Airport Guide for First Time Flyers

It is normal to be scared when it is your first time flying. For some, it is because of their fear of heights. However, for most people it is simply because of the fear of the unknown. Many of us do get nervous each time we see ourselves in a new environment or an unfamiliar situation. We feel helpless not knowing what to expect next. The best approach to minimize your fear is to know what to expect.

Essentially, you have to go through several processes before you get on the plane. Here is a simple guide on each process:

1. Checking-In

The first thing that you need to do to when you get to the airport is to find your airline check-in counter. Different airlines have different terminals so it is best that you verify and check the terminal first before you go to the airport to make sure that you are in the correct terminal. Also, make sure that you are in the departure area of the airport.


Airline check-in counters normally opens three hours before for international flights and two hours before for domestic flights. Be sure to be there when it opens as lines are often quite long. Once you find the check-in counter of your airlines, hand over your passport and airline tickets to have your boarding pass. This is also where you will check-in your luggages.

Some airlines offer kiosks for self check-in. Just follow the instructions on the machine to print your boarding pass. You can also opt to to check-in online 24 hours before the flight. Just make sure to print your boarding pass at home before you go to the airport. Once you have your boarding pass ready, you can just proceed to the baggage drop area to drop your check-in luggage.

2. Going Through Airport Security

To facilitate you going through export security, you need to remove your shoes, belts, jackets and any metallic objects such as jewelries and other accessories. Avoid wearing sneakers, boots, and sandals or any other shoes that have shoelaces. It would be difficult to remove and put them on. You will not only cause delay for yourself but for the other people in line aswell. Remove laptops, cellphones and other electronic items from your bag and put them on a separate tray.

If you are carrying liquids, remember the 3-1-1 rule: maximum of 3.4 ounces of liquid or 100 ml bottles placed in 1 Ziploc or clear plastic per passenger. And of course, do not put restricted or contraband items in your bag.

Click here for more tips on What to Pack and Not to Pack in your Carry on Bag.

Once you are done with airport security whether you need to fix your shoes, put on your coats or wait for your companion, go to the designated waiting area so as not to clog the security line.

3. Finding your Gate

The next thing that you need to do after passing through airport security is to find your gate. Your gate number can be found on your plane ticket. If you are having a hard time finding your gate number from the signs in the airport, you can ask the nearest information desk for help.

Airports around the world have different lay-outs. Some airports are small and some are very large. This is why it is best to know where your gate number is located ahead of time to avoid rushing and panicking when your flight is boarding. If you happen to be at the biggest and busiest airports in the world such as Hong Kong International Airport and Beijing International Airport, your gate might be located far away from the check-in counter. So, it is best to look for your gate assignment before loitering around the airport. You must be at your gate not later than 30 minutes before your flight. Then have your boarding pass ready.

Happy flying!


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