If you’ve never flown before, the airport experience can be a daunting one. However, like most things in life, the thought is often worse than reality, and it is possible to enjoy travel day.

The best way to cut down on first time nerves, I find, is to book a night at an airport hotel pre-flight. This chills you out, gives you a chance to get your thoughts together, and also starts your break earlier. There are plentiful hotels nationwide, and I have regularly stayed at the range of hotels near Manchester Airport, so can certainly vouch for them. I’d recommend looking at what’s available at your airport and grabbing a bargain if you can, because this will enhance your travel plans beyond measure.


If you want to be super-informed prior to departure, then I’d always suggest checking out real-time information on your particular airport and flight in the days running up to your travel day. This will probably help to get you firmly in holiday mood too! I regularly fly from the north-west, so in the few days before, and on the day of my flight, I check information on Manchester Airport departures, and that way I know I’m up to date on any delays or developments, and I find out my terminal number etc. Fore-warned is fore-armed after all! If you’re lucky you bag yourself some last minute bargains – I sorted my holiday insurance with Holiday Extras just a couple of days before departure, and I’m so glad I did it!

Once you’re at the terminal, suitcase and passport in hand, it’s important to stay calm. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s all too easy to get stressed out, but being highly-strung isn’t beneficial to anyone. If you’re floundering, ask one of the airport staff. You’ll see plenty of people walking around, and they’ll be more than happy to help you out.

When you arrive, having found out your terminal beforehand, the first thing to do is check the screens for your flight number, as this will give you your check in desk number. Then, head over to the desk and join the queue. Once you reach the front, hand in your passport and ticket, or email confirmation. You’ll be asked to put your suitcase on the scales, and then you can wave goodbye as it trundles off to your plane. Once you’re checked in, keep your boarding pass safe with your passport, and head direct to security.


The security process can be a bit daunting because it’s quite fast running, but if you don’t know what to do, just ask! Basically, your hand luggage will be scanned, and you’ll be asked to walk through a scanner too, which is why you will need to take off belts etc, and possibly shoes. You will be advised on this though, so don’t panic about not knowing the procedure. Once you’re through, put your belt back on, grab your bag, and you’re free to enjoy the perks of the airport – bars, restaurants and of course, duty free!

The only thing to remember is to keep checking the screens, as when you have a gate number, you need to head off to that area. You’ll sit and wait for a little while, but boarding begins often out of the blue, so it’s a good idea to be there and ready. If you’ve got an early flight, it’s not the best way to start your morning but at least your flight is less likely to be delayed.

All that’s left from that point is to sit back, relax, and enjoy your holiday!


Photo Credit: edwin.11 and Chris Dlugosz