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Old 09-23-2010, 10:30 AM   #21
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if it's a star alliance airport, i arrive 30-45 mins before a domestic flight. i get taken care of right away, i go to the front of the security line and i usually arrive just in time to learn i have been bumped to the front of the plane. since traveling with DW usually requires checking a bag or two, i try to arrive 60-75 mins before dep.

outbound from the US, I aim to arrive about 90 mins before dep. inbound...depends on the country. in angola, we leave the staff house 5-6 hours before departure. france, i would have no worries showing up 1.5 hours before departure (also depends on the airline i am flying, my status with that airline and which cabin my caboose is parking in).

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Old 09-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #22
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I prefer to avoid being rushed or missing the plane, so I allow plenty of time. I travel enough that it makes financial and common sense to have a membership in an airline lounge club. This means I never have to buy food in an airport, and I can rest, relax, watch TV or get work done prior to my flight. I can also access international lounges. A few months ago I flew from Germany to London Heathrow only to discover that my transatlantic Air Canada flight was delayed for 5 hours due to weather. LHR is not a fun place to waste 5 hours. Luckily my Maple Leaf card comes with access to the SAS lounge, where I spent an enjoyable time. It made the journey okay instead of a royal PITA.

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:03 AM   #23
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I hate being rushed and late, so usually I am early. This is not too bad as I like browsing through the book stores. But recently I had to go from Philly to Germany and drop my car quite early to avoid paying an extra day.
What I did not know was that check in + security would only be open 90 min before departure. And there were no shops, no restaurants and not enough chairs in the waiting area...
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:51 AM   #24
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Many international destinations have restrictions on when you can check in. Many places I have flown will not allow you to check in or board if you arrive less than 1 hours or 45 minutes before the flight departs.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:02 PM   #25
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When I am in Southeast Asia, I fly almost exclusively on two budget airlines: Air Asia and Cebu Pacific. They both have strict check-in deadlines. Their check-in counters close 45 minutes prior to flight departure, even for domestic flights. If you miss this deadline, you will usually miss your flight.

I have to admit that now that I have a Kindle 3 for reading, I have less fear of a too early arrival!

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Old 09-24-2010, 03:08 PM   #26
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I don't travel much and am a nervous Nellie. I get to the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. Am usually there even earlier as I worry about traffic. I figure I can get a bite to eat, read, shop and pass the time at leisure if I am parked and through security and have my gate staked out.
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Old 10-03-2010, 04:37 PM   #27
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You MUST check in at least 60 minutes before departure for an international flight. Otherwise you will be turned away. They have to do the no fly list thing. Otherwise you must check in 30 minutes before departure or you "may" be turned away. In reality, unless they are oversold and need your seat you will most likely be fine. BTDT

I fly A LOT... and sitting around airports more than necessary is not my idea of fun. I normally fly out of a medium size airport and arrive no more than 60 minutes beforehand if flying domestic and 90 minutes beforehand flying international. I never check luggage (even if going on a month long trip) and can be at the gate within 15 minutes of parking in almost all cases. It helps that I have elite status and get thru security a bit quicker than usual but still think that I could get thru in less than 30 minutes in almost all instances at my local airport. Other airports such as MIA I would allow an hour or more.

When returning, ask at the departure airport how early you should be there. Ask several people and average it out, LOL. Some places will take much longer than others.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:15 PM   #28
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Here in the frozen north there is one rule "the smaller the airport, the more BS you have at security".

Example: Leaving Whitehorse, UT I dump my pockets into the the basket for the scanner. It contains a Bic lighter. When I pick up my stuff, the "gentleman" behind the desk informs me that all "liquids" must be in a plastic bag. He insists I take one, put the Bic lighter in it and walk through again. I comply, take the lighter out of the plastic bag and head for my plane. In the meantime, all people behind me wait. [sarcasm on/]Fortunately, they all found me and told me how much safer they felt after "security" flagged me.[sarcasm off/]

I often visit a city about 350 miles away. I drive because I can get there in about 5 hours (or less) if I bend the speed limit a bit. To fly I need to:
  • leave for airport 2.5 hours before flight
  • flight 1.25 hour
  • get bags, rent car, other BS, 1 hour
  • drive from airport to city .5 hours
Total = 5.25 hours. Cheaper to drive, and driving, I don't hate the world when I get there.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:03 PM   #29
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If you don't travel often, follow the recommendations. It is a minor inconvenience compared to the stress you'll go through if there is a long line at any of the counters/checkpoints.

Carry a book. Airports are also great people watching venues. I love the rocking chairs in Charlotte NC.

I used to travel a lot on work and always cut it to the minute. I also had priority cards that got me through lines very quickly. Now, that I dont' have any perks, I take my time and try not to get annoyed or stressed.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:59 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
Here in the frozen north there is one rule "the smaller the airport, the more BS you have at security".
I fly to some small airports where the TSA screeners aren't going all the time--they open their single little line at apparently random time before the next flight. So, there they sit--all in their places and getting paid, staring at the poor saps lined up waiting to get through screening and wishing they could sit.

"Nope--you'll all wait while behind the rope."

"Why, yes, we are getting paid right now. You know, I think your bag is going to need some special attention. Step over here."

And the sheer number of those blue shirted folks! Chatting with their friends, griping, loitering around the terminal, fully 25% are actually screening passengers at any one time.

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