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How Long Before A Flight Should I Get To The Airport?

Worried about how early you need to get to the airport?

We know that figuring out when to leave for the airport can be stressful.

That's why we've created this guide on how early you need to get to the airport for domestic and international flights. a woman standing in an airport looking up at the flight times

That way, you'll be able to relax and enjoy your journey without worrying about being late.

Make sure you're prepared for your flight by following our guide on how early you should arrive at the airport.

It includes all the information you need so that you can make the most of your time at the airport - you won't regret it!

How Early To Get To Airport UK

Domestic Flights:

If you're flying domestically within the UK, you should aim to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

This will give you plenty of time to check in, drop off your baggage, and go through security.

If you're traveling with hand luggage only, you can usually get away with arriving 1-1.5 hours before your flight. However, we recommend giving yourself some extra time in case there are any delays or unexpected changes at the airport.

Related: Tips on Flying With a Baby Or Toddler

International Flights:

For international flights, you should arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

This will give you enough time to check in, drop off your baggage, go through security, and get to your gate.

If you're traveling with hand luggage only, you can usually get away with arriving 2-2.5 hours before your flight.

Again, we recommend giving yourself some extra time in case there are any delays or unexpected changes at the airport, especially in connection with international flights/airlines.

Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines. If you're traveling during a busy period or to a destination that requires a longer check-in process (such as Israel), you should arrive even earlier. It's ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry!

Travelling Internationally Post-Covid

After experiencing multiple lockdowns and restrictions on travel due to Covid-19, many of us are feeling the itch to get out and explore the world again. And with vaccines being rolled out across the globe, it seems that international travel is finally, once again, on the horizon.

But what does this mean for flying? Are there any new rules or guidelines that we need to be aware of?

The answer is yes - although the further out we get from under the global pandemic, the less rules are being enforced and precautions taken, however, there are still some new things to keep in mind when travelling internationally post-Covid.

Always check with your particular destination/airline as to what is required of you to ensure a smooth journey, but in general, these are worth keeping in mind:

  • You may be required to present a negative PCR test prior to boarding your flight. This is usually done within 72 hours of departure, so make sure you leave enough time to get tested.
  • You may also be required to fill out a health declaration form and/or undergo temperature checks both before and during your flight.
  • Wearing a mask is still mandatory in many airports and on many flights (although this is slowly starting to change), so make sure you have one with you that meets the requirements of your airline.

Sadly, the pandemic has had another less obvious but much more immediate effect on air travel and is definitely something to remember before you jet off; due to staffing issues (both on ground and in the air), restrictions through the airports and on bookings, many airlines have had to greatly reduce the number of flights they offer.

This has led to tens of thousands of flight cancellations, leaving may families stranded here at home and, in some instances, when trying to board their inbound flights.

Therefore, always check, re-check and double-check that your flight is still scheduled and on time before you leave for the airport.

Check you emails regularly as some passengers are being notified that their flights are no longer viable just days (sometimes hours) before they are due to depart.

So, while international travel is definitely on the up-and-up, there are still some things to keep in mind before you book that ticket and jet off into the sunset.

But despite all of these changes and precautions, travelling is still possible and definitely something to look forward to in the coming months - just make sure you do your research before you go and you'll be sure to have a great trip.

FAQ's:

Is one hour enough before flight?

It really depends on the individual airport and their security measures. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time before your flight to account for any unexpected delays.

What if my flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled, you should contact your airline as soon as possible to re-book or get a refund. You may also be entitled to compensation from the airline.

Do I need a negative PCR test to fly internationally?

This requirement varies from country to country, so it's always best to check with your destination before you travel. In general, though, many countries are now requiring passengers to present a negative PCR test prior to boarding their flight.

Will a plane wait for you?

This really depends on the airline. Some airlines may wait for passengers if they are running late, but this is not always the case.

We recommend contacting your airline directly to inquire about their policy on this.

What if I don't have a mask?

You will most likely be required to wear a mask while in the airport and on the plane, so we recommend bringing one with you just in case. If you don't have a mask, many airports now sell them or have dispensers where you can get one for free.

How early is too early to go to the airport?

There isn't really a set time - it really depends on whether or not you like hanging around in an airport and a lot of the time, that is really down to the reason for you travelling.

Jetting off on your hols?

Maybe you don't mind so much. Flying for a business meeting? Probably not that keen on extended waiting times.

Wrapping Up:

The bottom line is that you should always give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport - allow time to check luggage, go through security, the obligatory drinks (and bathroom) breaks + any delays that may crop up because you never know what could happen, which is why it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

We hope this article has helped clear up some of the confusion around when to arrive at the airport and we wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

Have you ever been late for a flight?

What happened?

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