Like many things in life, flying becomes easier the more you do it. There are certain tricks and hacks that you only pick up from experience. But, if you’re new to flying, you can still avoid making the classic mistakes that all the travelers before you have made by learning from the lessons they share.
Rookie fliers tend to make all the same mistakes when it comes to booking airlines, packing luggage, and scheduling flights. Luckily, they’re all easily preventable if you listen to the experts! Keep reading to find out what 10 mistakes newbie flyers always make that you can avoid.
10 Booking The Cheapest Airline Without Reading The Fine Print
It can be tempting to book the cheapest flight you can find. If it’s going to take you to the same destination as the expensive flights, who cares if it’s a cheap airline, right? Actually, if you don’t read the fine print, you might end up caring a lot.
Cheap airlines often find hidden ways of getting the same amount of money out of you. For example, your ticket might be cheaper, but that probably won’t include fees for checked bags, of which you may have two. Also, some airlines fly to different airlines or terminals in the same city, which are often less convenient for you.
9 Underestimating How Long It Takes To Catch A Connecting Flight
One mistake that you don’t want to make as a rookie airline passenger is underestimating how long it takes to catch a connecting flight. It might seem like a good idea when booking your trip to schedule your flights within half an hour of each other so you can minimize your travel time, but this often means you’ll be extremely rushed or, worst-case scenario, miss your flight entirely.
Things like getting off the plane, passing through security, and catching a train to another terminal can all take much longer than you think. It’s best to leave as much time as possible.
8 Not Allowing Enough Time For Security
At most major airports around the world, getting through security takes a long time. There are long lines you have to join, with every person ahead of you stopping to remove their shoes, their packed-away liquids, their devices, their metal objects, and anything else they need to show.
Then there are complications at security. Sometimes it might take them a little longer to process you or the people you’re traveling with. Because of this, always get to the airport nice and early to avoid being late due to security.
7 Forgetting The Noise-Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones will be a lifesaver on your flight, whether it’s an overnight journey or not. Although your hearing is usually affected on a plane, you’ll still be able to hear nice and clearly when someone walks past your seat with a screaming baby. It’s hard enough to get to sleep on a plane, and you don’t want to make it any harder by tuning into all the cabin noises.
A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can be expensive, but, trust us, they will change your life.
6 Not Having An Identifiable Feature On Your Luggage
Unless you’ve got a bright pink suitcase, it’s a good idea to mark your luggage with something identifiable so you can easily collect it again after your flight. Stranger things have happened than people wandering off with the wrong luggage. It’s just easier to reunite with your bags again when they stand out from the sea of other black suitcases on the conveyor belt.
Even if you do have a bright pink suitcase, you can’t be sure that someone else on your flight won’t have the same one. As a rule of thumb, tie a ribbon or unique luggage tag to your bags.
5 Overpacking Your Bags
The first time you travel, you’ll probably want to bring everything with you. You might be more apprehensive than the average traveler, so you won’t want to leave home without anything you might need. This usually results in bags that are seriously over-packed.
It’s always a mistake to over-pack your bags. Especially if you’re traveling to a few countries, you’ll soon resent having to lug everything with you from destination to destination. Bringing more with you also opens you up to potential baggage fines, and means you can’t fit as much shopping in.
4 Bringing Banned Items On The Plane Or In Your Luggage
Due to strict security and safety laws, there are several items that are banned on commercial flights. It’s much less of a headache if you research in advance what’s not allowed to come with you on the plane. Also, make sure you don’t have it in your luggage. Having banned or questionable items will slow down the security process or could even land you in even greater trouble.
Liquids are only allowed in your carry-on luggage during flights in certain small quantities, so don’t bother bringing normal-sized toiletries unless they’re in your checked bags.
3 Forgetting To Bring Your Own Snacks
Forgetting to bring your own snacks on a flight isn’t the worst thing you could do, but it will probably make your flight less comfortable. While some people love plane food, there are many airlines that are known for providing less than five-star quality meals. If you are a fussy eater or have a sensitive stomach, you’re better off bringing your own snacks.
If you have a really long flight, having your own snacks makes the time go more quickly. While snacks may be available on the flight, you’ll often have to pay for them.
2 Not Choosing Your Own Seat
You won’t always be in a position to choose the best seat in the house, but you normally do have control over whether you sit in the aisle, window, or middle seat on a flight. Not taking advantage of that is just silly! Many airlines will let you choose this when you book, as well as when the flight opens for check-in.
As for which seat is the best... well, that’s up for debate. Some people swear by the aisle for the legroom. Some prefer the window because you have somewhere to lean. Most agree, though, that you don’t want to be stuck in the middle seat if you can help it.
1 Forgetting To Make Sure Their Passports Are Up To Date
You’ll need certain documents before flying internationally, including your passport and any visas that your destination requires you to have. Many first-time international travelers won’t realize that there are certain conditions surrounding these documents. For example, some countries need your passport to be valid for at least six months into the future, otherwise they consider it to be expired.
To avoid this, do thorough research on what’s required based on where you’re traveling. Make sure your visas and passport are all updated so you don't run into problems at the airport.