(Closed) Arriving before a flight?

posted 6 years ago in Travel
  • poll: How many hours in advance do you arrive?
    >1 hour : (3 votes)
    5 %
    1-2 hours : (39 votes)
    63 %
    2-3 hours : (18 votes)
    29 %
    3+ hours : (2 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 3
    5479 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    Is it a domestic or international flight?


    Post # 4
    7904 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

    Depends on if it’s a domestic or international flight and how busy your airport is. I wouldn’t arrive less than 1 hour early no matter what, personally. 

    Post # 5
    3969 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    If it’s a major airport, 1.5 hours. 3 if it’s international. Regional airport, I do 1 hour (regional, meaning there are 1-2 gates).

    Post # 6
    1459 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    @out4answers:  I would say it depends on wheter it’s domestic or international and whether you’re checking a bag. If I am flying domestic w/o a bag I usually try to come an hour early. If international with a bag I would probably aim for 2-2.5 hours early. Though, I always estimate on the low side. My husband likes to be earlier, but I hate waiting around the airport. 

    Post # 7
    3625 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    It depends on your airport. Our local one is domestic only so the security line is always super short and the TSA agents are really efficient and nice. For this airport, we usually get there about an hour early.

    However, for the larger international airports, we try to do at least 2 hours in advance, especially at the ones with very long security lines and a lot of foreign travelers (that often are not as familiar with our rigorous screening procedures so they need to deal with their liquids, jackets, etc.).

    Printing your boarding pass early helps if you are doing carryon only. But if you need to check in your luggage, then you still have to use the kiosk or talk to a human being, so it’s not really much of a time saver. It will save time if you are organized though – get your ID, ticket number/code, etc. ready.

    If you are in a foreign country, I would probably aim closer to 3 or so because some foreign airports are just not that organized. I’ve waited up to 45 minutes to check in luggage and then another 45 minutes in security at some overseas airports. We didn’t plan on this and my friends and I were literally running from security to the gate in panic.

    Post # 8
    7904 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

    Also, if you are checking baggage, you should just wait to use a kiosk to print your boarding pass because you’ll have to wait in that line anyway. If your flight requires an online checkin to choose seats 24 hrs before, I’d definitely dothat though. 

    Post # 9
    16213 posts
    Honey Beekeeper

    In addition to whether it’s domestic or international, the time of your flight is a factor. Our flight to Maui the morning after our wedding was really early, so the airport was pretty deserted. I’d imagine you’d want to give yourself a bit of extra time at a more peak hour.

    Post # 10
    2638 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2006

    If I have to park, I arrive at the airport about 1h15m before because of the walk to/through the terminal. I also give myself a little over an hour if I have to check a bag. If I’m being dropped off and already have my boarding pass and only a carry-on, usually about 50 minutes. I hate waiting around. I’d rather hustle through and minimize travel time!

    ETA: “My” airport is a major international airport.

    ETA again: When I fly internationally, I find that the time is tacked on to arriving in the foreign country and reentering the U.S. I don’t find that it takes any more time for ticketing/check-in/security. I travel quite a bit for work, internationally and domestically.

    Post # 11
    989 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    My general rule of thumb:

    Domestic w/o bag: 1 hour

    Domestic w/bag: 1.5 hours

    International: 2-2.5 hours, depending on time of day (if it’s an early-morning flight and I’m flying out of my home airport, I can even do 1.5 hours)

    Post # 12
    1769 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    Most airlines have a guide on their website. For domestic at a medium-business airport (like STL) I usually get there 90 minutes in advance. For international, I add on a half hour. For a really busy airport (ATL, ORD, LAX) or one that I don’t know well, I’ll start at 2 hours.

    ETA: I don’t travel for work, only pleasure so I’m probably more cautious than the average business traveler. Plus I love airports (I used to work in one), so I enjoy just sitting and watching the hubub.

    Post # 13
    9917 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to things with which you’re unfamiliar.  I would arrive about two hours ahead of time.  This gives you plenty of time to check your bags, find your gate, use the bathroom, eat something, get reading material and gum for the flight, and not have to rush at all.  It also allows time for problems!  

    However, if you are flying from a small airport, I would say about an hour is all you need.  

    Post # 14
    2214 posts
    Buzzing bee

    It depends on a lot of things. Domestic flights from small airports or super early in the morning, only an hour early. Domestic flights from big airports, 1.5 hours. International flights, 2 hours.

    Post # 15
    4439 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

    Also depends on if it’s a Domestic or International AIRPORT.  We’re flying out of Grand Rapids International (I see you’re from Michigan too!) and their website says to arrive 3 hours before but I think that’s a little much.  We’re shooting for 2 hours before… Hello 3 am!

    Post # 16
    9539 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    Depends on what airport it is, domestic/international, if you are checking anything, and if you are parking.  At my current airport, it’s pretty small but I’d probably park…so if it was domestic I’d get there 1 hour (no bag)-1.5 hrs (bag) early.  At a real large airport I’d probably do 1.5 hr for domestic flights.  I used to live by this little airport in FL, and I would only arrive 40 min prior to my flights (no bags)-so right before they started boarding!

    Time of day is important too…I generally think security lines are WORSE at 6 am-ish then any other time of day.

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