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getting ready for my first trip! questions

Kent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 posts
getting ready for my first trip! questions

hi all, my first trip on my own abroad starts next week. its the first time flying on my own!

i have everything practically ready - flight confirmations, approved ESTA printout (going to USA), passport, ranch booking confirmations (with full address and contact info), hotel reservations (with address/contact info), transfers (informally booked with a private taxi firm who are friends with the ranch), contacts on my phone, my clothes, books, chargers etc.

my questions of bits i am still unsure about...

1. clear bottles - should i pack my shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste etc in my suitcase or should this be in my carry-on bag? i was going to bring shaving stuff but i think i'll get razor and shaving cream up there because razors are sharp and prohibited, is that right?

2. flights - i have gone on the delta and virgin sites and they said i can select my seat already which i have done, its all marked as confirmed. when checking in online 24 hours before my flight, will i get my boarding pass by email? i am thinking of printing this out if thats better? should i still arrive 3 hours before my first flight out there if i have checked in online the day before? do i get my boarding pass at the airport?

3. connecting flights - got 3.5 hour stopover at salt lake, of which people have said before is fine. can i check the order of things i have to do, is it: get off plane, then its immigration, then its collecting baggage, then its customs and bag check, then i am clear, then i check in again both my flight and bags? my connecting flight is at the same terminal operated by delta again (although flight says virgin). i get conflicting information on this from the company who did my flight and delta.

4. return connecting flights - i have a 6 hour stopover at los angeles. whilst there, i was told i will not be picking up my baggage after touching down there as this will be automatically sent to the next flight, so i dont physically collect my baggage until i touchdown back home in the uk. but is this true? i thought international and domestic flights require you in america to always pickup your baggage each time you touch down and get on your next flight?

5. checking in - when i check in before my first flight 24 hours before takeoff, does this check into all my flights - both legs going up and back, or only the legs going to my destination? will i need to check in again on all my return flights 24 hours before they start seperately?

6. baggage - i have riding boots that have metal in them. this will be in my suitcase. will this be a problem? also i am thinking of taking some muffles wax to put in my ears to block sound when trying to sleep on the plane. is this allowed to take? i take it you're allowed to take the carry-on bag with you when you go to your seat as that would have my phone, paperwork and books to entertain myself whilst flying?

7. flying - i was thinking of playing videogames on my phone during the flight (with earplugs) and read. is it etiquette to try and start conversations with people you sit next to, assuming they aren't sleeping and look friendly? are movies free to watch on flight or is there a charge? how often are flights delayed?

thanks

Edited: 17 August 2018, 00:57
69 replies to this topic
Seattle
Level Contributor
51,329 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

1.

Your allotment for liquids to be carried-on is containers no more than 3.4 oz. for each bottle size and only as many as will fit in a 1-quart ziplock baggie. Since you are checking luggage, might as well just pack everything in your checked luggage (except anything prescription, those you keep with you) then you don't have to worry. You can pack a razor and shaving cream, no they are not prohibited.

2.

When you check in online you can print out a boarding pass. Yes you should still arrive 3 hours in advance for an international flight. Yes you will get another boarding pass at the airport.

Edited: 17 August 2018, 01:17
Seattle
Level Contributor
51,329 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

3.

yes that is all correct

likely it's a delta/virgin code share

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,332 posts
1 review
3. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

welcome back,

"1. clear bottles - should i pack my shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste etc in my suitcase or should this be in my carry-on bag? i was going to bring shaving stuff but i think i'll get razor and shaving cream up there because razors are sharp and prohibited, is that right?"

If you are going to do a check in, i would put that stuff in your checkin so that you dont have to deal with the BS at security.

But. For ANYTHING that is IMPORTANT such as meds, glasses, or anything you CANT live without, i would bring it as a carryon.

One other lesson i learned was that to bring 1 change of undies with you just in case your luggage gets re routed/lost or whatever the airlines wants to call it while you are lugguge less.

You can buy some of that stuff locally too, if you want to.

"2. flights - i have gone on the delta and virgin sites and they said i can select my seat already which i have done, its all marked as confirmed. when checking in online 24 hours before my flight, will i get my boarding pass by email? i am thinking of printing this out if thats better? should i still arrive 3 hours before my first flight out there if i have checked in online the day before? do i get my boarding pass at the airport?"

You can print at home if you want, or you can use your reservation number and retrieve your tickets at the machine or go up to the ticket desk (but i wouldnt unless there isnt anyone there). But if you plan to check in your luggage, you may have to wait inline unless you have curbside checkin.

What you may want to do since you are new to travel, is to try different ways of getting your ticket. that way it wont be so unknown to you and you will have a better idea on how its done the various ways.

but again, if you are the experimental type.

"3. connecting flights - got 3.5 hour stopover at salt lake, of which people have said before is fine. can i check the order of things i have to do, is it: get off plane, then its immigration, then its collecting baggage, then its customs and bag check, then i am clear, then i check in again both my flight and bags? my connecting flight is at the same terminal operated by delta again (although flight says virgin). i get conflicting information on this from the company who did my flight and delta."

The 1 and only time i flew into SLC i missed my connection. Dont forget you can ask questions when you arrive too.

Also, when you disembark the plane, start looking for "CONNECTIONS" signs. You can even pretend to be a cow or lemming.

"4. return connecting flights - i have a 6 hour stopover at los angeles. whilst there, i was told i will not be picking up my baggage after touching down there as this will be automatically sent to the next flight, so i dont physically collect my baggage until i touchdown back home in the uk. but is this true? i thought international and domestic flights require you in america to always pickup your baggage each time you touch down and get on your next flight?"

not sure, but if its true, you are good to go.

Again, since you are checking in your bag, you can ask the ticket agent while you are doing so.

"5. checking in - when i check in before my first flight 24 hours before takeoff, does this check into all my flights - both legs going up and back, or only the legs going to my destination? will i need to check in again on all my return flights 24 hours before they start seperately?"

from my experience, no you dont need to check in for your connection. However, this is assuming you made your flight as 1 ticket and not separate tickets. If they are separate tickets then, yes you will need to check in for both.

"6. baggage - i have riding boots that have metal in them. this will be in my suitcase. will this be a problem? also i am thinking of taking some muffles wax to put in my ears to block sound when trying to sleep on the plane. is this allowed to take? i take it you're allowed to take the carry-on bag with you when you go to your seat as that would have my phone, paperwork and books to entertain myself whilst flying?"

If its in check in luggage no. But i have seen the TSA/security ask people to remove their shoes due to steel shanks. If you put your boots in your luggage it will be scanned like anything else and chances are they will now they are boots. worse case, they will pull you aside and ask for you to open your case to physically inspect it.

The wax should be fine but why not use ear plugs? But if you like wax go for it.

Always have your flight paperwork (ticket, passport) handy until you are out of the airport.

"7. flying - i was thinking of playing videogames on my phone during the flight (with earplugs) and read. is it etiquette to try and start conversations with people you sit next to, assuming they aren't sleeping and look friendly? are movies free to watch on flight or is there a charge? how often are flights delayed?"

You can do what you want, no one will care. If you are obnoxious and yell out during your game playing you may get some dirty looks. Its a long flight so just be aware of that.

Yes, there are free movies and you may even have access to some language games too.

how often are flights delayed is like asking how long is a piece of string. If you dont have any issues, consider yourself lucky. If you do, then hope your layover is long enough to catch your flight. Again, if you booked your flight as one ticket its the airlines responsibility to get you to your final destination. what you can do if you want is to look at how many flights that day are from SLC to your final destination just in case something happens. At least you will now how many possible flights you can be on. And you may want to look at delta/virgin first. I dont remember what partners they have, but its just an idea to know.

ONE comment.

- with regards to your riding boots. You may want to clean/sterilize the soles before you go and do the same before you return. There are some bugs in both places where it will be frowned upon to bring them over or back.

good luck

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
12,232 posts
155 reviews
4. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

You have had a lot of things covered already, but I'll add a few more.

If luggage is being checked in, there is no restriction for amount of liquids or razors. However, every airline has allowable items listed on their website. It would be good to check these. If you have a Virgin/Delta Code share, you need to check both. Here is the Delta page for some FAQs. The Restriction part needs to be read

https:/…before-your-trip.html

Also, when you check in on line, you will be asked whether certain items (like guns, batteries, fireworks, etc) will be in checked luggage or carry on - so this will help you determine what is a problem or not.

I would pack what you need in the toiletries department as they are expensive in the airports, and at the ranch it isn't like there is a Boots around the corner.

Let's review the check in online process.

24 hours before flight, you go to Virgin website to 'check in on line'

enter your ticket booking code

as you have your seats already assigned, then you are good to go, but there is an opportunity to change seats or decide if you want to upgrade (for a fee) to more comfy seats

Determine whether you are going to check luggage. If there is a fee for this, it is usually cheaper to do this when checking in online. At the counter, it costs more.

Answer all their security questions.

You can decide whether to print boarding passes right then, or send to your email, or send to your phone as an online boarding pass. I tend to ask them to email them to me (for back up), but I also go to the self help kiosk at the airport (there are tons of them), and using my booking number, I print my passes at the airport......I do it this way because there is a better chance that the gate is listed, whereas printing at home, it will not be listed.

You asked - online check in only covers the flight out. You will need to check in again 24 hours before leaving US. Ranch may let you do that at their computer terminal for printing purposes, but again, you can print at the airport.

Sometimes, with changes in airlines (code shares), you cannot check in online for the entire flight. In that case, check in as much as you can, and then go to the airline counter at your first airport. They can finish the check in for you then.

Personally, as well as spare undies, I would either pack for carry on, or wear, clothing that you can ride in for a day or two. Some might even put their riding boots in carry on. Don't worry about the metal. Don't wear them, just put them in the bag. When they go through the scanner, if they have questions they will ask...but they are just boots, so should be no problem. Yes, clean them to avoid introducing foreign bugs in either country.

If you aren't aware, you will need to minimize the metal on your person for going through the personal scanner.

So, when you get to security, hand them your boarding pass (just the current one) and your passport. When they give it back move up to the conveyer belt. Take a plastic bin and put your carry on bag in it. If you have a laptop or tablet with a keyboard, you need to remove that from your bag and put it into another bin. If you have any liquids in your carry on, they need to be taken out of the bag and put into the bin. Ensure any drinks are consumed before this step, but you can take empty water bottles to refill after security (always a good idea). Take another bin. Put your jacket or cardigan into it (any sort of over layer), remove your belt, watch, everything from your pockets and put into the bin (or a new bin if too fool). Watch others whether shoes need to be removed. In US most of the time, not in Canada or some European areas.

You will use a lot of bins.

Watch other people.

If you have body piercings, or a lot of jewelry, I tend to recommend removing as much as possible before you get near security. You can always put them back on after all that, but some people don't like all the attention they get when the alarms go off. It might only require a stand in the 360 scanner, but sometimes it means a wand scan of your person, or a pat down, or at worse, a more personal check. Often it is a minor deal, but for your first flying, it doesn't hurt to try and avoid what you can avoid.

You did a great job prepping for this trip and asking relevant questions. I hope this is all that you want it to be. You will come back a seasoned traveler and future solo trips will be so much easier.

Have a great trip.

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,329 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

5. Check in is only for the flights that day. You repeat the process for your return trip.

6. No problem with boots in checked luggage.

No problem using ear plugs.

Yes you take your carry-on bag with you to your seat and tuck it under the seat in front of you at your feet.

7. Just play it by ear about chatting with people. You'll know who is interested and who isn't.

How movies are presented and if there is a charge vary from one airline to the next, so no idea for your flights.

Flights are delayed plenty of times, you can find out the record for your particular flights by looking online at various tracking websites. Just put in the name of your airline and flight number into a google search and links will pop up.

Edited: 17 August 2018, 03:39
Kent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 posts
6. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

thanks for the answers. i got some quick followup questions upon reading your replies.

9. what is meant by 'checking luggage'? i dont understand when you say 'determine whether you are going to check luggage'?

10. i think its better to get my boarding pass at the airport as the one online wouldnt have my gate number. if thats the case, if i have already checked in online, *must* i get these from self service kiosks/terminals at the airport or do i need to go to a desk?

11. rc, what do you mean by 'checkin' when you say 'i would put that stuff in your checkin so that you dont have to deal with the BS at security'? did you meant to say my suitcase?

12. rc, when you say 'if you plan to check in your luggage, you may have to wait inline unless you have curbside checkin', what is curbside check-in? how would i know if i have this? wouldnt everyone have to wait inline anyway to give their suitcases in? when they are tagged, would i be able to 'track' this to see if its on the plane or not for reassurances?

13. would the 'connections' sign appear after going throgh immigration/luggage/customs? or would it be the first thing i see? i'm worried that if the latter, whether i should still go through customs first as i am entering the country?

14. i have 2 flights going up, and 2 coming back. the last flight is virgin, everything else is delta. i have a e-ticket number covering all 4 flights. i booked it all as one and not seperately. is this classed as one ticket then, or four??

15. is there normally usb ports on seats to keep my phone charged if i choose to play GTA on my iphone?

16. when it comes to batteries, itll only be the ones in my iphone and ipod. surely this wouldnt be a problem as practically everyone will have phones with them going in?

sorry if it seems i'm overthinking everything. surely it cant be rocket science as everyone i know has travelled by flight at some point in their lives! thanks

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
12,232 posts
155 reviews
7. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

There are 2 ways to transport luggage in an airplane. Checked baggage (or 'checking in' as has been used here). It means your baggage is taken and stowed in the underbelly of the airplane. There may be charges for this, but for my regular airlines, for international flights, there are no charges for 1 bag/suitcase.

The other option, if your luggage meets size and weight criteria, it is called 'carry on'. and you do just that - carry it with you all the time.

If you are carrying all your luggage, you need to comply to the small size of liquids and then consider that a disposable razor and small 100ml size of shave cream is allowed.

It also means that if you carry on your luggage, you do not have to go to the counter-just get your boarding passes from the self help kiosk.

Even if checking the baggage, you can go to the self help kiosk, print your boarding pass. At my airport you can also print your luggage identification tape. You then attach that to the handle of your suitcase and go to a separate desk to put your suitcase on the conveyor belt. You don't HAVE to stand in line for an hour with all the other people with too much luggage or problems that the desk can sort out.

Maybe you should just tell us how you expected to move your luggage

#12. Don't go there. Not every country or airport offers curbside luggage handling.

#13, I think Connections is usually before you get to customs and immigration.

#14, it seems you have 1 e ticket with 4 'legs'

#15, not all airplanes have usb ports. You can research it here....

https://www.seatguru.com/

put in the each 'leg' of your flight and it will narrow down plane configuration options and I think on the right hand side of the seat map it discusses what electronics are available at your seat.

Hopefully you have purchased an adapter for your plug to fit an american wall socket to charge your USB items. You don't need a voltage converter, just a plug adapter. something like this

https:/…B00Q47GX4U

No, there will be no problem with your phone and pod batteries.

One thing you do need to remember to do is to set your phone/ipod to airplane mode while plane is in flight.

Also, turn off your data roaming as soon as you leave the tarmac until you arrive back in UK.

Some may think you are overthinking this, but all these things will come up, so at least when they do, you will have some answer for it.

Canada
Level Contributor
10,093 posts
81 reviews
8. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

Have you got your out of country medical coverage lined up and have bought travel insurance?

Some people have no desire to talk with strangers. Respect their choice.

Kent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 posts
9. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

thanks again. Do these 'connections' have their own immigration/baggage/customs sections? I'm just trying to visualise where to go exactly upon getting off the plane (connections, or immig/bags/customs) so i dont look like a goof stopping on the isle!

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,332 posts
1 review
10. Re: getting ready for my first trip! questions

welcome back again,

" 9. what is meant by 'checking luggage'? i dont understand when you say 'determine whether you are going to check luggage'?"

this is luggage that will go into the hold/belly of the plane. You will not have access to it during the flight. Also NO Lithium Ion batters in checked baggage !

"10. i think its better to get my boarding pass at the airport as the one online wouldnt have my gate number. if thats the case, if i have already checked in online, *must* i get these from self service kiosks/terminals at the airport or do i need to go to a desk?"

You can get at desk or the kiosks. ITs up to you. Like i said you should TRY each method to see what it is. You have ALOT of questions and concerns (fears?) so the more you can learn and expose those fears to light (understanding) the less issues for the next trip. There is NO reason what so every you cant do it each way. But you may want to consider using the Kiosk in your airport since it maybe really busy and use the ticket desk at the airport on your way out of the USA if its a smaller and less busy airport. You can always go up to the desk area and look at how many people are in line. You will need to be there 2.5~3 hrs early anyway so you may as well learn something while you spend your time waiting.

Also, just because you ticket has a gate/terminal printed on it, there is no reason it cant change. You NEED to VERIFY your gate/terminal on the screens. Your ticket is printed at that moment in time. Your tickets info isnt updated, its just a piece of paper. The monitors ARE UPDATED.

"11. rc, what do you mean by 'checkin' when you say 'i would put that stuff in your checkin so that you dont have to deal with the BS at security'? did you meant to say my suitcase?"

this is luggage you plan to put into the belly of the plane. You will not have access to it. If you taken a bus they do the same. You can check in your suitcase if you want to. Its up to you.

"12. rc, when you say 'if you plan to check in your luggage, you may have to wait inline unless you have curbside checkin', what is curbside check-in? how would i know if i have this? wouldnt everyone have to wait inline anyway to give their suitcases in? when they are tagged, would i be able to 'track' this to see if its on the plane or not for reassurances?"

Different airports work differently. In our airport we have a place where you can have your luggage "checked in" where you drop people off for their flights. Its not everywhere. You dont have to go to the desk to get your luggage checked in.

I wouldnt worry about it. I was expecting you to have gone to the airport and spent some time there learning how things work, but i guess you didnt. Its not a big deal. You can learn before or learn after the fact.

"13. would the 'connections' sign appear after going throgh immigration/luggage/customs? or would it be the first thing i see? i'm worried that if the latter, whether i should still go through customs first as i am entering the country?"

Again, you will find out once you land. Its too bad you didnt go to your local airport and see whats what. Having so many questions is ok, but going there and seeing whats its all about would have answered alto of them.

"14. i have 2 flights going up, and 2 coming back. the last flight is virgin, everything else is delta. i have a e-ticket number covering all 4 flights. i booked it all as one and not seperately. is this classed as one ticket then, or four??"

Your flights are probably protected. If you bought your ticket as going to the USA and then Returning, then its most likely protected.

"15. is there normally usb ports on seats to keep my phone charged if i choose to play GTA on my iphone?"

You can go to the airlines web site. For DELTA....

- go to the delta web site.

- look for the "MY TRIPS" and click on that. You will see where you can input your CONFIRMATION NUMBER and your FIRST/LAST NAME.

- Once you do that you will see your itinerary. It will ALL of your info AS OF THAT TIME. if you look to the right you will see some ICONS. See if there is a USB icon. If there is then chances are you will have USB power. you may also see a PLUG icon. that means there is also POWER too. EVERY plane mabye setup different. You need to know that its the airlines that dictate how the plane is layed out and how many seats and so fort. But chances are for INTERNATIONAL flights, USB and FREE movies on Delta is SOP. you can also see the ICONS for FOOD and stuff too. GO OVER that itinerary and look around. You can also look at a SEAT MAP and where you are seated.

"16. when it comes to batteries, itll only be the ones in my iphone and ipod. surely this wouldnt be a problem as practically everyone will have phones with them going in?"

no problem. You will be ok.

"sorry if it seems i'm overthinking everything. surely it cant be rocket science as everyone i know has travelled by flight at some point in their lives! thanks"

dont worry. Like i said, you will learn sooner or later on whats going on. Everyone starts at 0.

good luck.

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