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How Early Should I Get to the Airport? A Detailed Guide


How Early Should I Get to the Airport? A Detailed Guide

Are you asking yourself the question: how early should I get to the airport? If yes, you should click here for the key things to know.

Did you know that 2.7 million people fly around the world every day? Airports can get pretty backed up during busy seasons, which makes arriving on time difficult for some people.

What complicates things, even more, is answering the question, How early should I get to the airport? Some people say an hour before your flight is fine, while others claim you need to get there four hours in advance.

So what’s the right answer? In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about making it to your flight safe and on-time.


What Things Can Slow Down When Checking In?

There’s a reason why people recommend arriving hours early before a flight -- a variety of things can slow you down and make you late.

There are ways you can streamline the process, but ultimately you need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In this section, we’ll discuss the four main things that make people late.

International Flights

If you can, you should always arrive earlier on international flights than domestic ones. Why? Because of the extra steps required for getting through security. These types of flights require you to pass from immigration and passport control.

Most people going on international flights also plan to check a bag or two, which can prolong the process. Most of the time these steps add an extra twenty or fifteen minutes to the wait time. But, if there’s something wrong with your passport, or you hit an unexpected roadblock, then it can be easy to miss your flight.

Flight Checking-In

If you plan on checking a bag, then you will likely need to wait in a long line before you reach an availability. On busy days, or days with inclement weather these lines can be even longer.

If you plan on checking in in-person, then you will likely spend twenty minutes waiting for domestic flights and thirty minutes for international ones. Giving yourself a lot of extra time also helps give you some wiggle room if something is wrong with your ticket or passport.

Also, keep in mind that many airlines refuse to accept bags 45 minutes to an hour before the start of the flight. You can save time on your flight check-in time with an online service that allows you to check in on your mobile device.

Airport Security

Most of the time getting through airport security is a relatively quick process. However, it can easily get prolonged if you unintentionally bring a prohibited item.

In these cases, TSA security may signal you out and pull you aside for additional screening.

If you’re in a hurry to make your flight, then this is the last thing you want to happen as it can easily add fifteen minutes or more depending on the severity of the check. To prevent it, make sure you follow all of the TSA’s guidelines on what you can and cannot bring onto your flight.

Busy Time of Years

If you're traveling around a holiday, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, then you should expect much larger crowds at the airport. This increase in people means longer lines and foot traffic that can get in your way.

It’s easy for other people to keep you from getting to your flight on time during these busy times of years. As such, we recommend getting a travel protection plan if you’re flying during the holidays. That way you can get reimbursed in the event of a delay or a cancellation.

What Are the Best Transport Options?

Unless you plan on leaving your vehicle in an airport parking garage (an option that can get expensive very quickly) then you’ll need to figure out how to get to and from the airport.

You can rely on a friend or family member to drop you off, but keep in mind that this does have a drawback. For example, if your friend oversleeps or is late, then you can easily lose valuable check-in time.

We recommend going with a more reliable professional service that can pick you up. As long as you organize it in advance and choose the right company, then you should have no issues getting there on time.

If you’ve never scheduled an airport transportation service before, then make sure to ask these questions before choosing a company.

So, Exactly How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

Generally, we recommend arriving two hours early for a domestic flight, and three hours for an international one. While this might seem like a lot, it will give you plenty of time to check your bag in and get through security.

More importantly, it will give you some wiggle room for keeping your anxiety down in the event of an unexpected delay. Also, keep in mind that most airlines close their doors for good ten to twenty minutes before the flight takes off.

Arriving two to three hours early will allow you to board with your section on-time when your ticket group is called.

However, if you find that you get nervous about potentially missing your flight, then there’s nothing wrong with being prudent and arriving extra early. If you’re traveling with kids or a large group, then you may want to add an hour or so just to be safe.

Looking for a Ride to the Airport? Contact Absolute Taxi

We hope this article helped you answer the question, How early should I get to the airport? As you can see there is no easy, catch-all answer -- it relies on a variety of factors that you need to consider.

However, there are steps you can take to make the entire process easier. One thing you can do is secure transportation through a reliable service like Absolute Taxi.

We offer convenient service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, so it doesn’t matter how early your flight is. If you want to schedule a ride, or just check out the list of airports we can be found at, then contact us today!

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