Ultimate Guide To Travelling On A Plane For The First Time

Preparing for your first-time flight experience might sound scary. After all, there are so many things you need to take care of in such a short time. That means that you have to prepare the things you will take with you, and know the airline regulations and the boarding process. Moreover, you need to know which things you are and aren't allowed to do while on the plane. This also includes the items you can use while travelling, such as the Qantas wireless noise cancelling headphones, which are a great idea for relaxing.

As a first-time traveller on a plane, all this might seem confusing, but it's not. You just need to know exactly what to do and how to prepare for your flight. In order to help you have an amazing first flight, we have prepared a guide that contains all the information you need to know.

Before The Flight

Prepare Your Documents

Your documents are the most important thing you can't leave without. That includes documents, such as passport, visa, and debit and credit cards. When preparing your documentation you should:

  • Check the validity of your passport. You should always check the expiry date of your passport because different countries have different rules. Namely, some countries allow you to enter if your passport has 3 months until expiration. But, other countries allow you to enter even if your passport's expiry date is in 3 months.
  • Check if you need a visa. If you need a visa, you should take care of it a few months earlier. Australians should check the Smart Traveller site
  • Buy travel insurance, to be protected from any unpleasant thing that might happen in a foreign country.
  • Print your ticket.

The Luggage: Carry-on And Checked

There are two types of luggage you can take with you on the plane. The first type is referred to as carry-on luggage. This is the luggage you take with you on the plane and it's mostly included in the ticket price. It's usually a smaller bag with the things you need most with common dimensions of 56 x 36 x 23 cm (22 x 14 x 9 inches). However, if it's heavier than allowed, you might be asked to check it in and pay a fee. Therefore, you should pack only your documents and the essential things.

The second type is checked luggage. This refers to the suitcases you bring with you. You can't take this luggage on the plane, but you have to check it in. Whereas the carry-on luggage is included in the ticket price, you have to pay additionally for this luggage.

Luggage Restrictions

There are also restrictions regarding the toiletries you can take with you. According to them, you can take only 100ml (3.4 oz) liquids in bottles packed in one quart-sized bag. If you have more than one bag per passenger, you can put them in your carry-on luggage. So, pack only the things you really need or can't find in the destination country.

What To Pack In Your Carry-on Luggage?

Apart from the above-mentioned things, you should also take:

  • Items for comfortable sleeping and entertainment, such as a blanket, noise cancelling headphones, soft neck pillow, and a sleep mask.
  • Items for entertainment, such as a phone, books, laptop and/or tablet with pre-downloaded movies and music (because there's generally no wi-fi).
  • Electronics - You should take only those you need, plus their chargers. It would be a good idea to fully charge them before you arrive at the airport because charging isn't usually allowed in the plane.
  • Snacks and medications, such as aspirin, pills to prevent nausea and vomiting, and pain-killers.

Online Check-in (optional)

Most airline companies allow online check-in. It's better because in that way you will avoid standing in line at the airport. If you check-in online, you just go to the security gates and board. However, if you have checked luggage, you will stand in line anyway. So, whether you choose this option or not it's up to you.

woman sitting plane staring out of the window

At The Airport

Arrive Earlier

According to the airline regulations, you need to be at the airport around 2 hours earlier. However, it would be best to check that with the airline. In case you arrive a bit later, you can talk to the airport stuff because, usually, there's a person who can help you get through the line faster.


If you haven't check-in online, you have to check-in at the airport. In order to do this, you need to have your documents and your ticket in your hands. Also, you have to weigh your checked luggage and leave it there.

Next, you need to pass through the security gate. For this, you will need to take off your accessories, metal items, such as a belt, and shoes. Put them with your carry-on luggage on the x-ray belt. Then, you should pass through the x-ray.

Once you pass the security gate, you can sit in the lounge until the boarding. Although most people stand in line, it's not necessary. However, if you have overweight carry-on luggage, you will need to put in in the cabins before the others.

On The Plane

Find Your Seat

Look at your ticket to see the number of your seat. When you find it, store your carry-on luggage either above or underneath it. And, before you take-off, turn off the internet and set your phone and other devices to airplane mode.

Get Ready For Take-off

Before the plane takes off, the pilot and the stewardesses will instruct you how to prepare. You just need to follow their instructions. Don't panic and have in mind that at the beginning of the take-off, your ears might feel weird, but it will pass quickly.

Eating And Drinking

It's suggested to drink water instead of beer, which is usually offered by the airline. When it comes to eating, there will be one or more different meals of the flight is long. But keep in mind that they are not free. Hence, you can just eat the snacks you brought with you.

Flying is a great experience, especially the first time. In order to make it pleasant and memorable, you should carefully prepare for it. Although there are many things you should think of, following the tips in this guide will help you with that.


Carol is a freelance writer with a passion for travel and adventure.