgin – one step at a time.

Step 1 – Booking tickets

Booking flight tickets is a breeze, but only if you know how. Getting your hands on the best – read cheapest – tickets may be a task, given the huge number of options you have for ticketing. Everyone from travel agents to online websites and airlines want in on the game, leaving you completely muddled. It’s Skyscanner to the rescue! Skyscanner is a flight ticket aggregator – a website that gets multiple agents and websites on to one platform and sorts the tickets they offer according to your preference – all for your booking convenience. Try it out!

Download the Skyscanner app here

Step 2 – Packing right

Pack right, and light. After you are done figuring out what all you may need at your destination – weather wise – it would do well to check how much weight your airline allows you to carry without charging extra. All airlines have different rules for domestic and international routes, so check your ticket for the maximum allowance and stay within it. Check the airline website for articles not allowed on a flight. There is a list of things that can be packed in your check-in baggage but not in your hand baggage – make sure to follow that list.

Pack right

Read more: Your ‘Super Checklist’ for travel

Step 3 – Getting to the airport

Know your way around? Good for you. Rule of thumb – reach the airport 1 hour in advance for a domestic flight and 3 hours earlier in case of an international flight. Thinking of cabbing it to the airport? Make sure you ask for the cab a little ahead of time – no point risking it with traffic jams or a car breakdown. Check on your ticket which terminal your flight is scheduled to depart from, and inform the driver accordingly. Very often, a confusion at this stage can end up being the difference between catching your flight and missing it. In any case, reach ahead of time and explore the airport – airports today are interesting places, with multiple shopping and browsing opportunities. Many offer lounges where you can relax and tank up before your flight.

Start exploring now!

Step 4 – Once you reach the airport

Airports can be confusing, especially for a first timer. Larger airports – in big cities – can actually be a maze if you don’t know what to do. Here is a step wise guide to finding your way around the airport, checking in, and heading to your terminal. 
• Keep your ticket handy – will help you get to your terminal.
• Put your luggage onto a trolley. Trolleys are stacked near the departures entrance.
• Keep your I-card along with your ticket, you will need it at the entrance to get in.
• Once inside, head to your airline section with your ticket and identification.
• Get your check-in baggage scanned, hold on to whatever you may need for the flight and on landing.
• You can now go to your airline’s check-in counter and collect your boarding pass. You can also get your boarding pass at an electronic kiosk nearby. 
• If you haven’t already e-checked in and grabbed the seat of your choice, try your luck at the counter at this stage. 
• Weigh your checked-in baggage at the counter, get it tagged and sent off to the airplane. Get your hand baggage weighed and proceed to the terminal mentioned on your boarding pass.
• To get to your terminal, you have to cross security. To cross security, you will have to place everything except your boarding pass in the X-ray tray and pass through a metal detector.
• Once you are through, collect your items from the tray and off you go! You could spend your extra time, if you have any, browsing the retail section or grabbing a bite. 
• Head to your departure gate and keep an ear out for announcements related to your flight. If you are at a silent airport, announcements will be messaged to your phone or email – or you could just keep an eye out for the display board.

Follow airport procedure

Read more: Cabin luggage: Guide to hand baggage restrictions for Indians

Step 5 – You’re on the plane! Now what?

After you board, head to the seat number allotted to you and place your hand baggage in the overhead bin close to your seat. Place your hand bag under the seat in front of you. Settle in, put on your seat belt, switch off your cell phone, listen carefully to the instructions given by the flight attendant, and enjoy the flight.

Read more: First trip abroad? Here’s what not to do

Step 6 – Be prepared for your destination

You’ve reached your destination! Unless you enjoy bumbling about in a new city, there is a host of apps that you can download which will make your life easier. From currency conversion to foreign language translations and directions around the city, it can all show up on your smartphone. You will know which clothes to get off the plane in – shorts and a t-shirt may prove grossly inadequate if you show up on a freezing winter night in a new land!

Be travel ready