tips for first time flying

It can be very stressful and confusing for you if it’s your first time traveling on an airplane. First-time flyers can be nervous, and possibly make mistakes. 

While not every flyer makes the same mistakes, there are some common ones that people make when flying for the first time. In this post, I will show you 15 air travel tips so you will have an enjoyable and successful first flight.

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1. Take note of the baggage requirements.

The weight of your luggage is going to be something you need to focus on before setting out on your trip. This is something that most air travelers forget to do. Prior to booking your flight reservation, you should check the airline’s baggage requirements first. It can be very frustrating to find out at check-in time at the airport that you will need to pay extra hefty fees that most airlines are now charging for overweight bags. Don’t be caught paying those ridiculous fees!

In most cases, international flights provide you with more baggage allowance than the domestic ones. Aside from checking on the check-in baggage terms and conditions though, don’t forget to read the terms for carry on bags as well.

You are much better off investing the proper bags and luggage that meet the airline’s regulations. This will save you money in the long run. Not to mention that dragging around heavy luggage can be quite annoying!

The best way to find out the luggage regulations for your trip is to contact the airline via their website or call to confirm. You can also have a look at the following page on Wikitravel to see a weight limit guide for some of the major airlines.

So don’t forget to check with the airline for both size (dimensions) and weight limitations. It is easy to check the weight of your luggage at home with a portable luggage scale.


2. Arrive at the airport early.

tips for first time flyers

I can’t express this tip enough. You need to arrive early for your flight! So many times, I have seen people show up late for their flight. It’s very important that you arrive at the airport about 2 hours before the flight.

You need to allow time for check-in, luggage, airport security screening and anything else you need to do prior to boarding the flight. If you miss the flight due to your late arrival, it will cause a huge headache for yourself and the airline, not to mention the financial burden as well.


3. Select your seats in advance with the airline

Did you know some airlines will let you select your seat days in advance of your flight? Just check with your airline to see when the earliest to check-in is and take the time to do right when it opens. It can make a big difference if you get just the right seat and aren’t stuck dealing with some pet peeve through the whole flight. Just set an alarm on your phone or schedule a calendar reminder. The longer the flight, the more difference it will make if you can get a comfortable seat.


4. Pack a carry-on bag.

If possible, try to bring a carry on bag along with you. It should include some of the necessities you may need in the event your luggage gets misplaced or stolen.

I have experienced this myself. My checked luggage was lost for a period of time where I had to live out of my carry-on bag. I am glad I packed some fresh clothing, toiletries, and a few other goodies to help me get by.


5. Skip the alcohol

tips for first time flyers alcohol

Skip the alcoholic beverages when flying.

On the FAA website, it states, “Brain effects include impaired reaction time, reasoning, judgment, and memory. Alcohol decreases the ability of the brain to make use of oxygen. This adverse effect can be magnified as a result of simultaneous exposure to altitude, characterized by a decreased partial pressure of oxygen.”

There are many details to keep track of and tasks to complete as a part of successful flight experience: boarding a plane, taking care of luggage, reading new languages, navigating ground transportation options, etc. Instead of drinking alcohol, drink lots of water, so that you won’t get dehydrated. Water also keeps your mental state from deteriorating and keep your immune system healthier. And, if you want to avoid jet lag, you need to avoid alcohol.


6. Bring your own snacks.

I get asked this question all the time. Can I bring my own snacks on board? Yes, you can. Before finalizing your decision about a certain flight, check whether it offers an in-flight meal or not. If the flight does not offer it, then you should bring your own food, such as a sandwich. By doing this, you can prevent paying exorbitant prices for the meals offered onboard.

The food that is offered on the flight, whether it is snacks or a meal, may not be to your liking or if you have allergies. It is always best to bring a snack along with you. Most flights will have a variety of drinks so that most likely won’t be an issue. You can bring a drink on board as well, as long as it is purchased after passing through security.


7. Learn about the requirements for your different destinations

Did you know that some countries only require a passport to visit and some require an additional visa? If you are looking for an uneventful time at the border, it’s best to learn about what will be required before you get there. Some documents take longer than you think to acquire or renew so give yourself plenty of time. Also, when you travel, keep your most important documents in a multi-purpose RFID blocking passport folder like this one to keep them safe.


8. Bring something on board to keep yourself entertained.

This is something like a book or tablet to keep busy and pass the time while on the flight. If you enjoy reading, it is easy to bring a book along with you in your carry on bag.

Many people will bring a tablet or laptop with them on board. You can catch up on some work, watch movies or play games. I don’t recommend all types of tablets for airplanes. Some are better than others due to the size, weight, comfort etc.. The Amazon Fire HD is a great tablet that will work well for most travelers.


9. Bring your own headphones.

Can You Take Headphones on a plane?

This is another question I have been asked many times: Can you bring your own headphones on a plane? Yes, you sure can. The sound of the airplane plus the noise of other people, crying babies, and other distractions can make your flight tiring and stressful.

I highly recommend you bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones along with you. If you enjoy watching movies or listening to music, it is nice to enjoy them with no outside noise or distractions. You don’t need to break the bank on a quality set of headphones either. A good budget set are the Paww Wavesound 3 Bluetooth Headphones.


10. Bring along a travel pillow.

If you are going on a longer flight, you may like to take a nap or get some rest. A comfortable travel pillow goes a long way in helping you achieve that. They will fit easily into a carry on bag and you will find that most people will bring their own versus using the tiny and uncomfortable pillow the airline may provide you.

A good travel pillow like the Everlasting Comfort is very affordable and does a great job.


11. Make copies of your travel documents.

It is a great idea to keep multiple copies of your travel insurance and other travel documents. Keep one in your carry on luggage and one in your checked luggage in the event of lost or stolen luggage.


12. Wear comfortable clothing.

Most airlines will do a great job adjusting the temperature inside the plane to keep it comfortable. Going overseas usually involves very long flights, where you may sleep and sit in the same seat for a long time which is why it is a good idea to wear comfortable clothing. Aside from that, you should also bring a jacket so that you won’t feel cold. Not all flights will have blankets. Proper footwear is also important to stay comfortable both on the plane and walking while boarding or leaving.


13. Be polite.

Unfortunately, I have had the pleasure of working for the airlines and being abused verbally by passengers. I will say that it is a no-win situation for everyone involved.

Being polite to all airline staff will go a long way to ensure you have a pleasant flight. Flight attendants, pilots, and other staff are there for your safety and security and will not tolerate any rudeness or abuse. Some people believe that they can be rude to other passengers or staff members in flight. I have seen it time and time again and not once has it been beneficial to anybody. So please be smart and don’t be rude!

Hopefully, you found these 13 air travel tips for first-time flyers were helpful. There are always many things to prepare for when traveling, the list is endless. But having some great tips can go a long way in helping you plan your trip, and be mindful of events during your trip.

Thanks for reading!

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