To Top

How Early Should I Get to the Airport? Essential Check-In and Travel Tips

When it comes to air travel, timing is everything. From the moment you arrive at the airport to the minute you step onto the plane, every minute counts. To make sure you’re not rushing or missing your flight, it’s crucial to understand the ins and outs of airport timing. So, how early should I get to the airport?

Let’s break it down.

How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

how early should i get to the airport

Freepik | primagefactory  | Your arrival time depends on whether your flight is domestic or international.

The big question on every traveler’s mind is, how early should i get to the airport? The answer depends on whether you’re flying domestically or internationally.

1. Domestic Flights

If you’re flying within the country, it’s recommended to arrive at least 90 minutes to two hours before your scheduled departure. While some airlines allow a minimum of 45 minutes, it’s safer to give yourself more time to check in, navigate security, and reach your gate comfortably.

2. International Flights

For international travel, plan to arrive at the airport three to four hours before your flight. Passport checks, visa applications, and customs inspections can add extra time to your journey, so it’s best to arrive early to avoid any last-minute stress.

When Can You Check In for Your Flight?

Early check-in is a traveler’s best friend, providing peace of mind and ample time to navigate through the airport. But how early can you actually check in?

1. Online Check-in

If you opt for online check-in or use your airline’s app, you can secure your boarding pass a full 24 hours before your flight. This allows you to breeze through the airport, needing only to drop off your luggage, clear security, and head to your departure gate upon arrival.

2. Kiosk Check-in

For those who prefer the traditional approach, airline kiosks typically open three hours before departure. This option provides flexibility for travelers who may not have access to online check-in or prefer a more hands-on approach.

Baggage Check


how early should i get to the airport

Freepik |wavebreakmedia_micro | Confirm baggage check-in times with your airline; early check-in depends on staff and isn’t guaranteed.

The ability to check your bags early can streamline your airport experience. While specific times may vary by airline and airport, be sure to confirm with your airline for their specific guidelines.

1. Domestic Flights

In the US, Canada, and Mexico, you can typically check your bags two to six hours before your flight. However, specific times may vary, so it’s best to check with your airline for their guidelines.

2. International Flights

If you’re flying internationally, expect to check your bags two to four hours before departure. Some premium airlines even offer the option to drop off luggage 24 hours in advance, providing added convenience for travelers.

Boarding Procedures

how early should i get to the airport

Freepik | wavebreakmedia_micro |  Boarding starts 30-60 minutes before departure for all flights, domestic and international.

Understanding when boarding begins and ends can alleviate stress and ensure you don’t miss your flight.

  • Boarding Start Time – Boarding typically commences 30 minutes to one hour before the scheduled departure. Priority is often given to first-class and business passengers, followed by other groups.
  • Boarding End Time – Gate closures occur approximately 15 minutes before departure. Once the doors close, passengers are unable to board, and seats may be assigned to standby travelers.

Don’t Miss Your Flight

As you prepare for your trip, keep in mind that departure gates close 15 minutes before scheduled departure. Once the doors close, no additional passengers are allowed on board, and seats may be given to standby travelers. To avoid missing your flight, make sure you’re at the gate well before the boarding deadline.

By understanding how early should i get to the airport, when to check in, and when boarding begins, you can navigate your travel day with ease. Combine this knowledge with our tips for preventing flight delays, and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free journey.

More inAdvice

You must be logged in to post a comment Login