Taking your first flight is both daunting and exciting. Picture: Pixabay

Taking your first flight is both daunting and exciting at the same time. I took mine in my early teens when I travelled to the North West province with my grandparents.

They made the experience unforgettable, from allowing me the window seat, sharing the process with me and treating me to lunch at one of the airport's restaurants.

Some first-time flyers are not as fortunate and have to learn about the process as it happens. Whether you are 16 or 50, heading to the airport is scary. 

If you are heading to the airport for your first flight, here are some tips:

Arrive an hour and a half early

Treat going to the airport as you would a job interview: arrive promptly and wait until it is time for your “interview”. Arriving early to the airport allows you the necessary check-in and navigational time (if the airport is large and you can easily get lost) It also allows you time to relax before your flight. 

Check-in online

Whether you have a bag drop or not, check-in online 24 hours before your flight helps you to secure the best seat. It also comes in handy when you are late, and you have to make a beeline towards the boarding gates. 

Respect security processes

After your check-in, you have to pass the security gates. The process is fairly simple: the airport security scans your bags, and you walk through a full body scanner towards your boarding gates. Do not carry any weapons, exceed the liquid requirements or argue with the security. 

Heed to your boarding times

Most travellers who arrive early often pass their time at one of the airport restaurants for a quick meal. Sometimes they lose track of time, causing them to arrive late at the boarding gate or worse, miss their flight. If you want a great space for your carryon, then be one of the first people to board the aircraft, even if that means you have to wait in the queue before departure. The last thing you want is to have your bag scattered somewhere far from your seat. 

Have your ID or passport on you at all times

You will find that the airport staff will be asking for your identification documents from the time you check-in, pass security until you board. Find a suitable place to store it for easy retrieval. 

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