One question we hear often is, “How early should we get to the airport?” Well, there are multiple factors that can help you answer that. Follow our guidelines as a general rule of thumb the next time you’re traveling!

Domestic Flights

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends those traveling domestically to get to the airport approximately two hours before your flight. This is to allow some extra time for parking, shuttle transport, check-in, and making your way through security. If you’ve already checked in online, you may find it necessary to shave off an extra half hour. Alternatively, if you decide to partake in the TSA PreCheck program, you could easily save yourself an hour. Just be sure that your airport participates in this option.

Another pro tip to keep in mind is the time of your flight. For example, airports are typically less crowded before 9 AM –especially if it’s not a busy air hub. Lastly, if you’re traveling to a major hub like Atlanta or JFK, you may want to add on an extra 30 minutes to your arrival plans –specifically those days leading up to holidays.

International Flights

For any international flights, you should plan to arrive at the airport three hours before your departure. This is especially important for return trips to the U.S. Pre-screening and agricultural checks can be lengthy and often require double security checkpoints and long lines. Customs and security are also very thorough, so it’s never guaranteed you’ll move to the front of the line, should you be in a situation where you’re cutting it close. Remember, the likeliness of pre-checking online for international flights is slim. Be sure to plan accordingly!

Peak Hours and Busy Hubs

Besides the type of flight you’re taking, you should also consider planning your arrival time based on peak hours and airport location. If you’re flying during the peak hours of         9 AM and 6 PM at a busy hub, or on the weekend, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. We also recommend following the TSA-preferred timetables over airline suggestions.  It’s in TSA’s best interest to make sure the airport is staying on schedule.

Busy hubs can also add time to your airport experience. Some of the world’s most notable hubs include New York, Atlanta, Chicago, LA, Dallas, Paris, Dublin, Bahamas, Athens, and more. This means you’ll have long lines, extra security, and customs to consider. Be sure you’re arriving especially early to hubs like these. We promise –hanging at the terminal for a bit longer than usual will be a smaller price to pay than a missed flight!

For more information on airport arrival times, TSA PreCheck, or airport best practices, feel free to contact us today at


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