Do you know the answer?! It almost seems like it’s a question with no correct response. This airline says one thing, that airline says another. It’s no wonder no one seems to know when is a good time to arrive at the airport.
What time is the right time?
Turns out, whether you’re flying domestic or international, or have to check luggage or not, there are a few times you should remember:
- Domestic flight, no checked baggage: 60 minutes before the flight.
- Domestic flight, with checked baggage: 90 minutes before the flight.
- International flight: 2 hours before the flight.
There are other variables to consider
Now, keep in mind, you may run into extenuating circumstances you’ll need to consider for your pre-trip planning. If you are traveling on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, for example, I would strongly recommend you get to the airport earlier than you normally would. Same goes for many of the other holidays, which typically mean more travelers. Not too long ago there were, reportedly, mile long TSA lines at Midway Airport (and if you’ve ever flown from Midway, you’d understand how that’s possible).
Other variables that could add to the amount of time it takes to get to your gate may include traveling with a pet, or traveling with kids. On the other end of the spectrum, if you're a member of TSA Pre Check you may be able to get to the airport and your gate in 30 minutes or less.
Keeping in mind those extenuating circumstances I just listed, getting to the airport at the recommended times will get you to the gate, more times than not, in time to make your flight.
Personally, I’m a little unusual. I like getting to the airport a tad earlier than I may need to. I don’t like rushing, and I also like stopping to get coffee, water, or a snack before my flight. That's why I prefer getting to the airport about 90 minutes before any domestic flight and (at least) 2 hours before an international flight.
When do you like getting to the airport?
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