Do you really need to get to the airport three hours early?

Do you really need to get to the airport three hours early?

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For decades, conventional wisdom has advised you to arrive at the airport three hours before an international flight. But does this travel advice come from? And does it still hold water? Let’s find out.

What does the TSA suggest?

The Transportation Security Service does not actually offer a formal recommendation as to when you should arrive at the airport before an international flight. According to their guidance, “it is recommended that you contact your airline as times may vary depending on the airport and the date of travel. “Generally, allow time for bus parking / transfer, airline check-in, boarding pass and security clearance, which includes checking your hand luggage.”

Although it never got to the point of approving the “three hour rule”, the TSA He made recently posted a statement about the upcoming travel season, warning travelers to look forward to great waiting times this summer. They explain“Continued recovery from low travel volumes during the pandemic may require more patience and planning than was necessary before the pandemic.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske refers to the service’s recruitment and staffing efforts, leading one to believe that they expect staff shortages this summer, which will not help this security line move faster.

The establishment of the airline

The four largest international airlines in the United States (American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlinesand JetBlue) all recommend arriving at the airport three hours before your scheduled international departure. Surprisingly, given my research above, United Airlines cites the TSA as the source for its recommendation, keeping the mystery of who created the tips first.

How to know how early to get to the airport

Better safe than sorry is definitely the case when it comes to expensive airline tickets and arriving three hours before your flight will definitely get you to the gate on time. That said, do you really need that much time? Here are some factors to consider when arriving:

Do you have a TSA PreCheck? Skating through safety will save you more time than anything else. TSA advertises shorter waiting times for TSA PreCheck subscribers, and while the exact time you save will vary from trip to trip, you will undoubtedly expect less time than without it. Website TSA waiting times can give you a rough estimate of current waiting times at airports across the country.

Are you checking a bag? I have experienced cases where I waited half an hour to check my luggage and I have experienced cases where this was done in five minutes. It’s a real wild card. The only way to completely avoid this mess is to not check a bag at all, so consider the average standby time (say 15 minutes, more or less, depending on the overall TSA standby estimates described above) and add or subtract him at your time of arrival depending.

Do you park a car? Anyone who has parked their car at the airport and had to board a bus to get to the terminal knows it can be difficult. (If you’re lucky enough to have a friend willing to drop you off directly at your terminal, godspeed.)

Can you check in earlier? To reduce the chances of being hit by your flight, you should check in 24 hours earlier anyway. While most airlines allow you to check in at a kiosk these days, there are times when you may need to check in with a flight attendant, so be sure to budget this time if you do.

Have you been to this airport before? It is not unreasonable to assume that it will take you a while to bring your orientation to a new place. If it’s not your maiden voyage to the airport, it’s worth considering.

How big is the airport? Not all airports are created equal. Denver International Airport is large 52.4 square mileswhile Rhode Island TF Green International Airport is a simple one 1,100 acres. You just do not need to count so much time to get to your gate when your gate can not be that far.

So is three hours too much time?

Given the factors described above, it may make sense to shave up to an hour after your arrival. if you are heading to a smaller, intimate airport and do not park or check a bag. Be careful with your agents slope check – TSA waiting times, mostly – and plan around it. Ultimately, it is about balancing your schedule with your level of comfort with risk and stress. Yes, it is possible to get well at the airport in less time, but the rush has its weights.

My personal north star has always been this tweet from Late Night with Seth Meyers wRiter Mike Scollins, who advises: “Start with a score of 100. Subtract 1 point for every minute you are at the gate before boarding. That’s the grade you get for going to the airport. ” I wish your travels at the airport be a continuous straight line As.

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