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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''']).
{{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.
To board your flight, you'll at least need an airline boarding pass, '''paper ticket''' (if you were issued with one), and certainly 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 airline as 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 verification especially 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.
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.
===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 arrangements 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. Airlines will typically have departure boards Conditions affecting ground transport (displayse.g. heavy traffic, transport strikes, fog) indicating are not valid reasons for missing a flight's statusand expect limited relief from airline staff if these happen. You should consider these scenarios beforehand. The most important status indicators are Moreover, please '''Boardingdo not argue with staff''' or '''Go on trivial issues that you were supposed to gate'''be responsible for in the first place, which particularly punctuality and required documents.  It is a sign also important to understand that you should promptly complete 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 proceed through paperwork for a particular flight to ensure everything is in order. Last minute check-ins can even mess-up the security checkflight 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 - '''Final call'possibly several hours'' - to secure a new take-off slot. The airline and/or '''Last call'''its ground handling agent face hefty fines and if this habitual, which means that you should board can lose their contract. All the other passengers who were responsible enough to come to the flight as quickly as possibleairport 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 into what is called the airside section or the transit area. 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, and some no-frills carriers such as Ryanair will even charge you a hefty fee if you fail s intention to do so. On-line check in can often be done through use the airline's website, or sometimes by smartphone appticket purchased and happens shortly (i. Apart from the booking reference or 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 few hours to print out by yourself; again, failing to do so may result in surcharges from some low-cost carriersa few days) before the flight. If you enter the correct information but are denied The actual opening and closing deadlines of check-in, your flight may have been cancelled or depend on the reservation modified by specific carriers as well as the airline; in local/national regulations (e.g. US regulations require that case it is wise to contact the airline immediately, preferably before travelling flights to the airport.  If you have not done so electronically/remotely, from the first thing you will need to do US only open check-in at most 24 hours before the airport is '''check in''' for your flight. Present your ticket (if you don't have an electronic ticket) and some form of ID (passport if travelling internationally) to airline staff at your flight's designated check-in counter or at common check-in counter, depending on your airline.
You will typically have to '''queue''' before Traditional check-in: on very full flights and very busy days this alone could take more than an hourstill exists for most carriers. In here, airline staff (or their representatives) will assist passengers; ask routine questions; input information in the system; inspect baggage, documents, particularly etc; print a boarding pass for international flightsthe passengers; and receive any hold baggage. There Special lanes are usually separate, and much shorter, checkset-in lanes up for first, business class premium passengers (i.e. those who are travelling on the upper classes as well as passengers, who are on the upper tier members of the airlinecarrier's frequent flyer program (eg: silver, goldprogramme) and sometimes those who checked-in through remote methods (eg: on-line to reduce queues. When using traditional check-in). If the , be reminded that you must queue is long and your flight is leaving within at the hour, your flight status is already showing "Go to gate" or you are approaching designated counter before the check-in deadline ends, otherwise you may not be accepted for travel. You must also be ready with your tickettravel documents (e.g. passport, visa, let airport staff know as they will often allow photo ID). When you to go to the front of the queue and check in immediately. Sometimes they will specifically ask for passengers for have a connecting flight , make sure you request that is about your bags be checked-through to close to make themselves known so that they can check them in right away, your final destination but sometimes they will not. Discount airlines have the strictest check in deadlines and some will circumstances, this may not allow you to check in after always be possible (see the deadline even if you made it to the end of the queue in timemaking a connection section).* You may face the same challenges in lines/queues for the personal security screening. If time is short, use the same methods as for Before handing over your bags checkto see that any bar-in to get helpcoded tags from previous flights have been removed.
With some airlines In case you will receive a '''boarding pass''' with a seat assignmenthave excess or odd-sized baggage, while some do not assign seats. You will need a boarding pass proceed to present to the security staff and later to the gate staff when boarding the flightcounter designated for that. At this time, your checked luggage will be weighed, labelled, and handed off to baggage handlers This is whether you previously arranged for them or not.
Some airports offer curbside check-inOther carriers, which allows you to check-especially those based in your bags before entering Europe are turning their counters at the terminalairport to exclusively function as baggage drop points. These are normally available on domestic US flights and do what the standard check-in counters inside do except This requires that they will not issue boarding passes to you. You will have to obtain them inside if you haven't done so from on-line check-in. Curbside performed a remote check-in is offered nowadays for or a fee levied by the carrier, sometimes on top of prevailing check-in baggage feesusing an electronic kiosk. Moreover, tips for the staff are expected.
The In order to use remote check-in staff you will print need the booking reference code or e-ticket number. If you have a barlog-coded luggage tag once your bags are processed; in ID or frequent flyer account with the longer part of it will be attached carrier and linked them to your luggage while the shorter part will be given flights you can also use those to youaccess online check-in. Keep this, Just follow instructions and be ready with your other travel documents too especially as upon arrival, some airports may require passengers to present these along with their luggage to ensure that the person carrying the luggage is indeed the owner. These luggage tags are also useful if you suspect some of your online check-in luggage is missing or similar process may need to other luggagecollect information required by certain authorities. Before the ticket agent attaches the new luggage tags for your upcoming flightIn most cases, you will be sure:* issued a boarding pass which must be printed. You've removed any old airline tagsIf not, you will be given a confirmation that you have done so.* Your new tag(s) reflect your destination In either case, depending on the flight, you may be given additional instructions on what to do when you arrive at the airportto complete the process...checked-through as below.
In case your journey for the day involves several flightsyou have no access to a printer, some (but not all) carriers may allow you may want to request save a screen shot of what was supposed to have be a printout of your boarding pass into your baggage '''checked-through'''device. Check-through is when your baggage will be tagged all You can "print" the way until the last leg of your journey and in most casesboarding pass as a PDF, you do not need email it to claim yourself and open the email on your baggage in phone. Contact your intermediate stopovers any more (especially for international-international or domestic-domestic flights on full-service carriers; does not apply carrier first to international-domestic connections)see if this is allowed. You need If not, go to inform the check-in counter to have staff of the flights which print your boarding pass (except if you are Ryan Air where you will be covered by check-through charged a hefty fee for a particular journey as they can't assume that's your preferencenot having one previously printed out). HoweverAlternatively, check-through is ''major hotels allow guests to have boarding passes printed free of charge. Even if you are not always'' possiblea guest, make sure you inquire of the check-in staff. You may check the section "Making might be able to go to a connection" below major hotel and are advised use the public computer to contact the carriers concerned for more information on when check-through may or may not be possibleget your boarding pass free of charge.
Most of same procedures will also be done when using a mobile phone. An increasing number of airlines carriers are implementing a '''self-making mobile phone check-in''' system at certain airports. In most cases this option is available to passengers with possible by either providing a mobile-friendly website or without check-in bagsa downloadable mobile app (usually for iPhone/iPod touch and Android devices). These systems involve small kiosks in which you can enter your booking referenceDepending on the carrier, swipe/insert the credit card used to make the booking or swipe/insert airports involved and your frequent flyer card (if it has device, getting a magnetic strip) to access your record and print out mobile boarding pass is possible. It involves a mobile barcoded boarding pass for you and being saved into your travelling partyphone. You may have There is no need to print the opportunity to change boarding pass out, but make sure your seats when checking in; in particular, many airlines do not open the exit rows device has enough battery until you board the day of the flight. In recent times though the self service check-in kiosks of some carriers have been extended plane ready to show to include features that allow passengers any staff requesting to check-in baggage by themselvessee it.
A good number of At the airport, some carriers also offer checkingprovide kiosk check-ins. It will be similar in via process to online and mobile phone either by visiting the mobile website or downloading a specific app on your smartphonecheck-in. At the end of the process, some carriers may give you the option of being issued a mobile boarding pass depending on your origin and destination, though carriers that offer them usually don't do so will be printed for international flightsyou by the machine. You don't need to print your mobile boarding pass, just present it to security and airline staff. Check with the carrier you are flying with to see which devices are supported.
As mentioned earlierIn some airports, if you checkedcheck-in via kiosk or onkiosks may also come embedded with self-line, the airline usually provides a special lane for you where the rest of the check-in process will be expeditedservice baggage drop facilities. At In this countercase follow instructions carefully, please provide the information and documents that were given to and/or requested of you. Some carriers require passengers who used self check-in particularly those pertaining to proceed how to designated check-in counters properly attach tags to have documents verified, even if they do not have check-in your bags. In other cases though, especially for intra-Europe travel in economy class, Make sure the counters are only designated as baggage droptag reflects your final destination though sometimes a check-off points: you should have checked-in either online or using the kiosks before queueingthrough may not always be possible.
Electronic If you have already checked-in remotely and traditional check-in is possible only still available, a dedicated lane is usually provided for you to use. This is distinct from the traditional economy class lane in routine cases; the sense that fewer procedures will be done. Even if there are special needs or inconsistencies with you have no bags to check-in, it is possible that the tickets (such as mismatches with names), only manual carrier may still ask you to proceed to these counters before going any further in order for check-in at staff to verify documents, debit/credit cards, etc. When in doubt, contact the counter is possiblecarrier before going to the airport.
[[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
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