If you are reading this, then probably you are a first time flyer and worried about your first flight which is either tomorrow or in a couple of days. You have no clue about the process or the documents you need to carry to get an easy sail through the airport checkpoints, reach and sit comfortably in your flight.
Even if you have never used any public transport or you are getting out of your home for the first time, this post will definitely help you to know all the things that you want to know in order to avoid any type of hassle while boarding a flight.
When I was boarding for my first flight, I also went through the same trouble and worry. I couldn’t ask anybody thinking that they will judge me. That I am a grown man and I don’t even know how to board a flight. Well, not everyone is lucky enough to have seen an airport in the young age. Some only get a chance when they are fully grown. While some of us still make these mistake while traveling via air.
The good thing is that you do not have to worry about anything even if you do not understand process flow from this post. The reason being, airport is flooded with a lot of help desks, people roaming here and there and beautiful air hosts and hostesses who would help you through this with a smile on their face.
I will explain you the process right from booking your tickets to landing and collecting your check-in luggage and boarding a taxi to your destination. This explanation is for domestic travelers and not for international travelers.
Booking a flight ticket: Well, this is the first step. In order to get a taste of flying, you need to empty your pocket a bit and book a ticket for your self. There are plenty of travel websites like cleartrip.com, makemytrip.com, yatra.com from where you can book your flight ticket. Just select the dates, pick up the best flight based on your requirements and pay for it. Thankfully, there are some cheaper flights nowadays which has made going by airplane easy for almost everyone. The best example is Indigo airlines and Goair.
Once you have booked the flights, you will receive the confirmation via SMS and an e-mail also.
Web check-in: This is not a necessary step. But a web check-in help you in various ways. It confirms that you will board this flight and will not cancel from this moment. It saves your time by not letting you stand in the queues for getting a boarding pass. Sometimes, there are separate queues for people who have done web check-in. This separate line is to do a quicker baggage drop, if you are carrying more than permitted luggage.
To web check-in, simply type the name of your flight( like, Indigo, Spicejet etc) and ‘web check-in’ in google. For eg: ‘Indigo web check-in’. It will take you to the site where you can submit your details and do a web check-in. This will generate a boarding pass for you which you will receive in your mail box. You can take a print out of it or simply visit the kiosks in the airport from which you can get a print out of your boarding pass. Some airports does not have a kiosk for this. In that case, you can simply visit the designated counter and get a print out of it.
Entering the airport: While entering the airport, you need to make sure you are carrying one original government issued ID card (like passport, driving license, PAN card etc.) and a print out of your ticket. If you are a smart phone user, you can download an app Passwallet and get e-ticket on it. Both are valid forms of ticket. You will receive your e-ticket in the mail while booking, which you can download in your phone and it will start reflecting in the app. You can even show just the .pdf version of the ticket. That is also valid.
Documents to carry:
- Valid govt. issues ID card
- Print out of the ticket/E-ticket installed in Passwallet app/.pdf version of the e-tickets
Both of these documents will be checked at the entry gate of the airport. Only the travelers are allowed inside the airport. Once you are inside, you get your baggage scanned (some airports have it right after the entry) or reach straight to the designated counter to get your boarding pass and get your extra luggage checked in.
Boarding pass: This is an importance document which is your entry pass to the flight. This can be procured in two ways. Either by doing a web check-in as explained above or from the designated counter in the airport. You can ask any of the representative to help you take you to the counter from where you can get your pass. It will look something like this image below.
Few things to notice on your boarding pass are, to check the Gate number where your flight is parked and the boarding time. You need to make sure you reach at the mentioned gate before boarding time. Your pass mentions 2 different timings on it. One is boarding time and the other is take off time.
Boarding usually happens half an hour before the take off.
Because within that half hour, you are supposed to settle down in your seat and understand all the instructions that air hostesses will guide you. There is cabin space on top of the seats for you to keep your hand baggage/luggage. Re-check your seat number and make yourself comfortable on your seat.
Seat number are usually mentioned on the strip right below the cabin area and just above the seats.
If in case you lose your boarding pass before entering the flight, do not panic and rush to the counter to get a duplicate copy for yourself.
Baggage check-in: At the designated counters, you can check-in your extra luggage. Only 7 kgs of baggage is allowed inside plane and extra 15 kgs of baggage can be submitted at the counter. In total, the baggage weight cannot exceed 22 kgs. Also, you cannot carry liquor in your hand baggage. You will have to submit it with the check-in luggage. Make sure to tell them that the bags are carrying fragile material and this needs to be handled with care.
They will stick a token on your bag being submitted and the other part of the token behind your boarding pass.
If in case you lose your baggage, you can show your token number and claim you baggage. Also, after collecting your boarding pass and checking in your luggage, don’t forget to take baggage tags which are usually placed on the counter. Each baggage tag is supposed to be tied with the bags you are carrying inside the flight.
Security clearance: After attaching your baggage tags, you have to proceed to the security gates. Your boarding pass will be checked while joining the queue for the security gate. After that, you have to get your hand baggage checked for security purpose and get your boarding pass stamped by the personnel. Remember to have your mobile phone, laptop and wallet scanned as well.
While leaving security gates, make sure that your boarding pass and all the baggage tags are duly stamped.
Waiting zone and refreshments: Once you clear the security, you will enter the shopping zone and restaurant zone. If you have ample time in hand, you can do some shopping or enjoy a meal at restaurants. From there, your only job is to reach the gate number in time mentioned in your boarding pass.
In most of the airports, the charges are comparatively higher than what you are used to of. So, while blindly making an order in McDonald’s or pizza hut, make sure to check the prices. As a first time flyer, this is a basic mistake we make.
Final checks and boarding: When you reach at the gate in the stipulated time, show your boarding pass to the personnel standing at the gate. He will take a portion of the ticket with him and give you the remaining part. Your flight will either be parked right outside that gate or a bus will take you to the plane.
In case a bus has come to pick you up, make sure to check the flight number while boarding it. However, this is a dedicated bus assigned only to stop at the allocated destination. There will be personnel at the door of the flight to double check that you are boarding the right flight.
Once you enter the flight, find your seat number, drop in your luggage in the cabin above the seat and make yourself comfortable. Listen to the instructions given by air hostesses carefully and do the needful. These instructions will keep coming from time to time.
You can go to the washroom simply by unfastening your seat belt. You can order for water etc by pressing the button above your seat located near the AC vents.
Have a happy and safe journey!
Once you have de-boarded the flight, either a bus will take you back to the airport or you will directly enter the airport.
While you are landing, there will be an announcement for collecting the checked-in luggage. They will announce the conveyor belt number from where you can pick up your luggage.
That’s all! You can now collect your baggage, exit from the airport, book a cab for yourself and reach your destination!
In brief a first time flyer need to remember the following:
- Do a web check-in
- Reach airport 2 hours prior
- Carry a govt. approved ID card and the ticket
- Do not carry more than 7kgs of cabin baggage and total baggage not exceeding more than 22 kgs.
- Get your boarding pass and check your boarding time
- Carry baggage tags for your luggage from the counter
- After clearing all the security checks, make sure all the stamps are in place on the tags and boarding pass
- Reach your boarding gate on time and do the needful
- While de-boarding the plane make sure to listen to the announcement for collecting your baggage
IF you have any doubts, feel free to ask me in comments.
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