Traveling to US for the First Time in Flight – Choosing Seat, Food or Meal Preferences

In Travel Experiences by KumarUpdated : 4 Comments

I still remember my first travel experience to US in Flight , it is funny when you look back and think of those days.  These days, my job lets me travel every alternate week on a flight globally… I have picked up some lessons from my experience… Let me take some time to explain in few articles some of the basics that you can do to make your life pleasant, when you are traveling in Flight for the first time to USA or any other country . This article will focus on two things choosing seat and ordering food.

Choosing Seat for Travel to US: Window or Aisle Seat?  

If you have never boarded a flight before, I strongly suggest that you take the Window seat. You get to experience your first flight journey by peeping out… My first ever Flight Journey was to America, remember the title of the blog and where I come from 😉 , I truly enjoyed the window seat experience as I could see what was outside the window…the serene skies, the white snow coated mountains, the twinkling lights of the cities, the  miniature blocks of green fields, the blue ocean….Ahh, it is fun to even think about it J  There are some disadvantages of a window seat though, you will need to ask your adjacent passenger all the time, every time you would like to use the toilet or just have a quick walk…but, it is worth it, if it is your first trip.  As it is a long flight of 2 legs of 8 hours or more, it could be frustrating to disturb, but no choice…there is a trade off.

If you have previously boarded a flight, I recommend you take the Aisle Seat. The advantage is that you do NOT have to bother your adjacent passenger, if you want to go out for a walk or toilet. Imagine, how many times you would go out to toilet in 8 hrs…the bad part is that, if you are in deep sleep and your neighbor want to get out, he will wake you up…But, overall, in my experience, Aisle seat is the best as you get little more leg room as well.

Which is the best area to select a seat in the Airplane ?

The difference of seat location is only felt, when there is turbulence.  In general, avoid choosing a seat towards the end of the plane closer to the tail. It could be very shaky when there is turbulence in the air and you will not like it…. If you choose a set in the front row or any of the first rows in a section, you will have kids and mostly infants, who could potentially cry and create noise…If you like to sleep or take rest, it will not help…If you have a choice, choose the seats in the middle of the plane and in the middle rows of a section. Depending on the flight, there could be three or four sections in the plane.  Also, choose the seats towards the sides ( I mean the ones closer to window), where there would be only one or two passengers next to you. If you choose the mid section in a row, you will have about 5 people and it gets a little crowded.

When and How to select the Seat of your Choice ?

The biggest trick of choosing a seat is selecting it ahead of time, before you arrive at the airport. As soon as your ticket is confirmed and your agent sends you the ticket, logon to the airline website and check for your booking and select the seat of your choice. You may sometimes be required to register to change seat.   Depending on the airline, they will not let you choose seats about a day or two before your journey. Sooner you login, the better your choice….If you have trouble, just call the airline and get it sorted out.

Why should you select and choose your Meal preference ahead of time ?

When I traveled first time, I did not know the importance of meal preference. I was on Lufthansa airlines and the flight attendant comes to me asks “your meal choice sir…I said anything vegetarian…She says, I don’t have that sir, can I get you something else. I ask for chicken….I got some chicken, but I could NOT eat it…It is western style dish and hardly spices in it…I was not used to any of the western food…Anyways, I was starving all my journey in both the flights….just drinking orange Juice. Most of the times, the fact is that the cuisine is different in every airline and it reflects the airline country’s flavor…Unless you are traveling in your own country airline, you are out of luck…to avoid such situation, you should choose your meal preference ahead of time.

What Meal preference should you choose? Vegetarian ? Chicken ? Asian ?

Well, it depends on your food choice either vegetarian or any other meat. In general, if you are not used to any of the western style of dishes and the flavor/ aroma, it is risky to choose anything with meat. If you are flying from India, you could likely choose Indian Vegetarian or Hindu meal. You can have a look at some of the information with photos at AirlineMeals.net . But, always call the airline and check, if you have doubt. Your best bet is to go with Indian or Asian Vegetarian. You at least would get some rice to eat.  You can choose this by two ways, either calling the airline or going to the airline website and retrieving your reservation and doing changes to the meal preference.

Pheww !  That’s a lot of information on choosing seat and food !

What was your experience ? What would you recommend ?

I will write couple more articles on Air travel for new students and professionals traveling to America or any other country. Stay tuned !

   

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. rashid

    I have got my visa. but my I-20 says program start date is August 24 and my flight is on September 04. Does this have a problem? and what should I do?

  2. CTSguy

    Any hope for CTS?? I heard from immigrant team that if you didn’t receive till next week. Then it is over and are the mails uploaded only by 7.30 pm ?

  3. Babu

    Is it advisable to take kinds who are 1 year old? Will the airlines gives food for 1 year old kid?

    Please write some article on what are all the things need to be taken care while going with family along with small kids.

    will be a great help..
    Thanks
    Babu

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