There are a few different types of travelers. There are those who are at the airport 4 hours before take-off, checked through baggage and waiting patiently with a coffee for the gate to open.
Then there are those who try to arrive 3 hours early, but end up forgetting something and having to go back home.
And of course, we can’t forget the hardened career flyers who turn up one hour before, breeze through customs and jump straight on the plane.
But how early should you arrive for a flight? Does it matter if it’s domestic or international?
And what’s the best way to travel to the airport?
The Golden Rule
For a while now, the golden rule has been 2-3 hours before a flight. This should allow you ample time to check-in your baggage, get through customs and arrive at your gate with time to spare. But surely, it’s not just one rule for every type of flight?
Domestic or International
If you fly regularly, you will know that domestic flights often have an easier boarding process. There’s really no need to arrive three hours early. If you are there 90 minutes before your flight, you will be absolutely fine.
International flights work a bit differently. There are often more passengers, more luggage, and different customs checks, so you will need more time.
Baggage or No Baggage
This is a big one these days. Most business travelers will do with just a carry-on hand luggage, and if that is the case then you can knock another 20-30 minutes off your arrival time. Checking-in luggage can be inconsistent, sometimes you will breeze right through, and other times you could be at the back of a very long line.
It’s also worth remembering that different airlines have different baggage cut-off times. For example, if you are traveling to New York with American Airlines, your baggage must be checked in 45 minutes before departure.
You should always research the airport you are traveling from. Read forums and get an idea of how long customs takes and how busy the airport is. It’s also worth finding out about the airport’s technology – do they have online check-in machines? Can you jump the lines by signing up to a frequent flyer programmed? Do your research, and it will save you time in the long run.
How to Get to The Airport
At Stride Limo, we specialize in airport transfers. You could leave it up to chance and hope the traffic isn’t too bad, or you could leave it in the hands of professionals who get it right every time. At our headquarters, next to LaGuardia Airport, we have a special GPS tracking system that gives our drivers real-time updates about traffic, weather conditions and flight details.
There’s no straight answer to the question. It all depends on the nature of your travel and of you as a person. The golden rule of two to three hours is still a safe one, and you could always use the time to catch up on some work or browse the Duty-Free shopping.
Book onto our New York Airport Shuttle service and enjoy a safe, professional and luxurious experience.