Traveling by plane for the first time, all you have to know

People on a plane - Travel by plane for the first time

There are many things you should know before flying for the first time.

Those of us who travel a lot think that everyone knows what it is like to get on a plane, go to an airport or take an international trip . And not. Not everyone knows it.

So I have decided to write this to help those who are going to travel by plane for the first time .

But I go a little further and I will also explain what you have to do if you are going to make an international trip for the first time or if you are going to check in a suitcase.

Traveling for the first time by plane can be an entertaining experience or it could be somewhat stressful . It all depends on the information you have to go as well prepared or prepared as possible.

Going to an airport can be a challenge for some people, as well as flying, so I hope this is very helpful.

Buy the flight ticket

The first thing you have to do is buy a ticket for the flight and you will have to do it via the Internet. You can go to an airline office, but it is advisable to do it on a website.

There are several options, but the best thing to buy online is that you can see different prices, combine airlines and do it from the tranquility of your home.

The other question is whether you have to buy it on a website that compares prices or on the airline’s website. My advice is to use both of them and see if one offers you a better price.

It is important to keep in mind that airlines have restrictions on baggage and there are always limits. Think about how many bags or backpacks you will carry because depending on it you will have to pay more or less.

Although I will go into more detail in another article about the best ways to buy airline tickets online, I recommend the following:

  • Look carefully at which airport the plane is going to.
  • Look well if you have stopovers, how many you have and if you think you have the ability to move inside an airport you never saw before.
  • Whenever you go back, buy round trip. Do not leave around to buy it at another time.
  • Check many times that the round trip date is fine.
  • Check that your name is well written and without errors.
  • The errors in the purchase of tickets are not changed and you miss the flight.

All right. Now that I have already paid, do I already have my ticket?

Do not!

How to get your ticket

Even if it sounds weird to you because it is the first time you travel by plane, the ticket you do not get immediately you buy it and the only thing you get is the proof of purchase, nothing more.

Before traveling, a few days before or 24 hours before (depending on the airline) you will have to check.

Basically check-in is to tell the airline: “I am such a person, I bought this ticket, now I want to be assigned a seat on the flight and give me my ticket to travel.”

Ways to check-in

The simplest and most used way to check-in is to go to the airline’s website and look for the “check in” section. There you will have to include your data. Always have your reservation number on hand that will have arrived by email.

Once you do, you will receive an email with an attachment that you will have to print. That is your plane ticket.

Wait at the airport - Travel by plane for the first time

It is preferable to wait near the boarding gate

If you are better off going with your mobile phone everywhere and you are a digital person, I recommend that you download the airline’s mobile application and do the process there. That will allow you to go with the online ticket, that is to say that you will carry with you a QR code with which you can board the plane.

The last and least recommended option is to check-in at the airport, directly at the airline counter.

If you can avoid this way do it because they can charge you prices that are sometimes more expensive than the flight , you have to stand in line and you are the last in the distribution of the seat.

The suitcases

Most airlines allow only hand luggage that can go with you all the time . If you carry more than one “package” or your luggage is larger than allowed, you will have to check it in, that is, pay for it when you buy the ticket or check-in.

You can carry with you all the time (in the cabin) a carry-on luggage (which meets the sizes established by the company). Even when you carry a very small bag next to the suitcase, they will not let you go with the two in the cabin and you will have to put everything in one place or pay a fine that could be around 60 euros approximately.

In these cases I always talk about the luggage that always goes with you. Because you can carry more bags but you must check them out.

The allowed size

When I talk about luggage I am generalizing, but it can be a backpack, a bag, a garbage bag or saddlebags made with the skin of the dragon that your great grandfather hunted. What really matters is the size.

The airlines will let you carry a cabin baggage with you (usually) and check in a large suitcase (or more depending on the company).

Suitcase size chart - Travel by plane for the first time

You must respect the sizes and the maximum weight of the bags allowed

But what is the size of the luggage that can be carried on an airplane?

Each company establishes its size and its allowed weight. Therefore, when buying the ticket I advise you to look at it. You can also enter the website of the airline and see the allowed measures.

In general terms, sizes and weights are similar to the following:

Handbag: it can have a maximum size of 55cm high x 35cm wide and 20cm deep.

Large suitcase (for billing): cannot exceed 65cm high x 42cm wide and 25cm deep.

Keep in mind that suitcases are weighed too. The airlines also detail it on their website, so I advise you to read it before.

What you can’t take

There are things you can’t carry in your carry-on bag , some are very obvious and others might surprise you. So you do not do like some people who carry crazy things and can be stopped, I recommend you follow these instructions.

Liquids : You can only carry bottles that do not exceed 100ml and that all you carry fit in a ziplock bag. In total, your transparent bag cannot exceed a liter of liquids. Keep in mind that things like toothpaste, creams or semi-liquid products are considered liquid.

Weapons : It is clear, neither fire nor sharp.

Cutting elements : Many of them are used for camping or sports. They are not allowed.

Checking the suitcase at the airport

Once you bought your plane ticket and arrived at the airport from which you are going to leave, you will find screens that will tell you which is the counter at which your airline serves.

You should know that this counter is not the boarding gates, but the place where you will leave your luggage that you don’t want (or can’t) take with you in the cabin.

You should only go to the counter in case you are going to check your bag.

I imagine that if it is a big trip you will take two luggage so you should go to the counter.

There a person will kindly ask you to show him your passport and your flight ticket. Then he will look for you in his database and when he checks that everything is in order he will tell you to put your suitcase on a conveyor belt next to him.

This tape is at the same time a scale in which the luggage weighs to confirm that it does not exceed the allowed weight .

Once you confirm that everything is in order this person will be responsible for putting a label on your suitcase, give you a receipt and you can leave there.

Safety control

Once you have delivered your suitcase you will have to go to the security checkpoint.

Make sure before leaving the counter that you have your passport, your ticket and your bag receipt.

Now, look for security control.

You can identify this site because it is usually very well indicated and it is usually where there is more movement of people.

Access to security control - Travel by plane for the first time

The accesses resemble a subway entrance.

People entering security control - Travel by plane for the first time

Have your ticket handy when accessing baggage control.

Entry to the site is usually done with a QR code reader that is on your plane ticket. It looks a lot like the entries of the meters but instead of putting a card you make the code reader identify your passage and you open the way.

If the airport you are in does not have this reader, a person will ask you for the ticket (either the paper or the app) to verify that you can pass.

The scanner and the metal arch

Once you pass you have to go to the line. There is usually more than one so choose the one you want but notice that it is not the one that is exclusive for family or fast track.

You are about to go through an arc that is a metal detector and other prohibited items.

Keep in mind that you will have to go through that detector only with clothes and shoes without carrying any metal, liquids or anything else in your pockets. Before crossing, confirm that you do not have your belt on, that you did not leave anything in your pockets and that you are free of metals.

If you wear boots or high shoes you will have to take them off and put it on a separate tray to pass through another scanner.

Chart on people control - Traveling by plane for the first time

Similar to this is the arc that you must pass to see that you do not carry anything.

Before going through the detector you will have to leave your luggage on a tape and grab a plastic tray where you can put the bag with liquids, the things you carry in your pockets, belt and electronic equipment such as an electronic tablet, a laptop or a mobile phone

Keep in mind that if you carry liquids in your carry-on luggage you have to take it out and put it on the tray.

Common security control issues

One of the most common problems I’ve seen in my travels are the following (and I hope you don’t have them):

  • People who forget liquids in the suitcase and delay them for this reason.
  • People carrying prohibited items such as lighters (lighters), sharp elements, aerosols, etc.
  • Passengers wearing high boots.
  • Belts with metal buckles that forgot to remove them.

Sometimes you may find yourself being delayed to control your luggage. Nothing happens, you just have to go where they call you, open your suitcase and confirm that everything is fine.

People in airport control showing their luggage - Traveling by plane for the first time

Your luggage will pass by one side and you will have to go by another

On other occasions they could ask you to take things out of your pocket if you forgot something, they could manually check you to see that you are not carrying anything or they could make you go through a special scanner.

Looking for the boarding gate

At last you passed all the controls. Now we can say that you are already prepared or prepared to travel.

The first thing I recommend you look for are the monitors that indicate the departure of the flights.

Usually these monitors are located next to the security control and will inform you of:

  • Destination you are going to
  • Airline
  • Flight number
  • Flight schedule
  • If there is a delay or if it is on time
  • Boarding gate

Personally I recommend you go to the boarding gate to identify very well where it is.

Follow the signs so you don’t get lost. 

Keep in mind that between the security checkpoint and the boarding gates you will find many shops and stores in the Duty Free (the tax-free area where you can buy cheaper things) so I recommend that being your first plane trip do not get distracted .

Once you found the door and if you have time you can relax wait until they start knocking.

Screens with information at the airport - Traveling by plane for the first time

Always, you always look at the screens with your flight information

I like to go get a coffee to drink while I wait and try to always be in front of or near a screen to see if everything is going well. If you get bored you can do any of these 7 things to have a better time .

Never stop looking at the monitors because they will inform you if the door has been changed (something possible) or if there is a delay in the flight (something much more possible).

I recommend that you read our article on How to make the wait in the airport more enjoyable so that it doesn’t get too long.

Call and to the plane

A person will stand by the counter at the boarding gate and with a microphone in hand will begin to announce that the boarding of the plane will begin.

The first thing you will do is call passengers who have a Business class or some type of preferred passenger ticket . If you didn’t pay more than normal, it’s not you.

After that you can call in two ways:

  1. Call everyone to embark and get in line with everyone else and you will enter when your turn comes.
  2. Call by seating sections, so you’ll have to wait your turn.

When your turn comes you will have to show the person in charge your passport and your plane ticket to confirm that everything is in order.

Say hello and go for the “finger” which is a tunnel that will take you to the plane. In some airports this does not exist so you will have to follow the instructions of the staff that will guide you, but there is no loss to the plane.

On the plane

You are finally arriving at your plane. Upon entering a flight attendant will greet you and may ask you to see your ticket again to indicate where your seat is.

Find your seat, put your luggage on the top of the seat (where you will find a trunk) as tight as possible so that there are places for other people and sit down.

Airplane seen from outside - Traveling by plane for the first time

The plane is accessed through a tunnel known as “finger.”

At the time of sitting I recommend that you do not stay so long in the hallway and if you have to take off your coats or put other things in the trunk make it quiet but without taking so much time.

Take it easy and try not to stress yourself on the flight .

Tips to get on the plane

  • Look twice at the seat number on your ticket before sitting down to see that you are not in the wrong seat. Seats are indicated with numbers and letters (the number is that of the row and the letter is the seat.
  • Take a backpack or a small bag to leave it under the front seat with the things you need to use on the trip: books, food, mobile phone, etc. I recommend you take your documentation and a pen there (you will need it).
  • Do not fasten your belt until you see that people have stopped entering. If you have to leave quickly for some reason it is easier.

On the other hand it is very (very) important that you turn off the mobile phone or put it into airplane mode from before taking off until after landing.

The takeoff

Once you are sitting on the plane a cabin attendant will pass looking at the following:

  • Have your belt fastened.
  • That you do not have lowered the table that comes to eat.
  • Don’t have the seat reclined.
  • That the windows are not lowered.

The plane will go backwards from the place where it is parked and then start walking. You may see that he walks a lot and very slowly. This is normal because from the site where it was to the takeoff track there may be a long journey.

Once the plane is located to take off the first thing you will feel is that it stops. A few seconds later the engines start to make a louder noise (quiet, it has to accelerate) the movement becomes faster , things inside vibrate , as if you were in a car traveling on a street in poor condition.

As you accelerate, you will feel how slightly your body presses the seat back and suddenly you will see through the window and you will realize that you are in the air.

You may hear some strange noises, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the airplane’s mechanical process.

Do not take off your belt until the light in front of you indicates it. And if you can, I would recommend that you never take it off.

How is the flight on the plane?

Once you are in the air and it is already allowed to take off your belt you can make a more normal life. You can go to some of the bathrooms that are at the ends of the corridors, you can turn on your mobile or your tablet (always in airplane mode) or you can read.

If it is a long trip it is possible for the flight attendants to pass with lunch, dinner or breakfast .