A Novice Air Traveler

T2Lin By T2Lin, 15th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/7gs2xyoa/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Tips>Flights & Flying

I am telling here my experiences as a first time air traveler with its adventures and misadventures.

First Flight

A Novice Air Traveler

It was my first time to travel abroad leaving the confines of my own country. The excitement of going and experiencing the lifestyle and custom of another country this time, Saudi Arabia, was overwhelming. Since my travel was a working mission rather than a touring expedition, I had to make a lot of extra preparation and had to attend pre-departure orientations regarding the custom, tradition, language and the living condition prevailing in my host country. To complete my preparation, I gathered first hand information from people who have been there and took note of the things to enjoy and the things to avoid.

Traveling to foreign lands was one of my dreams when I was younger and this trip was a major step towards the fulfillment of that dream. Experiencing a foreign country especially if it is your first time is very intriguing and exciting. The main thing that stuck to my mind during that time was that I was not an ordinary traveler or tourist. I was going to the Middle East to work and stay there for two years while having the extra benefit of experiencing and touring the place.

Traveling by air for the first time with all its preparations, documentations and hustles is but another story. It is required that you have to be present in the airport two to three hours before your flight and you have to check your flight reservation and the flight schedule for latest updates (this can also be done via online). Make sure that you don’t carry any prohibited things in your luggage because it will be confiscated at the entrance and cause delay. Recheck the weight of your baggage before you checked it in the baggage check-in counter to make sure you don’t go over the weight limit or pay the excess weight or leave some items behind.

Make certain that you have all the important things in your hand carry luggage like a true boy scout should. Of course, you must have in your hand carry luggage your passport and travel documents, your work contract (if on a work mission), a spare set of clothing, a medicine pouch, some crackers, a flashlight (I don’t know why I bring along this one), and of course some pocket money (legal tender in the host country such as US$) Different currencies are exchanged in banks, currency exchange centers and also inside the air port near the boarding area. It is important that you specify at the airline check-in counter that you prefer to be in the non-smoking area if you are a health buff to avoid inconvenience during the flight. Have your boarding pass ready and present it to the flight attendant upon entering the chute or passage thru the plane. Sounds simple? Not to a novice traveler like me.

Inside the plane, the pretty flight attendant of the Saudi Airline, the flag carrier of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, directed me to my assigned seat upon presenting my seat number. I was so elated to see the inside of the plane and can’t help but wonder what modern science and technology have done to modern air travel. My wonderment was interrupted by an announcement to fasten seat belts in preparation for the take off. The plane started taxiing to the runway positioning to the take off point. I can feel the vibration of the plane’s tires on the runway which shortly stopped and the plane glided up until I felt the pressure change in my eardrums. Ah! It was a perfect take off.

I kept my seat belt on even after the announcement that it is okay to unbuckle it till the feeling of wonderment settled down. While tinkering with the headphones and looking for a nice music piped-in to accompany my thoughts, the stewardesses started an emergency drill explaining the use of the various emergency contraptions in the plane. It was an informative and enjoyable performance. I felt a need to go to the lavatory so I looked for the right door but on my way, I started experiencing a free fall feeling my groins on my neck. Announcement over the sound system said to go back to the seats and buckle up for we are just encountering some air pockets and I waited for the cue when it is okay to unbuckle.

Serving of food and drinks in the cabin was a major spectacle to watch out for. I heard the clanking of trays being stacked on push carts and noticed that the stewards are filling up the tray with drinks. When the trays started rolling on the isle, juices and drinking water with some cookies were served, anticipating for the main course to be forthcoming. Then here comes the menu, a choice of several familiar cuisine and Arabian food. I am quite adventurous so I chose several Arabian foods (lamb kebab and dates for one) and even for the rest of the trip. The servers were very polite that I believe is so important for their industry. Adventurers like me will not have a second thought on preferring to take the Airline again on our next trip. Thinking ahead.

After lunch and some coffee, I felt sleepy. It was quite cold so I asked the stewardess for a small blanket just like the other passengers did. I can hear the snoring around me, obviously from frequent travelers, but I can’t venture for even a nap thinking that I might miss something while asleep. There is a movie playing but I prefer to listen to the music while feeling alone in mid air and mesmerized by the view atop the clouds, outside the window. I felt a tap on my shoulders and when I looked, she was there smiling so sweetly and telling me that bright white clouds are harmful to the eyes so close the window blinds and keep it closed till we pass the glare of the sun. I kept on peeping on a small opening on the shade and when the sun sets I was certain that we are approaching our destination and it is okay to open the shades. I was then oblivious of the announcement updates about the location of the plane and the time till I opened the shades. I have crossed the time zone so I had to check the time on my watch.

Down below, I could see a kaleidoscope of lights as we near Riyadh. The streets are lined with bright lights and big buildings obviously palaces surrounded by lights and competing for brightness. The plane reduced altitude so abruptly making it too painful for my head and eardrums. I had to duck, close my eyes and cover my ears so I missed the touchdown sight.

It was a long flight from home to touchdown at the King Khalid (Riyadh) International Airport) of Saudi Arabia, In my mind, I say a prayer and thank God I made it with flying colors and ready for my next flight with more confidence. I was lucky to have a welcoming committee (personnel of the office where I was to work) waiting for me upon my exit from the arrival area otherwise, I had to depend on directions from the information desk groping for the right Arabic and English words and some maps or directories. Next time I’ll tell you about some new adventures that opened up after checking out of the airport.

Tags

Air Travel, Flight, Novice, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar T2Lin
I am a short article writer turned technical and now I am back to feature writing and blogging.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Apr 2013 (#)

You can narrate your experiences so interestingly. Can't wait for more! siva

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
15th Apr 2013 (#)

The first trip by air is always the most memorable. I had mine at the age of 8 and half to the UK. Learnt a lot from it and even visited the cockpit twice to see the controls of the plane. Also watched the wings and propellers of the plane as these intrigue me till date.
This is from 25 and a half years ago and I travelled through the Gulf back then.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
15th Apr 2013 (#)

Its different when you travel with a child for the first time but I love it, love to fly around.
Lost count of the number of flights taken till date but quite a number are international and alone.

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author avatar T2Lin
16th Apr 2013 (#)

Traveling with a child less than 5 years old could be challenging specially if the trip is quite long.

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