Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A few questions about taking a flight with a layover

A few questions about taking a flight with a layover?
Okay, so I'm 17 years old and I have plans to travel alone to Missouri from Boston this summer, which makes me an unaccompanied minor. I've been on planes a few times before, but I've always been with other people who are more experienced with flying and actually know what they're doing in an airport, so I just have a few questions. Also, if this was a nonstop flight, I wouldn't be too concerned because I would be with my parents until I departed from Boston, and then when I arrived, I would be with my friend's parents, but there are no nonstop flights. They all have connecting flights, so I'll either have to stop in Cincinnati or Memphis. I'm most likely flying with Delta both ways and on each connecting flight. I looked up Delta's unaccompanied minor policy, and all I could find was this program that you have to pay 100 bucks for, but they said that it was optional for 15-17 year olds. I'm just curious as to whether they have any other sort of policy for unaccompanied minors who aren't using that program, because I couldn't find anything on that. Also, are there any teenagers out there who have flown alone with connecting flights before, or any parents that have children that have flown alone with connecting flights? I'm just curious as to how it went. To the other kids, was it confusing? Did you get where you wanted to go without having panic attacks in the process? Do you have to check in with anybody when you get to the connecting airport, or do you just walk off the plane and then wait around for however long and then get on your plane? When you get off the plane and enter the connecting airport, are all the gates in the same area in most airports, or do you have to go through hell and back to find the gate for your connecting flight? See, because I'm not really that concerned that I'll be alone, I'm just worried about finding my way through the connecting airport, because I'm not very observant and I'm not very directionally oriented. To the parents, what formalities did you have to go through for your child? Also, when I get to Logan Airport and I'm looking for the gate for my departing flight (say my connecting flight is from Cincinnati) do you look for the one on the board that says "Boston to Cincinnati" or will it be "Boston to Kansas City?" I don't know, that's probably a silly question, but I'm just being cautious. And lastly, are airports generally safe in terms of being an alone minor? I mean, I'm 17, I'm not like, 10, so I think I'll be okay, but I don't want to get mugged or anything.
Air Travel - 4 Answers
Random Answers, Critics, Comments, Opinions :
1 :
even though you are 17 you could still use the program of course it will cost you but it migjt help as the airline wiil help you
2 :
I have never flown alone, but i have gotten lost in one the biggest airports in the world. Just look on the tv screen that tells you where ur departing and destination. If you act like you know what your doing, then you probably wont get mugged. Or stay close to an adult so if there even is a mugger, (i doubt it) they will think you are with an adult and safe... good luck
3 :
I flew on my own with a connecting flight at the age of 19. It was hell because my first flight got delayed (due to fog), which made me miss my second flight and have to switch over to a later flight (making me have to wait an extra 3 hours). Overall, if you aren't rushed it shouldn't be too hard to find your gate. I flew in to an unfamiliar (and rather large) airport and just looked at the boards to see what gate I needed to be at (plane ticket didn't have it on there, just said something like "to be determined"), went there, and fell asleep until 15 minutes before my flight, haha. It's not too hard, really. Even with all the problems I kept having on debating whether or not to switch over to the later flight, and having a 3 hour wait after the first half hour or more delay it wasn't hard to figure out; especially if you've flown before. The general layout isn't too different, you'll arrive in the terminals as always and will just have to go from one to the other (unless your next flight is using the same gate). I'd also say it's pretty safe in airports...have you seen how anal security is these days? If someone was stupid enough to mug you or something, than I'm sure someone would notice and step in. If not, then hey, just yell as loud as you can, "NO!" and keep yelling it and put up a fight, or hell, if you're in an airport, start yelling, "THEY HAVE A BOMB! THEY HAVE A BOMB!" and I'm sure security will come flying towards you and whoever is giving you trouble will stop immediately! In that case it's easier to ask for forgiveness from the security than get hurt or robbed, but again, unless someone pick-pockets you I doubt you'll have any troubles. Security is all over the place in an airport, they're not exactly a place where you're going to be jumped. And for the question of what to look for on the boards, you'll probably want to know what the airport's name and symbols are. For instance, I went to the San Francisco Airport, so I was looking for SFO. I believe it's called the airport code? Look them up on Google using the name on the airport, if you don't know them or have them listed on your ticket. Or they'll probably list the city. Honestly I can't remember, but know both just in case. If you get confused, just ask someone at one of the gates and show them your ticket; I'm sure they'd be happy to point you in the right direction! Keep your belongings close, make sure you know which gate is yours, don't miss your flights, and have fun =) It's not too bad going alone your first time.
4 :
I am certain that you will find this is not very hard. Airports have tons of signs about where things are, so I do not think you will get lost. When you make your reservations, you will reserve a seats on flights with a specific number. Say your itinerary is Delta Flight 3267 from Logan airport to Cincinnati, then Delta 4065 from Cincinnati to Kansas City. If you get your boarding passes at the airport, they will have the gate from which your first plane leaves printed on the boarding pass. You will get a second boarding pass for the second flight, and that may or may not have a gate number printed on it as well. Airports are divided into terminals, concourses and gates. Airlines leave form specific terminals, so you will already have to be in the proper terminal since that is where the check in desk for Delta will be. The gate numbers are designated like A18, or B12, or C6. The letter is the concourse - basically which wing of a terminal you need to look for, and the number is the physical gate number. ALL concourses and gates are well marked. There will be dozens of signs that point to Concourse A, or Concourse C and so on. Once you get to the right concourse, it is just a matter of walking to the right gate. When you get to the gate, the information displayed at the gate will list the flight number, and the destination. The destination is the FIRST place that the plane stops. So, using the itinerary I mentioned above, you would look for a gate with the information about flight 3267 to Cincinnati. It does not matter to you if that plane actually goes somewhere else after you get off in Cincinnati - it certainly does, and the information may say "...with continuing service to Des Moines..." or somewhere - but you won't care about that. Once you land in Cincinnati, then you just look for the gate that is on your second boarding pass. CVG is a relatively small airport, so the gate should be within the same concourse. Just a matter of walking in the right direction until you find it. Now... several things to be aware of: = = = = = = = = = = = Many flights are "code share" flights, meaning that different airlines will sell tickets on the same physical plane, and they will each have their own, different, flight number for that flight. So - when you look for your flight, you might also see "Mumble Airlines, flight 1234 to Cincinnati." If you wait a bit, it will also show your flight number. So don't panic. Gate assignments sometimes change, so even if you get boarding passes with gate numbers printed on them, they may change. So - there are TV screens all over the airport that have departures listed on them. You should <<always>> check those to see if the gate they list is the same as is on your boarding pass. The flights are listed alphabetically by the destination city. Look for flights going to Cincinnati, then find your airline/flight number and check the gate that is shown in the TV. You should also to this when you get to Cincinnati - look at the TV monitors for the flight to KC and confirm the gate number. Airports are really not that hard, usually to find your way around in. IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHERE TO GO - you can always as a ticket agent, or an agent who is at a gate, or other uniformed airport or airline people. Below are links to the Logan airport terminal map, and to the CVG terminal map. Personally, I think that the way the information is presented is poor, but you may be able to print some part of these maps to help you out. Logan airport terminal map: http://www.massport.com/logan-airport/inside-airport/Pages/logan-interactive-maps.html Cincinnati airport: http://www.cvgairport.com/terminals/map.aspx Good luck - have fun and don't worry too much.

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