When you’re young, you travel with your family who ultimately makes the decision whether you travel (or not) and how. Personally, I have known so many people who have traveled all around the world- Greece, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom… the list goes on. However, some people grow up never traveling or traveling by car or train. One of those people is me; while I’ve driven 720 miles to Chicago, I’ve never flown before until last week.
Here I am to describe some of the weirdest and most confusing things from my perspective as a first-time traveler. Whether to give a forewarning to those who haven’t flown before, or a laugh to those who grew up flying.
Why are there Kiosks for absolutely everything? Walking the halls of the Philadelphia airport, one of the first things I saw was a Vera Bradley essentially right next to a Dunkin Donuts. When was the last time you saw a Vera Bradley, I haven’t seen one in years. I later found a Chickie and Pete’s directly across from a Kylie Cosmetics vending machine. I didn’t have a lot of expectations, but a Kylie Cosmetics vending machine certainly wasn’t on my radar.
On my return flight, my flight had been delayed 6 hours. This includes boarding a plane and sitting there for over an hour until they made us get off to reboard. I flew with 3 others, in which case our airline granted us 7 dollars per person for this inconvenience. I heard another group of four people conversing about a flight they had, in which they had been sitting at the airport for several hours, and received a 50-dollar voucher between them with no promise of another flight. “Frontier is never getting my money again,” is understandable to say the least.
Soon thereafter we went as a group around 11 pm to grab something from a vending machine- snacks, water, etc. And little did we know, our 28-dollar voucher was only redeemable in airport restaurants (which were all closed) so ultimately useless to us.
Zones, Gates, Terminals, and Baggage Claim
I knew airports were huge but they are insanely underestimated from the outside. Both departing and arriving in Philadelphia I had no idea what was happening. I felt like a lost child in the mall and it was a very humbling experience. While being with experienced people helped me soak in a little bit of their knowledge- I’m still not entirely sure what a terminal even is. But, the concept of gates and zones to board the plane was pretty easy to understand. However, baggage claim was an absolute nightmare to get to from our flight both times. Trying to explain where we would get picked up was a headache considering our ride had never picked someone up from the airport. Thankfully, “cell phone parking lots” exist little to my knowledge until that point, so they weren’t driving around in circles.
I’ve always heard about turbulence- how it can be pretty bad depending on the flight and the person you talk to about it. On my way there, the turbulence surprised me nonetheless, let alone the feeling of taking off/ landing. The landing made me feel like we were going to crash when in reality there was nothing wrong. On the way back, we experienced what my ‘frequent flier’ friend called very bad turbulence. Turns out, she just really hates those parts of flying.
The nerves before we even took off on our departing flight made me want to get off the plane. I understood this meant canceling the trip despite the amount of money I had already put into it, yet considered it at the time. My experience with the incoming flight with an overall 6-hour delay made me miserable. And I don’t think I will ever understand the lingo when it comes to baggage claim pick-up. However, I will probably be doing it again.