How to catch that flight worry and hurry free?

 Tuesday, August 16, 2022 


Whether you are an early bird or a procrastinator, even seasoned travellers have had their fair share of scurrying to catch flights or arriving too early and then getting stuck for hours in terminals. There are numerous factors to take into account when flying; be it domestically or internationally. So how far in advance should you arrive at the airport to hit the timing sweet spot?

There is no such thing as arriving at the airport too early in an era of protracted security queues, holdups, and cancellations. The boarding gate typically closes 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and boarding usually starts 45 minutes before takeoff.

Airports are busier on some days and at particular times, which affects how early you need to arrive in addition to external considerations like tailback en route to the airport. Although airports and airlines make an effort to recruit additional staff during these busy periods, there is a limit to how much traffic they can manage at once. Remember that these are only guidelines and that they could change from one airport and one city to another. It is best to be aware of the circumstances in your area.

What the airlines suggest
While each airline has its own check-in policies, several core routines remain constant. For instance, Emirates, Qatar Airways travel assistance suggests arriving at the airport at least three hours before takeoff to allow for any additional health and safety screening. In Vistara domestic flights, check-in desks open 2.5 hours before departure and close 45 minutes prior to the scheduled time. For international flights, check-in counters open three hours before and close an hour before the departure time specified. Singapore Airlines too, suggest arriving at the airport three hours early, especially with baggage to check in. Pacific Airlines, Japan Airways, Qantas and Virgin Australia however, indicate that checking in at least 2 hours before the departure time is acceptable.

As a rule of thumb thus, it can be concluded that it is best to be at the airport at least 3 hours prior to the official time of departure when flying internationally. You might be allowed to avoid the check-in line and show up at the airport a tad later if you don’t have to check any bags. For this, you must check in online and download or print your boarding card in advance of showing up at security. For domestic flights, 2 hours should be sufficient.

Travelling during peak seasons
Peak travel periods can easily result in an additional hour spent at security. So to be extra safe, it is recommended to arrive up to three hours before domestic flights and up to four hours before international flights during the holiday season. If you are travelling with kids, require a wheelchair or need assistance getting to the gate and extra time boarding, it is advisable to pack in some further additional hours. It is prudent to always assume the worst-case scenario and schedule time appropriately, keeping in mind how thousands of passengers arrive and depart from the airport every day.

Google Maps is one of the most vital tool for any savvy traveller. You may use it to not only locate the best route and public transit alternatives, but also to link to ride-sharing services so you can get to the airport promptly. To plan your route and means of transportation to the airport, use the “Arrive by” filter. Google Maps will adjust the departure time based on the flow of traffic at the moment. Even better, especially during the busiest travel seasons when the likelihood of unforeseen occurrences is at its pinnacle, you may set an alarm to notify you when it’s time to leave the house.

Happy journey !

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