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Please help a first time flyer

posts: 168
reviews: 45
Please help a first time flyer

I'll be flying from India to Sri Lanka, then Sri Lanka to UAE soon.

I've never flown before.

Can someone please help me as to what will be the procedure step by step from the time I arrive at the airport...check in , boarding pass, etc? What are the formalities to be fulfilled? And when I land, what is expected of me at the airport?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 11,710
reviews: 23
1. Re: Please help a first time flyer

There may be minor differences between airlines/airports but the process is fairly standard.


Check in by the alloted time, check bags, collect boarding pass, clear airport security, get to departure gate, get on plane. Make sure you have allowed enough time for this - if you're late you won't get on the flight.


Get off plane, collect bags, clear immigration/customs if appropriate, walk out of airport.

Aluthgama, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 37,015
reviews: 7
2. Re: Please help a first time flyer

Are you flying both sectors on the same airline on one through ticket?

Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,924
reviews: 18
3. Re: Please help a first time flyer

BE aware that at many airports upon arrival you go through immigration THEN you collect your bags and go through customs.

Oh yes--the difference.

Immigration is when your passport, visas ( if needed) are checked. This is when they basically decide if you are allowed into the country. Customs is where they make sure you are not bringing any prohibited substances into the country. Many places have a red and green line. Just walk through the green if available. ( unless you KNOW you have something that must be told to customs)

Most important thing is to relax. Dozens of people do this, many who do this are fools, unless you consider yourself a fool--( and I'm sure you don't) it will be a piece of cake.

AND congrats on "spreading your wings"

Bangkok, Thailand
posts: 2,477
reviews: 90
4. Re: Please help a first time flyer

I have found the typical arrival procedure to be that you first go through immigration and collect bags only after that.

The security procedures at Indian airports make them a bit different from airports in other countries. My experience at the Bangalore airport has been that you cannot get into the terminal building until the check-in opens for your flight. As a result, arriving more than 3 hours before your scheduled is rather pointless, but I also always tried to arrive just after the check-in had opened. At least the area in front of the terminal doors has a roof, seating and various food and drink outlets.

You must have a printed copy of your e-ticket and a passport to enter the terminal building. The armed guards at the door will check them. It is also very difficult to exit the terminal building once you have entered it, except by boarding your flight.

You should get at check-in paper tags that must be attached to your pieces of hand luggage. The security staff will stamp them to indicate that your bags have been screened and the security staff at the boarding gate will check that the tag is present and has the current date. If you do not get the tags at check-in you can pick them up just before entering the security screening area.

Put your mobile phone, wallet, keys, credit cards, pens and any other metallic objects into your hand luggage before the security screening. This will make it much less likely that they will be misplaced or intentionally pilfered if the screening area is busy. Take out your laptop, since it must be sent through the x-ray scanner in a separate basket. Avoid wearing a belt, since you will need to take it off. Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on, in case the security staff wants you to send also them through the x-ray machine.

Have your boarding pass in hand, since you must have it to enter the security screening. Once through the metal detector gate, place the boarding pass on the tiny table next to the security officer who will next use a detector wand and might even pat you down. Once you are accepted, the security officer will stamp the boarding pass. Check that the date stamps on the boarding pass and the hand luggage tag have the correct date - I once had quite a hassle when they had forgot to set the correct one.

Bangalore airport has the tax free shop right after the security check area. It is rather expensive and you can pay there only with US dollars. Fortunately the food outlets in the waiting area after the security check accept Indian rupees.

Choose comfortable clothing even if this means that you cannot dress smartly. Many people find it quite cool on the plane, so it could be a good idea to wear long trouser and long sleeves even though are traveling between warm location. The air conditioning at airports can also be quite strong. I also prefer aisle seats on the plane because I find the window seats quite chilly and prefer to have easy access to the toilets. (Check if your airline lets you to request a seat online before the flight.)

Attach to your luggage sturdy enough tags which state your name, your accommodation address in the UAE and preferably a phone number that will work there. This will make it easier to locate your luggage if ends up being misrouted. The also allow you to confirm that the bag that you are picking up at the destination airport is really yours, instead of a similar one owned by someone else.

If you have a camera phone, it would be a good idea to take photos of your luggage. It can be surprisingly difficult to describe your suitcases when you need to do it while filing a lost luggage report at the final destination airport. When you hand over your luggage at check-in you will get receipts. These are rather small square stickers which are often glued onto your boarding pass. Do not lose them, since they make locating misrouted luggage much easier.

I hope both of your flights are on a single ticket - things will be more complicated and risky if you for some reason bought the flights separately.

posts: 168
reviews: 45
5. Re: Please help a first time flyer

@ Hans_Den while going to UAE, I am going on Srilankan airlines and Mihin Lanka airlines(connecting flights), and returning on Qatar airways.

Any advice?

Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,924
reviews: 18
6. Re: Please help a first time flyer

goodsoil--loads of flying but i never thought of taking a picture of my luggage. That is a great idea!

posts: 168
reviews: 45
7. Re: Please help a first time flyer

@the_goodsoil_family thanks for the details...with regard to your last statement, why and how is it risky and complicated to buy onward and return tickets on separate carriers, as long as you have a valid visa and passport??

Tamworth, United...
Destination Expert
for Staffordshire
posts: 8,924
reviews: 8
8. Re: Please help a first time flyer

If you're referring to the single ticket comment it just means that you won't have to collect your luggage at the stopover airport. It will automatically be transferred for you. Also if your first flight is late, therefore arrival late at the first destination, the airline are responsible for putting you on the next flight available if you miss the one you have booked.

Don't worry. By the way Qatar is the best airline I've ever flown with. An excellent airline with a brilliant reputation.

Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
posts: 8,478
reviews: 78
9. Re: Please help a first time flyer

Put a photocopy of your passport in your check in luggage with your destination address. If your luggage goes astray ( which is unlikely... but still happens) then your luggage can more easily be transferred/claimed if your bag had identifying information.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 39,057
reviews: 831
10. Re: Please help a first time flyer

Allow plenty of time to get to the airport so you don't get caught in traffic :-)