Flying on an Airplane: Travel 101

By Danielle Wirsansky on January 29, 2017

Some of us have had the luxury of jet-setting around the world; others of us have not.

Some students have never even had the opportunity to board a plane! If this is you, do not feel bad. Your time to travel will come. And when it does, you want to be prepared. No one likes going into a new experience feeling completely unprepared.

According to Tom Farrier, an air safety specialist who contributes to the crowd-sourced information site Quora, perhaps only about six percent of the world’s population flies each year. And in 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that 18 percent of Americans have never flown in their life.

It can be hard to ask for help to understand an experience we feel frustrated that we never went through. But it does not have to be that way! Here are some student travel 101 tips for every new flier flying on an airplane.

Check Baggage Requirements

You have bought your tickets, reserved a hotel room, know what you want to do and where you want to go while on your trip — but have you checked the airline’s baggage requirements? It is an important step that many people overlook. Airlines try to help with their overhead fees by creating ridiculous rules about your baggage. The more discount or bargain the airline, the stricter their baggage requirements will be. And if you do not follow the requirements? You will often get slapped with fines, fees, or they might not even let you take your baggage on board. What a headache! Avoid it by checking ahead of time.

The rules will vary, from how many carry-ons you may take on the plane, what size your suitcases can be, how much your suitcases weigh, how many checked bags you can have, and more. It can be confusing, so make sure that the airline has baggage requirements that you find reasonable and can follow for your trip before you purchase any flight tickets. You do not want to end up at the airport only to find your luggage is 10 pounds overweight and that you already have one too many carry-on bags, right?

Be Ready for TSA

If you are not a seasoned traveler, you may forget or not realize how long it can take to go through security. You need to factor that time in your arrival to the airport so that you do not get held up by TSA and miss your flight. You also want to be prepared for what the TSA will require of you so you do not hold yourself up or get yourself hauled off and questioned until you can clear up the situation. You need to make sure that you pack safely and properly according to their guidelines, avoid liquids, and have forms of identification on you.

The TSA’s website is a great source and here are a few of their suggestions to help new travelers get through security smoothly:

•Apply for a Trusted Traveler program, such as TSA Pre-Check®Global EntryNEXUS, and Sentri. These programs help improve security and reduce wait times.
•Arrive early. The increase in travel volume has a wide-ranging effect. Consider incorporating additional time in your travel plans for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Arrive up to two hours in advance of your flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights.
•Prepare for security. Have an acceptable ID and boarding pass out and remove large electronics, including laptops and the 3-1-1 compliant liquids bag, from carry-on baggage. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag. Consider checking bags vs. carry-on where feasible. Read the travel checklist.
•Follow the 3-1-1 liquids ruleLiquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all bottles must fit in a single quart size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening.
•Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling.
•Tweet @AskTSA. Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Issues receiving TSA Pre-Check® on your boarding pass? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
•Check the weather. Inclement weather can cause flight delays. Keep in mind the local weather forecast and check with your airline for the most up-to-date flight information.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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