Have you just booked a solo flight to the States?
Realised that there’s a layover of under 2 hours? Are you in a slight tizzy because you’ve either never had to do this alone before?
Firstly it’s okay to be a bit nervous about these things. No matter how many blogs or friends or guide books tell you it will be a breeze. If you’re getting a little anxious about it, it’s totally FINE.
You’re not alone.
If you’re traveling from the UK or Europe and have to change somewhere in America, you’re probably flying to an airport ‘hub’.
These are medium sized airports dotted around the states, in small towns. Their general purpose is for connecting flights. Chances are you’re one of many people on your flight doing this, already less reason to panic if almost 300 people are in the same boat as you.
Chat to your fellow travelers
Find out more about them, and ask where they’re headed. You can keep it as light or as serious as you want. They also won’t think less of you if you say ‘I’ve only got 90 mins to connect flights’ (see point above) – they’re most likely going to be as time conscious as you.
You might even make actual buddies with them. It’ll make you feel heaps better to let out your stresses with a traveler (trust me on this one).
After security, if you only have a spare 20 mins before you have to board, use it wisely.
You don’t need a souvenir from that random airport in Pennsylvania. Use the facilities, grab a coffee and some more bottled water and snacks.
‘Aint no greater feels than a proper toilet after an 8 hour plane journey.
If you have a couple of hours, treat yourself to a sit down meal, and make sure that it’s time zone appropriate. Eating fried chicken at 7am will not help your body clock, no matter how much your body is craving it. I landed at midday one year, so it was in perfect time for a tasty lunch, and by GOD that fried chicken was good.
The basics and other things to remember…
You’ll have to go through customs at your first stop instead of your destination.
Good news is you only have to do the customs thing ONCE on entry, as your connecting flight is domestic.
Your luggage will go straight to your destination (and will not be pulled by a tiny dog in a coat), so make sure you head for security as soon as you’re done with customs.
If time is super tight, get a seat as near to the front of the plane as you can, on the aisle. Check in as early as you can to secure your seat. Simple.
If your first plane is delayed by a considerable amount of time and you miss your connection, your airline will get you on the next available one. If you miss your connection because you were farting about in Duty Free, this is YOUR problem.
…and remember, relax, have a drink and enjoy the experience. It’s not as scary as you think.