Airports Are Weird: Advice Gathered for a Newbie Flyer (who is me)

I haven’t been on a plane before. Not once. People seem surprised by this, but I say “my family was lower middle class. McDonalds was a treat and our vacations were driving an hour away and sleeping in a tent. Then my mom’s boss gave us the first ever pop-up tent trailer to exist! That was cool. And by cool I mean ‘the canvas was filled with holes mice chewed in them.’ Anyway, you can shut up.”

Saturday will be my first time on a plane. I’m going to Atlanta! For work. Having never been on a plane, or in an airport, or near a (commercial flight) airport, I really have no idea what to expect. TV and news has given me a vague ideas about a lot of lines and body scanning and lines and running. Everyone runs through an airport because they’re late in the movies and on TV! I don’t plan on emulating them.

These long, pointless paragraphs lead me to what I’ve learned (and will be referencing until I’m back home): What I’ve been told to expect and what I’ve been told to do at an airport. The first things that I read, linked by my friend Matt, is this blog. It was a very useful read, and aimed directly at me! Awesome!

Here is my list of things that Matt, that blog, and my coworkers have told me:

  • Just put everything you don’t need on the flight in your checked baggage. You don’t want to end up having to carry around a bunch of heavy bullshit if you miss your flight.
  • Ticket counter does two things: checking baggage and getting your ticket
  • Make your checked baggage easy to identify by tying something colorful onto it
  • Wear easily removable shoes for the security line, and socks because the floor is gross.
  • Don’t step through the metal detector/scanner until security tells you to, even if it’s your turn.
  • NEVER leave your stuff unattended. TSA dislikes that.
  • Use the bathroom before boarding the plane.
  • Seat numbers are on the overhead compartments
  • Personal items go under the seat in front of you. Bigger items go in the overhead.
  • If you get on the plane last, you don’t have to sit on the plane as long! But also someone has probably taken your luggage spot.
This is what Matt says the process is like:
  • Arrive
  • Ticket counter (Check luggage and get ticket)
  • Go to security line.
  • Remove shoes and belts and metal and everything from your pockets. Except the boarding pass. Also be sure your ID is nearby the boarding pass.
  • Place removed items in a bin! They go through xray
  • Go through metal detector/that creepy machine everyone talks about
  • Get your shit from the bin
  • Leave the screening area
  • Put on shoes
  • Find gate.
  • Chill out
  • They load by zone so don’t flip shit and line up before our zone is called. (Higher the number the later you get on the plane.)
  • Don’t rush off the plane when you land. It’s like a bus, but slower in some ways because it holds many more people and has many more safety procedures.
  • Follow signs to baggage claim and claim baggage
These are my coworker’s suggestions:

  • FOllow my lead and do whatever I tell you to do

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