How Early Do You Really Need To Get To The Airport Before A Flight?

While most people love to go on vacation, dealing with the airport is a whole other story, and one of the biggest issues facing travelers is how early they should get to the airport before a flight. Airports and the TSA recommended travelers arrive three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight, but is all that time really necessary?

The truth is, it really does depend on a variety of things. Believe it or not, some airlines don’t actually think that much time is needed. American Airlines suggests folks arrive two hours before an international flight, and 90 minutes before a domestic one, while United says that if you’re not checking luggage you could probably arrive about 60 minutes prior to your domestic departure and 90 minutes for international.

Of course before making a decision, you need to look at where the recommendations are coming from. For example, airports may want you there early so you can use the extra time to shop in their stores or grab a meal, while TSA wants you there so they don’t feel rushed. On the flipside, airlines would rather you’re there later so you’re not hovering at the gate for hours.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to miss a flight, so the decision is yours. If you’re not a seasoned traveler or you’re someone who is a nervous nelly and would rather not risk it, the standard recommendations apply. Seriously, what’s the worst thing that can happen, you’re stuck in the airport for a few hours? Should you miss your flight you’d be there a lot longer.

 Source: USA Today

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