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HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Erie, Pennsylvania
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HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Hi all,

I have a few questions about flying internationally, it is going to be my first time, and I have sort of an anxiety problem about things. Because I am flying alone, for the first time ever.

My trip is: CLE - ATL Continental

ATL - FRA Lufthansa

FRA - EDI Lufthansa

EDI - EWR Continental BOTH ON CHRISTMAS DAY

EWR - CLE Continenal

First question is where will I have to go through customs? Because I read that since the UK uses Pounds still that I will have to go through customs in FRA and EDI. And other people told me that I won't have to go through customs until I get to EDI. My layover in FRA is 3 hours.

Also what are some things that countries say you have to "declare"? I'd rather not get arrested in another country.

And finally, my uncle let me use his miles for the trip to help lower the cost of it. (He bought the tickets under his name and miles and put my name and passport # as the traveler.) How does that go about? I am nervous that it could screw me over somehow. I heard if you use miles and my flight gets cancelled and/or I miss it, then I will be screwed.

If you have anymore advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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1. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

You will clear both immigration (passport control) and customs on arrival at Edinburgh. As the UK is not part of the Shengen area, at Frankfurt the only thing you will have is another security screen (a la TSA); other than that you'll stay airside.

The customs limits are shown below. As your originating country is outside the EU, you would use the Green channel (assuming you have nothing to declare).

…hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/…

Finally, as per the use of your uncle's FF miles, have him check with CO as to whether any verification is required. As it's miles, it's unlikely you'd be asked for his credit card. I've bought tickets for friends using my United FF miles before and they've never had a problem.

Frankly, your only challenge may be getting to Edinburgh airport on Christmas Day as there's no public transport; I hope you're getting a ride, otherwise prebook a taxi/car service as soon as you get there.

Good luck.

Edited: 17 November 2011, 04:14
Rochester, New York
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2. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Try not to be too anxious. Just tell people along the way that this IS your first time going through this. People are generally more than willing to walk or talk you through whatever you need to declare.

Secondly the tickets may have been procured with miles, but your name is on them as the traveler so you shouldn't have any problems. I too have done this before without issue.

Most of all stay calm and try to have fun! It's a big trip and you'll feel great once you've navigated through to your destination. Good luck and happy holidays :)

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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54,891 posts
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3. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

When you say customs I suspect you mean passport control, aka immigration.

If you're flying from ATL to FRA and then straight to EDI, not stopping in Frankfurt, then you should remain airside at FRA and not go through German passport control. You will go through passport control and customs at EDI airport, with the latter an easy walk through the blue channel for flights from the EU. frankfurt-airport.com/content/…file.pdf

Here's the EDI arrivals page. It's a small airport, signage is good and you shouldn't have too much trouble making your way from arriving flight to passport control then baggage collection. http://tinyurl.com/7snfh5y

Click on the 'Customs' link in the tinyurl.com link to get the most up to date information about what you can and cannot take to the UK. The walk through customs at EDI will seem low key: you may not see any agents, but they will see you.

If the PNR - pax name record, six alphanumeric digits - indicates that an e-ticket is in place for Mr daver 3188, with confirmed flights on dates a, b and c to and from cities x, y and z with airlines 1, 2 and 3 then all should be well.

The e-ticket that you should have received in your email inbox will have the fare rules and conditions of carriage as part of the body of the ticket. You can check the fare rules at the airline's Manage My Booking page as well, using that PNR to access the booking.

Please do ensure that you provide API (advance passenger information) before starting your journey. Again that's something you should be able to do at the CO website's MMB function.

Madrid
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4. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Do not o through the blue channel,you are not eligable to use it as your flight originated in the USA.Your bags will have all white baggage tags which mean you must use the green or red channels.Only passengers originating in the EU may use the blue channel,and they will have white and green baggage tags.TravellerPlus is correct with the rest of the information.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

You will NOT be "ALONE".

Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic alone, but very few others have done so since.

You will be surrounded at all times by scores of mostly helpful, friendly people who can answer you questions or concerns face-to-face, rather than via a computer screen.

Turn to your neighbour, airport person, and say, "Hey, is this the right way for the Edinborogh flight?"

It's what travel used to be like before Tripadvisor... :-)

Worthing, United...
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6. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Hi

The only thing I can add to this is the necessity of booking transport back to the airport as soon as possible, unless you have relatives or friends to take you. There is absolutely no public transport on Christmas day. So do it quickly and also double check your flight times using the twenty four hour clock. Remember 07.30 hours outside the USA is in the morning and the pm flight will be shown as 19.30, it sounds simple but I have seen plenty of times on this site people from the USA getting to the airport twelve hours late and blaming the airline.

I've just started travelling alone and it is a bit scary, but good luck and I'm sure you will be fine.

Jackie

Nashville, TN
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10 reviews
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7. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Just a little aside. Even though you'll be staying airside in Frankfurt, it might be a good idea to have a few Euros in your pocket when you get there. This way you'll have some cash in case you want to get a soda, snack, etc. while waiting on your connecting flight.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

I am nervous that it could screw me over somehow. I heard if you use miles and my flight gets cancelled and/or I miss it, then I will be screwed.

**********

A mileage ticket is treated the same as one that is purchased with cash. If you miss your flights because of your own fault (getting to the airport late, etc.), you may be SOL. But, if it's the airline's fault, they will eventually get you on another flight.

If you get stuck, simply ask for help. There will be plenty of people, on your flights and in the airport that will be glad to answer your questions. Good luck.

Haarlem, The...
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9. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

Don't worry, lots of people travel solo every day. Airports almost always have extensive signage. It's almost impossible to get lost. If in doubt, just ask someone for help.

Kerikeri, New...
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10. Re: HELP! First international trip.....ALONE

deep breath....relax.....enjoy.......

By the time you return back home, you will be wondering why you wasted so much time worrying!!!