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Fundamentals of flying

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Security check
{{pagebanner|Fundamentals of flying Banner.jpg}}
[[Image:Lufthansa 737 interior.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|If only all flights had this much room to spread out!]]
Commercial aircraft flight is one of the most common forms of long-distance travel and certainly one of the safest. This is a guide to the standard procedures, rules, and other basics of travelling by air.
==Planning your trip==
[[Image:Lufthansa 737 interior.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|If only all flights had this much room to spread out!]]
{{infobox|Flying and climate change|While nearly all forms of transport release greenhouse gases, aircraft are especially notorious offenders with the aviation industry being the fastest-growing contributor to the acceleration of climate change. This is not just due to the vast distances travelled, but because aircraft release greenhouse gases higher in the atmosphere, where their effects are more potent. A one-way flight from London to Singapore releases the equivalent of 4.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, or about half the average yearly emissions of a person in the UK. Shorter flights have higher emissions than longer ones per km travelled due to the amount of fuel used taxiing, and during take off. (See: [ Environmental impact of aviation on '''Wikipedia''']).
You are likely to pay less for a ticket if you are flexible in your travel times and routes, and you are happy to have restrictions on changes and ticket refunds. Keep in mind:
* '''Last-minute flights are expensive'''. Book as early as you can to get the best deals, as the cheap fare classes fill up fast. Also, '''you have no claim about a special deal until you pay for your ticket(s)'''.
*'''Return (or round-trip) tickets''', where available are priced lower than flights purchased separately. Especially for legacy or full-service carriers based in East Asia, single (one-way) tickets are almost always charged the full fare.
* '''Monday morning''' and '''Friday evening''' are the most popular times for business people to fly, which increases demand and can limit the available seats.
* '''Holiday seasons''' are times of high demand, because everybody else is also on the move. Worldwide biggies include late December to early January (Christmas/New Year and southern summer vacations) and July-August (northern summer vacations), but watch out for local holidays as well, such as the Golden Weeks in [[China]] and [[Japan]]. However, flights on the actual holiday days, such as Christmas day, are often discounted, as are flights against the peak travel flow.
{{seealso|Avoiding a transit of the United States}}
Flying from point A to point B often involves a '''connection''' in point C, where you have to disembark, find your connecting flight and climb on board again. If both the A-C and C-B flights are ''on the same ticket'', the airlines are responsible for broken connections and will (try to) get you on the next flight if you miss your flight. This may also be the case if you are flying the same airline or airline group (One World, etc) and you have allowed the required connection time between flights. However, if you're booking your flights ''separately'' or the carriers involved have no interline ticketing agreements, making the connection is '''solely your responsibility'''. If you are flying on an airline or fare type that doesn't permit last minute changes you may lose your fare when one airline's delay makes you late for the next one. Paying a little more for a flexible fare on the final connection can not only avoid this risk, but can also let you catch an earlier flight if you make the connection quickly (subject to availability and you may still need to pay for any fare differences).
Airlines may consider a connection as tight as 35 minutes to be valid, and if you don't have to clear customs or exit and re-enter secure zones between flights, and the arrival and departure gates are near each other, this may be reasonable. However, you can get unpleasant surprises at unfamiliar airports. For example, your gates could be at opposite ends of the building, or even in separate terminals. If you're traveling through an airport you don't know well and travel time is not critical, consider allowing '''at least an hour and a half''' to make each connection, particularly if it involves clearing customs (in which case two and a half hours is safer). If you are not delayed, you can use this slack time to eat at the airport, where the food is likely better and possibly more affordable than what you may (or may not!) get in the air.
Many on-line travel arrangers Web sites show statistics on how often a given flight arrives on time. Use this information to help you decide whether to risk problems with tight connections, etc. Generally, the last flight of the day into a given destination will be delayed more often than earlier flights, as the airlines use that flight to "sweep" travelers whose inbound connecting flights run late. Of course, the statistics alone won't tell you whether ''your'' particular flight is likely to be delayed, but it's still useful data.
With international When connecting flightsthrough a country other than your destination, check always determine if that country will allow you to walk directly from your arriving flight to your connecting flight (see if the "After landing" section below), and whether that country requires you will be making a connection at requires to obtain a transit visa to go and/or pass through their airportimmigration and customs. Some countries, such as the United States, and Canada and the United Kingdom require all passengers to go always pass through immigration and customs and immigration , even if they are just merely transferring between international flightsand will not remain in the country. You may find it easier if you can to avoid passing a connection through these destinationssuch countries, particularly the United States which has imposes the same strict requirements for a transit visa as for a tourist visa. Others, such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong , and Australia will require certain nationalities to obtain a visa even if they plan to remain in the sterile area. You are responsible for procuring all the necessary visas before you fly; request . Request them as early as possible.
===Reservations and ticketing===
===Paper and electronic ticketing===
[[File:Turkmenhowayollary ticket.jpg|thumb|Ye olde Turkmenistan Airlines ticket]]
Most airlines today exclusively use '''electronic tickets''' ('''e-tickets'''). An e-ticket is an electronic record of your booking details which is stored in the airline's computers; you will not receive a paper ticket, which consists of a booklet of flight coupons. In most cases, an itinerary receipt containing your flight details is prepared and e-mailed or printed for your reference. The itinerary receipt contains a unique six-character '''Passenger Name Record''' (PNR), which is used to identify your booking.
In theory, an e-ticket allows you to just show a valid ID upon check-in, as your name is all the agent needs to access your flight details. However, for security reasons, some airports require you to show a print-out of the itinerary receipt as proof of your booking before entering the airport and/or upon check-in. In addition, when travelling to another country, immigration authorities often require proof of onward or return travel. Moreover, the airline's computer systems are subject to scheduled and unscheduled downtime. In both cases airline ground staff don't have instant access to passenger bookings and will instead have to rely on paper records and hence process passengers manually. So always bring a print-out of the itinerary receipt with you for easy reference.
Due to concerns of credit card fraud, when you purchase e-tickets over the Internet with a credit card, some carriers require you to '''show the credit card''' used to purchase the tickets at the airport or their ticketing office for verification. Take note of this especially if the credit card holder is not part of the travelling party - they need to see the credit card, not just the authorised signature of the credit card holder. Failure to do so may lead to re-issue of the ticket with the same (or higher) fare, and refund for the original ticket after many weeks or even months (if refundable; refund fees may apply). This may be overcome by enrolling your credit card in Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode; contact your bank/credit card company for more information.
In the extremely rare event that you are issued with a paper ticket, you '''must''' present it when checking in for your flight. Look after your ticket; you cannot check in without it. If you lose the ticket, expect a lot of paperwork and/or hassles: you may be required to buy another ticket for the flight and have to apply for a refund later, or pay a re-ticketing fee. Not to mention that some jurisdictions will require you to file a police report. Hence if you're afraid of losing or forgetting your paper ticket, request for an e-ticket whenever possible. When you lose or misplace a print-out of the itinerary receipt, you can always freely and easily print another copy out from your email or request the carrier/travel agent to email it to you again. The person who gets hold of a lost print-out of an e-ticket itinerary receipt cannot use that as it needs to be complemented by a valid and authentic ID at the airport.
* If anyone in your party is '''handicapped''' in other ways (e.g., mobility, vision), you'll want the airline to know in-advance, preferably as you book your flight. With notice, they can make appropriate seat assignments, arrange assistance in the terminal, and notify the cabin crew of your needs. Beware: not all airlines are equally accommodating.
* '''If ill''' (especially with anything that might be contagious), you really shouldn't fly. In the close quarters of a plane, perhaps for hours, with 200 or more people going eventually to countless places, you could start or spread misery, even an epidemic. You should '''defer travel''' until you have recovered. If an airline or security agent notices symptoms, you may be worst denied boarding. Good trip insurance can help with the expense of delayed travel.
* If you've had '''surgery''' or a '''plaster cast''' applied within the last 15 days or so, you'd best avoid flying. Low cabin pressure can cause extremely uncomfortable swelling. '''Consult your doctor.'''* '''If pregnant''', consult your doctor for your particular circumstances. [ A fair introduction to these travel-in-pregancy issues]. Immigration and airline-specific restrictions may also apply particularly to those in their final weeks of pregnancy.
Restrictions and advice for some of these conditions can vary by airline, flight distances/times, total times to your destination(s), and availability of quality care at each stop.
===Trip insurance===
{{main|travel insurance}}
With the possible exception of very routine travel, you should seriously consider travel insurance. When applying for certain visas, this is also a requirement anyway. The cost may be determined by your total trip cost and duration, the age of travellers, level of coverage requested for certain problems (eg: costs of treating sickness or injury, or medical evacuation), and coverage for domestic versus international travel. Many insurance sources will cover pre-existing medical conditions if the insurance is purchased within a very few days of booking your trip; they may not if bought later.
Airline insurance purchased at the time you purchase your ticket may only focus only on the airline's responsibilities, while a quality policy will cover your end-to-end trip. You may obtain better rates by buying a policy through or from an association you belong to, eg: AAA, AA, AARP. Very-frequent travellers should consider long-term (annual) policies; coverage can be equivalent while costing much less per trip.
[[File:Big 1ff8028f0b6fc39ec9c15d73561d6724 ts1312956172.jpg|thumb|An Armenian passport]]
To board your flight, you'll at least need an airline boarding pass, '''paper ticket''' (if you were issued with one), and certainly and some form of '''government-issued photo identification''' (perhaps less for toddlers)- check with the carrier you are flying with to find-out acceptable identification. If your flight (or connecting flight) takes you to other countries, you'll also need a '''passport''', often with an expiration date at least six months after the date you start the trip. Depending on countries you'll fly to or make connections in, you may need one or more '''visas'''. Check in advance with your agent or airlineas well as the website of the embassy of the countries you wish to visit; without all the necessary documentation, your trip may be at risk. The credit card used to purchase the tickets may also be required to be presented for verificationespecially if you booked online, so bring that as well.  Countries that do not require visas from your nationality for short visits may require you to apply for some form of electronic travel authorisation. These countries include Australia (ETA or eVisitor), Canada (eTA), and the United States (ESTA). You may need to do this days in advance of intended travel. Without this, your carrier will not accept you for travel. Qualifying nationals can obtain this directly from the website of the host country's immigration authority. Unless more information or referrals are needed, the applicant will find out the outcome almost immediately.
Any authority looking at airline tickets, boarding passes, passports or other identification will examine names carefully. TSA and other security authorities often require that key papers '''precisely reflect your full name'''(middle name or mother's maiden surname is usually optional and for two given names, spaces between them are not needed). In other words, the name in your boarding pass must precisely match your photo ID. This applies to all persons in your travel group, e.g. spouse, children. This starts by making sure that whoever books your trip accurately enters each full name on the reservations and later-generated tickets.
Have '''convincing documentation''' that '''all medications belong to you''', e.g., labelled bottles, copy of the doctor's prescription. (Take no more than will be needed on your trip.) If '''any med contains a controlled/narcotic ingredient''', make absolutely sure you will '''not violate any law of any country you'll enter''', even as a ''through flight'' passenger. This may include having the country's ''written permission'' to carry the medications within its borders. Otherwise, the '''consequences can be severe''', eg: immediate confiscation, possible imprisonment, and even execution in a few jurisdictions if quantities are substantial.
===Mergers and frequent flyers===
Sometimes due to the nature of the airline industry, mergers and acquisitions between carriers are inevitable. This will have implications for your frequent flyer accounts if you have one with at least one of the parties to the merger. In general, only the miles in the accounts of the carriers which are party to the merger will be affected. This means if you flew one of these carriers but had your miles credited with the account of another carrier, such miles won't be affected; but conversely if you credited mileage activity from other carriers, hotels , car rentals, credit card points, etc into the frequent flyer accounts of the parties to the merger, such will be affected. The following scenarios usually apply:
*if you have frequent flyer accounts with both parties to the merger, the miles in both accounts will be consolidated into the frequent flyer programme of the new/surviving carrier; it is possible that you may be assigned a new account number
*if you have a frequent flyer account only with the acquired party to the merger, a new account will be created and all the existing miles in your previous frequent flyer account will be transferred there
For flying, there are two basic types of luggage: ''checked'' and ''carry-on'' sometimes referred to "hold" and "hand" luggage, respectively, even "cabin baggage". Checked luggage is usually given to airline staff at check-in time and, after electronic or hand screening, transported by airport crew to temporary storage and loaded into the hold of the aircraft. Luggage limits for both types are discussed below.  Do not carry over your experience of baggage allowance from one carrier to another. Each carrier has different policies as to how much weight your hand or hold luggage should be (in fact, even within the same carrier the amount of hold luggage allowance allowed depends on the fare or ancillary fee you paid).
'''Carry-on luggage''' is taken on board the flight with you, eg: a medium backpack or small roll-on suitcase. The weight and size limits for it can be restrictive and can vary by airline (eg: budget versus major carrier) and size of aircraft. Some may let you carry little more than a few essentials for comfort and small, easily damaged items. ''There the challenges start.''
** Men may be allowed a modest shoulder bag or small backpack.
* Some travel-item sellers offer coats and vests with many pockets, able to hold many small items. You may already have one.
However, this may not be always the case, especially if you fly with low cost carriers. Before giving your payment card details, make sure you find how much baggage allowance is included in your base fare and whether personal items (e.g. laptop bag, small backpack) are counted against hand luggage allowance. Especially for low cost carriers, you will be given the opportunity to purchase additional baggage allowance online, and it's usually cheaper to do it here than at the airport.
All may help increase what you can carry-on, and (except for budget carriers) probably won't be protested or result in a fee unless you over-do it.
====Weight and Size Limits====
* ''Carry-on'' luggage most anywhere: 1 piece (in Europe, maximum weight 7, some airlines 12 kg), maximum size 20x40x55 cm 115 cm in total (9x14x22 inches) Europe, often 20 inches length. * Checked luggage on international flights outside the United States: 1 piece2 pieces, maximum 20 23 kg (44 50 lbs).* ''Checked'' luggage on international flights to/from the United States and within the United States: 1 2 piece, maximum 23 kg or 50 lbs.
====Checked Baggage Fees====
==Before you fly==
{{cautionbox|Whilst airline staff will do their best to help you sort your travel-related issues, please be aware that you have responsibilities as a passenger too. '''DO NOT ARGUE with staff over issues that you are supposed to be responsible for in the first place.''' Before you pound your hands on the desk, raise your voice, swear, write a negative review, etc, please ask yourself if you have done all of the following beforehand: <br> *arrived at the airport well before required deadlines <br> *prepared the required travel documents (including registering for Electronic Travel Authority, ESTA, etc) <br> *reviewed your carriers' policies on baggage allowances, allowed items, and packed your baggage accordingly <br><br> Please understand as well that if the carrier makes exceptions or concessions to accommodate you under such circumstances, they may very well be breaching local regulations, and more fundamentally, be inconveniencing or endangering other passengers.}}
===Reconfirming your flight===
The same cautions apply if you use rail service to reach your airport. Some airports have such an array of terminals that metro lines, subways or railways may have more than one station.
You need to arrive at airports well before your flight as there are a number of procedures you need to complete before boarding: check in, security check, and perhaps immigration control. ===Punctuality===Airlines will typically have departure boards (displays) indicating a flight's status. The most important status indicators are '''Boarding''' or '''Go to gate''', which is a sign that you should promptly complete check-in and proceed through the security check, and '''Final call''' or '''Last call''', which means that you should board the flight as quickly as possible. You need to arrive at airports well before your flight as there are a number of procedures you need to complete before boarding: check in, security check, and perhaps immigration control. You are ultimately responsible for arranging a timely arrival at the airport. '''DON'T wait until just minutes before the flight's scheduled departure to act'''. Check-in or baggage drop closes approximately 40-60 minutes before departure and if you have not checked-in by that deadline for whatever reason, you may no longer be accepted for travel. Conditions affecting ground transport (e.g. heavy traffic, transport strikes, fog) are not valid reasons for missing a flight and expect limited relief from airline staff if these happen. You should consider these scenarios beforehand. Moreover, please '''do not argue with staff''' on trivial issues that you were supposed to be responsible for in the first place, particularly punctuality and required documents.  It is also important to understand that requesting for check-in, boarding or even departure to be extended by just a few minutes is not a simple matter for airport staff to deal with. It has wide-reaching implications. Airport staff need ample time to sort out all issues and paperwork for a particular flight to ensure everything is in order. Last minute check-ins can even mess-up the flight plan (including amount of fuel required). That is not all: a few minutes of delay may cause a flight to miss its take-off slot, and it may take some time - ''possibly several hours'' - to secure a new take-off slot. The airline and/or its ground handling agent face hefty fines and if this habitual, can lose their contract. All the other passengers who were responsible enough to come to the airport on time will unlikely be happy when any of these will happen.
===Checking in===
[[File:Aeroporto de Brasilia.JPG|thumb|Check in at [[Brasilia]]'s airport]]
The flight ticket itself does not enable you to board Over the plane; for thispast decade, you need a '''boarding pass'''. '''Checkthe check-in''' is the process of producing your boarding pass, which includes seat numbers, departure times and gates. In has evolved from a traditional (over-the security check-counter, only passengers with boarding passes are admitted in. You can often do the checkface-in yourself electronically, either onto-line or with face) check-in kiosks at the airportto remote (e.g. Checkinternet-in is not to be confused with '''baggage drop''', which requires prior based) check-in.  Check-in is handled by It basically entails a passenger coming into contact with the carrier's ground staff or its representatives. Some airlines allow (or sometimes require) you This is to check in register one'''on-line''', often within 24 hours before scheduled departure, s intention to use the ticket purchased and some no-frills carriers such as Ryanair will even charge you happens shortly (i.e. a hefty fee if you fail few hours to do soa few days) before the flight. On The actual opening and closing deadlines of check-line check in can often be done through depend on the airline's website, or sometimes by smartphone app. Apart from specific carriers as well as the booking reference or local/national regulations (e-ticket number you also identify yourself by frequent-flier or credit card number or by giving personal details. Upon completed check-in you will often be sent a boarding pass to print out by yourself; again, failing g. US regulations require that flights to do so may result in surcharges /from some low-cost carriers. If you enter the correct information but are denied US only open check-in, your flight may have been cancelled or the reservation modified by the airline; in that case it is wise to contact the airline immediately, preferably at most 24 hours before travelling to the airportflight).
The first thing you will need to do at the airport is '''Traditional check -in''' still exists for your flightmost carriers. Present your ticket In here, airline staff (if you don't have an electronic ticketor their representatives) will assist passengers; ask routine questions; input information in the system; inspect baggage, documents, etc; print a boarding pass for the passengers; and some form of ID receive any hold baggage. Special lanes are set-up for premium passengers (passport if i.e. those who are travelling internationallyon the upper classes as well as passengers who are on the upper tier of the carrier's frequent flyer programme) to airline staff reduce queues. When using traditional check-in, be reminded that you must queue at your flight's the designated counter before the check-in counter or at common checkdeadline ends, otherwise you may not be accepted for travel. You must also be ready with your travel documents (e.g. passport, visa, photo ID). When you have a connecting flight, make sure you request that your bags be checked-through to your final destination but in countersome circumstances, depending on this may not always be possible (see the making a connection section). Before handing over your airlinebags check to see that any bar-coded tags from previous flights have been removed.
You will typically In case you have to '''queue''' before checkexcess or odd-in: on very full flights and very busy days this alone could take more than an hoursized baggage, particularly proceed to the counter designated for international flightsthat. There are usually separate, and much shorter, check-in lanes for first, business class passengers, upper tier members of the airline's frequent flyer program (eg: silver, gold) and sometimes those who checked-in through remote methods (eg: on-line check-in). If the queue is long and your flight is leaving within the hour, your flight status This is already showing "Go to gate" or you are approaching the check-in deadline for your ticket, let airport staff know as they will often allow whether you to go to the front of the queue and check in immediately. Sometimes they will specifically ask previously arranged for passengers for a flight that is about to close to make themselves known so that they can check them in right away, but sometimes they will or not. Discount airlines have the strictest check in deadlines and some will not allow you to check in after the deadline even if you made it to the end of the queue in time.* You may face the same challenges in lines/queues for the personal security screening. If time is short, use the same methods as for check-in to get help.
With some airlines you will receive a '''boarding pass''' with a seat assignmentOther carriers, while some do not assign seats. You will need a boarding pass to present to especially those based in Europe are turning their counters at the security staff and later airport to the gate staff when boarding the flightexclusively function as baggage drop points. At this time, your checked luggage will be weighed, labelled, and handed off to baggage handlers This requires that you have performed a remote check-in or a check-in using an electronic kiosk.
Some airports offer curbside In order to use remote check-in, which allows you will need the booking reference code or e-ticket number. If you have a log-in ID or frequent flyer account with the carrier and linked them to your flights you can also use those to access online check-in your bags before entering the terminal. These are normally available on domestic US flights Just follow instructions and do what be ready with your other travel documents too especially as the standard online check-in counters inside do except that they process may need to collect information required by certain authorities. In most cases, you will not issue be issued a boarding passes to youpass which must be printed. You If not, you will be given a confirmation that you have to obtain them inside if you haven't done so from on-line check-in. Curbside check-in is offered nowadays for a fee levied by In either case, depending on the carrierflight, sometimes you may be given additional instructions on top of prevailing check-in baggage fees. Moreover, tips for what to do when you arrive at the airport to complete the staff are expectedprocess.
The check-in staff will print In case you have no access to a printer, some (but not all) carriers may allow you to save a bar-coded luggage tag once your bags are processed; the longer part screen shot of it will what was supposed to be attached to a printout of your boarding pass into your luggage while the shorter part will be given to youdevice. Keep this, You can "print" the boarding pass as upon arrivala PDF, some airports may require passengers email it to present these along with their luggage yourself and open the email on your phone. Contact your carrier first to ensure that the person carrying the luggage see if this is indeed the ownerallowed. These luggage tags are also useful if you suspect some of your If not, go to the check-in luggage is missing or similar counter to other luggagehave staff print your boarding pass (except if you are Ryan Air where you will be charged a hefty fee for not having one previously printed out). Before the ticket agent attaches the new luggage tags for your upcoming flightAlternatively, be sure:* You've removed any old airline tagsmajor hotels allow guests to have boarding passes printed free of charge.* Your new tag(s) reflect Even if you are not a guest, you might be able to go to a major hotel and use the public computer to get your destination airportboarding pass free of charge...checked-through as below.
In case your journey for the day involves several flights, you may want to request to have your baggage '''checked-through'''Most of same procedures will also be done when using a mobile phone. CheckAn increasing number of carriers are making mobile phone check-through is when your baggage will be tagged all the way until the last leg of your journey and in most cases, you do not need to claim your baggage in your intermediate stopovers any more possible by either providing a mobile-friendly website or a downloadable mobile app (especially usually for international-international or domestic-domestic flights on full-service carriers; does not apply to international-domestic connectionsiPhone/iPod touch and Android devices). You need to inform Depending on the check-in staff of carrier, the flights which will be covered by check-through for airports involved and your device, getting a mobile boarding pass is possible. It involves a particular journey as they can't assume that's mobile barcoded boarding pass being saved into your preferencephone. However, check-through There is ''not always'' possibleno need to print the boarding pass out, but make sure your device has enough battery until you inquire of board the check-in plane ready to show to any staff. You may check the section "Making a connection" below and are advised requesting to contact the carriers concerned for more information on when check-through may or may not be possiblesee it.
An increasing number of airlines are implementing a '''self-At the airport, some carriers provide kiosk check-in''' system at certain airportsins. In most cases this option is available It will be similar in process to passengers with or without online and mobile check-in bags. These systems involve small kiosks in which you can enter your booking referenceAt the end of the process, swipe/insert the credit card used to make the booking or swipe/insert your frequent flyer card (if it has a magnetic strip) to access your record and print out a boarding pass will be printed for you and your travelling party. You may have the opportunity to change your seats when checking in; in particular, many airlines do not open by the exit rows until the day of the flightmachine. In recent times though the self service check-in kiosks of some carriers have been extended to include features that allow passengers to check-in baggage by themselves.
A good number of carriers In some airports, check-in kiosks may also offer checkingcome embedded with self-in via mobile phone either by visiting the mobile website or downloading a specific app on service baggage drop facilities. In this case follow instructions carefully, particularly those pertaining to how to properly attach tags to your smartphonebags. At the end of the process, some carriers may give you Make sure the option of being issued a mobile boarding pass depending on baggage tag reflects your origin and final destination, though carriers that offer them usually don't do so for international flights. You don't need to print your mobile boarding pass, just present it to security staffsometimes a check-through may not always be possible.
As mentioned earlier, if If you have already checked-in via kiosk or onremotely and traditional check-linein is still available, the airline usually provides a special dedicated lane is usually provided for you where to use. This is distinct from the rest of traditional economy class lane in the check-in process sense that fewer procedures will be expediteddone. At this counter, please provide the information and documents that were given Even if you have no bags to and/or requested of you. Some carriers require passengers who used self check-in , it is possible that the carrier may still ask you to proceed to designated these counters before going any further in order for check-in counters staff to have verify documents verified, even if they do not have check-in bagsdebit/credit cards, etcElectronic check- When in is possible only in routine cases; if there are special needs or inconsistencies with doubt, contact the tickets (such as mismatches with names), only manual check-in at carrier before going to the counter is possibleairport.
[[File:GeorgeBushIntercontinentalFIDSTerminalB cropped.png|thumb|Departures information displays in Houston]]
Scheduled meals (if any) will often be timed and typed to complement the time zone of the flight's destination. As a result, first or early servings may not match your departure time. For flights that promise no food during meal hours, consider buying something at the airport (in the secure area); most lines will allow you to carry it on-board. Beware: the selection at airports may be poorand expensive but considerably more reasonable than what is on-board.
On-board meals for some airlines may be brought in from one of its base or hub airports rather than from a local source. This takes considerable time. Meals kept too long for any reason may have to be discarded due to safety. Scheduled meals may then be limited to packaged snacks/cookies and drinks, which is not the fault of the crew.
===Boarding time===
Your boarding ticket specifies '''Boarding time''' -- which is when boarding ''starts'' (not when it ends). Usually the boarding starts even after the printed time, but for short flights at least 30+ minutes before departure...for international flights on large aircraft, sometimes 45+ minutes. The boarding calls are posted on the flight monitors so keep an eye on them. '''Oral announcements should NOT always be expected and relied upon'''.
The gate closes (boarding stops) usually only 10-15 minutes before departure so . No passengers are accepted after this cut off. Even if you have until 10 minutes before departure to board, be considerate nonetheless to the ground handling staff. Passengers who do not show up early can cause unnecessary anxiety and concern for the gate crew. Moreover for security reasons, planes cannot travel with bags of missing passengers and it takes time to reopen the doors, locate the bags and close them again. As mentioned in the ''Punctuality'' section, all staff work under extremely tight timetables to get the plane out of the gate and into the air on schedule. Hence, give yourself plenty of time to get to the gate, especially if the airport is large, you are far away from the gate, or you don't know your way around the airport. Contact your travel agent for advice: don't wait until the last minute so that the ground staff can attend to other important matters.
===Security check===
* Remove items that create bulges from trouser/pant pockets...just an unnecessary way to generate inspector questions.
* You may be required to show that any electronic device functions. Make sure their batteries are charged and inserted for a brief demonstration.
* You may be subject to a more rigorous security check. Depending on the country and airport, this can be random or based on some suspicion. It can involve luggage search, swabs for explosive chemical traces and/or personal body searches. Officers may offer an information sheet explaining your rights, but the chance of your reaching your plane without submitting to the check is low. Note: the airport securities in the US and other Western countries have and will continue to suspect people who are Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and other minority races as being more suspicious and and may unfairly judge you as more of a risk for illegal activity due to Islamophobia, xenophobia, and past concerns with terrorist attacks. There is not much you can do to curb this bias. Acting suspicious, preventing the airport staff from checking your bags, protesting the strictness of security, and making unsettling jokes will only further perpetuate the stereotype so cooperate with all their instructions and just maybe you will help to change their perception of people of certain races. Also those who wear ethnic clothing may also be targeted for more thorough security checks, again just cooperate and keep your protests to yourself.
After body screening, you ''may'' be told to go with a screener to hand inspect your belongings...usually because electronic screening cannot identify an object. Otherwise, go to the end of the "line" electronically screening your luggage, etc., claim your possessions and exit "security" into the "airside" terminal.
===Before the flight===
* Count the number of seat backs between your seat and the emergency exits, keeping in mind that your nearest exit may be behind you. If you ever need to evacuate an aircraft in an emergency you may need to do it in a darkened cabin that could be full of thick black smoke. If the aisle is full of people you will at least know the number of seats you need to climb over to get out in that one in a million emergency.
* Switch off Place your mobile phone ''before'' you board the plane. Using a phone on board while the aircraft is taxiing, climbing or descending is a violation of air travel safety laws; in some countries switching the phone off is ''mandatory'' during the passenger's ''entire stay'' in the aircraft. Switching the phones off facilitates clear, effective and essential communication between pilots and the air traffic controllers. The crew will instruct everyone to turn off phones at least before the plane's doors close; if you do not comply you ''will'' be escorted off the plane. If you need to make a call while at altitude, your aircraft's telephone carrier partner ''may'' provide in-flight service. Consult your in-or flight magazine, especially for details on charges...normally no less than US$5/minute (plus connection charges) even if you are directly above the place you are calling. SMS on these in-seat handsets may also be availablesafe mode.
* Read the emergency instructions and watch the safety briefing even if you have ridden on the airline before as safety features may vary per aircraft and airline. It may be boring but if an emergency happens you will remember what to do, rather than having to read the safety card then and thereby saving precious time.
* Place anything containing items you'll often use under the seat in front of you to eliminate obstructing the aisle...or if they are small, in the seat pocket facing you. This will minimize disturbance caused to those sitting in aisle seats. If you later need the leg/foot room, and overhead space is available, you can then move there what you no longer need.
* Keep within sight anything you put in overhead bins that contains valuables. Though you may sleep, potential thieves (yes, on flights) usually won't risk your casual glance toward your belongings. Otherwise put them at your feet.
* Once seated, and if you have it, use sanitizer/sanitizing wipes to clean your hands, seat-tray, arm rests and (when convenient) the handles on overhead bins.
* If your ears are hurting during takeoff, try pinching your nose and blowing; that can help unpop your ears. Chewing gum can also help.
===During flight===
===Making a connection===
* When your journey involves multiple time zones, the flight purser will usually announce the local time at your port-of-arrival. The local time at your destination is also available from the flight path/airshow channel of your in-flight entertainment system if your flight is equipped with it. Adjust your watch to the time announced to avoid confusion with the timetables at the airport, especially if you have a connecting flight.
* Check if you have a Obtain your boarding pass for your next flight(either at a transfer desk if provided or regular check-in) if you have not done so already. If * Many international airports around the world do not require you don't, to go through immigration or customs if you are merely connecting to another country and will not considered checked-remain in for that flight yet so proceed to a transfer desk their country. In those airports, you can immediately walk off the airplane into the regular sterile area of the terminal, and walk directly to obtain a boarding pass for your next flightgate to await boarding.* At international airports in the United States, Canada, and a few other countries, all arriving international passengers are always required to proceed to immigration and customs. You can avoid this Small airports make passengers deplane by checking-in on-line airstairs and printing proceed across the tarmac by foot or bus to a dedicated international arrival facility. Large airports build a parallel set of bridges or corridors, separate from the boarding passesregular sterile area, if your carrier offers thesewhich directly link all international gates to their immigration and customs inspection station.* If In all countries, if you came from an international flight and are continuing on to a domestic flight, you will need to clear passport control, possibly claim your luggage (even if it is checked-through to your final destination) and clear customs and eventually . You must then check-in your luggage again to ensure its loading into your next flight. If you your baggage has already been checked-through your luggage to your final destinationat first check-in, some airports may provide a special lane "connecting flights" bag drops right after customs where you can simply dropit off, instead of have to drag it all the way through the terminal to the regular check-off in desks. In the United States, post-customs connecting flights bag drops are also useful for international travelers in transit who will not be remaining in the US.* If you are connecting through a US preclearance airport to a flight bound for the United States, you may have to pass through US immigration and customs ''before'' you board your luggage instead flight. Airlines that support preclearance connections take digital photographs of doing so all baggage at check-in which will ultimately connect to US-bound flights at preclearance airports. When you reach preclearance, the immigration officer will present you with the main departure hallphotograph and ask you to confirm that it is your bag. * There are a few scenarios when baggage will have to be collected at intermediate stopovers and checked-in as usual for loading onto the next flight. In this case, you will need to undergo the usual visa application, and clear formalities (ie i.e. passport control and customs) if at least the first leg is international. Some of them include the following:
**either your first or next leg involves a low cost carrier
**you booked both flights separately
If the assigned person does not meet the child from the flight, the airline reserves the right to return the child to the origin immediately at your cost.
[[Category: Air transport]]
[[Category: Planning and preparation]]
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