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How to use an Airport

Airports can be confusing places especially for the first time traveller.  They are actually not too complex as long as you approach each step in order.

Before Departing

  • Make sure you know your airline and flight number, found on your ticket or receipt - this will make navigating through the airport much easier.
  • Check which terminal and in larger cities which airport your flight is departing from, either from the airline or airport website.
  • Modern airports often have just the one huge terminal so don't worry if there seems to be no information.
  • International and domestic flights will generally have separate check-in areas and entrances within the terminal as there are no border formalities on domestic flights.

Check In

  • Find your check in desk.  There are usually information boards at the entrance showing desk numbers - check your airline, destination, flight number and time of departure to find the correct desk.
  • If you have checked in online then you'll still need to find this area to drop off your luggage, but won't actually have to queue to check in.
  • If your flight isn't on the board then there will be a set of desks for your airline - someone there will be able to point you to the correct queue.
  • You'll need your passport and ticket/receipt and you'll be given your boarding card.  If you checked in online you should have printed a copy of this already.

Security & Boarding

  • Your boarding pass will have your gate number - this is where your plane is located.
  • Follow signs for this - you'll pass through security on the way, and may pass through immigration too, depending on the country you are in.
  • Find your departure gate - this may be through duty free areas or other shops, but there will be signs and a map.
  • Wait for your flight to be called - the information boards and announcer will tell you when to board.

Arrival

  • Follow signs to immigration or bagage claim if you've flown domestically.
  • Passing through immigration your passport will be checked and visas issues/stamped if required.
  • Check your flight number to find which carousel - your luggage will appear shortly.
  • You'll then pass through customs.
  • Follow signs to the exit - for either taxis or shuttle buses to town.

Transfers

  • When flying long distances you'll often have to change planes at another airport.
  • If you have just the one ticket for this journey - bought through the same airline - you will be issued both boarding passes when you first check in.
  • Your luggage will remain with the airline and be put on to your next flight for you.
  • Follow signs for transit passengers - you will then be able to see which gate your next flight departs from.
  • You won't pass through immigration or customs, although there may be additional security.

Destinations