How Early Do You Recommend Someone Arrive For Their Flight?

How early do you recommend someone arrive for their flight? It is generally recommended that customers arrive at the airport at least one hour prior to departure. But that time may vary depending on the time of year, the airport you're traveling from, and your personal needs.

People search for the magic number of actually how early do they need to arrive at an airport before their flight. Many concerns and issues exist today in our state of heightened security. However, spending half of your vacation day sitting around in an airport terminal is extremely unappealing. Newspaper and handheld video games only last for so long. "At Southwest Airlines, we generally recommend that Customers arrive at the airport at least one hour prior to departure. But that time may vary depending on the time of year, the airport you're traveling from, and your personal needs. If you're traveling with children or require wheelchair assistance, for example, you'll want to allow yourself a little extra time," said Paul Berg of Southwest Airlines.


Most U.S. airlines print recommended times on your tickets. Standard answers are for one hour before a domestic flight and two hours for an international flight. Use that number as a guideline since you know how well you travel better than the airlines knows. Many airlines now suggest arriving two hours before a domestic flight and three before an international trip, especially if the threat advisory level is at yellow or higher. Several factors are modifiers for that suggested period. If you are returning a rental car or parking in a long-term offsite parking lot, extra time may be needed to deal with any problems that may occur.




Another result of tightened security measures is that airports no longer offer the option of checking in for your flight from curbside. All other offsite airport check-ins are no longer available either. This means that you will have to use the check-in counters to check luggage. And that means longer lines.

If you are traveling with items such as a baby stroller or wheelchair, extra time should be given to check these items. That also means you may need extra time to get through security to the gate and qualify for early boarding. Passengers with small children or those with injuries or handicaps can get on the plane first once boarding has begun.

Holiday travel is an experience all on its own. Overall passenger air travel has risen, but during peak holiday times is the worse. Give yourself plenty of extra time as it will take longer to get to the gate. If people bring wrapped packages in their carry-on luggage, security has to open each one. People will forget about metal items that they toss in their jacket pockets, also slowing down security checkpoints. Gifts fill extra pieces of luggage making for long, slow lines at check-in terminals.

"Ultimately, you want arrive at the airport with enough time to park your car, check your luggage, negotiate the security checkpoint, and arrive at your departure gate at least 30 minutes prior to take off because boarding usually starts around that time. If you are unsure how much time you'll need, visit your airline or airport website for the most current information on airport arrival times," says Paula Berg.

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