7 Must-Know Tips for First-Time Flyers

You want to head for the gate with the swagger of a seasoned traveler, but that's hard to pull off when you don't know how much it costs to check a bag, or what to expect when you go through airport security.

Check the airline's luggage requirements

It’s easy to overpack — but if you do, it could cost you. Before your flight, visit your airline’s website to review luggage size and weight restrictions, as well as baggage fees.

Pack essentials in your carry-on

You'll also want to pack some in-flight entertainment, such as your laptop, headphones and a book or magazine.

Arrive at the airport two hours early

Catching a plane isn’t like catching a bus; it’s a much longer process. In fact, the TSA recommends showing up at least two hours before takeoff for domestic travel, and three hours for international travel.

Keep your ID handy

Decades ago, airport security was relatively lax. “There was one point where you could just walk up to a gate, whether you were flying or not, whether you had ID or not

Wear easy-to-remove shoes

Going through airport security might be the most stressful part of flying — but if you know what to expect, the whole rigmarole can feel much less taxing.

Respect other passengers' space

These days, flights are generally fully booked, and most seats offer limited legroom. This might stress out your fellow flyers, so be sensitive.

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