Who’s excited to fly? This guy!
Five Things First-Time Flyers Need to Know!
According to Forbes Magazine, 13% of Americans have never been on an airplane. Whether it’s fear, finances, or finding the right vacation spot, if you (or a friend) are part of the one-in-ten people who haven’t been airborne, I want to help!
If you want to see the country, other countries, and enjoy new experiences, here are five things every first-time passenger should know.
This Boeing 767 is ready to take you on a non-stop flight from CVG to Paris!
#1 It’s statistically the safest mode of transportation.
I’ve been on hundreds of flights and am still in awe at how we, as humans, figured out how to keep a 200,000 lb. object 30,000 feet in the air at a speed of 500 mph.
While it’s truly mind-boggling, here’s a great article from Travel + Leisure that breaks down the scientific stuff behind how a plane works.
With 32,200,000 flights worldwide in 2022, one thing remains very clear: commercial air travel is still the absolute safest form of transportation.
Put another way, you are statistically safer riding in a plane than driving down I-75.
Traveling at CVG is easy.
“Accidents are rare in aviation,” said Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association. “Flying is one of the safest activities in which a person can engage.”
Download your airline’s app and keep tabs on your flight status, gate changes, and more.
#2 Turbulence can be scary, but it’s perfectly normal.
Nobody likes turbulence on their flight, and it’s certainly understandable that it can cause anxiety for some people, especially first-time passengers.
But what is it? And is it dangerous?
One of the simplest definitions of turbulence is described by the Canadian Mental Health Association as “just some sort of change in the air around your plane.”
There are a few main causes of bumpy air, including mountains, storms, and jet streams. Pilots communicate with each other and ground control to alert each other to steer clear of potential turbulence. Even when you do hit a few pockets of rough air, your crew is in control of the plane.
Think of it as hitting a pothole in the sky.
Where will you head next?
#3 Know before you go!
Some people have no problem booking a trip the night before and leaving in the morning, but even for seasoned travelers, last-minute travel can be stressful. To alleviate pre-trip headaches, here are a few things I do to make things a little less hectic.
Create a spreadsheet outlining each day of your trip. I like to make a grid that’s 24 boxes tall with one for each hour of the day. I then put each day of the trip in a new column. I like to include:
- When we should leave home for the airport
- What time the plane departs
- Arrival time
- Hotel check-in time
- Activities we might want to do each day
- Check-out time
- When we need to head back to the airport
- Arrival time at home
I sent a friend a copy of the spreadsheet I used, and she modified it for her trip to Italy and Germany from CVG.
If you want to go a step further, I also include approximate costs at the bottom of each day and then automatically add them up for a total trip cost. It helps when booking future trips. You can also use a free Google Doc and make the spreadsheet shareable with everyone on your trip.
When packing, it’s helpful to make a list of items in your phone or in a notebook as you pack. This will make packing for future trips much easier. Don’t forget critical items like medication and eyeglasses (always place them in your carry-on), passports for international travel, and something to entertain yourself with on the plane.
Left: a packing list from my phone for a work trip.\ Right: the family checks out the view while heading to Grand Cayman.
- I’ve mentioned before how much I use Google Maps while traveling. It’s great for airports, too. Many airports have detailed maps showing where gates, restaurants, shopping, restrooms, water refill stations and other amenities are located. [CVG’s interactive map on the website is really useful].
When connecting at a busy airport like Atlanta, the Google Map of the concourse is very helpful.
Make sure to arrive early for your flight, especially during busy travel times (holiday weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). Even though CVG has some of the shortest security lines of any airport I’ve traveled through, it’s still a great idea to arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.
Wear comfortable, layered clothing with shoes that are easy to remove when you go through security. Leave belts, large earrings, and other metal objects in your suitcase if you can. As the temperature in the plane can fluctuate, I always like to have a hoodie or zip-up to stay cozy during the flight.
Quick tip: Whether using the CVG ValuPark or CVG Terminal Garage, always snap a photo of your parking section or row. It makes it easy to find your car when you return.
#4 There are great resources for those who might need additional help when flying.
I was chatting with a friend who uses a wheelchair, and he shared that travel for those who require accommodations can sometimes be extra stressful.
There are comfortable restrooms for individuals with disabilities located throughout CVG, along with family restrooms near Gates A11, B11, and B13. There is also an adult changing table in the family restroom at gate B13.
If you need to gate-check a wheelchair or other mobility device, speak with the airline at check-in or before your trip. They’ll be happy to answer any questions about the process.
For those with hidden disabilities, CVG has worked with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower organization to utilize the [Sunflower Lanyard] program. If you or someone you’re traveling with has a hidden disability, just stop by the information booth at baggage claim while you’re at the airport and grab a Sunflower Lanyard. This will let airport staff and security know that you may need some extra help or a little more time. You can also request a lanyard ahead of your trip by calling 859-767-3230 or emailing email@example.com.
Going through the security checkpoint at an airport for the first time can be intimidating. If you have a question about TSA or the security screening process, you can reach out to the TSA Cares line at 855-787-2227 about 72 hours ahead of your trip. They can help answer questions about any special circumstances you might have and let you know what items you can and can’t bring on a plane. You can also check out this handy guide, which details all kinds of items you might be bringing and breaks down if they belong in your carry-on or checked bag.
My wife and son appreciate the Mamava pumping rooms at CVG.
#5 Headphones are your friend!
Among my must-pack items for every trip are my earbuds. Not only do they let me listen to music and enjoy shows and movies on longer flights with seatback TVs, but they also help me relax and stay calm.
Yep. The guy who writes a travel blog sometimes has anxiety while traveling.
Whether it’s a lack of sleep, a tight connection, or when I’m running late, I’ve experienced anxiety attacks while traveling. One tool I’ve found to help is to have a calming music playlist or simply some ambient sounds that I can use to drown out the noise around me, close my eyes, and get back to a better state.
Everyone in our family has their own set of headphones.
Pack your favorite pair on your next trip, and keep in mind that most seatback TVs do not have Bluetooth, so make sure to bring a pair of wired headphones. I also like to use a lighting-to-⅛” adapter so I can use the same wired headphones with my iPhone.
As a bonus: while on the plane, putting headphones on with an eye mask can work as a polite signal to an overly chatty seatmate that you’ve enjoyed the conversation but you’d like to get some rest.
I’m always on the lookout for a good flight deal.
I’d love to share your favorite travel tips! You can reach me at @JayKruzOfficial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
I’ll see you at the gate (early, of course)!