How much time should you be at the airport before a flight?

Flying is a different experience for everyone. While some love it, others are overcome with a sense of dread. Keeping that in mind along with many other factors, the time you should arrive at the airport before a flight will vary greatly. Here are some things that you need to consider when you are deciding how many hours to give yourself before jetting off.

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The most important thing first to do is check your flights status before you leave home, which you can do conveniently online. Based on the information you get, you can then adjust your arrival time as need be. This is extremely important if there are weather warnings in effect. The rule of thumb goes that you should check in at least 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. But this most likely will vary depending on your circumstances and the amount of luggage you have in tow.

Airport Size

If the airport you are going to is a small local airport that does not fly internationally and only has one terminal, you probably don’t need to get there 2 hours before your flight. If though you are in New York’s JFK, London’s Heathrow, Chicago’s O’Hare or any other major international hub and have not been there before, 2 hours is the very least you should be getting to the airport for your domestic flight and at least 3 hours for an international flight.

Time of Year

Another thing to consider is the time of year and holiday seasons tad to be the busiest with many people travelling. During any busy season, the lines will be longer, traffic will be heavier and luggage takes longer to drop off. So it is better to get there with enough time to avoid any mishaps or confusions that may happen. Also, checking in online or on your mobile will save yourself from having to wait in any long lines meaning that you can get to the airport a little closer to your departure time.

Other Considerations

Your personal comfort is very important as well. If flying and airports are stressful to think about, ease the anxiety by getting there early and making sure you have ample time to get through everything like security checks and customs with time to spare. Others who are used to flying and know exactly where they need to go probably don’t need the full 2 or 3 recommended hours. Also keep in mind the larger the group, the more time you will need as the more people that travel together naturally increases the possibility that one or more members will be slower than the rest.

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