Every day around 26 million trips are conducted using public transport alone. One popular form of transportation is air travel, which only continues to grow each year. In fact, Americans spent $1.1 trillion for domestic and international flights in 2018 alone.
If you are about to take your first flight, it’s essential to know the mistakes to avoid in and out of the airport so that your trip goes smoothly. Here is a guide to help you sidestep first-time traveler missteps.
1. Don’t Panic Over Turbulence
If you are a first-time flyer, you have undoubtedly heard of turbulence. When you are at the airport waiting to get clearance for your first ever flight, this can be something that can cause a lot of stress. Luckily, you shouldn’t have to worry about occasional turbulence impacting your flight.
Several factors can lead to turbulence. If an object gets it the way of the airflow, this simple change in airflow can be enough to create turbulence. Such objects include mountains, buildings, and trees, all of which are harmless.
Turbulence can also result from hot air rising as the sun starts to set. As night approaches, the hot air will rise from the earth and mix with cold air, creating an imbalance in pressure that causes turbulence.
Regardless of the exact cause of the turbulence you might experience, you should know that you are perfectly safe. Before leaving the Springfield IL airport, your pilot will have used preflight weather briefings to identify turbulence on the flight path. That gives the pilot adequate time to chart a path around the turbulence before you’re even aware of it.
2. Check Your Carry-On Luggage Size
As a first-time flyer, you might not know that the size of your carry-on luggage depends on the type of flight you are on. International and local flights have varying restrictions that determine the kind of carry-on luggage you can bring on board with you.
Before you head out to the airport in Springfield IL, check the airline’s rules to know how much carry-on luggage you can bring. Additionally, any liquids, aerosols, or gels in your carry-on baggage must be 3.4 fluid ounces or less for safety concerns. These items should also fit in a quart-size, transparent bag to limit the harm of leaking fluids. If you are not sure whether your gel, liquid, or aerosol meets this regulation, you can opt for TSA-approved miniature versions.
3. Check Your Passport’s Expiration Date
Do not book a spontaneous flight before checking the expiration date of your passport. If you are headed to the airport for an international flight, beware that some countries will not admit you if your passport expires in six months or less. In case your trip is extended, they would prefer to know that you have a valid passport to travel back.
4. Avoid the Airport Lounge
Airlines provide lounges as part of their passenger services. What might pass you by being a first-time flyer is that they will charge you annual fees for using these lounges.
Thus, if you know that you will not be a frequent traveler, it is better to steer clear of the lounge on your first flight. That being said, if you have a long layover, then a daily pass can help you recharge. Just make sure you have the correct flight information to avoid missing your connecting flight.
5. Anticipate the Crowds
Traffic at the terminal ebbs and flows throughout the week. Therefore, you need to account for situations that might hinder your ability to catch a flight.
For example, Friday afternoons and Monday mornings tend to usher in more travelers due to business trips. Thus, traveling on such a day can mean longer security wait lines for you and fewer parking spots, all of which can impact your travel plans.
Make Your First Flight Memorable
Air travel is a popular and convenient transportation choice for Americans. If you are flying for the first time, you need to avoid common pitfalls in and out of the airport that can complicate your maiden flight. Prepare adequately and pay attention to what’s happening in order to have a smooth trip.