The last thing anyone wants is to begin a vacation or an important business trip by missing their flight. Not only does missing a flight impact the rest of your travel schedule and add extra charges, but it may also put you and your travel companions in a bad mood.

So, just how early should you get to the airport?

First, always check your flight status to make sure your flight is on time. Today, most airlines have apps to keep you in the know about potential delays, your boarding time, and your flight’s gate number.

According to the airlines, the rule of thumb for airport arrival is about two hours before your flight departs. This should give you plenty of time to move through luggage check-in and security, and you’ll probably even have time to grab a bite to eat or pick up a magazine before takeoff.

Boarding typically starts 45 minutes ahead of takeoff, and closes about 15 minutes before takeoff, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you have until the exact scheduled takeoff time to make it to the gate!

For most airports, you must be checked in at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Additionally, you’re required to be at the gate and ready to board 15 minutes before scheduled departure.

Following this schedule will ensure you’re comfortably waiting and ready to board when your flight is called.

Keep in mind that the busiest airports may need more time to go through security and board, whereas smaller terminals may require as little as 60 minutes.

If you are taking an international flight, you should make sure you arrive at least three hours early.

How About If I’m Traveling with Kids or During Peak Travel Times?

It’s best to save an additional hour (arrive up to three hours before domestic flights and up to four hours before international flights) when you’re traveling with the extra stress, luggage, and unforeseen delays that come with family travel. Plus, you should make sure you’re at the gate on time for your priority boarding with small children!

Traveling during the peak travel times (Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Years, Spring Break, etc.) can easily add an additional hour at security. During the holidays, it’s best to be extra-cautious and arrive up to three hours before domestic flights and up to four hours before international flights.

Definitely make sure to save additional time during the holidays if you:
• Don’t travel frequently
• Feel stressed about travel, and want extra time to help ease your worries
• Need extra time boarding or help to get to the gate (ex. traveling with kids, require a wheelchair, or unaccompanied minor)

Get to the Airport Quicker Using a Chauffeured-Driven Car Service

One easy and smart way to cut down on travel time to and from the airport is to schedule a licensed chauffeured sedan or limo pickup. We have an excellent record of arriving at a traveler’s home promptly to guarantee that our clients reach the airport well ahead of time. You’ll also have the ease and convenience of not having to worry about driving, traffic, or parking. Your professional driver does all of this for you, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

If you or your business needs airport car service or worldwide reservation assistance, please call us at 703.662.7273 or Toll Free at 800.376.7034.