At any given time of day, there are hundreds of planes in the sky. These planes carry thousands of passengers across the world every day, and while many have plenty of experience, many of them are first time fliers!
They're awkward, panicky, clumsy and unknowing. These people aren't just strangers; they're your neighbors, friends, enemies, and relatives.
They may even be you!
Wouldn't it be nice to know what to and what not to do as a first-time flier?
Fortunately, after braving the skies as a first-time flier, I have come up with this handy-dandy guide on how to navigate air travel like a pro.
1. Don't bring an abundance of quarters through TSA
My journey started at the Dwight Eisenhower Airport. I had just left my step-mom and was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. As I made my way through the line and through the check-points, I learned that the items I had placed on the conveyor belt had been held back for additional screening.
It felt like an eternity as I stood there trying to figure out what I should do next. When the TSA agent got to my stuff, we both learned that it was coin purse, filled to the brim with laundry quarters, that had set off the alarm. We both got a laugh out of it!
2. Don't request apples as a snackGiphy
"Apples?" The stewardess slowly blinks. "Mam, we do not have apples. We do not have fresh food on the plane."
"Oh! Sorry! Can...can you repeat what snacks you have?"
Turns out, it was almonds, not apples.
3. Do take lots of pictures of the sky!
You've never been a plane before. Take pictures of the ground! Take pictures of the clouds! Take pictures of the river because, for all you know, any of the rivers could be the legendary Mississippi.
4. Do hang on when the train takes off!Giphy
I'm not yet sure of other airports, but in the Atlanta Airport, there's a train that moves passengers to and from various terminals and concourses. Having never been on a train, I was in such a state of awe and wonder that when the train took off, I lost my balance and toppled over.
The good news? I caught my balance.
The bad news? I caught my balance by catching myself on the handles of the wheelchair which belonged to the grandmotherly woman next me. Her daughter, unamused at my immense apologies, simply pointed up to the handles above us and said, "You've got to hang on when it starts."
(Ma'am, if you're reading this, I'm still sorry!!)
5. Do know all your numbersGiphy
Knowing your numbers seems like a pretty "duh" thing to know. Even kindergartners can count to at least ten! However, if I had really thought about my numbers, I wouldn't have walked all the way to C6 before realizing that I should have walked to C46 when in reality I was supposed to have walked to C36.
Life hack: wear your Fitbit to the airport for times such as these.
6. Don't forget that Chick-fil-A is closed on SundaysGiphy
Do you know how many Chick-fil-As I walked by throughout all the different airports? Why is it that we always want Chick-fil-A on a Sunday?
7. Do stay calm, even when your flight is overbookedGiphy
It seems awfully silly for airlines to overbook flights. It's also incredibly frustrating to be that passenger who has to wait to see whether they'll get to board or not. Despite all this, remember to stay calm. The airport staff are people too who are just doing their jobs; getting angry with them isn't going to make your situation any better.
Instead, sit back, relax, and trust that it's all in God's hands.
8. If from the Midwest, continually use "ope" as you make your way to your seatGiphy
Bonus points if you can use it three times in the same sentence.
9. Don't panic as you try to read the map of the airportGiphy
Once in Greensville, I pulled out a map to double-check my location. Someone would be picking me up, and I wanted to be sure that I gave them a clear location. However, as I looked at the map, I realized I had no idea where I was. North side? South side? Where was I??
10. Do laugh out loud when you see that you have the wrong mapGiphy
As I studied the map closer, looking for anything familiar, I read the words "Atlanta."
I was in Greensville! I had the wrong map!
11. Do enjoy your flight!
Flying is fun! Be sure to enjoy the moment!