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Flight tips for first-time flyers

If you’re gearing up for your first flight, nerves might be starting to build. After all, you’ll have to navigate the airport before you board the plane, and perhaps you’re nervous about the flight itself. But with some careful planning and preparation, you should find the experience manageable and hopefully enjoyable - and who knows, you might even discover a newfound passion for airborne adventures. To help you on your way, here are our top tips for first-time travellers.

How to get through an airport for the first time

The steps outlined below will help you to get through the airport and board your flight like a seasoned pro.

Pre-book your parking

If you’re driving to the airport, it’s a good idea to pre-book your parking. This way, you can avoid the stress of finding a space at the last-minute, and you could save money too. At Liverpool Airport, you can take your pick from a variety of parking options, including long-stay, which is a handy and competitively priced service that’s ideal for those who will be away for more than a few days. Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer the undercover multi-storey car park located just a minute’s walk from the terminal, or for the ultimate in convenience, you could opt for the Fast Track car park, which comes with Fast Track security passes.

Arrive in plenty of time

Whether you’re driving, being dropped off or taking public transport, try to make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time. It’s generally recommended that you arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international journey. This will give you enough time to get through check-in and security and find your gate. It should also mean you can do some shopping or enjoy a snack if you want to.

Bear in mind that if you’d like to avoid the stress of travelling to the airport on the day, there is the option of staying in an airport hotel the night before. This means you won’t have to worry about possible delays causing you to miss your flight, and it can make the whole experience more relaxing and enjoyable. 

Check in and go through security

If your airline allows you to, check in online before you get to the airport. This will save you time and hassle when you arrive, and if you’re not checking luggage in, it means you can bypass the check-in desk and head straight for security. If you do have luggage that needs to go in the hold however, you will have to go to the check-in desk.

Once you’ve done this, make your way to security. Have your electronic or paper boarding pass ready to scan when you get there. Then you and your possessions will be scanned. You can check what items you can take through security when packing. Once you reach the conveyor, put your bag, electricals and any liquids you have into the plastic trays provided (bear in mind that there are strict rules about the types and quantities of liquids you’re allowed to take into the cabin, and they should be displayed in a clear plastic bag). If you’re wearing a jacket, belt or metal jewellery, you’ll need to place these items in a tray too, and you might have to remove your shoes or boots as well. Once you’ve put your trays on the conveyor, you can line up to walk through the metal detector.   

After you and your bags have been scanned, take the trays containing your belongings and double check that you have everything. It’s all too easy to leave behind essentials like your phone or passport, so make sure you pay attention.

Find your gate

Once you’re through security, find out which gate you will be boarding from. This information will be displayed on departure screens around the airport. When you know which gate you need, and where it is, you can relax and enjoy the time left before boarding starts. You might want to grab a bite to eat or a drink, or maybe you fancy indulging in a little retail therapy. Just make sure you keep an eye on the departure boards so you know when to be at your gate.

Get ready to board

Boarding will take place in groups. For example, Fast Track travellers and families with young children may be asked to board first. Once your group has been called, get in line and wait for the attendant to scan your boarding pass.

First-time flyers checklist

To make your journey as seamless as possible, we’ve put together the following checklist for first-time flyers.

  • Check your airline’s baggage requirements - Make sure you know the rules when it comes to baggage. The last thing you want is a last-minute panic at the check-in desk because your suitcase is too heavy or your cabin bag too bulky. This could result in you having to pay extra, or potentially even leave items behind.
  • Keep essentials in your cabin bag - If you’re taking hold luggage and a cabin bag, keep essentials such as important paperwork, prescription medicines and glasses or contact lenses in your cabin bag. This is just in case your checked-in luggage goes missing.
  • Make your luggage easily identifiable - Tie a colourful ribbon around your hold luggage to make it easier to spot it at baggage reclaim.
  • Have your ID handy - To make getting through check-in, security and the boarding gate as quick and easy as possible, keep your boarding pass and ID handy at all times.
  • Bring distractions for the flight - Having plenty of distractions for the flight will help keep any nerves at bay. Bear in mind that budget airlines don’t typically offer in-flight entertainment, so take a good book or some downloads to watch or listen to.
  • Bring a drink or sweets for take-off and landing - Because of the changes in air pressure when the plane takes off and lands, you might find you get an unpleasant sensation in your ears. Swallowing frequently prevents this though, so make sure you have a drink or some sweets at the ready.

Wherever you’re flying to, keeping these tips in mind should help you ensure your experience is a positive one.