During most times of the year, I get to the airport at the last possible minute. At home, I prefer to arrive around 45 minutes prior to departure. It gives me the five to ten minutes I need to get through security, with an extra few minutes to grab something to eat to go. At unfamiliar airports, I typically go for the recommended hour. At huge unfamiliar airports or for international flights, I’ll sometimes go as high as an hour and a half. But the holidays are something else. An abundance of vacationers + infrequent flyers means long lines to check in and go through security. An airport that normally takes five minutes to go through security can take upwards of 30. Larger airports can take even longer!
I was reminded of this again when a certain family member (who shall remain nameless) was catching a flight to DC last week. He assumed he could get to the airport 45 minutes ahead of his flight, and make it. Normally this would be plenty of time, but this time of year, it’s just not. Security took so long that not only was he not through by departure time, but several other people on his flight weren’t through either. He said they tried to hold the plane a few minutes, but he (and several other people) ended up missing it anyway. Dangit!
The moral of the story, friends, is that even though killing time at the airport is not fun, missing your flight is even less fun. So suck it up and head to the airport earlier than you would normally.
Readers, how early do you normally try to arrive? How much earlier do you arrive during the holidays?