General Question

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

What do I need to know before flying alone?

Asked by nailpolishfanatic (6597 points ) October 16th, 2010

I am thinking of flying alone to Iceland from Denmark on Christmas break. My mother will stay here since she will go in January. I have flown a couple of times with my parents
I flew from Zambia when I was 11, alone but the airhostesses helped me with everything.
Next we flew to Italy with mom and dad.
Then I flew to Zambia with my parents friend. parents remained in Iceland
Then last summer we flew to Denmark, all of us and dad flew again back home.
So now it’s time for me to fly to Iceland ALONE!
I am always scared when taking off…, but that doesnt stop me from flying.
I know all the checking in and stuff, but the thing that I am scared of is that Denmark International Airport is much much much bigger than the Icelandic one so that’s an issue already.
I want to take most of my clothes home and stuff.

umm…so could you just tell me what I should look out for and just what to do I guess…

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25 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but be sure to go to the airport’s Web site to “get the lay of the land.” And good luck on your adventure. It’ll be an accomplishment you can be proud of.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@Austinlad , I am doing it right now :P
And yeah hope it’ll me accomplished.

flutherother's avatar

Remember your passport and get there in plenty of time. Check the flight departure boards and if in any doubt there are always people you can ask. Security is quite strict nowadays your hand luggage will be scanned and you may be frisked. Iceland sounds nice for a Christmas break. Have a great time!

augustlan's avatar

If you need help with anything, look for an employee to ask, not just some random stranger in the airport/on the flight. The fewer people know that you’re traveling alone, the better. Try to look like you know what you’re doing, and have done this millions of times before. Enjoy your trip!

genkan's avatar

Make sure you don’t over-pack – the rule of thumb is that your bag should be light enough for you to handle by yourself.

Get there 2–3 hours before your flight so you have plenty of time to check in.

Flying alone can be daunting the first time (my first time was last year!), but you’ll realise that it’s no sweat. I hope you have a great trip!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@flutherother Yeah my mom takes care of all the passport stuff, also I am getting ready for my dream job, by travelling a lot and alone. When I grow up I want to do something like Hotel Management and always work abroad. Flying around :P
I will put the “getting their on time” on my list.
I will ask the people who are working their if I need help. – I don’t feel like trusting some passengers I think that they could lead me to the wrong plane:/

@augustlan EXCACTLY!!

@genkan lol now that’s problem, when I travel I always take soooo much with me, but now when I go I think I will take 1 hand lagguage, 1 suitcase full packed as the weight am allowed to take with me.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, @augustlan already wrote what I would advise if you feel overwhelmed or unsure ask an employee where you need to go, and how to get there.

Don’t walk with anyone to a hallway or place where no one else is around or seems oddly off the beaten path, or the signage is counter to where you need to go.

Airports, luckily, are usually very well signed, fairly easy to figure out, as long as you are not rushing. Rushing is usually what makes things confusing and stressful.

About your clothes, you might want to check what the bag fees might be for checking large suitcases, and if their is a limit on how many you can bring.

I am a little confused, you live in Denmark? Can a parent take you to the airport? One of them can get approval possibly to come with you to the gate.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Know that over 2 million passengers take more than 90,000 flights per day. You are not alone.

Austinlad's avatar

@worriedguy, if I were inexperienced at traveling alone—and I was, once—reading that statistic wouldn’t me feel any better. What could be lonelier for a infrequent traveler to be one of 2 million people who all seemed to know exactly what they were doing on their 90,000 flights? Which is why I salute @Thesexier for seeking info from all of us who’ve been there.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought I would mention that even us very well travelled people, who are older, many times need to ask an employee a question or too. I was in Detroit airport a month ago, I have flown into and out of that airport many times, but this time I was connecting, and I needed to go to a different terminal for the connection. I had only an hour and I wanted to eat something and stop in my favorite store there. I had no idea if the other terminal was attached, if I had to go outside to get there, if there was a tram, or if I had to walk, it is different in every airport; so, I asked. Don’t feel like you are going to stand out as someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, a large percentage of people in the airport have never been to the airport before, the employees know and understand that.

Also, bring something to occupy yourself on the flight, a magazine or sudoko, whatever you like. Since you are most aprehensive during take off make at least one of the things you bring along printed on paper, because you can not use electronic devises on take-off. Many people are most aprehensive or stresed before the flight and on take-off it is very common.

marinelife's avatar

Look for the signs displaying the flight numbers and destinations. Check out your plane when you arrive at the airport and see what gate it is leaving from.

Check in for your flight and then go to the gate where your flight is leaving (go to the bathroom and do any shopping first).

Sit fairly near the podium so you can hear the boarding announcements. Pay attention when the flight attendant describes the boarding process so you know when to get on the plane.

Taking off is a fairly safe part of flying. Keep remembering that when you are going through it,

Remember that if you have questions, it is OK to ask someone who works for the airline.

Kayak8's avatar

Can your Mom go with you to the Denmark airport (the bigger one) and help you get to the right place? If so, you are then flying to the smaller, more familiar airport, right?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Since you’ve already gone to the website to see what needs to be done,I would just say get a window seat so you can look out and see how beautiful everything is :)

Have a nice trip

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@JLeslie , Yes I will check with the lagguage and how many kilogramms I could take, I think it’s 21 for the large suitcase and if its over that then I need to pay extra fees.
I just asked my mother now and she says that she isnt allowed inside the gate and security with me. She said that she can only come with me until the security nothing more.

@worriedguy that doesnt really make me feel better at all :/ it makes me more scared.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you are calling yourself “Thesexier” I would have taken it for granted that you are old enough and experienced enough to travel on a plane all by yourself.

But in fact it is not much different than going on the bus or the train or any other public transport. Don’t accept candy from strange men or offers of a lift anywhere. When you need a question answered go to an airport or airline employee for assistance. It sounds as if you have already done more international traveling than most, you probably already know the ropes.

JLeslie's avatar

@Thesexier Here in the states many airports let someone not ticketed behind the gate, but you have to get to the airport early, get approved, which is usually not a big deal, and have a reasonable reason. I’m not sure how old you are? If your mom was at my airport for instance, and was very concerned about her baby flying alone, at least acting that way, they might let her in through security. My husband was able to take his mom, she doesn’t speak English well, and of course she is older, but not frail, and my airport does not have signage in Spanish, not that you really need Spanish to read Gate 32, but they let him go with her. It’s possible your mom may not know about a possible exception, or it might be that in Denmark they simply don’t make exceptions, very possible. But, I think you are going to absolutely fine anyway. Even if you are a little nervous, just do it, fake it to you make it. You will see it was easier than you expected.

JLeslie's avatar

I just thought of something that might help. Ask your mom to stay in the airport until you get to your gate. You can call her from your cell when you are all settled.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m 67 years old. In August I took a round trip to Sweden, which involved 7 hours in the air to Philadelphia, 3 hour layover, 8 hours to Norway, 1 hour lay over, l hour to Sweden. (same on return) I was escorted by an airport employee with a wheel chair from the plane to the gate, from the gate to the plane at every stop, including the security check points. I sat in the spot they left me, and read a book.

One flight was delayed, making me miss my connection, and the desk clerk re-booked for me. I took only one large shoulder bag and one carry on bag to stow in the overhead for my week trip.

I carried my passport, itinerary, and money in a special pouch with a cord to wear around my neck. That way, I couldn’t accidentally lay it down somewhere.

This type of service is available to anyone just for the asking.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Austinlad Of course she will get other useful info about the flights etc. Someone might even offer specific info on the airports.
My statistics were meant to help her realize that she really is not alone.

Jeruba's avatar

Make sure you know which things are not allowed in your carry-on bags, and either pack them in checked bags or don’t take them. You probably can’t carry water with you. Security regulations will probably be shown somewhere on your airline’s website or linked from it.

You can find out if there will be any meal service on your flight when you book the flight. Look at the flight details. If there’s no meal service, you can probably bring food that you buy at the airport. Look up all the security rules for your airport.

If something is “complimentary,” that means you don’t have to pay for it. It’s free.

What you need in order to board a plane is not a ticket but a boarding pass. Your ticket gets you a boarding pass when you check in, either online ahead of time or in person when you arrive.

Keep your identification, your passport or other papers, where you can reach them quickly, but not where they can be easily seen and stolen or easily lost.

You can place carry-on items in the bin overhead or beneath the seat in front of you, unless the plane is too small to have the bins or you are sitting in a row without seats in front of you. In that case, ask the flight attendants what to do with your carry-ons.

When you arrive, follow the signs to Baggage Claim if you are collecting checked luggage. Your flight number should be posted where your bags are coming in. If you wait a reasonable amount of time and your bags don’t show up, go to the claim office for your airline. It should be close by, in the claim area.

If you can’t carry your bag yourself, look for carts that you can rent.

If someone is meeting you, arrange ahead of time to call them when you land so they know when to pick you up.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@Kayak8 , No my mom can only go with me until security.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@JLeslie I am 16. I think that’s a good idea for her to stay with me until we take off.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@Jeruba My father will pick me up from the airport, also I live really close to the KeflavĂ­k Airport (Iceland) – just like 10–15 minutes from there to home :P
I will take all the advice from you aswell.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, only 16, I think you should call the airline you will fly, tell them the airport you are leaving from, and ask if your mom can get a pass to walk you down to the gate, that it is your first time flying alone. You don’t have to give your name, just get information from them. I still think your mom is most likely making an assumption about only ticketed passengers being allowed, why not make a call and check to see if there is an exception? I’ll call for you if you tell me the airline you fly? They must have a toll free numner and an English line I would assume?

Meanwhile, even at 16 I feel sure you will be fine even if she can’t. You seem incredibly articulate and responsible.

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