Friday, 30 December 2016

What Time Should You Be At Airport Before Your Flight Left?


How long before a flight you should be at the airport depends on a few factors, such as which airport you’re flying from and where you’re flying to.

Each airport has its own general rules about when you should arrive; in part because it can take a greater or lesser amount of time at each to check-in, go through security and navigate your way to the gate.

London Stansted Airport suggests checking in a minimum of three hours before the scheduled departure time of all long-haul and charter flights, and two hours before all European and domestic flights (those going to the UK or Ireland).

Meanwhile, London Gatwick recommends two hours for all international flights and an hour for domestic flights

London Heathrow recommends three hours for long-haul flights, two hours for European flights, and 90 minutes for domestic flights.

However, smaller airports with fewer flyers and quicker check-in and security processes can require less time.

For example, London City Airport only has one terminal and is frequently used for business trips where passengers want to be in and out of the airport as quickly as possible.

Check-in only closes 20 minutes before the flight departs, unlike many other airports where the gate closes 40 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.


Passengers only need be at the boarding gate at least 10 minutes before the flight departure.

Plus, the airport is so compact that, unlike Heathrow, it’s a matter of seconds, rather than minutes, to reach the gate.

Other UK airports boasting swift check-in and security operations – such as Newquay Airport in Cornwall – are also small, reducing waiting and walking times.

Airlines usually issue their own suggestions of when to arrive and indicate on the ticket what time the gate will close.

One way of saving time is to check-in online beforehand. You can also speed up the process of checking in a bag and getting through security by paying a little extra for priority boarding, an additional service that’s offered by various airlines.

Although no one particularly enjoys wasting time in an airport lounge, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Look up your travel plans ahead of time – could rail strikes affect your journey? Are any road works going to add on extra time if you’re travelling by car?

It’s worth giving yourself a little extra time to ensure you don’t have to fork out for another plane ticket. The flight can – and will – leave without you if you're late.



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