This is for my friends who will be flying soon and were interested in hearing how to survive airports and planes *whispers”Maribeth!”cough*. For those of you who are interested, here’s what I learned and how I survived my two flights. You can survive too (and if you’re not flying by yourself, then you are already better off then I was. ) 😛 I also italicized some certain things to note…
(To my readers who are not flying anytime soon–I shall be impressed if you go ahead and read this; if not, I completely understand.)
Okay let’s cut to the chase, this will be long enough as it is. Basically, when you get into an airport, you drop your luggage off first (I dropped mine off with Southwest Airlines because that was the plane company I was taking.) You then get in line for general security. Now, you will need to check this because it might be different for different airplanes, but I was able to bring two carry on bags with me; I had a large bag that held the camera and my purse and then I had my laptop bag–two bags (they don’t like liquid going through security, so leave your liquid behind unless it’s under 2 0z or somewhere around there–again, be sure to check with what’s allowed!) All you need to get through security is a form of ID and your boarding pass/ticket (you only need the pass to board the plane). When you are finally at the head of the line, you show them your ID and boarding pass, they’ll probably check a few things off with a pen and nod you through to where you put your stuff in bins so they can go through the x-ray machine. If you have a laptop, you need to take it out of your bag and place it in a container by itself. You have to take off your shoes and jackets as well (so wear shoes that can be easily slipped on and off.) Belts, headphones and probably jewelry are suppose to go through, so, honestly, go light when you fly.
They will then do either two things; either have you step through a metal detector or they will try to send you through one of the new X-ray machines which my family doesn’t like or approve of because they are basic violations of personal privacy. You can ask for the alternative to that one if that happens and you don’t want to be x-rayed; they will have someone pat you down instead (this only happened to me in Phoenix, and the lady was very nice about it. They had the x-ray machine taped off in Washington for some reason and I just had to step through the metal detector.) After that, you collect your stuff and you’re done with security! They usually have benches right after that if you want to sit down to get your shoes on or put your laptop back in it’s bag.
From there, you need to find your gate: mine in Washington was gate B-12. To find your gate is simple; instructions are always over your head. Just look up and go where the arrow points. They’re very clear instructions. If you’ve not flown before and if you’re by yourself, it might be a tad bit overwhelming the first time *cough-me-the-first-time-cough* but it turned out to be not so bad.
Now, there’s a whole other system to board the plane; they basically call on ‘first class’ seating or “Group A” to come on first. Then “Group B” “Group C” ect. I was always in Group B. When your group is called and is on the screen, you get into line. You hand the person your boarding pass as you enter that funny tunnel that leads out to the plane and you’re good. Just walk down and enter the plane! Again, planes are probably a little different, however, expect a tight fit as a general rule. If you can, put one of your bags in an overhead compartment. The other can go under the seat ahead of you. If you can, try to sit near the wings, towards the center of the plane. I jumped into seats just ahead of the emergency exits that go out onto the wing on both flights.
If you’re flying by yourself, maybe look for someone who looks nice. On my first flight, I sat between two older friends who were flying together; they were both very nice. On my flight home, I got a middle seat between middle aged lady with a nook and a older lady who did crossword puzzles the whole time. I basically looked for people, preferably women, who looked decent. You will have to sit next to these people for a few hours at least, so keep your eyes alert as you look for a seat. Again, if you are traveling with someone, you will hopefully get to sit with them! However, be prepared non the less. ALSO, when you get on the plane, be sure to eye the safety brochure that is in the pocket in front of you, just in case of emergencies.
When you land, you just have to wait your turn to get out of your chair and up the isle; be sure to say thank you to any flight attends who are still there because they probably brought you the pop that you enjoyed during your flight. Once you’re off the plane, just follow the sign’s arrows that say baggage claim. Find the carousal that has your luggage (they should have screens in the luggage area to find which flights are with which carousals) and grab them when you see them!
I hope my experience has benefited any of my dear friends who will be flying soon! I personally didn’t find it too hard, although it kept my blood pumping during several moments of strong alertness. I wouldn’t mind flying again! 🙂
How about you; have you ever flown before? If you are flying soon, when are you going!? I’d love to know so I can pray for you on that date specifically that you may have a smooth and safe flight! Thank you to all my friends who prayed for me on my trip; it really helped in the back of consciousness knowing people were praying for my safety!