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First time flying alone!

emcadam2
New Arrival

Hi everyone,

 

I'm 21 and I'll be flying by myself for the first time in just over a month. I'm Canadian but it ended up being more affordable to drive to BUF and fly from there. I'm a bit nervous, as the last time I flew was around 5 years ago, and I've never flown alone. Between the ~3 hour drive to Buffalo, staying at a hotel alone the night before, and navigating flying alone, it's causing me some worry. I know that BUF isn't too complicated, but I've never really done the whole check-in/boarding thing alone - it was always with my mom or, in the case of the most recent (5 yrs ago) trip, with school. Basically, I just want to know if anyone has advice to make it as seamless as possible. What are the Dos/Do nots?? I've scoured the internet but as a planner & a worrier some personal advice would be appreciated !!

4 REPLIES 4

Re: First time flying alone!

bec102896
Rising Star
Solution

@emcadam2 

 

First off welcome to the Southwest Community! 

 

I know this new adventure may be seem stressful but it's actually quite easy and after you do it for the first time alone you might find it fun and may be the next frequent flier. 

 

First with the drive feel free to take it slow slow don't rush before heading out make sure you have everything (chargers, ID, all the clothes you will need, and whatever else you may need) some make a check list ahead of time so when it comes departure day they aren't stressing do I have this or that and making the list day of could stress a person out which is why I say do it ahead of time. 

 

Hotels are an easy process you just show your ID and give a credit card or debit card for incidentals and the room cost if it's not prepaid they will hand you the room key and you will be on your way. 

 

Now for the flight 

 

with Southwest things work a little differently than other airlines. Southwest doesn't have assigned seats it's an open seating policy meaning you can choose any open seat you would like. 

 

How do you get the best chance of a window or aisle? Well you will want to check in as close to the 24 hour mark before your flight so if your flight leaves Monday at 1pm well you should be on the app or southwest.com at 12:59pm on Sunday so as soon at the clock strikes 1pm you can hit check in. At this point you will be given a boarding letter (A, B, or C) and a number (1-60) this tells you which group you board in And what position in line. Bags fly free on Southwest 1st 2 checked bags fly free (weight and size restrictions apply). Some people will buy an add on service called Early Bird check in this will automatically check you in ahead of the normal check in (36 hours before your flight) buying EB allows you to check in at your leisure So you don't have to stress about being online at exactly 24 hours before your flight. The service is between $15 and $30 one-way. You should still check in to obtain your boarding pass. 

 

day of departure 

 

you will want to arrive at the airport early it's recommend you show up 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. This will allow you time to check bags get your boarding pass if you don't already have it and proceed through security. 

 

Security is very simple you hand the TSA agent your ID and boarding pass once he hands it back to you the. You proceed to the bag screening. If you have food or electronics bigger than a cell phone then you should remove them and place them in a bin.  If you have liquids you are allowed 1 quart size clear plastic Ziploc bag with up to 3.4 ounces of the liquid. You also will have to remove your shoes. 

 

Once you get done with security you can go to the gate or grab a bite to eat. If going to the gate I check the departures board just in case there's a gate change. if I go to eat I would check the board after eating.

 

boarding starts 30min prior to the flight departure so be sure your at the gate on time. There are 3 boarding groups plus a medical pre boarding and family boarding which goes in this order: pre boarders, A group, Family Boarding, any A Listers who didn't get an A boarding pass, and anyone with an XT stamp would board then, B group would be next and last but not least the C group. 

 

 For the flight 

 

 I recommend having some kind of entertainment to keep you occupied and keep your mind off of flying such as music a game on your phone or simply a book. Reminder your phone must be in airplane mode at all times during flight.  Once airborne the flight attendants will come to the cabin offering some kind of snack such as pretzels and offer you a drink feel free to get one if you would like. sodas, coffee, and water are free alcohol beverages can be purchase for an additional fee.  You could also try to make friends with your neighbor in your row  and maybe that would help you ease your fear (some people like to talk others not so much). You could also take a nap and you will be at your destination in no time. 

 

Also if your in the A group or low to mid B group you should be able to get a window or aisle so pick your favorite I go towards mid cabin myself for the best selection. 

 

Do take your time as I said before don’t rush. Want to save time download the Southwest mobile app where you can get a mobile boarding pass which makes life easier than the paper pass and you can also check flight status and gate information right from the app. If your not checking bags you can skip the ticket counter with the Mobile boarding pass. 

 

don't have a full water bottle in your carry on bag as you will be stopped by security you can get a water after you are past security. 

 

Hope this helps!

Blake 

Re: First time flying alone!

emcadam2
New Arrival

Thank you @bec102896 ! I have a couple of questions - you mentioned the mobile boarding pass. Since I will be out of Canada, I want to try to limit my cell phone usage (text, calling & data) as much as possible. Do I need internet access to get my mobile boarding pass? Is there a way for me to get a physical one printed when i arrive at the airport?

Also, in regards to water bottles - am I allowed to bring an empty reusable bottle in my carryon and fill it once I am past security? I'm try to avoid disposable bottles as much as possible Smiley Happy

Re: First time flying alone!

bec102896
Rising Star

@emcadam2 

 

With boarding passes you can do a couple of ways

1. You can take a screen shot of the boarding pass (you would need internet for the min it takes to check in and take a screen shot) at the airport all you would do is pull up the screen shot. On the app there is also a save to photos button which works too and after you save it you wont need internet again.

 

2. You can get a printed pass at the airport for free. 

 

With reusable water bottles you can absolutely bring an empty bottle though and re fill it after security i see a lot of peoe do it because airports are a little expensive. 

Re: First time flying alone!

dfwskier
Rising Star

 


@emcadam2 wrote:

Thank you @bec102896 ! I have a couple of questions - you mentioned the mobile boarding pass. Since I will be out of Canada, I want to try to limit my cell phone usage (text, calling & data) as much as possible. Do I need internet access to get my mobile boarding pass?

 

Yes, but you can use wifi.

 

Is there a way for me to get a physical one printed when i arrive at the airport?

 

You sure can.

 

Also, in regards to water bottles - am I allowed to bring an empty reusable bottle in my carryon and fill it once I am past security? I'm try to avoid disposable bottles as much as possible Smiley Happy

 

Yes you can. It's the smart thing to do, instead of overpriced drinks t the airport.