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Old Jul 22, 06, 9:39 pm   #1
 
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Unhappy Any last minute tips for a nervous first time flyer?

Going Pearson-Tampa, never flown before. Wondering if any flying vets have any tips for me, perhaps making travelling a little less stressful.
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Old Jul 22, 06, 9:47 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AerosmithAngel
Going Pearson-Tampa, never flown before. Wondering if any flying vets have any tips for me, perhaps making travelling a little less stressful.
Don't be afraid to tell the FA that you're nervous. They'll probably notice anyway, but let them know that you're not 100% confident and they'll help you through.
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Old Jul 22, 06, 9:49 pm   #3
 
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I wouldn't call myself a vet, per se (I can still remember my first flight, since it was 3 years ago).

Honestly, I was excited yet anxious. Just make sure you arrive at the airport early enough, and for the flight make sure you have a music player and some good headphones to help drown out the engine noise.

I'm a little OCD, but staying informed is also good. Read the in-flight magazines. Look at the airport diagrams for airports in distant lands. Look at the airline's route map. Don't think about how little space you have, or the overweight person next to you...

And before you know it, you'll be there.
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Old Jul 22, 06, 9:51 pm   #4
 
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Relax, have fun, enjoy yourself

Seriously, you are a lot safer in the air than you are in a car on a major us interstate.

Some things you can do are avoid caffiene before your flight. Drink water or juices. Maybe take some chewing gum or mints. The chewing gum can help equalize the pressure and let your ears pop. That and the water helps another way too because the air in planes is very dry.

I usually suffer from seasonal alllergies, especially during the spring & summer, so I always take a decongestant the morning before my flights. Helps to keep my sinuses clear.

Hope this helps & enjoy your flights!

Safe travels!

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Old Jul 23, 06, 6:32 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AerosmithAngel
Going Pearson-Tampa, never flown before. Wondering if any flying vets have any tips for me, perhaps making travelling a little less stressful.
Are you nervous about the actual flight, or about the process of going through the airport, etc.?

Agree with the previous posters - show up to the airport early to allow yourself time to check in, check bags (if you're doing that), get through security, and go to your gate.

In flight, the most important thing for a new flyer, IMHO, is to know in advance that turbulence and strange noises are all part of a normal flight! Several friends who had never flown before have told me over the years that the noise of the gear coming up, or going down, or the engines throttling back, etc., are all very scary if you don't know what's happening. Here's what I found with a quick google:

Quote:
I frequently hear nervous flyers say that they hear unfamiliar noises on the aircraft, well let me explain some of the common ones. That sound that you'll hear almost immediatley after takeoff is the sound of the landing gear being retracted. Later on in the climb the pilots will also retract the flaps with a similar kind of mechanical noise. Pilots use flaps on takeoff because they help the aircraft gain better lift at slow speeds. You will also hear the same sounds on landing. During the cruise portion of the flight you will sometimes hear chimes go throughout the cabin These are either used to get the attention of the passengers before and after takeoff and other times there will be a different chime for a crew to crew message. One thing that the chimes do not signal is that there is an emergency so there's not much to be worried about. Turbulence is probably one of the most common (yet harmless) things that scare many passengers. if you're sitting by the wing and you encounter turbulence you can see the wing moving. Don't worry it's not going to snap off. The wings are designed to move up and down like that to prevent stress to the wing struture so the bending is actually a good thing.
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/new...st_scared.html

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!!
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Old Jul 23, 06, 8:20 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AerosmithAngel
Going Pearson-Tampa, never flown before. Wondering if any flying vets have any tips for me, perhaps making travelling a little less stressful.
Don't wear clothes with lots of metal (belts with big buckles, lots of metal jewelry, etc.) because that will trigger the security checkpoint's metal detector.

Wear easy off, easy on shoes in case the security checkpoint wants you to remove them.

Keep the airline's reservation phone number handy. If you need a rebooking because of a missed connection, it may be faster to call that than wait in the line that everyone else who missed a connection is waiting in.

Keep the essentials you need for the first day or two of your trip in your carryon, in case your checked luggage is missing. Keep a close eye on your carryon at the security checkpoint, since thieves try to steal stuff there (the TSA is not watching for thieves; it is trying to find people smuggling bombs or weapons on board). Squishy carryon bags fit more easily into overhead or underseat spaces that may be "slightly too small" for some non-squishy rollaboard carryons.

In flight, keep the seat belt fastened snugly whenever you are in your seat. Turbulence can strike at any time.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 9:48 am   #7
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The plane will probably shake a bit. Depending on the weather it might shake a lot. You might even see the wings flex. This is all normal behavior, nothing to be scared of. If the shaking is bad enough that it makes you barf there's a bag in the pocket in front of you for the purpose. In probably about 80 flights in my life I've only been aware of one person actually doing so and that must have been nervousness as there was only very minor turbulence at the time.

The wings have pieces that can be moved around. On some planes this will cause gaps to appear where you can see right through the wing. Again, normal, nothing to be scared of.

Depending on your landing conditions you might see the front part of the engine open up and emit a great roar. This is just running the engine backwards to use them to stop faster. Nothing to be scared of.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 9:59 am   #8
 
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If you feel it's absolutely necessary, you can ask your doctor to prescribe you either ambien or xanax to help you relax or sleep.

Though you may want to stay away from it since your trip is pretty short.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 12:58 pm   #9
 
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From seeing your other post, it looks like you are on WestJet direct. Go to seatguru.com and check out the seat maps to try to get a comfortable seat. It looks like they fly all 737's, and have personal TVs - so for a few $$$ you would have a distraction to pass the time.

If motion sickness could be a problem, try to sit over the wing as there will be less motion near the planes center of gravity. You can also see the flaps/slats to associate some noises with what is happening outside.

The noise issues someone else posted is a good point. I sat next to a first time flier a few years ago on a SDF-DTW flight. I could tell she was scared by the way she had a death grip on her purse on the taxi out, so I tried to talk her through the noises of takeoff. Slowing down on final descent freaked her out a bit too.

Here is my memory of the sounds of a typical flight.

On the ground: You might hear some alarms or other odd sounds coming from the flight deck. This is normal as they start up the systems.

Pushback: Some "thumps" and "jerks" as they connect the tug. Engines will typically start up during the push also. Some more thumps as they disconnect the tug. You may sit for a few more minutes before they taxi out towards the runway. Flight attendents will start their safety briefing now.

Taxi: Might have some bumps as you taxi out - depends on the plane and condition of the taxi ways. You may also hear the flaps come down for takeoff. You can see the wing "get bigger" - also where you might see the "holes" a previous poster noted. The flight deck will ask the FAs to be seated a few minutes before turning onto the runway for takeoff. If you are stopped waiting to turn onto the runway, it may appear landing planes are coming right at you. Don't worry - they are not - they are either lined up for the runway you are waiting for or approaching a parallel runway.

Takeoff: Sometimes takeoff will be quiet and smooth, sometimes it feels like a bumpy road and the plane vibrates like crazy. Both are perfectly normal. A few seconds after the wheels leave the ground, you will hear the gear come up. A few minutes later the flaps should retract. At 10,000 feet you will usually hear the "ding". FAs will start their announcements and service. Seatbelt sign off seems to vary by carrier.

Cruise: Pretty quiet, other than the drone of engines. You might have some turbulence as noted, nothing to worry about.

Descent: Engines will be throttled back as they start to lose altitude - may even sound like they are off, but they are not. Around 10,000 feet they will make sure everyone is buckled in, seatbacks forward and so on.

Approach: Flaps will extend again, and the engines will throttle up a bit because of the increased drag. Gear will drop a few minutes before touchdown. You might get what feels like big turns as they line up with the runway, but this is normal.

Landing: Might be a light touch, or a big bang when the wheels hit. This again is normal as the plane is built to handle it. Thrust reversers will deploy with a roar - look for the panels in the sides of the engines to open - directing the trust backwards. Maybe some bumps as you slow down. Sometimes they might not use reversers or break hard - if they want to get to the far end of the airport, they will just use a long roll down the runway to save some gas.

Hope this helps, and have a great flight.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 1:21 pm   #10
 
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AeroSmithAngel:

Other posters had suggested excellent tips, I hope you are more at ease now...
I have one more tip for you: Talk to the pilots.
Tell them that you are a first time flyer and you are nervous, they will be happy to talk to you. Do ask them about the flight time, route, if there is any interesting view to see, weather condition, any expected turbulences, and their experiences. Understand some details in an unfamiliar enviroment does help.
Happy flying!
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Old Jul 23, 06, 1:32 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AerosmithAngel
Going Pearson-Tampa, never flown before. Wondering if any flying vets have any tips for me, perhaps making travelling a little less stressful.

Don't do it. It's addictive. Just say no.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 2:20 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confederate Hokie
Relax, have fun, enjoy yourself

Seriously, you are a lot safer in the air than you are in a car on a major us interstate.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 2:47 pm   #13
 
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#1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travellin_man
Don't do it. It's addictive. Just say no.
I am so amazed all these FT vets forgot to tell you the #1 important part of the trip.

BEFORE your trip, sign up for the frequent flyer program of your airline. Get your FF number, and when you check in at the airport give it to the agent so they can put it in the computer before they print out your boarding pass. (don't confuse the newbie by suggesting OLCI ). Credit cannot be given retroactively.

You see, the purpose of the airline industry is not transportation from point A to point B. It is for you to go from A to B and earn Frequent Flyer miles so you can take a free trip from point C to D. Simple.


Tampa is a nice airport. If you arrive in the afternoon, there may be the usual Florida thunderstorms. Planes fly through little puffy white clouds, but they go around the big clouds. As you come in to land, the last forty miles or so might not be as straight and level as the cruise, but the plane might make long curving turns right and left as it goes around the big clouds. Out the window you can enjoy the beauty of the clouds as seen from above and from beside them. So far you have only seen them from the bottom, but nature makes water into some beautiful shapes. And do enjoy your flight.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 3:07 pm   #14
 
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Flying

Keep reminding yourself that millions of people fly every year and only a tiny fraction get killed in plane crashes, especially large commercial jet liners. What you should really be nervous about is taking to the road filled with people who don't--I mean mean DON'T--know how to drive. Now that's scary.
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Old Jul 23, 06, 3:28 pm   #15
 
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just returned from a flight with a nervous traveler in the next seat. He never stopped talking. Not sure if that helped him but I hope so.

Bring something to keep busy, a book, a puzzle, a game, etc. it will help pass the time away. Bring mints or something to suck on. If you drink alcohol, go easy on it.

Most of all, remember that commercial air is the safest form of travel and find something else to worry about.

Welcome to FT. Have a great trip.
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