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#1 Old 06-30-2009, 06:20 AM
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I posted this elsewhere and haven't gotten many responses.



Anyways I'm probably going to be flying for the first time within the next 2 months or so. I could drive where I'm going, but with how much gas is for my car (because I drive an SUV that was given to me) I'm thinking it will be cheaper to fly round trip than to drive there and back. I think it will also be good for my sanity. If I end up not finding someone to watch the kids, I'll probably drive because I don't want my first plane experience to be with a toddler and a 9 months old lol...but I'm trying to find someone to watch them. I'm really trying to NOT drive, see my post on narcolepsy to figure out why lol.



So yea here are my questions...



1. I'm in NC and I would be visiting FL. Does $210 for a roundtrip ticket sound right? Someone told me that the site I was on should have told me if it was one way or round trip, but I can't find it on there. I was using Priceline if that helps.



2. What exactly is a carry on, how big can it be, and what can/can't go in it? What things should I try putting in it that you feel are lifesavers for the flight?



3. If I want a vegan meal...how do I go about being sure I get one? It seems I'll probably be taking Delta airlines if that helps. It's a short flight (less than 5 hours) so if there even IS a meal and I can't get vegan I'm fine just going without for that amount of time.



4. What else do I need to know? I have NO IDEA how this works....
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#2 Old 06-30-2009, 06:48 AM
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For all the rules and regulations of flying, you need to check your airline and TSA. As for food, bring your own (you may have to try and hunt something down in the airport) because on a flight from NC to FL you won't get food. Possibly peanuts which are likely not veg. A carry-on is whatever bag you are carrying on the plane . You get one bag that has to be certain dimensions to fit above or below your seat (see the TSA link for specifics) and also one purse or laptop bag. Your ticket from priceline must say it's roundtrip. You should have had to select that at some point. Otherwise you're selecting a ticket each way. $200 isn't right or wrong as airlines are crazy up and down these days.



Congrats on flying for the first time! It's a much different experience these days but it's still kinda fun. It's not a long flight so you should be ok. Just remember to keep your ID handy, arrive early, and don't freak if you get searched- it happens to everyone these days. That TSA link should have all you need. Hope you're going to FL to relax and have some fun!
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#3 Old 06-30-2009, 07:03 AM
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I just flew for the first time last week, with my 12 year old daughter (her first time too). From what I gathered, the items not allowed in your carry-on, are liquids, gels, and pastes in containers more than 3 oz./100 ml and not in a plastic bag. (In London, they made me put my lipbalm that was in my purse in a plastic bag..lol). Also, dangerous goods are not allowed...check the airline for what they consider a dangerous good.



In the Fredericton airport (In New Brunswick, Canada), they found a pair of scissors in my daughter's carry-on. They were left over in the bag from when school was still on, as she had forgotten her pencil case in her bag...she used her book bag as her carry on. They told me that if they had been rounded points that they were ok, but they weren't..so they took them..lol I was like: "Go ahead..we weren't planning on bringing scissors anyway!" They were very nice and understanding about it.
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#4 Old 06-30-2009, 07:44 AM
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Definitely double check whether that's round trip or one way. $210 would be a pretty good rate for round trip. It's not awful for one way, either, depending on how the rates go up and down. Do you have exact flight times and flight numbers for your flights in each direction? You should have that information somewhere in your reservation. If you've only got flight numbers and times going, then the return trip isn't covered.



Also, if you're flying Delta from NC to FL, you're probably switching planes in Atlanta. Make sure your reservation leaves at least an hour for you to get from the first plane to the second. They'll sometimes book it so you only have 40-50 minutes between them, and if the first flight is late, you might not have time to run across such a big airport before the second one leaves the gate, especially since you've never been there and don't know where you're going. Those of us who have been through Atlanta a few (dozen) times can probably handle it faster than a first-timer.



I wouldn't worry about the food on the plane - there won't be any. If it's a nonstop flight, then maybe you'll be in the air long enough for a meal, but I wouldn't expect it. Again, your reservation should say.



As has already been stated, don't try to bring anything sharp, explosive, or liquid in your carry on bag. Assuming you'll have a bigger suitcase that you check, that means put your bathroom supplies in that one. And just assume that you'll be paying $2+ for a bottle of water or other drink in the airport terminal - AFTER you've been through security. They often sell drinks before you go through security, and then you'd run into the whole "no liquids" thing again. If you do switch planes in Atlanta, you won't have to go through security again there, so you can buy food/drinks in the airport without worrying, as long as you don't leave the terminal area and have to come back in through the security checkpoint again.



So where in Florida are you going? Stopping down in my neck of the woods?



--Fromper

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#5 Old 06-30-2009, 07:52 AM
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I'm not 100% sure where you are Fromp. I saw the locale on your profile but I don't know exactly where that is.



I'm thinking I'm going to be close to Fort Lauderdale. See I don't have a lot of the flight info yet because before I can go I have to see when me and my friend (who I'm visiting) can get off work and have to have someone to watch the kids.
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#6 Old 06-30-2009, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LabileLotus View Post

I'm not 100% sure where you are Fromp. I saw the locale on your profile but I don't know exactly where that is.



I'm thinking I'm going to be close to Fort Lauderdale. See I don't have a lot of the flight info yet because before I can go I have to see when me and my friend (who I'm visiting) can get off work and have to have someone to watch the kids.



I'm not far from Ft. Lauderdale - maybe 30 miles to the north of there. While you're in the area, you should definitely go to Sublime. Despite living so close, I have yet to go eat there, but I've been told that it's a serious contender for the title of world's greatest vegan restaurant.



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#7 Old 06-30-2009, 08:32 AM
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the airline will be able to tell you all of these things if you just call their customer service line or their web site.



it is unlikely that you'll get a meal for so short a flight, so i wouldn't worry about that. you can carry on your own food, but bring an empty water bottle to get through security and fill it at the water fountain once you are through.



you'll want to either leave toiletries at home or mail them ahead of you (a friend of mine does this) or purchase travel-size if possible. you may also be able to transfer your current products into travel-sized containers. keep these handy in your carry-on because you'll have to take them out of the carry-on for security. you put them in a zip lock baggie.



i tend to only bring a carry on where-ever i'm going. i use a compression bag for all of my clothes, pack some snacks, reading materials, and have my water bottle. now that i have hawk, we also use a "purse" with his things.
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#8 Old 06-30-2009, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post




i tend to only bring a carry on where-ever i'm going. i use a compression bag for all of my clothes, pack some snacks, reading materials, and have my water bottle. now that i have hawk, we also use a "purse" with his things.



I second this idea, if at all possible. Having had my luggage lost 2x the last time I flew anywhere I will not be taking anything but a carry-on ever again unless I can't avoid it.



Lost luggage is a nightmare.
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#9 Old 06-30-2009, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LabileLotus View Post

I posted this elsewhere and haven't gotten many responses.



Anyways I'm probably going to be flying for the first time within the next 2 months or so. I could drive where I'm going, but with how much gas is for my car (because I drive an SUV that was given to me) I'm thinking it will be cheaper to fly round trip than to drive there and back. I think it will also be good for my sanity. If I end up not finding someone to watch the kids, I'll probably drive because I don't want my first plane experience to be with a toddler and a 9 months old lol...but I'm trying to find someone to watch them. I'm really trying to NOT drive, see my post on narcolepsy to figure out why lol.



So yea here are my questions...



1. I'm in NC and I would be visiting FL. Does $210 for a roundtrip ticket sound right? Someone told me that the site I was on should have told me if it was one way or round trip, but I can't find it on there. I was using Priceline if that helps.



2. What exactly is a carry on, how big can it be, and what can/can't go in it? What things should I try putting in it that you feel are lifesavers for the flight?



3. If I want a vegan meal...how do I go about being sure I get one? It seems I'll probably be taking Delta airlines if that helps. It's a short flight (less than 5 hours) so if there even IS a meal and I can't get vegan I'm fine just going without for that amount of time.



4. What else do I need to know? I have NO IDEA how this works....



I happened to fly Delta (for the first time - first time overseas) from the U.K. to the U.S.A. earlier this year and I happen to be vegan.



1. I don't know, but check the full price includes airport taxes, cus they cost more than the price of the flight and are often hundreds of pounds.



2. Carry-on is, as pointed out, a bag you carry onto the plane. It must fit in one of the size thingies they have at the airport, so keep it small. I just took a carrier bag (plastic bag) full of stuff when I flew.



3. I THINK you can take certain food on the plane, but it depends not only on law but on the airline's policy. Check with Delta what you can take on board. For a vegan meal, phone the helpline and make sure they know that you want a VEGAN meal, and spell it out precisely to them, don't get fobbed off with the dairy-free meal that might have other animal products in it. I got a vegan meal on the way there after doing this, and it was good. Look closely at the items - it may say 'vegan', it may not. However, it was obviously vegan as what seemed to be butter had the Vegan Society's logo, but I'll add more later as gotta log off now...
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#10 Old 06-30-2009, 12:39 PM
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So yeh, anyway, still not got much time but it don't look like your time limit is urget for info. On the plane back, Delta had messed up my meal despite my phoning in advance. Because of this though, they gave me a $50 voucher which is transferable.



As for 4, I started writing a big list of basically how it went when I flew. However, I flew from one country to another, and customs might not bother you much as you'll be in the same country. I'll post more when I got more time, but watch the boards and listen for announcements and give yourself shedloads more time than you actually need - and I mean shedloads. And pack as much as you can at least a week before - taht way if you forget anything, you still got time to buy/pack it. And don't forget your passport.
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#11 Old 06-30-2009, 02:34 PM
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I second this idea, if at all possible. Having had my luggage lost 2x the last time I flew anywhere I will not be taking anything but a carry-on ever again unless I can't avoid it.



Lost luggage is a nightmare.



Not nearly as much of a nightmare as being in the Navy, losing all your luggage (with $500-600 of uniforms) and reporting to your duty station with nothing more then a Military ID, and a set of civvies, having the airline tell you they cannot find your luggage, buying $500 worth of new uniforms, and then have the luggage turn up 3 months later. Fun times, fun times.
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#12 Old 06-30-2009, 05:06 PM
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I'm not far from Ft. Lauderdale - maybe 30 miles to the north of there. While you're in the area, you should definitely go to Sublime. Despite living so close, I have yet to go eat there, but I've been told that it's a serious contender for the title of world's greatest vegan restaurant.



--Fromper




Maybe if I get some extra moola (doubtful, but you never know) I'll take you with me lol. But yea if you're serious about it I'd love to meet you! I've met a couple of random VB folk so I would love meeting other ones!
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#13 Old 06-30-2009, 07:10 PM
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1. I'm in NC and I would be visiting FL. Does $210 for a roundtrip ticket sound right? Someone told me that the site I was on should have told me if it was one way or round trip, but I can't find it on there. I was using Priceline if that helps.



It depends on a lot of factors. Check Southwest.com to see if they fly out of your local airport. They are a low-cost carrier and they also rock. Two free checked bags, no hidden fees, and they fly to a lot of Florida airports. Otherwise, $210 sounds good, but the prices fluctuate during sales and regular fares. Don't be surprised if it jumps up overnight. I have Priceline email me when fares drop.



2. What exactly is a carry on, how big can it be, and what can/can't go in it? What things should I try putting in it that you feel are lifesavers for the flight?



I wanna say 14x22x9 is the standard size. It's the little piece of luggage in sets, usually. Some like Airtran and Continental let on bigger ones, but nothing sucks like having to gate check bags if you don't have to because your bag is too big or some other jerk has brought on more bags than they're allowed. On most airlines, you're allowed one carry on bag and a personal item like a purse or backpack. I always go the backpack route and stuff an empty purse in my carry on bag.



Gate Checking: The process of leaving your carry on bag by the plane to be loaded into the cargo hold with the rest of the checked luggage. If you're flying on a smaller plane, like a regional jet, you'll probably have to gate check it.




3. If I want a vegan meal...how do I go about being sure I get one? It seems I'll probably be taking Delta airlines if that helps. It's a short flight (less than 5 hours) so if there even IS a meal and I can't get vegan I'm fine just going without for that amount of time.



You won't be getting one. The most you'll get on any domestic coach flight these days is a packet of peanuts or pretzels. Delta served peanuts and Biscoff cookies on my last flight. The cookies may actually be vegan, I don't remember. Pack food if you need a snack.



4. What else do I need to know? I have NO IDEA how this works....



Checked bags are $15 or more. Book your flights at least a month before travel, the prices go up insanely in the days leading up to the flight. Use Seatguru.com to choose the best seat on the plane. If you are flying on Delta, you'll probably connect in Atlanta. If you get a connection, it's best to make it at least an hour and a half because it's a pain to switch terminals, especially if you don't know what's going on. Atlanta has issues with delays, so that gives you wiggle room.



The TSA is a joke, and a pain to deal with but you gotta deal with it. Read EVERYTHING on the TSA website before you pack. Idiot me didn't realize the bundle I had wrapped in a towel to protect it had a bottle of coke in it from my trip and it got me searched. Liquids less than 3oz/100ml go into a one quart baggie. Wear comfortable clothing with no metal in it. It shouldn't go off on little things like zippers and underwires, but if you somehow have to get patted down, it's an awkward experience for everyone when it beeps.



Oh! One more thing. If you can, book through the airline. If the prices are the same on the airline website and on a site like Priceline, book through the airline because if there's a problem, the travel site can blame the airline and the airline can blame the site and it sucks.
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#14 Old 07-01-2009, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katt View Post

1. I'm in NC and I would be visiting FL. Does $210 for a roundtrip ticket sound right? Someone told me that the site I was on should have told me if it was one way or round trip, but I can't find it on there. I was using Priceline if that helps.



It depends on a lot of factors. Check Southwest.com to see if they fly out of your local airport. They are a low-cost carrier and they also rock. Two free checked bags, no hidden fees, and they fly to a lot of Florida airports. Otherwise, $210 sounds good, but the prices fluctuate during sales and regular fares. Don't be surprised if it jumps up overnight. I have Priceline email me when fares drop.



2. What exactly is a carry on, how big can it be, and what can/can't go in it? What things should I try putting in it that you feel are lifesavers for the flight?



I wanna say 14x22x9 is the standard size. It's the little piece of luggage in sets, usually. Some like Airtran and Continental let on bigger ones, but nothing sucks like having to gate check bags if you don't have to because your bag is too big or some other jerk has brought on more bags than they're allowed. On most airlines, you're allowed one carry on bag and a personal item like a purse or backpack. I always go the backpack route and stuff an empty purse in my carry on bag.



Gate Checking: The process of leaving your carry on bag by the plane to be loaded into the cargo hold with the rest of the checked luggage. If you're flying on a smaller plane, like a regional jet, you'll probably have to gate check it.




3. If I want a vegan meal...how do I go about being sure I get one? It seems I'll probably be taking Delta airlines if that helps. It's a short flight (less than 5 hours) so if there even IS a meal and I can't get vegan I'm fine just going without for that amount of time.



You won't be getting one. The most you'll get on any domestic coach flight these days is a packet of peanuts or pretzels. Delta served peanuts and Biscoff cookies on my last flight. The cookies may actually be vegan, I don't remember. Pack food if you need a snack.



4. What else do I need to know? I have NO IDEA how this works....



Checked bags are $15 or more. Book your flights at least a month before travel, the prices go up insanely in the days leading up to the flight. Use Seatguru.com to choose the best seat on the plane. If you are flying on Delta, you'll probably connect in Atlanta. If you get a connection, it's best to make it at least an hour and a half because it's a pain to switch terminals, especially if you don't know what's going on. Atlanta has issues with delays, so that gives you wiggle room.



The TSA is a joke, and a pain to deal with but you gotta deal with it. Read EVERYTHING on the TSA website before you pack. Idiot me didn't realize the bundle I had wrapped in a towel to protect it had a bottle of coke in it from my trip and it got me searched. Liquids less than 3oz/100ml go into a one quart baggie. Wear comfortable clothing with no metal in it. It shouldn't go off on little things like zippers and underwires, but if you somehow have to get patted down, it's an awkward experience for everyone when it beeps.



Oh! One more thing. If you can, book through the airline. If the prices are the same on the airline website and on a site like Priceline, book through the airline because if there's a problem, the travel site can blame the airline and the airline can blame the site and it sucks.



To add to what I said (and to respond to this post):

You can ensure a vegan meal by phoning Delta and making it clear when they say "strict vegetarian" (which is their term for a vegetarian who doesn't drink milk, I believe) you make it clear that that's no good by explaining you don't eat anything from an animal, including eggs, and that you want to make sure a VEGAN meal is provided. On the way there, I got a good meal, on the way back, I got screwed over despite phoning again before the return flight, but Delta gave me a voucher as compensation.



I wrote some stuff, but it applies to international flights, however, I've tried to edit it but if something doesn't seem to apply, ignore it. Once you've flown once, you'll probably feel more confident and won't have to follow this advice so much, but I know when I flew I wanted to make sure EVERYTHING was right... ignore missing numbers. oh yeh and if there's some sort of assurance scheme (to make sure that you're alright of the travel agent or flight operator is dodgy or goes bust) in the U.S.A., check the website has the scheme's logo. To check whether it's one-way or return, go as far as you can (and check each page) before the payment page - DON'T submit payment if you aint sure.



PRIOR TO FLIGHT DATE:

2. Take medication? Check what evidence you will need to prove that you need specific medication. You will need to show this proof to the customs people.

3. Write down important numbers and addresses, such as your home number, your address, the phone number and address of the place you are staying at or the person you are staying with, your local police number (none emergency and non-emergency), the local police number for each place you will be in on your way to your destination (emergency and non-emergency), the local police number for your eventual destination (emergency and non-emergency), the local American Embassy/Consulate number and address in those places, travel agent representative number (if you used a travel agent), airline company number, etc. Also have a separate copy of your bank details and a a copy of the I.D. page of your passport (and leave a copy with a friend).

4. Ensure you have plenty of money for food etc., as well as a back-up supply.

5. Ensure you have a ticket (or e-ticket) and an itinerary from either your travel agent or your airline.

6. Ensure that either the itinerary or ticket states the exact flight number (or numbers, if you are to change plaes) that you will be travelling on.

7. Ensure you have everything you need in your luggage. It's best to pack everything that you can in plenty of time before the flight date. Suggestions: clothes, medicines, travel first aid kit (without scissors or needles), proof of need for medication, food and drink for consuming at the airport (airport prices are a rip-off), any liquids that you will need to take with you (must be no more than 3 U.S. fluid ounces (about 88ml) and must be in a clear plastic reasealable bag such as a sandwich bag if you intend to take them on board the aircraft in your hand luggage rather than check them in with your hold luggage), cash, traveller's checks, bank cards, glasses or/and contact lenses, non-perishable food that you can eat on the flight if the on-board meal isn't good enough, cell phone, cell phone charger, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, books to read. Do not take shower gel or anything like that as it is likely to leak and you can buy it cheaply.

8. Either put your house keys somewhere safe or leave them with someone.

9. Leave important details (such as important numbers and addresses) with family.

10. Ensure you have attached luggage labels to ALL of your bags.



ON FLIGHT DATE BEFORE GETTING TO AIRPORT:

1. Ensure you have everything with you, especially your passport, money (or/and bank cards), ticket, and itinerary.

2. Make sure you are not wearing baggy clothes - T.S.A. agents are apparently suspicious of people who are wearing baggy clothes.



AT THE AIRPORT ON FLIGHT DATE:

1. Ensure you arrive plenty of hours before your flight time (queues - that's "ques" or "lines" to Americans ;-)) can be massive).

2. Find out where the terminal you will be departing from is. Depending on the size of the airport and the mode of transport offered around the airport, it may take some to get to your terminal.

3. When you've found your terminal, find out where the check-in desk for your airline is.

4. On your ticket or itinerary, check your first flight number. Look on the departure boards. Your flight number will probably not be displayed until later (4 hours before check-in; maybe earlier than that).

5. When your flight number is displayed, it will eventually state the terminal number and when it is expected. You need to check in at least 3 hours before check-in. Ask airline staff how early you can check in. Keep in mind that long queues can form, so check in as early as you can to avoid missing your flight.

6. When you are able to check in, ensure you have everything and take your luggage to the check-in desk for your airline. DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS YOU ARE SURE YOU ARE READY TO GO THROUGH TO THE DEPARTURES LOUNGE, AS YOU CAN NOT GO BACK THROUGH LATER. If you are confused, ask a staff member. They will ask how many bags you are checking in, hand over the bag/bags that you will NOT want to keep with you on the flight and they will ask where you are going to (tell them the destination where the last plane that you will be on will land (e.g. Manchester)) and they will put a barcoded label on the bag(s) and will take them from you. Ask whether the bag(s) will be checked all the way through to your destination. If they will, then you will not need to collect them again until then. If not, you will have to check them in again wherever you change planes. You will also be given a boarding pass (or two or more boarding passes if you are going to change planes). The boarding pass will have your GATE NUMBER (not to be confused with your terminal number) on it. You can not take certain items at all, and for certain other items you need to have a good reason and declare the items. Check the relevant travel website for your government (I don't know what it is for Americans)....
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#15 Old 07-01-2009, 06:52 AM
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...7. You will now have to go through a security checkpoint. To reduce the risk of being groped by pervy T.S.A. agents, ensure that you put your hand luggage, your coat, your shoes, and any mentallic objects (including a belt with a metal buckle, and cash) into one of the trays that will be available to you. DO NOT MAKE ANY JOKES ABOUT TERRORISM, BOMBS, OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. DO NOT EVEN MENTION THE WORDS 'TERRORIST', 'TERRORISM', OR 'BOMB' AS U.S. SECURITY OFFICIALS ARE EXTREMELY PARANOID AND OFTEN HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOUR. IN FACT DO NOT JOKE AT ALL. As soon as you go through the walk-through scanner, grab all your stuff and ensure you have not left anything in the tray. You may be asked some questions - answer them honestly and don't give information that you are not asked for.

8. You can now walk through to the departures lounge. Check in advance what gate your flight will be departing from and time how long it takes to get to that gate. Also when you find the gate, there will be one or more desks for your airline - check you are at the right gate and know which is the right desk for your specific flight. You can then relax for a while if you have enough time.

9. Keep an eye on the departure boards and listen for announcements. On the departure boards it will say your flight number and the destination (check the destination, as the same flight number may be going elsewhere at a different time). Eventually your flight will say 'LANDED' - when it does, go to your gate number to prepare to board. If it says 'NOW BOARDING' instead, RUN!!!

10. Assuming you got to the gate quickly enough, you now have to wait for your zone number to be called (your zone number will be on your ticket, as will your seat number). When your zone number is called, you can board - a staff member may take part of your boarding pass from you. MAKE SURE YOU SHOW THE RIGHT BOARDING PASS (the one for your first flight).

11. You can now relax for a while whilst your plane takes to the skies!

12. Check what time you will be catching your next flight (if you are going to be changing flights) and remember that it is local time for that location so don't rely on your watch unless the time zone is the same.

13. Eventually, a crew member will ask you if you have a U.S. passport. As you do, obviously say "yes" and you will be given a form to fill in. If you have any problems with it, fill in what you can then ask a crew member about the rest.

14. There may be some air turbulence that shakes the plane - this is normal but you will probably be required to wear your seat belt during air turbulence. I was using the toilet once when the seatbelt sign lit up, so be careful!

15. Before you land, ensure you have everything. Check under your seat & under the seat in front of you, and check in the overhead racks. Make sure nothing has fallen out of your pocket(s) onto your seat.

16. When you land, if you are changing planes you will most likely have landed in a U.S. airport. If so, you may not have to go through any security stuff again until you get to the U.K. KEEP HOLD OF YOUR STUFF AT ALL TIMES.

17. Find out what gate your next flight will be departing from if changing planes. Find that gate and don't stray too far from it unless you have plenty of time. Keep an eye on the departure boards...



...when you eventually land, you MAY have to go through customs again, just do same as before, and as you're in the same country it should be pretty smooth. Also if I didn't mention it: IF you are changing planes, check whether your checked-in luggage is checked in all the way, or whether you have to collect it at the airport where you change planes.



Hold luggage is the stuff that you check in, it then gets packed in the storage part of the plane and you feel like you've lost all your stuff cus your bags have gone except for your carry-on luggage. Which reminds me, keep important things like passports, useful info, important numbers, etc., in your hand luggage (your carry-on luggage).



At the destination airport, go to the luggage bit and collect your checked-in stuff as soon as possible.



If anyone wants to add to or correct this info, please do so.
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