Travelling by plane can be a source of stress and nerves, often due to lack of knowledge of the process, because of a change in some rule when arriving at the airport, or because we are not sufficiently prepared.
Travelling by plane is not so complicated. You just need to know what to do before arriving at the airport, where to go once at the airport, and the basic rules for taking the plane.
Related: find cheap flights in my article travel cheap
In this article, I explain the whole process to you, and I also give you some advice if you’re the kind that’s afraid to fly.
For me, flying has always been exciting and pleasurable, but I have friends who have suffered from the anxiety of flying.
They explained their tricks to me, and I share them with you at the end of this article.
Things you should know before boarding
Pack your suitcase
Packing your suitcase can be one of the most frustrating things about the trip:
• Don’t forget anything • Do you carry everything you need? • Will I have problems with the suitcase?
Thousands of questions can appear in your mind.
The best thing is to pack in time, because stress does not let you think clearly.
In case of doubts about what you can take, all companies have the rules and baggage rules on their website, check as many times as you need.
If you are not sure what to bring in your suitcase, you can check my article what to bring in the suitcase. You’ll find a printable list so you don’t forget anything.
When you travel by plane, you may be carrying carry-on and checked baggage.
What is the difference between hand luggage and checked luggage?
Hand luggage is what you can take with you on the plane.
Checked baggage will be given at the check-in counter and placed in the aircraft hold.
Check which baggage is included in your flight ticket.
Keep in mind that many airlines now pay to check baggage in the hold. Some airlines such as Ryanair also make you pay if you want to take a suitcase with you on the plane.
With large airlines, you can normally carry 10kg of carry-on baggage with you.
Whether you carry a suitcase or not, you can always carry a bag.
Under the bag, make sure you always carry all the essentials: medicine, snacks, mobile …
Make sure you don’t carry unprohibited objects (sharp objects, explosives), and if you carry liquids, make sure you comply with the regulations:
You can carry liquids in your hand luggage in containers of less than 100 ml. (up to 1 litre).
They must be in a transparent plastic bag with an opening/closing system.
Only one bag is allowed per passenger.
Visas and letters
Depending on your nationality you will need travel visas or letters of invitation.
For example, to travel to Vietnam you often need a letter of invitation.
In the case of Vietnam it is easily available online.
Without this letter, you will not be allowed on the plane.
Always find out before your trip if you need a letter or visa and don’t forget to take the document with you on the day you travel by plane.
You will find all the information on the website of your government or embassy in the country you are going to visit.
Air Travel – Everything you need to know BEFORE boarding
As with visas and letters, there are countries that you will not enter without a specific vaccine.
For example, for Brazil, the yellow fever vaccine is needed.
If you do not show your card with the indication that you have the vaccine will not even let you enter the plane.
Make sure you have your vaccinations on, as well as the vaccination card where it says you got them.
The traveler’s eternal dilemma. Is a travel insurance contract necessary or not?
In my case, within the European Union, being European, I do not normally buy any additional travel insurance.
When I travel to other countries, I do take out insurance.
I usually contract it with World Nomads and/or Iati insurance (depending on the price).
Many times, if you have a visa card or a private medical insurance, they have travel coverage abroad.
Check what your cards and insurance include before you take out travel insurance.
The comfort is relative, each one we support more or less the heels, narrow clothes, various accessories…
I usually go flat, so when I travel I make sure I wear comfortable bamboos or flat shoes.
When I’ve planned just a girls’ weekend, on short distances, I’ve dared to wear my heels at the airport.
In this way, you save space in the suitcase. And I got ready to put up with the heels for the party night.
The most important thing is that you wear comfortable clothes and wear layers.
You never know what the temperature will be on the plane and at the airport.
Don’t forget to add a foulard and a long sleeve.
At least make sure you take it with you on the plane if you need it.
Personally, I’m a fan of wearing a sweatshirt on the long haul. With the hood I cover myself from the light and feel more comfortable. I always carry some that have pockets where I can leave my mobile at hand…
I can’t count the times the hood in the sweatshirt saved me from a cold.
Plan to arrive about 3 hours before your flight to have enough time to check in, get into the airport and take the plane.
Normally, when you have your online check-in done, you need less time.
Online check-in or face-to-face check-in?
Online check-in is when you enter all your data online before you travel.
On many low cost airlines you have to check in online. Compulsory.
Normally you can check in up to one hour before your flight.
When you have to check in in person, you will have to go to the check-in counter.
They will ask for your passport and enter your details.
In most companies today you can check in online.
Consult your ticket and company.
I arrive at the airport. Where do I go?
Before arriving at the airport you should know which terminal you should go to.
This is very important at large airports.
For example from terminal one to two in Barcelona there is a difference of about 10 minutes with shuttle bus. Add some waiting time. You would need 20 minutes between terminals.
Make sure you know which terminal you should go to before you leave home.
Once you enter the airport, you will see several screens with flight information.
Search for your flight by checking the flight number on the screen.
It will tell you which counter to check into (if you need to check in).
Note: Please note that on most low cost lines, check-in must be done online to avoid extra costs.
Once your luggage has been checked in, you must go to the security checkpoint.
Follow the boarding symbols at the airport.
You must show your plane ticket.
At the security checkpoint they will verify that you do not have any prohibited items in your hand luggage.
Take one of the plastic trays to put your belongings.
The suitcase will pass through the scanner and you will have to cross through the metal detector.
You will have to take the laptop or tablet out of the suitcase.
Liquids in hand luggage for boarding: You can carry liquids in your hand luggage in containers of less than 100 milliliters (up to 1 liter).
This means that you can carry 10 bottles of maximum 100 ml each.
Liquids must be in a clear plastic bag with an opening/closing system.
Only one bag per passenger is allowed.
The bag with the liquids must be taken out of the suitcase. Put it in the tray with your other belongings.
Also you will have to pass through the scanner the metallic elements:
Take off your belt, mobile… In some occasions, they will make you take off your boots or sturdy shoes.
If you go through the security check, do not get upset.
Maybe you forgot your belt, or some coins in your pocket.
Follow the instructions of the security personnel.
If you lock your carry-on luggage with a padlock, I recommend that you carry it open at this time.
The process will be easier and quicker.
Once you’ve passed security, you’ll be in the boarding area.
The most common question is:
Boarding: where do I go?
You’ll see that there are many screens where you indicate your flight number and boarding gate.
If you checked in, you will have been told which gate to go to.
Anyway, look at the screen and make sure they didn’t change the gate.
On the way to the boarding gate, it is very normal to find shops, restaurants, vending machines, restrooms…
Normally boarding takes place 30-45 minutes before the plane.
If you go early, you will have time to relax, go to the door, and even go shopping, but don’t get too worked up.