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My First Solo Flight

At the beginning of June, I took my first solo flight. I’ve travelled solo in my car plenty of times, sometimes driving 7 hours a day. But, I’d never taken a solo trip on a plane before.

This trip was to go see my friend who moved to Tennessee. She had previously lived in Washington State and I never made it to visit her there partially due to finances and also partially due to anxiety about navigating airports by myself.

I had a lot of anxiety before my trip. I’ve flown a lot and I got over my previous fear of flying many years ago. But, this year, there’s been a lot of news stories about things going wrong with planes. So, I was really anxious about something happening during my flight and not having anyone I know with me in my final moments. But, I didn’t let this anxiety stop me from going because rationally, I knew the chances were low and that I’ve flown a lot of times without any catastrophic things happening.

The Flight There

To try and make this first solo flight easy on myself, I decided to fly out of Tweed in New Haven because it’s such a small airport and because I could get a direct flight. I was planning on driving myself to the airport and paying the fee to park, but my brother offered to drive me, which saved me a lot of money. He definitely owed me because I’ve picked him up from the airport more times than I can count.

When he dropped me off at Tweed, I had to figure out where to check my bag because I’d never been there before. Thankfully, I quickly figured it out with the help of signs. I had a checked bag so I handed that off and then went through security. I was super excited to find out I didn’t have to take out all of my camera gear and my laptop.

Once past security, I had to consult a screen to figure out which gate my flight was going out of. Thankfully, that airport only has 1 terminal, so it was easy. I was not pleased that my virtual boarding pass did not have the gate on it. But, it was just a small bump in the road lol.

Once the plane took off, most of my anxiety went away. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I knew what to expect because I’ve flown so many times. I got myself a window seat because I knew being able to see the landscape below would make me happy. Usually I don’t like to get window seats, but it was such a short flight that I knew it wouldn’t be a big deal. I usually like to be in the isle seat so I don’t have to ask people to move when I have to go to the bathroom.

I loved getting to see the shoreline from above. You don’t get views like this flying out of Hartford.

I usually spend flights reading. I was excited to have a couple hours to read on this flight. But, I had people behind me who wouldn’t stop talking, so I threw in my headphones and played games. I tried to read, but I couldn’t focus with them talking or with music playing. Listening to my country playlist during my flight to Nashville was a good alternative to reading.

When I landed, my friend and her husband picked me up. I had to take a shuttle to get to baggage claim area, which was interesting. But, I made it to baggage claim where my friend and her husband were waiting for me and my luggage wasn’t lost. Easy peasy.

The Trip

I spent the next couple of days hanging out with my friend during the day doing fun things like waterfall adventures and mansion tours. At night, we’d go grab a bite to eat with her husband.

On my last day, we went to Nashville because that was where I was flying out of. We did Broadway where all the bars and live music are. I didn’t expect to like it, but I gave it a shot anyways. I don’t really drink (unless it’s a sip or two from my boyfriend’s drink) so bar hopping isn’t really my thing. But, I did enjoy the architecture on that main strip. The live music was cool, but I also don’t like being in loud places and they weren’t bands I really knew so to me it wasn’t worth it lol.

I didn’t necessarily have fun at the bars, but I did like that this bar (Tootsie’s) had nice views of downtown from the rooftop.

The Journey Home

When it was finally time to go, my friend and her husband walked me into the airport and we said our goodbyes. Then, I went off to check my bag. When it was time to go through security, I was relieved when I saw that I once again didn’t have to take any of my stuff out of my bag.

I then had to take the shuttle again to get back to the terminal that I was flying out of. Thankfully, I expected this because I had to take one when I had arrived in Nashville. I got to the terminal with plenty of time to spare so I grabbed a bite to eat nearby and edited some photos.

After I finished eating, I went to sit at my gate. There was no one there, but as far as I knew, that was still my gate. Other people seemed thrown off as well and they asked if I was going to New Haven. I told them I was indeed. One guy checked to confirm that was our gate, and it was.

But, we later found out that the gate was moved. We all collectively groaned and then headed to the correct gate. This little hiccup really did not phase me. However, we didn’t take off on time because there was one woman who did not get the memo that the gate was changed last minute. There was another collective groan at that lol.

Taken at what was SUPPOSED to be our gate a couple minutes before boarding was supposed to start. They really did change it that last minute.

My flight home was smooth. I wish I was one of those people that slept on planes because I was landing at 10:30pm and then had an hour drive back home. I tried, but no luck. So, I played games and listened to music again until it was almost dark out. Then, I opened the window to look outside. I got to see a sunset from the plane, which was awesome.

When I got home, I had to shower because I just felt so gross being on an airplane. There was no way I was getting into bed without washing my hair and body. I definitely regret getting home so late and not giving myself a day off the next day to recover because I had work at 6am the next day.

Reflecting On My First Solo Flights

Overall, I had a pretty positive experience with my first solo flights. I didn’t have to navigate out of the airport or grab a rental car or deal with layovers, but that’s because I intentionally tried to make it as easy as possible. Now that I have this under my belt, I’d definitely feel more comfortable flying solo again.

– Kailey

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