What I Experienced During Air Travel


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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. ) πŸ˜› 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.)

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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 aΒ form of ID and your boarding pass/ticketΒ (you only need the pass to board the plane).Β 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.Β 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.

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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.Β 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.Β 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.

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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 Β 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.

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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.Β ALSO, when you get on the plane, be sure to eye theΒ safetyΒ brochure that is in the pocket in front of you, just in case of emergencies.

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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! πŸ™‚

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!

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~Jamie

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13 thoughts on “What I Experienced During Air Travel

  1. You are way too sweet πŸ˜‰ This was great, so informative! I can do this. And thankfully, I won’t be by myself…my grandparents have done this millions of times.

    Okay, I have one big question. The x-ray vs. pat-down. Out of sheer curiosity, why did you take the pat-down over the x-ray machine? Not having ever been on a plane before, I can only rely on the experiences of others…and I’ve heard horror stories about the pat-down. Whereas, it seems that at least the x-ray isn’t one step short of molestation. This is the most nerve-wracking fear of mine! Everything else, though, I’m feeling pretty good about.

    P.S. My take-off date is the 17th πŸ™‚

    1. I’m glad it was informative; I felt like I rambled at certain points but at least it was helpful.

      With the X-Ray machine; my mom told me that the images they take are waaaay to–detailed? then they need to be. They can see your body and then they store your image in a database somewhere. The pat down was not terrible in my experience, or in my mom or sister’s experiences either. They assign someone of your gender (so, a women did me) and they’re suppose to tell you what they’re going to do if you’ve never taken it before. And basically they just–well, pat you down; if they linger in certain areas then that’s not good but that didn’t happen to me, Kayla or mom. OH, and I forgot to mention, WEAR. PANTS. JUST WEAR PANTS ON THE PLANE, OKAY? JUST DO IT. They won’t feel so ‘concerned’ to check you if you’re wearing pants. Sorry, that spiraled out of hand there at the end, I hope that answered your question. Basically, the x-ray is outside of my family’s comfort zone and we go with the pat down (which once again, wasn’t we didn’t find was bad.) Maybe do some research on the x-ray machine and see what you’re comfortable with.

      I will be praying for you on the 17th! I hope it goes smoothly for you!

      ~Jamie

      1. I. AM. WEARING. PANTS!!!!! LOL πŸ˜‰ Not something I usually do (personal preference!) but I heard the same thing: wearing pants really minimizes the chances of you looking “suspicious.” And actually, I’m kinda excited about wearing something a little different. It’ll be especially comfortable considering that my flight is over 8 hours long. A skirt would be far more cumbersome.

        Thank you thank you thank you for this whole article and your above comment. I’m definitely feeling better about this flight.

      2. ROFL! Good! OH MY GOSH EIGHT HOURS?! I CANNOT IMAGINE. My bottom was so sore after only 2 hours and 45 minutes! LOL.

        You are so so so welcome and I’m really really glad it helped you feel more prepared!!!!

        ~Jamie

    2. Hi, Maribeth! I fly all the time, so I’ve had some experience with the x-ray machines πŸ™‚ Some airports do have the super detailed pictures of your body specifically, but some will only have an outline a body and some squares will pop up where it detected something. So if you had some sort of metal snap or something like that on the sleeve of your shirt, it would just show up as a square on the arm of the human form. After you’ve gone through the x-ray machine, you have to stand there while they look to make sure everything is good, and you can see there which type it is. So if you’re not comfortable with a pat-down, you can always ask what type it is! I have personally never seen the detailed kind. Hopefully this helps you!
      -mallory

  2. I’ve flown before a number of times but never by myself – though I think it would be so fun…I mean, I’d worry, but it’d be exiting!
    I’m so glad you didn’t have any problems getting on and off your plane!!
    xox
    s

  3. This guide will certainly be helpful if I do have to fly sometime, and it was a very interesting read Jamie! When I think of planes I always think of John McClain in Die Hard taking his shoes off after he exits the plane. I don’t know why, but that is what I think of, but that is probably not the best idea because you never know when you terrorists might attack your building and you will end up needing those shoes. lol πŸ™‚

    -James

    1. I’m glad it was interesting, lol!

      HAHAHAHA about John! I am very glad I’m not a nervous flyer like him! Heehee! And yes, it would be nice to be wearing shoes if you have to deal with a terrorist attack. LOL But that’s what makes him impressive in lots of respects.

      ~Jamie

  4. I’m so glad you posted this! I am so nervous about flying when I go to Haiti in January, but this helped a lot (of course, I’ll be with a group, so it won’t be as scary, but still…) Thank you, Jamie!! I’m glad everything went well for you! πŸ˜€

  5. I had some of these same experiences when I went on an international mission trip last June. In total we had six flights both ways – two 12-hour flights, two 6-hour flights, and two 1-hour flights. I did not bring any jewelry or electronics besides my camera just to be safe. I found the airports in the US have a lot more security than the ones in Japan or Thailand, just from my experience. It was almost impossible to make conversation with anyone else on board because they all spoke very little English, if any. I also prefer Asian Airlines over the American ones any day! The flight attendants were nicer, the food was better, and the experience felt smoother and more relaxing. On our first flight I was so nervous going through security and then taking off, because I had never flown before….but by our last flight home, I was sick of it and mostly bored.

    The only advice I can think of that you didn’t already cover is to wear loose and comfortable clothing – things like skinny jeans or tight-fitting sweaters can get very uncomfortable after a while especially during a long flight. However also bring a long-sleeved shirt or a hoodie to keep you warm. As for if pants are “safer” than shorts, I don’t know! I wore shorts on a couple flights and it was no different than when I wore pants. Also, keep the most important checkout items like your passport and airplane ticket all in one easily-accessible place so you can grab them whenever you need them.

It always makes my day to see your messages! Don't forget to check back, I try to write back to you too! <3

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