Tips on flying to England?

Hi. I am going on a trip to England summer 2015 to visit friends and do some guest speaking inside some schools there. I will be staying for a month, possibly longer. I am super excited and it is all I can think about so I have been doing non-stop research on just about everything involving the trip. The only thing I am unsure of is the flight. I will be 17 at the time and flying alone, so not quite an adult but too old for any assistance. I know about security checks and all that but I've only flown once before- in the 4th grade.

So what I am asking for is any tips on:

-things to bring,

-who is best to ask questions,(I am not concerned about getting lost or afraid to ask questions so I should be fine with that),

-I am a female, so any safety tips,

-what to do during layovers,

-best place to get a seat,

-best times to fly,

-how to prevent or ease jetlag,

-what can I do on the plane(electronic wise),

-what papers should I carry with me,

-are there maps of airports that I can get,

-cost saving tips,

-basic "do's & don't's",

-and really anything else that you can think of that might help me.

I know it's a lot but anything helps and I am really eager! There just isn't a place that I have found that can help me in bulk :)

Thank you in advance!

3 Answers

  • Clive
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Things to bring... well, what would you normally take on a vacation? Bear the weather in mind, that it can change without notice (I'm English and have long since given up on weather forecasts!) and layering clothes is the key. Bring something warm as you'll probably need it even though it's summer.

    Safety tips... the UK is actually safer than the USA in terms of violent crime figures. Just apply all the things you already know such as keeping out of places that seem "dodgy".

    Layovers... bring something to keep occupied and make sure you don't miss the next flight, that's all.

    Nearly all flights from the USA to the UK go overnight, and the other way during the day. There can't be detailed air traffic control over the ocean so this just makes traffic sense - less chance of collision if everything's going in the same direction. There's never been a mid-air collision over the Atlantic so something must be working! Unfortunately going overnight is the worst time for west to east jetlag. You will probably arrive in the UK around breakfast time with your body thinking it's still the middle of the night and the human body doesn't respond well to having the day squeezed by 5 hours (I see you're from Ohio so I'm assuming you're on Eastern time). It helps if you can sleep on the flight but I never can in economy class as I'm over 6' tall. Maybe try a sleeping pill?

    The result is I always get home from the USA with an indescribable spaced-out feeling of being zonked. And then have to get through immigration, baggage reclaim and customs, and then get home! I get fast-tracked through immigration but you won't and the non-EU queue for immigration at London Heathrow in the early morning has to be seen to be believed. There's no way of avoiding it except, as I say, if you can get some sleep during the flight. I always find myself getting home, collapsing into bed where I will fall asleep immediately and waking up in the early afternoon. Then try to fit in with local time and next day will be fine. Just a sad fact that Day 1 will be a write-off. Going back to the US is much better as it'll be just like having a late night out.

    Consult the airline's web site as to what you can do electronic-wise on the flight. The one thing they will say is that any electronic devices should be turned completely off during take-off and landing as they might interfere with the plane's electronics. They probably won't but airlines would rather be safe than sorry.

    A US citizen only needs a passport to visit the UK for up to 6 months, so no need to apply to the British Embassy for a visa. You may get quizzed at immigration as to your intentions. All they're interested in is that you actually will leave at the end of your stay and will not illegally seek employment, so take a copy of the email showing your flight bookings, evidence that you have money to support yourself during your stay, and a letter from your friends inviting you to stay is worth having. Take all this in your hand luggage so you have it ready if the immigration officer asks. Also take a pen on the flight because the UK will require you to fill out a landing card. The flight attendants will come round during the flight to hand these out, and at immigration you hand it over with your passport. It's a very short form but it does ask for the address of where you're staying, so take a note of that with you too. (On the way back, the US requires you to fill out a customs form so you'll need your pen again!)

    Maps of any airport should be available on that airport's web site but really they are no practical use. Once you're in the airport building, signs will guide you on where to go.

    Of course you'll need to change dollars into pounds and banks are the best place for this. If you need to change more while in the UK, do it at a PROPER bank to get a good exchange rate and more "bang for your buck" - Barclays, HSBC, NatWest and Lloyds TSB are the "big four" in England. Your friends will know others. The safest way to take money for a long period is to buy traveller's cheques (or traveler's checks in American spelling). American Express is acceptable anywhere, especially at Lloyds TSB (I bank with them and that's what they issue to me) and if they get lost or stolen you're guaranteed your money back as long as you've followed instructions and signed all of them. Debit and credit cards will work in the UK but you'll get currency conversion charges, so that's best left for emergencies.

  • 7 years ago

    flying is honestly the easiest and most straightforward part of flying. look at the airline you're flying with to confirm what is and isn't allowed on your carry-on bag (no liquids, sharp objects, etc.)

    keep some cash, your passport, and photo id as well as photocopies of each with you. also keep 2 copies of your boarding pass-one in your carry on, and one with you. its best to have your passport and boarding pass in a holder/pocket/purse where you can easily access it because you will have to show it to a lot of people before you board.

    pack some snacks (no liquid though) and take an EMPTY travel water bottle. ask starbucks (there is always a starbucks) to fill it up with water before you board. you can't use electronics the first couple minutes of the flight. during the duration of the flight you must keep all electronics on airplane mode, but you can still listen to music and use your laptop if the plane has free wifi.

    you dont need a map-follow signs. there are signs everywhere and ask an employee if you aren't sure.

    keep in mind other passengers are probably in a rush, so try to be out of the way and considerate of them as well.

    stay away from the back of the plane and middle seats.

  • 7 years ago

    do you have passport you didnt say

    thats the #1 item you must have

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