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How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

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7 min read

How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

Like arriving at a meeting, committing to your doctor’s appointment or going out for lunch with a close friend, when you arrive will depend on your time management skills. So, while some people ensure they arrive at their appointed destination 30 minutes before time, others just can’t help finding themselves late or “just in the nick of time.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to boarding a flight, many of us don’t have the luxury of having the entire flight wait on us simply because we’re running late. However, between arriving hours before your scheduled flight and getting there just before the aeroplane’s door closes, what’s a really good time to get to the airport? Keen on finding out? Well, keep reading for more.

How Early is “Early”?

Whether you’re boarding your flight at Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport in Italy, Berlin Brandenburg in Germany, or Orly Airport in France, most airlines will advise that all passengers arrive at an airport at least two to three hours before their flight. With domestic flights, it’s advisable to arrive two hours before your scheduled time. And with international flights, it’s advisable to arrive at least three hours before your scheduled time.

How Much Time Will I Need at the Airport?

Many of us take the time we spend at an airport for granted. And it’s pretty challenging to figure out how one can spend an entire two to three hours just checking in and passing security points. This is when it becomes increasingly important that you consider the different factors that determine how much time you spend at an airport. So, let’s get into what exactly you may be overlooking at an airport.

Is the Airport Regional or International?

This is a question you should always keep in mind and unfortunately, many of us tend to overlook it. It’s pretty simple- International airports are large and will therefore require more time since they’re often much busier. On the flip side, regional airports are usually smaller. This makes them less busy, meaning queues and services are a lot quicker.

Is the Flight Domestic or International?

In addition to busyness and traffic, international airports have a more extensive check-in process. This will include going through the process of needing to verify your passport, otherwise, you won’t receive a boarding pass with it.

Something else worth considering is that international flights typically have slightly longer boarding processes. This means having to wait between 15 to 30 minutes for passengers to fill the plane since international flights have larger plane sizes.

What Time of the Year is it?

Believe it or not, the season you’re travelling in does influence how much time you’ll be spending at the airport. People are less likely to travel during winter seasons, so wait times will be much lower. On the other hand, peak seasons are usually in the summer. This means airports are likely to be busier during those times.

What Time of the Day is it?

Like seasons, the time of day you choose to travel in will also influence how much time you’ll be spending at the airport. Take a moment to think of how flights are priced during the course of a day. You’ll find that the earliest and latest flights are usually the cheapest. This is because most travellers prefer flying during the day. Therefore, flights are more expensive and airports are busiest during the day.

Are You Traveling Alone or With Company?

We’re typically able to get things done faster when we’re doing them alone. So, when you’re going through an airport alone, the process tends to be much faster. Whereas when you’re travelling with others, processes can take a little longer. This is especially when small children are in the picture.

Do You Have Bags to Check?

When you don’t have bags to check, this saves you a lot of time at the airport. Here, you have immediate access to security screening the moment you arrive. If you do, however, have bags to check, some airports will offer you a self-check kiosk while others won’t.

With a self-check kiosk, this will allow you to drop your bag once you’re done with everything. But with airports that don’t offer you this option, you’ll need to wait in line with other travellers who are also waiting to have their bags checked. On a busy day, lines like these can be pretty lengthy and how much time you spend in the line will depend on how many agents are available at the time.

How early to the airport

In Conclusion

You want to keep all the points above in mind each time you’re preparing for your flight. And while you’re making time for what goes on inside the airport, also remember to keep factors like traffic and the weather in mind.