I remember the time when I used to say that I’ve never flown before. It wasn’t until the late 1990s for my first time flying. Now The Guy Who Flies seems to be flying almost every month. I’ve taken well over 1,000 flights (if not 2,000+) so I know what to expect.
If you are about to experience your first time flying then don’t worry there is no need to be nervous before a flight. I’ll explain all you need to know about flying. I’ll cover all the steps in the days and weeks leading up to your flight. So when you go to the airport nobody will know that you’ve never flown before.
Before you book your flight for those first time flying
When I was experiencing my first time flying most people used a travel agent to book their flight tickets. I found this quite useful since I could speak to a real person and ask questions about flight options, going to the airport and the whole flight experience.
Now we are in the 21st Century and most people book cheap flight tickets online. This means you can often arrange a flight without ever speaking to someone in the travel industry. So here are a few things to know before you arrange a flight.
If you are travelling on an international flight then in most circumstances you will need an up to date passport. Most countries require your passport to have at least 6 months left before the passport expires otherwise they can deny you entry to their country. You should check your passport is in date or apply for a passport before you book a flight. Apply for the passport a few months before you travel. During the summer season (when lots of people go on holiday) there is a risk of a back log in applications being processed. You don’t want to miss your trip because your passport hasn’t arrived.
Also, if you are flying internationally you might need a visa for the country you are going to. Various countries want to determine if you are worth letting in the country before you arrive at the airport. Countries such as the United States also have a visa waiver system known as ESTA for people travelling from some countries.
You should research your destination and find out if you need to apply for a visa before buying your air ticket. You can research this via travel websites or your national government’s foreign office website. You should worry more about your visa than of the price of the airfare going up. If you book a flight and don’t get a visa in time then you will not be allowed to board your flight.
Booking your flight even though you’ve never flown before
With all this information you can now find your flight. You can book your flight via a travel agent or search for flights online. If you don’t know where to find cheap flights online then try some of these websites:-
If you book a flight online you should print out your booking confirmation details and save it in your e-mail as well.
Whether you book your flight through a travel agent or online you might want to reserve a seat in advance. If your first time flying is with someone else then chances are you want to sit together. Be aware that many may airlines charge for you to book a specific seat. If you want to make sure you get a good seat it is worthwhile looking at a site like seatguru.com which tells you which are the better seats to take, such as having more legroom or easy access to the toilets or exits.
Often emergency access seats are good choices since they tend to have more space between you and the seat in front. However these seats do come with some responsibilities. You have to be in reasonable health and willing to carry out specific instructions in the highly unlikely event of an emergency.
Food and allergies with airline food
If you are fortunate enough that food is served on your flight then you need to be aware that the range of food can be quite limited. So if you have any specific food requirements such as being a vegan, peanut allergies etc it is best to give the airline plenty of notice. When booking your ticket you should look to advise the airline of your dietary requirements as soon as you can. If you tell them on the day of your flight then it is unlikely that they will be able to accommodate your eating needs.
If you are visiting friends or relatives then it is likely that you will be staying with them during your trip. You should keep a note of their address to bring with you for both airport security and your peace of mind (in case you need to find your own way there from the airport).
If you have not arranged any accommodation yet then it is advised to initially sort something out before you go. This means that you have a base when you first arrive and you don’t lose time searching for a place to stay or pay high prices.
There are a range of resources online to find hotels, hostels and other forms of accommodation. Some of the best and most trusted sites to use are:-
If you are looking at budget accommodation then you could consider a hostel via HostelBookers.com
There is an almost free accommodation option (other than annual registration fees) to become a house sitter for somebody. To find out more go to Trusted Housesitters.
Buying Travel Insurance
I can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance. You should have some form of travel insurance arranged before you fly. All it takes is one slip, fall, illness or incident and you could be hit with a hefty medical bill whilst overseas. A few years ago in China I broke a bone in my arm when I slipped by a swimming pool. Thankfully I had travel insurance and received excellent medical care in Shanghai without any further cost to me.
I also more recently had a health scare whilst on a trip to the US. One thing is for sure the American medical system can be very expensive so insurance is a must.
Travel insurance can vary significantly by policy and price so you should always shop around and check the small print. Here a few providers of insurance you can get a quote from:
Foreign Currency And Money
If you are going to a different country to your own then there is a chance that you’ll need some money in the currency of the country you are visiting. Many, although not all of the countries in Europe use the same currency which is the Euro. Some countries such as Australia, Singapore and others call their currency a dollar ($) but this is very different to the $ you would use in the United States. Research before hand what type of currency the country you are visiting uses.
It is worthwhile to buy your currency before you travel. There are various places you can buy currency, such as at a bank, the post office or even online. I would suggest you buy your currency before you travel because if you buy currency at the airport or in your destination country then you may get a less favourable rate.
Also, it is worthwhile bringing at least a couple of credit/bank cards with you. Firstly you can make a cash withdrawal from an ATM if you run out of currency. Secondly you can pay for accommodation, rentals and various shopping items with the cards. Credit cards can also offer some protection in case what you buy is lost or stolen. (You won’t get this if you pay by cash.)
My advice for bringing payment cards are twofold:-
- always have a second card. There are occasions when your preferred card is not accepted so you need a second one to fall back on
- when you pay with a card the shop may offer to charge you in your home currency (they are effectively performing a currency exchange for you). I often decline this offer and prefer to be billed in the local currency to my card. The reason I do this is because I often get a better exchange rate from my own bank than from the vendor.
Airlines vary on timing but you can often check-in online for your flight before you leave home. Check the details of the specific airline to find out if this is available.
The airline may also e-mail you to let you know when you can book online. On a recent flight with Easyjet I was able to check-in online 2 weeks before travel, Air France was 30 hours before departure. (As I say airlines vary on their rules.)
At this point you can also confirm your luggage allowance with the airline. Typically you are allowed one carry one (airlines vary as to the dimensions of that carry on) and maybe one personal item, such as a laptop or ladies handbag.
There will also be specifications for the weight and quantity of any luggage you need to check-in. Some airlines, particularly discount carriers and US based carriers charge you for checked baggage. It is always a good idea to test weigh your suitcase before you leave for the airport. Then you can avoid any excess weight fees.
Frequent flyer schemes
You may have never flown before yet this is no reason to stop first time flyers from joining an airline frequent flyer scheme. There are many benefits to joining a frequent flyer scheme so look out for the free sign up forms either online or if you check in at the airport. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to enjoy the rewards.
Check list before flying
Either the day before or on the day of your trip you should go through a pre-flight check list. Make sure you have all the following items if you need them for your trip:-
- passport / photo ID (for domestic flights)
- visa for your destination country
- money in the currency for your destination and bank/credit cards
- luggage packed and locked with a secure lock (if you can weigh both your carry-on and check-in luggage to make sure it meets the size and weight requirements of your airline, you’ll find these details either on the airline website or your booking information). Buy a secure lock, I strongly recommend that you use a TSA approved padlock. I say this because particularly if you are flying to or via the US then there is a risk that security staff will break your non-TSA lock. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) staff in the US have the power to open up your luggage and inspect the contents. If you have a TSA approved lock then they can open and relock your luggage without any damage. Be warned that items can be stolen from your checked luggage irrespective of your destination. Keep your electronics and valuables in your carry on luggage only
- flight tickets (or boarding passes as well if you’ve checked-in online)
- confirm that you know which airport terminal you will be flying from
- transport and hotel booking confirmations with addresses and contact numbers
- photocopy of your passport, visa, travel insurance and booking details (flight and accommodation) stored somewhere safe (in your luggage or accessible by e-mail)
- details of any parking arrangements you’ve pre-booked for the airport. You can pre-book parking at a US/Canadian airport here or for a UK airport here
- make a note of which terminal your plane will be flying from
- if you suffer from motion sickness it maybe worthwhile to have some tablets in your carry on bag
- also if you take any medication make sure you have enough supplies in your carry on bag. If you require a needle for your medication or have certain medical needs then a doctor’s certificate should be handy so you can show it to the airport security staff
- bring a neck pillow if you want to avoid waking up with a stiff neck after a long flight
Check the status of your flight
We all know unexpected things happen and this is certainly true of air travel. Bad weather, industrial action or mechanical failure. It can all play havoc with flight schedules. If this is your first time flying you don’t want to get to the airport and see that your flight isn’t happening today.
Prior to leaving for the airport it is a good idea to check that your flight is still going ahead as planned. Have a look at the airline or airport website. If you don’t have web access at this point then try to call the airport and confirm the time of the flight.
What time should you arrive before a flight?
You may know of some people who like to arrive at the last minute to the airport and they always seem to make their flight. Well please don’t be like them, it is too risky. All it takes is one accident, traffic jam or unexpected delay on the way to the airport and your travel plans are ruined.
If you miss your flight and it is your fault then you’ve lost your money and will have to buy another airline ticket.
Always aim to arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your flight departs. Most flights allow check-in 2 hours before. Some long haul international flights can start checking-in 3 hours before the scheduled take off time.
It is also worth noting that many flights stop checking in 45-50 minutes before departure time. There are also many long haul international flights which begin boarding up to 50 minutes before departure.
Another variable to consider is getting through airport security before you get to your gate. This can be a long process. Recently I queued for nearly an hour at airport security in Toronto Pearson Airport.
How to check in for a flight
Once you arrive at the correct airport terminal building for your flight you might find things are quite manic. You have to traipse around with your luggage through big crowds of people, find specific places and queue.
As you walk into the flight terminal look for the TV screens advising of your flight number or signs for the airline you are travelling with. These will guide you to the correct check-in desk for your flight.
A lot of check-in areas now have machines for you to self check-in (if you haven’t done so online). These machines are fairly self explanatory but there will be a member of staff nearby to help you if you are struggling.
To check-in you will need your flight booking information and some form of picture identification. (If you are taking an international flight this will be your passport.)
If you have luggage to check-in you’ll have to bring this to the check-in desk / baggage drop area. Your luggage will be labelled and you will be given a small part of the label which has the tracking number of your luggage. Keep this piece of paper safe since it is required by the airline if your luggage does not initially make it to your destination. Yes, luggage does get lost/delayed sometimes.
Once you’ve checked in you should now have your passport and boarding ticket/s ready. Proceed to the airport security line.
If you are fortunate enough to be flying Business Class or First Class you might be allowed to use a “Fast/Priority Lane” or “Fast Track” which means you can legitimately avoid the long queues and go through security a lot quicker. Otherwise stay in line and keep your place in the queue. Nobody likes a queue jumper.
You’ll need to show your identification and boarding pass to any uniformed member of the security staff on request.
As you line up for security you can prepare for the check and speed things along. You will need to do the following:-
- remove any laptops, tablets (electronic) from your carry on bag
- remove your belt, wallet, mobile phone, keys, coins and any other metal items and place them in the tray which goes through the scanner
- take off your footwear (this is not universal but many airports ask you to) TIP: If you have them I highly recommend that you wear slip one shoes, this saves a bit of time when you don’t have to worry about tying laces
- remove your coat
- limited amount of liquids must be placed in containers (no larger than 100ml each) inside a transparent bag no larger than 20cm x 20cm (UK regulation in 2014). Some exceptions are made for baby milk and medication which is required for the duration of the flight (have some evidence (doctor’s note etc) that you need the medication etc with you on the flight)
All the above items should be placed in the supplied trays on a conveyor system to go through the security scanner.
At check-in you will also have been advised of prohibited items which can’t be taken in your luggage.
Whilst this list is not exhaustive, it is wise not to have any of the following items in your carry on luggage:-
– sharp items
– liquids of more than 100ml
– matches / lighters
To read more on prohibited items these are the TSA guidelines within the US. Although please check the rules specific to your departing and destination countries.
You will be required to walk through a security scanning machine designed for people. Follow the guidance given by the staff at the airport. Some of these scanners allow you to just walk through. Others require you to turn to one side, place your hands in the air above your head and wait for a revolving scanner to spin around. You should then leave this area once you’ve been given the all clear by security staff.
You will then collect all your items which you placed on the conveyor system of the security scanner. Also, whilst you are there can you do us all a favour and stack the trays you’ve just used. This will speed up the line behind you.
If you are on an international flight you might come across a passport control station before or after the security check. You will have to stand in line and wait your turn. The Immigration Officer will want to see your passport and boarding pass so have them ready. Some countries also require you to complete a departure card which will be provided to you at check-in or can be found in this area.
Before you board your flight
Now that you’ve passed through security you can relax for a while and look forward to your flight. If you have enough time you might be able to visit the airport shops or visit a café. If you hold a Business or First Class ticket you might have access to an airline lounge. This is often a quieter and more luxurious waiting area. If you are not fortunate enough to be flying in the premium cabin you can still buy a lounge pass.
You must always be mindful of the details for your flight. Check your boarding pass and the screen monitors on display throughout the airport. Look for your flight number and the boarding gate. Keep in mind how long it might take you to walk to the gate.
You should then listen for boarding calls for your flight or keep checking the TV monitors. It is not uncommon for the gate of your flight to change before you actually board the plane. Quite recently one of my flights changed boarding gates 3 times in the hour before boarding began.
Tip: If possible try to go to the toilet in the airport before you board the flight. Unexpected delays or turbulence might mean it could be a while before you can use the toilet again.
Before you board it is a good idea to have a few things handy so you don’t have to unpack them when you are onboard. I would recommend the basic essentials you might want such as a book/kindle and your iPod or phone.
Also have a pen handy plus your passport and accommodation details. On many international flights you can be handed an immigration and customs form. If you are able to complete this on the aircraft before you land it will save you time on the ground.
Boarding procedure for a flight
Whilst airlines may vary their process there is usually a standard format to the boarding of a flight.
Firstly, in what is known as a pre-board process you will often see elderly and disabled people being allowed to board the flight. Since they are less mobile than other passengers the airline staff like to assist them and give them more time to get settled on the plane.
In some places they may also call for families with young children to board early. (I noticed this happens a lot in India yet it sometimes feels as though most of the travellers there are in families with young children!)
Staff at the boarding gate will then tannoy to say that premium passengers can board the flight. This will be those who hold a First or Business Class ticket. There is also an opportunity for passengers with high rank status (such as “Gold” or “Platinum”) on the airline’s frequent flyer scheme to board now. (Discount airlines historically tend not to offer this facility although easyjet do offer a “speedy board” pass for a fee which allows you to board the plane before others.)
As you go to board the plane you will have to show your boarding pass and passport/ID to an agent. They will often scan your ticket and then wish you a pleasant flight. (If you are travelling to the US then you are likely to be asked a few more security questions by a security officer.)
Once you’ve completed this process you should then proceed down the boarding tunnel which leads you to the air craft. Whilst in the tunnel or just before, you are likely to see people collecting any duty free items they have bought whilst in the airport. If you are one of these people then have your receipt handy as you collect your purchase.
When you are on board the plane
At the end of the jet bridge you will enter the aircraft. For smaller planes it is not uncommon for you to either walk across tarmac or take a bus ride to the plane. You’ll then have to go up some steep steps to board the aircraft instead of using a jet bridge.
At the entrance to the plane there will be at least one, if not more members of the cabin crew who will greet you and check your boarding pass. They will then tell you which direction to head to go to find your seat.
Plane seats are identified by a combination of row numbers and seat letters. So seat 14A is the 14th row and typically the most left sided seat as you sit and face the front of the plane.
Always check for your seat number on the overhead storage bins which are above the seats. Sometimes the numbers and letters are not quite as you predict, for instance seat 14C might be beside 14A since they did not bother labelling a seat as 14B. Also, out of superstition some aircraft don’t have a row 13.
You will find the aisle way to your seat is quite narrow. To make it easier please carry any bags you have out in front of you instead of on your back. If it is over your shoulder then there is a high risk that it will brush into the faces of people already sat down in aisle seats as you walk past them. This is a sure way to annoy these people if not indeed accidentally hurt them.
Also when you arrive at your seat try to sit down as soon as possible so everybody can find their seat. Some people mess around pulling items from their luggage which can delay everybody else. If you don’t already have your reading material or essential item out of your bag you can collect this once the plane has taken off.
If you are sat in what is called an emergency exit row then you will benefit from a little bit more leg room than the other rows around you. However the emergency exit row does come with responsibilities. Before take off a member of the aircrew will speak to you about what you need to do in the event of an emergency. This basically involves opening an emergency door. These doors tend to be quite heavy so the crew need to make sure you are willing, fit and able to do this important task. If you are not then you’ll be asked to change your seat.
Don’t worry though. The chances of being required to actually open the emergency door is very remote. Air travel is the safest form of travel in the world. It is extremely unlikely you’ll ever be involved in an emergency even if you flew every day of your life.
Once everybody has boarded the crew will announce when the plane doors have been closed. This is the time when you should make sure that you have switched off your mobile phone and anything else which is electrical. You should also place all these items in a secure place. You will find a storage pouch in front of you/by your seat. Some airlines insist that computers and other items are stored in the overhead cabins during take off rather than the seat pouch so follow their instruction.
There will then be a safety demonstration as you start to feel/see your plane moving away from the boarding gate. If this is your first time flying then it is very important that you watch this.
On smaller planes the demonstration tends to be performed by the air crew who will stand in the aisle. For larger aircraft you will often see a safety video. Since many people (like myself) fly so often airlines try to make the videos more interesting so people will actually pay attention. In recent times the safety videos from Delta and Virgin have been very funny.
The demonstration will highlight to you where the nearest doors are to exit the plane. They will explain lighting in the cabin, what happens if you land on water etc. You will also be told about a loss of cabin pressure, where to find your water safety jacket and how to use it.
You will see a demonstration as to the correct way to fasten and unfasten your seat belt. You should have your seat belt fastened now and keep it fastened every time you are sat down during the flight. If it is feeling tight on you then you can slacken the fitting. If you struggle to make the belt fit around you then ask a member of the airline staff for assistance or an extension to the belt.
Your seat pocket will also have a safety card which you should read prior to take off.
You might also notice that some passengers have already started taking off their shoes as they relax into their seats. I personally think this is a stupid thing to do. You should keep your shoes on until after the plane has taken off and is comfortably in the air.
I say this for 2 reasons:-
1. If there is a problem and an emergency evacuation of the plane is required you don’t want to lose time putting your shoes on.
2. The vibrations on the plane during take off may throw your shoes around. They could drift into another seating area or fly up into the air and strike someone
What happens when a plane takes off?
This can be the most exciting part of the flight when you’ve never flown before. Your plane will initially be pushed backwards (in the majority of cases) by another vehicle. Then the pilot will drive the plane towards the runway, this is known as “taxiing”.
There will be an announcement from the cockpit that they are ready for take off and all airline crew should take their seats.
The plane will then accelerate down the runway. You will then feel the plane gradually move upwards as the plane takes off!
You might hear a range of engine noises then shortly after take off some other sounds will most likely be the undercarriage. Once airborne the undercarriage(wheels) is tucked away so that the aeroplane is aerodynamic and can fly more efficiently and faster.
This is a short video of the take off experience:-
What it is like flying in an airplane?
In most instances flying can be a smooth and relaxing process. If the weather is fair then you may not notice that you are even flying.
There are instances where you are likely to suffer from turbulence / rough air. This is nothing to worry about but can make the flight uncomfortable. This turbulence caused by the atmospheric weather conditions can make the ride feel bumpy. At times it may feel as though you are on a roller coaster.
In most instances the turbulence is short lived and the pilot can try to find a quick way around bad patches.
If you do experience turbulence then you will notice the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign will be switched on. You should always follow this instruction. If you have your seat belt fastened and are sat down then you will be perfectly safe. It is the people who don’t sit down and fasten their seat belt who are at risk of being thrown around due to the rough ride.
If the turbulence becomes too much and you feel unwell you will find a sick bag in the seat pocket in front of you.
Will there be food served on my flight?
There is no straight forward answer to this question. It will often depend upon who your carrier is and the length of your flight.
Most airlines will at least give you a complimentary beverage, although discount airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair charge for these.
Check the details on your ticket to see if it mentions food being served or available for purchase. It is always handy having some spare money with you anyway when you travel. However a lot of the US carriers do not handle cash so a debit or credit card will be needed.
If you’d like more choice then it is wise to eat before you leave home or in the airport after you’ve passed through airport security.
Your ears during flight
There is something else that you will notice whilst flying, that is a change in air pressure.
When I experienced my first time flying nobody had explained the effects of this on me so it was quite a surprise. As the plane ascends and descends (during take off and landing) the change from ground level to maybe 30,000 feet + can cause some pressure on your ear drums. In some instances it can become unpleasant and even painful. You may notice a change in your hearing and things start to sound muffled or you get a buzzing noise.
All these effects are normal and easily fixed. What you can do is hold your breathe, pinch your nose and act as if you are blowing your nose. This should make your ears gently feel like they are popping and they will feel normal again.
Alternatively find something to chew on, like a boiled sweet. If you have babies travelling with you then giving them a bottle at this time which will help prevent them suffering from this experience too.
Entertainment on your flight
Most airlines provide some form of entertainment on flights which are typically of more than 1 hour. Planes vary from an overhead TV screen hanging between every 4-5 seats, to your own personalised TV monitor.
A lot of airlines are providing entertainment on demand so you can choose what to watch and when from the selection available.
However, if you have specific tastes you may want to use your computer or tablet to watch downloaded shows or DVDs. Alternatively you might want to listen to something from your personal music player.
In either case having a good pair of headphones will serve you well. I personally find that having my own headphones helps block out the noise of other passengers when I’m trying to relax. Some people can be quite loud when they talk or have annoying habits.
You may also want to get a headphone jack adaptor so you can use your own headphones whilst watching the airline’s entertainment system. Although airlines do provide headphones you can use they vary significantly in quality.
Preparing for landing
You will notice when a pilot advises the cabin crew (and sometimes even the passengers) when he has begun his descent to land. This is a signal to the cabin crew to clear away any served items and do some final safety checks.
At this point you should return any items you’ve taken out of your bags and stow your bag in the overhead bin.
Return to your seat, fasten your seatbelt. Then make sure your seat is fully upright, your table is folded away. If you are sat by a window seat then make sure the blinds are up so you can see outside.
All these steps are part of the safety procedures the crew will be looking for. By your taking the lead in these steps will only help the crew.
As the plane comes into land hold on tight! No, only joking.
As the plane approaches the landing you will often notice the plane turning and a range of noises being made. Again this can include the undercarriage which is being set for landing.
The pilot is likely to switch the plane from automatic to manual control so you might feel the plane moving a little differently. Believe it or not though most commercial planes can now be landed in automatic pilot.
As the plane lands you could get a bumpy or smooth landing. This can be for a whole host of reasons including the weather conditions and skills of the pilot. Sometimes the landing has been so smooth I’ve barely realised that we’ve touched the ground. Other times it can be quite bumpy.
The plane will apply brakes as it lands on the runway so you will often hear a lot of noise as the plane is slowing down.
Here is a video from inside a plane of the landing experience:-
Once the plane has reached a steady speed again it will begin to taxi to the designated parking bay that has been notified to the pilot.
Throughout this process you should keep your seatbelt fastened.
You may notice other passengers releasing their seatbelt from the moment the plane hits the runway. Unfortunately these passengers seem oblivious to the real dangers of doing this whilst the plane is moving. At times I’ve been on planes which have had to brake suddenly or almost overshot a turning when heading to the gate.
Just think of it like being in your car, you wear a seatbelt to protect you whilst the car is in motion. The same is true with a plane. You should only undo your seatbelt once the captain has switched off the seatbelt sign. Ignore the behaviour of passengers around you.
Leaving the plane
Once the seat belt sign has been switched off you can then get up from your seat and collect your items from the overhead bins.
You will not be allowed to leave the plane until the jet bridge or exit stairway has been set. The crew will then open the doors to exit.
In most instances airlines disembark passengers in order of seating priority. This will often mean First Class passengers, then Business Class with economy passengers (coach) leaving the plane last. This doesn’t happen every time but in theory is how it should work.
Keep your passport to hand at this stage. In some countries police or immigration staff may ask to check passenger passports whilst you are on the jet bridge.
Immigration and Customs
If you are arriving in a country other than the one where your flight began then you will have to go through a procedure of Immigration and Customs. This is often the case (for one or both) even if you have to get another connecting flight.
If you are getting a connecting flight it is also highly likely that you will have to go through another security check.
Immigration is a way of the host country checking that people arriving are welcome in their country. As a result they want to see that you have a valid passport, visa if required and don’t have any history which makes you unwelcome (this could include previous deportations or a criminal record).
Customs are checking that you are not bringing into the country things which they need to know about. This primarily consists of 3 things they want to avoid:-
1. People trafficking drugs
2. People bringing in food and plantation items which might infect or endanger their natural wildlife and environment
3. High value items which will be left in the country without the appropriate customs duty (taxes) being paid. (Customs duties help protect local traders by restricting opportunities for imported items to undercut them on prices.)
As you are about to go through Customs you will have come across a room with various luggage carousels. Look at the various screen monitors to identify which one is linked with your flight. You should then wait at that carousel until your luggage is unloaded. Here is my tip on collecting luggage at the carousel. You can then take it through Customs.
If your luggage has not arrived and the carousel has stopped then you need to go to a Customer Support counter for lost luggage. You will have to present the luggage ticket that was given to you when you dropped off your bag at check-in or luggage drop.
The agent at the desk will explain what you have to do and hopefully indicate how long it will be before you are reunited with your luggage. Also ask them if you have any allowance to claim for emergency clothing purchases you might have to make. If they don’t immediately offer any then check the details of your travel insurance.
Whilst it is not nice to be without your luggage it does happen occasionally. However in the vast majority of instances you are reunited with your luggage in 24-48 hours.
Once you are through Customs you can proceed to the Arrivals Hall. At this point you cannot re-enter the luggage collection area.
The Arrivals Hall is where you will be greeted by anyone waiting for you.
You can also find the public transport links such as trains and buses as well as hotel shuttles.
If you are planning on getting a taxi then be very careful in airports. Often lots of people will be calling to you asking if you want a taxi. These can often be illegal, unlicensed taxi drivers. They might also be trying to rip you off with a very high taxi fare.
You should always look for the official taxi stand outside of the airport terminal and take a taxi from there.
If you are hiring a car then you should be able to find the respective car hire stand in the Arrivals Hall.
That’s it. You’ve now taken your first journey by aeroplane. I hope you enjoyed the experience of your first time flying.