Taking your first flight can be quite unnerving, even if it is a simple two hour domestic flight from Delhi to Mumbai. Right from a niggling worry that the plane will surely crash to the more urgent concerns about whether you have completed all necessary procedures at the airport, the first plane journey can be quite taxing for the uninitiated. What makes it even more difficult is that you cannot take along a friend or relative to guide you around the airport. Due to security reasons, airports don’t allow accompanying visitors to venture beyond the airport gate. Here’s a practical checklist to help you get through the innumerable airport counters without feeling lost.
- Make sure you are at the right airport. Most cities have separate airports for domestic and international flights. Be sure to tell your cab driver clearly that you are taking a domestic flight.
- Find the terminus for your airline. For smoother administration, different airlines are allocated to different airport terminals. Most cab drivers will drive you to the right terminus if you tell them the airline name in advance.
- Get a trolley for your luggage. These are usually lined up right outside the airport entrance.
- Keep your ticket in your hand. You need to show it at the airport entrance to gain entry. If you have an e-ticket, you will also need to show a photo identity proof. This can be your voter ID card, PAN card, driving license, passport, or even a credit card with your photo.
- Go to the baggage screening section to get your luggage x-rayed. At this point, you need to place only the heavy luggage that will be checked into the aircraft cargo. Once the luggage is screened, it is sealed by the airport authorities to prevent tampering. Put back the sealed luggage on your trolley.
- Move to the counter for your airline to get your boarding pass. Wait in the line till your turn comes. Check in your sealed luggage. Luggage might be weighed to ensure that it does not exceed 20 Kg. The airline official may also ask to see your photo ID. If you have come early enough, you will be offered a choice between aisle and window seats. After you state your choice, you will be issued a boarding pass. The counter will also have a lot of baggage tags. Pick tags for your hand baggage, such as purse and overnight bag, and attach it to your baggage after filling in your name and contact details. Leave the trolley near the counter but take care that it is not in anyone’s way.
- Move to the security check area. Place your hand baggage, including mobile phones and jackets, on the conveyer belt of the X-ray machine.
- Now go to the frisking area. This area is just next to the hand baggage checking machine and is screened off with curtains. There are separate areas for men and women. After you have been frisked, the guard will stamp your boarding pass.
- Collect your hand baggage from the rear end of the X-ray machine. Make sure that the person guiding the machine has stamped your baggage tag.
- Wait in the sitting area till you hear the announcement for boarding. The announcement will specify the boarding gate number for your flight.
- Join the line at the boarding gate. An official from the airline will check your ticket before letting you pass through the gate.
- Board the airline bus that ferries passengers from the boarding gate to the aircraft.
- On reaching the aircraft, show your ticket to the steward before boarding your flight.
- Go to the seat specified on your boarding pass. Place your hand baggage in the overhead cabin. Now, sit back and enjoy the flight!
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