If you are going to take the plane for the first time and you do not know what are the steps to follow you have come to the right place.
In this guide I wanted to share with you and especially with whom fly first time all the steps to follow, from booking the plane ticket to arriving at your destination.
To understand how to get around the airport, follow my directions step by step and you will see that it will be much easier face the first trip by plane.
It's important understand how to take the plane to have no problems and travel in peace, without worries or anxieties and without the risk of making mistakes and missing the plane.
This guide is aimed at those who decide to fly for the first time but also to those who have already traveled by plane, but always in company and therefore need all the advice and information to take the plane again.
Here we are: Cabin crew prepare to take-off!
How to take the plane: the steps to follow
Buy a plane ticket
The first step is, of course, to buy a plane ticket. The best thing is to start researching the price comparator Skyscanner, a simple and intuitive tool that will help you buy the plane ticket at the lowest price. The portal is nothing more than a price aggregator, the best of its kind, which based on your research will show you the offers of the best online and low cost airlines.
If you want to deepen the subject and discover some tricks to find the low cost flight, I suggest you download the free guide: Trip&Tricks.
Check-in on line
Once you have purchased your flight ticket, all you have to do is wait for departure. A few days before departure you will receive an email from the airline to notify you of check in online.
Online check-in is used to generate your boarding pass and to facilitate and speed up checks at the airport. With some airlines it is practically mandatory to check-in online, otherwise you will be charged costs (55 € with Ryanair) for the service at the airport.
In any case, checking in online is very simple, you have to connect to the airline's website, select the “Check-in” menu item and enter the reservation number and your surname. Otherwise you can type on Google “online check-in company name” and you will be redirected to the page where you can enter your data.
Follow the instructions to proceed to check-in and remember to print your boarding pass.
In most cases, you can also install the airline app and check in online from your smartphone. You will therefore not have to print your boarding passes, just show them at the controls directly from your phone.
Often it is enough to download the pdf files or have a screenshot of the boarding passes on your smartphone, but some airlines may not accept this.
It is possible to generate boarding passes online from a few days before departure, up to a few hours before take-off. It always depends on the airline, check the conditions relating to online check-in on the airline's website.
Remember that if you are traveling with hand luggage and have checked in online, once you arrive at the airport you can go directly to the security checks without having to go through the company desks.
When to go to the airport: how long before the flight?
Generally it is better to arrive at the airport 2 hours before the flight for international departures and 3 hours before for intercontinental flights.
It also depends on the size of the airport and the time of travel, in high season you may find more people and queues between check-in and gate access. Obviously, if you have already checked in online, the times are shortened.
Check on your boarding passes that the gate is closed (usually 30 minutes before departure) and the advance time suggested by the airline.
My advice is to take it slow and arrive as soon as possible especially if I am the first few times you take the plane, better to wait a little than risk missing your flight!
How to find your way around the airport: where to go?
Smaller airports usually have only one terminal (airport building) while the larger ones are divided into several terminals and some are even quite distant from each other and connected by airport shuttles.
First thing you must then go to the right terminal, which is usually indicated on the plane ticket or in the emails that the airline sends you.
Airport: Check-in and check-in hold baggage
If you need to check in baggage you will have to go to the check-in desk, even if you have already checked in online (which is always recommended).
In the arrivals section of the airport there are the desks of each company; the first problem that presents itself to novice travelers is: how to find the check-in desk and where to go?
In reality it is all very simple. As soon as you enter the airport terminal assigned for your flight it will be enough check the many monitors that indicate the check-in counter; search for your flight by checking the number, airline and destination. On this occasion, also check for any time changes.
If you have difficulty you can always ask the ground assistants for information.
Then go to the check-in counter, each marked with the airline logo, and get in line. When it is your turn you will have to hand over an identity document, the ticket and the hold baggage.
The check-in attendant will give you your boarding pass (to always keep with you) highlighting the number of the gate where you will have to go and affixing the baggage tag (be careful not to lose it).
Some airports have a counter “Drop Off” available for those who have checked in online but have to deliver their hold luggage.
Go through the security checkpoints
Once you have checked in and dropped off your bags, have your ID and boarding pass ready and go to security following the signs for the "boarding" (gate)
As I have already told you if you already have boarding passes and are traveling with hand luggage you can go directly to the controls.
This is the somewhat more manly phase of the start, because there are often a lot of people and the controls are more and more scrupulous.
To pass the checks you will have to pass your hand luggage and personal effects through the x-ray scanner. Place everything in the appropriate trays: smartphone, watches, keys, jacket, wallet, belt, sometimes even shoes.
If you have a laptop or tablet you have to put it in the container outside the backpack or case.
I advise you to remove everything from your pockets and go to the metal detector without any metal object, also remove coins, earrings, bracelets etc.
In any case, if you have any problems, the security officers will guide you in the right procedure.
At the discretion of the staff there may be more in-depth checks on passengers and baggage. If this happens to you, don't worry it's a normal routine.
Important: it is always good to check what can you take by plane, check on the company's website which items you can carry as hand luggage and which ones are not allowed.
Remember that liquids can only be brought in 100 ml bottles to be placed in a plastic bag, which can hold up to a maximum of one liter. If you need to carry liquid containers over 100 ml you will have to put them in the hold luggage.
Finally, I remind you not to buy drinks or other liquids before having passed the checks.
What to do after passing the checks
After passing the metal detector, all you have to do is retrieve all your items, go to the gate (the one written on the boarding pass) or if you have time, take a tour of the terminal, among restaurants, duty free shops and shops.
Check the travel times to reach your gate, they are generally indicated on the appropriate signs. In any case, always take a look at the timetable so as not to risk arriving late for boarding.
Find and Reach the boarding gate
As you have seen, once they give you your boarding pass at the check-in desk, they also show you the gate number. But this is not always the case, in fact when you check in online, the gate number is not shown on the boarding passes.
But don't panic, just check the monitors you find once you pass the security checks, where departing flights and their boarding gates are reported. Keep in mind that in some cases it can also change, so always check the correct number of the gate where you will have to board.
Departure: Get on the plane
When you arrive at the gate, you will have to wait for the flight attendant to announce that the gate is open. Boarding usually takes place by sections (found on the boarding pass) or by file, the first to enter are always first class and business class passengers.
Your boarding pass and document will be quickly checked again. Once the documents have been checked, you can reach the aircraft via a tunnel connected to the aircraft or you can reach the aircraft on foot or by shuttle.
Once on the plane, look for your seat, place your luggage in the special compartment above the seats, take a seat, fasten your seat belts and get ready for take-off.
Flights with stopover
For long-haul flights, it is generally necessary to make a stopover before arriving at your destination.
First of all, when purchasing the air ticket, I recommend that you consider that there is enough time between the arrival and departure of the next flight. Also inquire about the size of the transit airport and the travel times between the various terminals.
In any case, remember that if you have purchased a single ticket, you will always be protected and "re-protected" on another flight, in case you lose the connection. If, on the other hand, you have two separate tickets and the first flight is delayed and you miss the next, you will most likely not have any refunds and will have to buy a new flight ticket.
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Generally you will not have to carry out the checks again, just follow the directions for the connecting flight and reach your gate. But make sure your baggage is sent directly to destinations (ask at the check-in desk for the first flight). In rare cases, it is necessary to take back the luggage and repeat all the steps: check-in, controls, boarding.
Arrival: Get off the plane and collect your baggage
You're there! All you have to do is collect your luggage, if you have embarked it, and enjoy your holiday. Exit the plane and follow the signs for the exit or for the baggage claim area.
If you are not at ease and feel disoriented, try to recognize the passengers on your plane and follow them.
Once again check the monitors to find out which roll your baggage will come out of, which will always be associated with your flight data.
Caution: check that you have collected your baggage, for safety I recommend putting a label to easily recognize it.
Then collect your baggage and go to the exit following the “nothing to declare” signs in case you have nothing to declare at customs.
If your baggage does not appear and has been lost, please return it to the lost & found office, with documents, boarding passes and baggage tag.
In summary: the steps to take the plane
- Purchase the Air Ticket
- On Line Check-In: printing of the boarding pass and possible choice of seats
- Arrival at the airport: go to the Departures area and to the Terminal assigned to your flight
- Check-in at the airport: go to the check-in desks of your airline where you can check in your hold baggage and receive directions to the gate
- Follow the signs for Gate and go to the security checks and pass the metal detector
- Awaiting Flight: tour of duty free shops, shops and restaurants
- Reach the Gate before closing and wait for the boarding to open
- Get on the plane
- Collect any hold luggage and leave the airport
With this guide I wanted to give all the information for those who have never taken a flight or for those who have traveled little.
For those flying for the first time it could be scary and difficult, but don't worry because it's very simple, all the indications are there and the ground crew is always ready to help you.
Do not be ashamed if you feel uncomfortable, it is normal, rather if you are really not sure try to arrive at the airport well in advance and you will see that everything will be fine.
If you enjoyed this guide, I would be very happy if you shared it, through the social buttons at the bottom of the article, also to help other travelers.
If you need more information, comment on the article or write me in private, I wish you a good first trip!