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Do you really need to arrive at the airport 3 hours early?

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For decades, conventional knowledge has advised you to arrive at the airport three hours before your international flight. But where did this travel advice come from? And does it still hold water? Let’s check.

What does TSA recommend?

The Transportation Security Administration does not, in fact, provide official recommendations on when to appear at the airport before international flights. According to their guidance, “Times may vary by airport and travel date, so it is advisable to contact the airline. Generally, parking / shuttle transportation, airline check-in, boarding pass. Allow time to go through the security screening process, including acquisition and carry-on baggage screening. “

We never endorse the “three-hour rule”, but TSA does Did it We recently issued a statement about the upcoming travel season, warning travelers to anticipate long waits this summer. They explain“Continuous recovery from low mobility during a pandemic may require more patience and planning than was required before the pandemic,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske. It is reportedly explaining the recruitment and staffing efforts of the company, and we believe that a shortage of staff is expected this summer.

Airline recommendations

4 major international airlines in the United States (American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air LinesWhen JetBlue) Everyone is advised to arrive at the airport 3 hours before the scheduled departure of the international flight. Curiously, in light of my research above, United Airlines cites TSA as its source of recommendation, keeping the mystery of who generated the advice in the first place.

How to know how early you will arrive at the airport

When it comes to expensive plane tickets, I’m sorry, but it certainly applies to being safe. If you arrive 3 hours before your flight, you will arrive at the gate on time. That said, do you really need it that long? Here are some factors to consider when deciding when to arrive:

Is there a TSA PreCheck? Skating through security saves you a lot of time more than anything else. The TSA advertises reducing waiting times for those who sign up for TSA PreCheck. The exact amount of time you can save will vary from trip to trip, but it will definitely result in shorter wait times than without it.site TSA waiting time You can get an estimate of the current waiting time at airports across the country.

Are you checking your bag? I experienced an example of waiting 30 minutes to check the luggage and an example of completing it in 5 minutes. It’s a real wildcard. The only way to completely avoid this wasted time is to never check the bag. Therefore, take into account the average wait time (for example, about 15 minutes depending on the overall TSA wait time estimate above) and add or subtract as follows: Your arrival time accordingly.

Do you park your car? Anyone who has to park their car at the airport and take the shuttle bus to get to the terminal knows that it can be a pain. (If you’re lucky, a friend will drop you off at your terminal, godspeed.)

Can I check in in advance? To Reduces the chance of hitting on a flightAnyway, you need to check in 24 hours in advance. Most airlines these days allow check-in at kiosks, but you may need to check in with your attendant, so budget for that time.

Have you been to this airport? It is not unreasonable to think that it will take some time to put the bearings in a new location. If it is not a virgin voyage to this particular airport, it is worth taking that into account.

How big is the airport? Not all airports are made the same.Denver International Airport is taking measures in a vast area 52.4 square milesRhode Island TF Green International Airport is just 1,100 acres.. If the gate isn’t too far away, you don’t have to worry too much about getting to the gate.

So teeth Does it take too long for 3 hours?

Given the factors outlined above, it may be reasonable to reduce the arrival time by as much as an hour. If you’re heading to a small and familiar airport and you’re not parking or checking your bags.Please consider your factors can not Control (mainly TSA standby time) and planning before and after. After all, it’s about weighing your schedule against your level of comfort with risk and anxiety. Yes, it may be okay if you don’t have the time, but hurrying comes with a certain burden.

My personal North Star is always This tweet from Midnight w with Seth MeyersWriter Mike Skollins advises: It’s the grade you get to go to the airport. Your airport trip may be a continuous streak of straight As.

Do you really need to arrive at the airport 3 hours early?

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