Flying for the first time – advice

Reader question: I have no experience and have never been on a plane before. I’m going to visit my friend in Tallahassee, Florida sometime in June for 10 days.

Any “tricks” that I need to look for? As in any particular day is cheaper. Which airline is best? Worst? Anytime of day or night? I’m more than likely flying out of Philadelphia to the airport in
Tallahassee. I’ve heard that its better to order your plane tickets far in advance for them to be cheaper. Also about approx how much would be a reasonable round trip from Philly to Tallahassee? United has a ticket for $450…

I would be going by myself. I’ve always avoided flying, but this time around I do not feel like driving and I just caved in. Thank you

Some advice: Check and similar sites to compare fares. One thing to keep in mind about the aggregator sites like Kayak and Orbitz is that a number of bargain airlines don’t work
with them. Check the list of airlines that fly in and out of Philly (it will be on the airport website), and see if Southwest, JetBlue or AirTran fly from there. They will likely have the cheapest flights to FL. JetBlue would be my first choice.

Many say that Tuesday and Wednesday flights tend to be cheapest. Generally, tickets mid-week are much cheaper than tickets on the weekend. They say 50 days or so out is when you should look to buy.

Flying out of Philly, I would tend to avoid US Air. If you do fly US Air, go in a different terminal and then cut over once you’re past security. Tallahassee is a tiny airport. You might be able to save money by flying to someplace like Jacksonville and driving the rest of the way.

A couple basic things: Pack light. Join a frequent flier program for whatever airline you choose. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Check the TSA list of things you can’t have in a carry-on – don’t be that guy.

If you’re really afraid of flying, your doctor should prescribe Xanax or another anti-anxiety drug. It works for many who are afraid of flying but I wouldn’t take one for the first time on a plane in case you have some side effects.

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