Last night was our Commissioning Mass for our WYD pilgrims. Given that this was the last time that we would see many of the pilgrims before the airport, I finished many conversations with "see you at the airport". Many WYD pilgrims will be traveling overseas for the first time and so it might be important to look at a few basics about international airports.
Whilst there are many travel tips we could give you, the most important travel tip is about time. Here a four issues that you need to know about time when traveling overseas:
- 24 hour time: when you travel across time zones it is hard to juggle between am and pm so airlines use 24 hour time. A 3:15pm departure time would be 1515hrs. The afternoon times are 12 plus what the "pm" time is. So 3:15pm is 3:15 + 12 = 15:15. In 24 time it is always listed as "hundred hours" so it make it 1515hrs.
- Check in time: when you are checking into an international flight they advise people to check in 3 hours ahead of departure time, which we get to shortly. This means that you should aim to be at the check in desk three hours before your flight time. Sometimes the check in desk is open four hours before the flight but many check in desks close 60-90 minutes before departure time, so don't be late.
- Boarding time: some people miss their flights because they keep thinking about departure time, not boarding time. Boarding time is the time that the airline will ask you to board the aircraft so that it can depart at the correct time. Boarding will begin about 40 minutes before the departure time. If you are seated at the back of the plan you will board first. Some airlines board the back of the plane earlier so watch the TV screens around the airport for the boarding call. Please be aware that boarding will close well before departure time. Once the boarding has closed, the TV screens will display "gate closed" for the boarding gate.
- Departure time: this is the time the aircraft will depart the airport. If things are going well the aircraft will depart the terminal or gate on time so that it make it's take off window. If a few passengers have held up the flight then the departure time will be later, but don't count on it.
The importance of time is remembering which time you are meant to follow, is it check in time, boarding time or departure time. Getting your times wrong could be a very expensive exercise for the international pilgrim.