Air travel

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Flying For The First Time

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Traveling for the first time on the plane can be stressful!

You’ll make many mistakes, and some of them may even end up ruining your trip or vacation big time.

The good news is, this doesn’t have to be you. We’ve lined up 10 mistakes that you’ll need to avoid if flying for the first time.

So, here are 10 mistakes that first-time fliers make when traveling:

1. Submitting wrong passenger details 

First of all, you should always make sure you have confirmed your passenger details carefully enough before submitting them. In other words, full passenger names and the spellings must match what is in your passport/travel documents.

This mistake might seem small, but the cost of changing the name can be more than buying a new ticket.

See also: How to Plan A Trip For Someone Else (Steps Involved).

2. Forgetting to carry your booking credit card to the airport

It is crucial to always have your card with you from the time you book the ticket to when you go to the airport. 

But why is this so important?

  • This is a requirement by most airlines due to security reasons, and in order to combat fraudulent air ticket purchases.
  • Errors or other issues might occur with your ticket payment, hence you may be required to present the credit/debit card used to purchase the ticket. Failure to which, you may end up paying for another ticket.

But what happens if someone else booked your air ticket?

You’ll then need to call the airline to confirm whether carrying your booking card is a requirement.

And if indeed it is, they will best advise you on what they do in such situations.

Doing this prior helps you avoid any airport mishaps that may come along the way.

3. Forgetting to check the baggage allowance for your airline’s fare class

A good rule of thumb is to always check the baggage allowance for your specific carrier.

This will help you stay within your travel budget since you’re able to avoid paying for the additional baggage at the airport in case your luggage is too big or weighs too much. 

Make sure you have checked the weight and the dimensions of your luggage to avoid this common mistake.

The bottom line is that to help save time and money, checking in your luggage online is no doubt a sure-fire way.

So yes, it is cheaper to check in your luggage online.

This would hence be a great option for first-time travelers because it would help you avoid airport hassles.

You also get to bypass airport lines, thus making your first-time travel as smooth as possible.

4. Late baggage check-in

This is one of the most common travel mistakes that most travelers make, let alone first-time travelers.

Most travelers have no idea that the boarding cutoff time is different from the checking luggage cutoff time.

It is, therefore, imperative for you to find out and get to know your airline’s cutoff times.

Trust me. You wouldn’t want to be that guy who missed the cut-off time, especially if you are traveling for the first time.

On most airlines, domestic flights usually have a baggage cut-off time of 30 – 45 minutes before departure, and for international flights, it is mostly about 60 minutes cut-off time before departure.

According to our historic data 4 out of 10 people get locked out by airlines for not meeting the baggage cut-off time.

5. Arriving late at the airport

Arriving late at the airport may be the worst-case scenario, especially when traveling internationally.

This travel mistake happens to over 50% of domestic and international travelers.

There are several factors that you will need to consider when determining your airport arrival time. 

First of all, it is boring to arrive too early and at the same time, very stressful to arrive late at the airport.

That being said, here is our expert advice that will help guide you in determining the perfect airport arrival time.

Factors to consider:

  1. Traveling time

Are you traveling at peak times?

Not sure?

Don’t worry. This is how you find out the peak time:

  • Download TSA’s Official app to get real-time information on wait times.
  • Download MiFlight app. It is the best MyTSA app alternative.
  • Visit your airline’s website to check information on peak times.

And needless to say, if you are traveling at peak times, you should arrive early at the airport!

  1. Gate arrival cut-off time

After booking your flight, it would be wise to check the gate arrival cut-off time of the airline in the policy section.

For instance, most airlines close their gates about 15-25 minutes before departure time. This means that if you arrive later than their cut-off time, you may end up not being allowed past the gates.

So to be on the safe side, make sure you know your airline’s gate cut-off times beforehand to plan your time wisely.

  1. Airline’s Check-in requirements

To save time at the airport, always ensure that you know all the necessary check-in requirements.

The good news is, most airlines will allow you to directly check-in online. 

And then again, this can be done at least 24 hours before departure, which means that you don’t have to go to the airport early. Or even better, you won’t have to deal with the usual airport stress and hassles.

You can read more on how to save time at the airport on one of our most shared travel tips articles – expert tips and tricks on how to get through the airport faster.

7. Failure to adhere to passport rules

Before traveling, it’s always good to make sure that you have a done a good amount of research about the foreign passport rules of the country you intend to visit.

But even more importantly, it will be imperative to check the passport’s expiration date and the expiration rules of your travel destination.

Every country has different passport rules. Some will not allow you past the airport unless you have at least a few months before expiry (3-6 months).

Therefore, it is crucial always to make sure you have enough time remaining to avoid falling into the risk of being deported back home. 

And assuming you don’t have enough time on your passport, as per the requirements of the foreign country passport rules, you can always apply for an emergency passport.

So, where is the expiration date of your passport located?

Most passports have their expiration dates on the first page.

This page usually contains the date of issue and the expiration date, which in most cases will be found at the bottom-right corner of the page. 

Is it possible to book an airline ticket online with an expired passport?

Yes, this is possible because the booking process does not entail filling in the passport details. However, you may be in for a rude awakening during the check-in process.

8. Forgetting the extra Charges

Sometimes you might think that you have landed yourself a cheap plane ticket, only to discover that that was not the case!

Most of the time, these cheap flights will still require you to pay cash for your seat, onboard internet, luggage, to name but a few. 

A good rule of thumb is to always compare different airline fares by checking what’s included in the flight price to avoid falling victim to marketing deals that will always want to push you in.

9. Failure to check the alternative airports

What might surprise you is that booking with alternative airports may save you money, especially if you are on a tight budget.

You should always check for alternative airports when booking, as they are easier and cheaper to reach your destination.

10. Not booking using different currencies

At times, paying with your local currency can save you quite a bit of cash.

You, however, should make sure that the bank does not charge you a foreign transaction fee which may end up costing you just as much as you would have paid with a different currency.

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.   

Anthony Bourdain

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.