Ask CheapAir: I haven’t flown in a very long time. What’s changed and what do I need to know?

If you haven’t taken a flight in many years, it would certainly be understandable if you arrived at the airport for your departure flight and were more than a bit turned around! Flying today is drastically different than it was just 10 years ago. Here are some key highlights about what has changed—and what you need to know to navigate through the process in preparation for your next trip.

I haven’t flown in a very long time. What’s changed and what do I need to know?

Be prepared to pay for luxury

There was once a day when people used to dress up to fly—there was something glamorous about hopping a jet and traveling coast to coast. Today, though the luxury factor about taking a trip remains but well, the actual experience of a luxurious flight is harder to come by (read: more expensive). For the masses that travel coach, flying often means paying more for less and being crammed into tight quarters. However, if you want to pay big bucks, your experience in the air can still be remarkable, especially for international flights. For example, United Airlines now does turn-down service on some of its overseas flights and Singapore Airlines is even offering private cabins. Luxury? We’d say so.

Now you can search for flights with your voice

Perhaps many moons ago you were calling airline to airline, looking for flight prices. Or perhaps you even just drove to the airport to buy a ticket or showed up for a flight on a whim. While websites have taken over airfare searches, CheapAir has taken things one more level with our voice-activated flight search app. Search with your voice, anyway, and get all of the same flight information to your phone as you would on a desktop. Download it here.

Not all flights are created equal

Where fees and expenses may fail, technology has come a long way. New planes are coming loaded with technology standards like WiFi and personal TV monitors—and older planes are being retrofitted. Whether you’re a family or a business traveler, CheapAir believes that not all flights are equal, as two flights for the same amount can offer drastically different in-flight experiences. CheapAir offers flight amenities listings directly in search results, plus a CheapAir Top Pick rating, which is a proprietary score based on price, total travel time, on-time percentage, airline ratings, comfort and on-board amenities.

Fees and more fees

Be ready to pay airline-mandated fees for everything ranging from checking a bag, to being able to check-in online early, and for meals and seat assignments. Thinking about fees can be daunting, but there are things you can do to prepare. (1) Read about fees on your airlines’ website, (2) make sure you pay for any checked baggage in advance of your arrival at the airport and (3) print your itinerary in advance. By preparing, you won’t be so surprised when you arrive at the airport. Our Baggage Fee Basics guide can also help you save and prepare for your trips.

Kick off your shoes for security

Make sure you arrive at least an hour and a half prior to your departure time to allow for security screening. You’ll need a photo ID and your boarding pass handy. Once you have these two items reviewed, you will need to take off any jackets or outwear and place them in a bin for security screening. Additional items that you’ll need to do this with are laptops and any large electronics, liquids (liquids include creams, pastes, gels) and your shoes—flip flops included. Note that for liquids, you’re limited to only being able to carry-on liquids three ounces or smaller; anything larger than that will have to be checked or discarded at the screening check point.

Oh, and no smoking!

We hope you are aware of this, but you never know.

Have a question or a thought to share? Let us know in the comments.


    1. Hi Joe,

      I’m not sure I understand your questions. All-inclusives are for resorts. They include meals, drinks, and any activities the resort offers. Airline’s do not offer any all-inclusive flights. If you are looking for all-inclusive vacation packages, we’d be happy to assist you with that. Do you know where you’d like to go? Any dates? Number of travelers?


    1. Hi Meredy, You can check flights and costs with our site, We have a great customer experience that allows you to see all of the options for any pair of cities and dates. We also offer a feature called “price drop payback” that assures you will not overpay for a flight. If the fare should go down after you purchase, you can get up to $100 back in the form of a credit for future travel.

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