Flying alone after 19 years: Part 1

Flying alone after 19 years: Part 1

My first flight and only flight prior to this was 19 years ago. I was 12 years old, flying from San Diego to Philadelphia (of course Round Trip). Flying alone as a child your parent can have a Flight Attendant walk you from your gate to whomever is picking you up. Back then I can’t even remember what it was like going through TSA, I’s sure there was TSA, but I can’t remember it being anything big. My dad was able to walk me all the way to the gate before the plane took off which is very different from now.

Fast forward to present day, I am typing this blog from Gate 45 in the San Diego International Airport awaiting my delayed departure flight to Seattle, Washington. I arrived way too early - I was nervous how long the line in TSA would be and didn’t want to miss my flight. This was one of the few things that made me nervous. You may be going through similar feelings if you are about to fly for the first time or after a long time.

See below list of my worries:

  1. Missing my flight and being stuck in the Airport (without my car).

  2. TSA being a pain in the butt and I would look like a newbie traveller.

  3. Not having any idea where my Gate was.

I think most of my concerns came from the unknown. Here is what I did to ease the anxiety and make this trip so far, less stressful.

  1. Arrive with ample time to get through TSA and find your gate & Know your Terminal, Gate and Seat Number prior to getting to the Airport. I arrived 2 hrs before my flight departure and it worked out perfect. Beforehand I even looked up the map of the airport gates and made sure I knew landmarks and the direction I needed to go in to find my gate. I was able to get to my Gate without an issue.

  2. When I packed my backpack and carry-on luggage, I put everything I needed to take out (bag of liquids, laptop, camera, ect) in the front pocket of my backpack. I wore shoes that were easy to slip off and took off my belt & jacket before I got up to the TSA conveyor belt.

  3. I had my ID and e-boarding pass ready and easily available. This you have to show TSA before you enter the Security Area, and this is as far as anyone can go without a boarding pass. Print a paper boarding pass if you feel like you need that as backup in the event your phone’s battery dies.

Now I feel less stress as I sit here waiting to board my flight. I got through the top things that made me worry. I’ll update you with a Part 2 after I reach my first stop in Seattle, Washington for a 2 hour layover.


Simon Hailwood