How Early Should You Get to the Airport?
So you have your plane ticket purchased, your bags packed, and your sights set on a long trip away from home. All you have to do is get through the airport! Wondering how early you should arrive at the airport? Read on to find out!
You don’t have to get to airport too far in advance for domestic trips. As a general rule of thumb, plan to arrive two hours in advance for a stress-free experience and easy check in process. All you will need to do is get your ticket, check your bags, and go through security.
You can cut down your time a little bit if you check in and print your ticket at home, and save even more time if you don’t plan to check bags. If you do these time-saving strategies, you can arrive about 90 minutes in advance. Furthermore, you may not need the full two hours if you are flying out of a small or medium sized airport during off peak hours, such as very early in the morning, or late at night.
However, weekends and holidays sometimes require more time to check in. If you’re traveling during a busy time of year, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, you should give yourself more time. To be safe, arrive at least 2 and half hours in advance. Also, if you are flying out of a large, busy airport with vast parking lots and many gates, like the Atlanta airport or JFK, then you should budget a bit more time.
If you are flying internationally, always add an hour to the time you will spend at the airport. Each airline has a specific time after which international travelers are no longer allowed to check in or to check baggage for a flight, so a good rule of thumb is to arrive at the airport three hours in advance for international flights. Similar to domestic flights, you can shave off time or add in a little more based on your individual situation.
Follow this guide, and you’ll be sure to have a stress-free and easy flying experience. Happy travels!
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