Flying out of India for the first time? Excited yet nervous about what lies ahead? Air travel can seem bit daunting to the first time traveler, but if you know what to expect and prepare your documentation well, then the whole process is seamless and stress-free. Here are some do’s and don’ts for that first flight.
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- Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your departure.
- Keep all your documents in an easily retrievable place. Carry an additional piece of identification. You need to show your tickets as well as passport at the airport entrance to security. Have your ticket and passport, and visa handy.
- Move to the check-in counter. Do a web check-in 24 hours prior to save time and beat long queues. An early check-in also helps you pick a comfortable seat of your choice. Ensure that your bags are in the prescribed weight limit otherwise you will have to pay excess baggage charges.
- Don’t stuff your luggage. Tie a luggage tag or a brightly coloured ribbon on the handle to easily identify your bag on the conveyor belt at destination.
- Get your boarding pass from the check-in counter and proceed to the boarding gates. Just follow the crowd for immigration & security check.
- Here you will need to fill in a form and answer a few basic questions to an official about your destination and purpose of your travel.
- Now you are required to go through security. Remove your laptop and other electronics from your carry-on baggage and place in a separate tray for screening. Make sure you have attached a security tag to your carry-on baggage and that it is duly stamped after inspections.
- Ensure that sure you don’t carry illegal items such as lighters, sharp implements, liquids over 100ml or too much water in your check-in baggage. Review the list of forbidden items before your pack.
- Proceed to your gate and wait for boarding. When they announce boarding, queue up, and board!
- Try and be in the first few people in queue at immigration. Its worth a rush from the point of getting down from the plane, for immigration lines can get really, really long and endless.
- Drink plenty of water, exercise a little bit for blood circulation, don’t have more than one drink of alcohol, for it is a rapid dehydrating agent and also messes up with your sleep cycle.
- Do not skimp on lounge access if you have a layover of more than 4 hours. They are more comfortable have better food options and also alert you on your next flight.
- Invest in a good neck pillow. Its worth it for most economy airline seats can be a well…pain in the neck!
- While buying duty free, always buy from the transit location, otherwise you will be forced to check in your purchases. For instance if you buy duty free at starting point A, and your transit point is B, it is most likely that you will be forced to check these items in again and not be allowed to carry them to destination C.
- Don’t avoid reading signs at the airport, if that’s not enough, don’t hesitate to ask for help at the information center.
- Wear less jewelry and easily removable footwear, for it makes things easy for you at security check.
- Carry some parts of your cash in the destination currency or safer yet in USDs, for they are accepted at all major airports. The best ratio of forex you can carry is 80% on prepaid card and 20% as cash. Order your foreign exchange online a few days in advance so that you get good deals.
- Get a local SIM at the destination. Make sure you get one that’s compatible with your phone. Sometimes local carriers offer deals on Mobile handset + SIM.
- Embrace technology. Use apps when possible. Trip38 gives you timely information on things like check-in alerts, baggage allowance, flight status, gate/terminal info etc. Several GPS tracking apps also help keep an eye on your baggage.