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UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Burton upon Trent...
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
2 helpful votes
UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Hi all, I'm heading to the US (New York) in 2 weeks. This is probably been asked before, I just can't seem to find any info so apologies in advance.

The furthest I've flown before is to Spain. So I'm worried that I'm forgetting to do something or that I've missed something out.

I've booked through Expedia, flying from Birmingham UK and catching a connecting flight in Amsterdam to Newark.

I've applied for an ESTA and have printed that out.

I've submitted my API to KLM (the airline I'm flying with.)

Is there anything else I need to do?

Sorry for asking what is probably really obvious, I just don't want to get to the airport and look like a fool. lol.

Thanks,

Chris

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
5,200 posts
272 reviews
178 helpful votes
1. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

make sure you bring your passport !

Yorkshire, United...
Level Contributor
8,710 posts
136 reviews
133 helpful votes
2. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Do you need to check in on line before you travel ?

do you need to print out your ticket or boarding card?

Many airlines now require you to do both.

Have a fab time !

Edited: 9 years ago
Newcastle upon...
Destination Expert
for Newcastle upon Tyne
Level Contributor
1,934 posts
129 reviews
165 helpful votes
3. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

When you get off the Plane walk as fast as you can and get past as many people as you can (don't stop for the toilet!) to get as near the front of the immigration queue as possible, be nice and polite to the immigration officers, don't try and be clever with your answers. Turn off you mobile while queuing and if they tell you to stand behind a line make sure you do.....or you will be yelled at

Burton upon Trent...
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
2 helpful votes
4. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Thanks guys, it doesn't say I HAVE to check in online, it gives me the option to. My printer is knackered so I might not check in online because I'll struggle to print off my boarding passes etc.

And I haven't got any tickets, I just have my Itinerary from Expedia printed out with all the booking references and flight details on it. Apparently with Expedia that's all you need and you don't get tickets.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
50,051 posts
40 reviews
43 helpful votes
5. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

The itinerary is what is used today as a ticket. No one gets tickets.

Watford, United...
Level Contributor
5,044 posts
11 reviews
28 helpful votes
6. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Chris, checking in online and printing your boarding passes are two different things. It is always good practice to check in online as soon as possible in case of an overbooked flight.

If you check in online you will be able to pick up your boarding pass at the airport.

Burton upon Trent...
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
2 helpful votes
7. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Oh right, ok. Didn't know that. I just thought you couldn't print off your boarding pass until you check in online.

They overbook flights? That's bonkers!

Watford, United...
Level Contributor
5,044 posts
11 reviews
28 helpful votes
8. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

You can't print your boarding pass without checking in online but you can check in online without printing your boarding pass.

Most airlines overbook as not everyone always takes their flights. If everyone does show up then some have to be bumped.. if there are no volunteers you put yourself in a slightly vulnerable position if you have not checked in online.

Burton upon Trent...
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
2 helpful votes
9. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

Right OK, I get you, so if I check in online the day before, I can print my boarding pass at the airport using the kiosk, or just by queuing like I would have originally done to check in?

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
87,101 posts
2,908 reviews
2,799 helpful votes
10. Re: UK to USA Checklist for a first time flyer.

<<They overbook flights? That's bonkers!>>

Many airlines do this. This is their insurance that if some pax cancel at the last minute, or are no-shows, they will still fly full. Those airlines have an equation that they have adopted, say "overbook by 2%," which will historically fill any gaps created by cancellations/no-shows. If that equation is wrong for a particular flight, they then ask for volunteers to be bumped, compensated and placed on the next available flight with available seats.

While there has been much discussion here (and elsewhere) on whether OLCI is a determining factor on who gets called out for involuntary bumping, I feel that if one HAS done the OLCI, they are in a better position, than those who do not. It also helps the airline know how many pax DO plan on flying with them that day, on that flight.

As mentioned, doing the OLCI and the physical printing of one's boarding passes are two related, but different activities. If one HAS done OLCI, then at baggage check-in, from the departing airport, the actual boarding passes can be printed out. Also, some airlines allow for electronic boarding passes, displayed on an appropriate device, say a smart-phone. Some, however, have yet to adopt that method. Even for airlines, which allow it, we still print the physical boarding passes. This circumvents any issues with the electronic devices, though probably singles us out as "old timers... " [Grin]

When you do check-in any luggage, and provided that you are on one ticket (whether with the same airline, or one in the same alliance, or with interline agreements), just make sure that the agent DOES route the bags correctly - in your case through AMS to EWR.

At EWR, you will go through USA Immigration, retrieve your bags and then go through USA Customs. The latter is *usually* quick, if one has "Nothing to Declare," as they just pass through that line at Customs, and hand over their form.

As your final destination (if I read correctly) is EWR, you will keep your bags with you, and just leave the airport for your ground transportation. If one is connecting at EWR to another flight within the USA, things will be a bit different, and those differences will depend on the onward air travel. If you ARE connecting at EWR for another flight(s), please let the folk here know, so they can give you complete details on what to do next. Please provide all airline names, the destination(s), and your arrival and departure times, as those can be important.

On your flight from AMS to EWR, be sure to fill in any forms provided, have those, plus your Passport and ESTA handy, for the USA Immigration and then Customs. I always keep a pen handy to do any necessary paperwork on the plane.

Good luck, and fly safely,

Hunt

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