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Old 03-30-2018, 06:48 AM
Location: Orlando
2,012 posts, read 2,651,078 times
Reputation: 7696


You should check with the airline about how long before the flight you need to check your luggage in. There was a thread in this forum not too long ago about a person who tried to check their luggage in about an hour before an international flight. The airline refused to allow them to do so citing a policy that luggage must be checked at least 90 minutes before the flight. The airline switched the passenger to a later flight and charged them for the change of flight.

When I fly internationally, I start with the airline's requirements. If the airline says check in (not arrive at the airport) two hours before departure, I'm there usually two-and-a-half hours before departure. I always add on extra time to what the airline requires.
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Old 03-30-2018, 07:54 AM
5,271 posts, read 5,190,749 times
Reputation: 6270
Originally Posted by johninvegas View Post
I think it really depends on the airport, airline and the volume of traffic at the time of day you are leaving.

Yeah. I usually try to do 2.5 hours. Depending on the time of day, I might do 2 or 3.

Some airports are tiny. You're through everything in two seconds.
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:58 AM
Location: Denver CO
21,216 posts, read 11,838,248 times
Reputation: 32243
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
True....and I'm usually very well organized before a trip, especially international so I'm just nervous and waiting around at home anyway! I might as well just go to the airport and nervously/excitedly wait there than risk being late.

I used to want to carefully plan just when to leave to get to the airport at the "right" time so as to not "waste" time and it was pure silliness and stress over nothing.
Yes, this. I may as well sit around and wait at the airport, having checked my bags and cleared security rather than sit around and wait at home and possibly end up with a last minute scramble for some reason.

Depending on time, I'll have a meal and a drink and relax and kick off vacation mode.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:26 AM
2,693 posts, read 4,420,248 times
Reputation: 1946
Originally Posted by ericjustin2 View Post
I have flown internationally a few times already. I have arrived 3 hours before an international flight and whenever i did, it always felt like it was way too early when i had to wait a while. To those of you that fly internationally, how many hours before the flight is it still fine? I know you have to check in yourself and luggage at least 1 hour before your flight leaves. But do people have issues arriving say 2 hours before departure without any issue?

The thing is it all depends on the carrier that you are flying with and their lines right? Like if very few people are on line, well even 1.5 hours is good but of course that is not good idea. Because for those of you who travel internationally and fly with luggage, do most of you check in online or do you check in at the airport? Or do you check in with the kiosk at the airport? I only used the kiosk once i believe but that was because someone was there to help me etc. But the thing is if you have a checked bag, is it the same as if you are waiting in line or not? Because i recalled once when i checked in online at a kiosk at the airport, i might have had a checked bag and there was no line for me to wait at all. However, that was at a different airport though so it might been less busy.

But in general if you are flying internationally and with a checked bag, does it take same time waiting in line like most people as oppose to checking online with a kiosk? Because if you do it at a kiosk, do you still have to be on the same line or there is a different line? Because i think when i did this a while back at kiosk, i went into shorter line. So if thats the case, wouldn't that mean arriving even 2 hours before flight departure is good enough? But if you have no luggage and check in online, then that mean you don't even need to wait in line at all since you just have to go through TSA? Im flying internationally and have a checked bag and i want to know are there issues if you arrive there say 2 hours before the flight. Or say 2.5 hours. I ask this because my flight would be very early.
I try and get to the check-in line (since we have kids and always have baggage) 2 hours before the flight. There is no way that the line to check bags and then TSA is going to be an hour, let alone 2 hours, so that's fine.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:12 AM
Location: Houston, TX
1,279 posts, read 1,066,159 times
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I always arrive 3 hours before departure as well. I drive myself to the airport, park at The Parking Spot, take their shuttle, security line, etc etc....I like to allow myself time in case something comes up.

When I flew to Manila in September, I was about 2 miles from the airport before I realized I had forgotten an important medication. There was no way I could have gone 2 weeks without it, so I had to turn around and go back home to retrieve it (25 minute drive each way). Because I had given myself so much time, I wasn't stressed about it.

What if the car gets a flat on the way there? Unexpected construction. Jackknifed semi blocking all lanes of traffic? An OJ-style police chase where you have no choice but to trail behind the incident at 20mph? Check-in or TSA delays? Or if you just get a "brain fart" like I did and forget your meds, eyeglasses, passport at home? Just never know what may happen.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:07 PM
321 posts, read 207,322 times
Reputation: 487
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
It helps to be part of the TSA program "Global Entry". DW and I belong to that and it seems to speed things up. It costs a $100 to join. However, its a free benefit of owning a credit card that I possess. It will get you through the lines faster. I have included a link that explains how to join global entry in case you haven't already done so.


The thing is that I do not wish to miss any international flight. The consequences of doing so might be overwhelming in terms of lost time and money. So, even with membership in Global Entry, the point is, we still arrive at the airport about 3 hours before the flight is supposed to leave to avoid any last minute snafu. When we get through security lines in about thirty minutes instead of three hours, we usually go to the nearest Priority Pass lounge and wait. The lounges are another free benefit of having a particular credit card. A few airports (particularly in the USA) do not have a priority pass lounge and that is not an option. Most of the ones we use seem to have it though. I don't think anyone really likes to wait in airports. All I can say is the lounges allow us to have a drink, generally a snack, and read a book we have brought along in comparative peace and quiet.

I realize from your question you like to budget your time. I do too. However, you better make sure you factor everything into it. For example, there can be significant traffic jams on freeways driving to the airport. You can lose a substantial amount of time there.

Ultimately, you balance the value of an hour or two's worth of time against missing a flight completely. The balance clearly weighs in favor of getting to the airport early and having to sit around.
I also love my AMEX Platinum!
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:23 PM
5,477 posts, read 2,935,468 times
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Originally Posted by IonRedline08 View Post
This is exactly how I figure it.. I'd much rather have to kill 2 hours at the airport bar than to be sweating out the possibility of missing my flight.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:55 PM
Location: Saint John, IN
11,043 posts, read 4,009,173 times
Reputation: 13561
My DH flies internationally for work occasionally and he arrives 2.5 hrs early. He flies out of O'Hare and the TSA lines can be long sometimes. He doesn't want to risk missing the flight. If he has time after he'll go eat while he waits.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:21 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,688 posts, read 16,130,196 times
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Originally Posted by city living View Post
Yeah. I usually try to do 2.5 hours. Depending on the time of day, I might do 2 or 3.

Some airports are tiny. You're through everything in two seconds.
And some lack pretty basic services. The old pre-2005 VPS (small home airport) had no public toilets on the air side of security. I don't remember if there was a land side snack bar or not, but 'food' on the air side consisted of a couple of soda machines with perpetually broken cooling units (Warm Diet Coke! MMMM!) and a lone vending machine with a lone bag of Funyuns dangling sadly off the screw to taunt those who thought there might be something, anything, to eat there.

When they built the new VPS terminal complex, consensus was that losing the semi-secret free parking area behind the baggage claim was well worth the tradeoff of being able to pee in a proper public restroom without having to re-clear security afterwards. And there is even a Quiznos airside too! And a Hudson News!
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:28 PM
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,110 posts, read 3,475,109 times
Reputation: 10192
Check with your airline. In addition to their rules for arrival, there are some airports which they list that require earlier arrival time.

We fly back and forth between FL and Central Mexico (GDL) every 2 or 3 months. We often have tight connections with limited flights. I do not want to miss a flight in either direction.

I allow for traffic (google drive), flat tires, etc.

Used to drive my DH nuts until we had a few close calls (accident just in front of us; car battery dead another time)....now he appreciates it.
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