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First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Glasgow, Scotland...
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First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Hey guys, I'm flying to Pittsburgh by way of Amsterdam and Detroit from Glasgow in a month and I'm totally lost about what goes on. I'm sure I'll have to check in or do it online or whatever, and I know how to check in a bag as I've flown domestically before. But what's the process for layovers? Do I come out of arrivals and pick up my bag and head for departures? Or do my bags just magically make it onto the next plane? Also, will I have to go check in again for my next flight or can I just go right through to security? Any advice would be very welcome here. Thanks in advance!

ld
Manchester, United...
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1. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

You'll most likely check your bags through to your final destination and its unlikely you will need to retrieve them in Amsterdam. You will have to pick them up in Detroit to clear US customs and immigration. Most likely there will be a drop off point for luggage for connecting flights as you leave the customs area in Detroit.

Detroit, MI
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2. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Assuming you are flying KLM/Delta based on your routing. Your bags should be able to be checked all the way through, but you will have to claim them for US Customs.

When you land in Detroit you will have to go through immigration (passport control). After that you will pick up your bags and proceed to customs. There you will hand over your customs declaration form (it will be given to you on the plane - have a pen handy). Most likely you will be waived on. There is a slight chance they will x-ray and inspect your bag.

After customs, to the right, is a baggage drop. Your bags will already be tagged to PIT, so you just have to drop them. There is then a TSA security checkpoint that will then allow you back into the secure area of the terminal. If you bought any duty free liquids, make sure you put them in your checked bag before you drop it off - the US does not allow the sealed duty free bags like they do in Europe.

UK
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3. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Hey guys, I'm flying to Pittsburgh by way of Amsterdam and Detroit from Glasgow in a month and I'm totally lost about what goes on

=====

I'm not surprised. Who did you offend to get that itinerary ! :-)

Main Q is, one ticket or several ? If one ticket, what tev999 says, multiple tickets, it depends.

Glasgow, Scotland...
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4. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

I'm guessing one ticket, since I bought it all online and it's an e-ticket.

Glasgow, Scotland...
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5. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Thank you for your help! I'll definitely take a pen with me. Any other pointers you could give me? I think I'll need all the help I can get!

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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6. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Keep an eye on the time when you fly from GLA to AMS. The Netherlands is on Central European Time, so you'll need to change your watch before wheels down at AMS to ensure you don't miss the connecting flight.

Change your watch again when you board the flight in AMS for DTW; set your watch to local Detroit time and try not to calculate what time it is in Glasgow. Resetting your watch and internal clock is a small but significant step to help make the time change easier to bear.

Ensure you have the necessary PNRs (pax name records / locator codes / reference numbers) from the carriers, so you can use the PNRs to check in on line. You'll need the KLM PNR to check in for GLA-AMS and the DL PNR for the flights from AMS and DTW. If you haven't got the PNRs, call the airlines and ask for them.

Keep an eye on the departure boards at AMS and DTW. Gates are subject to change, so your flight from A10 may shift to B24 in the blink of an eye. Ensure you arrive at the gates in good time for your flights; the flight will be closed and doors of the plane closed about 10 minutes before scheduled departure time, as crew have work to do after boarding but before pushback.

Have you got your passport and Esta sorted out? If you've not yet got an Esta, apply now.

If you need to ask questions, do so. If your fellow pax or crew don't know the answer, they'll probably know where to find it.

Arkansas
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7. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

Amsterdam is easy to get around, but is big! As mentioned keep that eye out for gate changes.

Detroit isn't as big, but they lay out is a bit odd. You might want to look at the map in the back of the airline magazine on the way over the pond to see the lay out. The odds are you will be going to the other terminal to catch a commuter plane to Pittsburgh.

Clearing customs and immigration is a pain, but easy. Most of the time on the flight from Amsterdam they will give you all the forms to you will need. That way all you can fill out everything before you land.

Don't forget about the 'American Strip Tease' better known as clearing TSA. Frequent flyers in the U.S. do it automatically, but for fist timers it can be a bit strange. All the rules of Europe plus a few extras. Belts, shoes, jackets and ALL things in your pockets go in the machine. If you wear glasses, they will allow you to hold them in your hand, while being scanned. No jell insoles in shoes allowed. Any liquids you may have bought at duty free, have better have been placed in your checked bags, because they don't care how much it cost, or how well it's sealed, it isn't going to clear. While TSA doesn't like jokes, a smile never hurts. I've found over the years, a simple good morning with a smile is often appreciated.

8. Re: First time flyer (sort of) with a few questions!

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