Some travellers arrive at the airport way too early and find themselves purchasing lots of unnecessary items that they soon regret as soon as you board the plane. On the other hand, if travellers leave too little time to get to the airport they may find themselves running through the airport which gets their holiday off to a bad start. I've been in both of these situations and to this day still haven't found the perfect time to arrive at the airport where I'm not twiddling my thumbs in the departure lounge or worrying about whether my flight will leave without me.
For short-haul flights it's recommended that travellers arrive at least two hours before their flight departs so that they can go through the necessary steps of checking in. More importantly, it's important to set time aside to going through security since on the off chance that you're limited on time it may be the one time to which you're stopped and searched. However, these times can vary as Jet2 and TUI ask travellers travelling from the East Midlands to arrive three hours before their departure time. Additionally, Leeds Bradford Airport suggest that travellers should arrive two to three hours before their flight departs. After researching the different times that travellers should begin to go through the different stages of their journey at the airport, it's evident that some airports have streamlined their process whereas others evidently haven't. It seems that airports that are used by hundreds of thousands of passengers, or even millions, have streamlined their processes as they have stated the times in which passengers should arrive is a lot less than other smaller airports.
For long-haul flights it's recommended that travellers should arrive at least three to four hours before their flight departs so that they can go through the necessary steps of checking in. More importantly, there is a huge difference between short-haul and long-haul flights since those who are travelling without hand luggage on short-haul flights can simply go on through to security and then go to their gate. However, for those on a long-haul flight it's almost essential to go to a counter and offload your luggage, which in turn may take a large portion of time since there may be queues and unfortunately if you're caught out by the luggage scales you'd need to figure out a solution quickly. In an airport such as London Heathrow there are terminals that allow passengers to weigh their luggage, tag it and send it off without the need for staff at the airport to do so. When I'd travelled to New York in July 2019, it took me approximately 5 minutes to firstly queue up and then use the self-service machines in London Heathrow's Terminal 5 to weigh and tag my luggage. Additionally, it then took less than 5 minutes to go through security as I'd firstly had an early flight therefore there were only a few passengers travelling as well as having only a small amount of hand luggage on my person. As I'd arrived at the airport 3 hours beforehand and had departed with my luggage and gone through security in less than half an hour, I was left with over two hours to spend at the airport which became quite boring very quickly.
Dependant on the questions stated below, a traveller can determine how much time they would need at the airport, since they can review everything that an airport offers a traveller. For example, if I was travelling from London Gatwick Airport for a short-haul flight from the North Terminal which departs at 11:30am with EasyJet, it would result in a different set of timings. I would firstly have to acknowledge that EasyJet recommend that travellers should arrive at the airport two hours beforehand as the check-in desks close exactly 40 minutes before the scheduled departure - in this case I would have to arrive at the airport at 9:30am and the check-in would close 10:50am. This would leave me with exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes to firstly travel from The South Terminal at Gatwick Airport to The North Terminal via the shuttle provided. This takes at least 10 minutes in retrospect of waiting for a shuttle and the journey itself. Once in The North Terminal it would take me another 10 minutes to get to security and begin to queue up among other passengers. As I've already checked-in online and gained access to my boarding pass, I can go through to security and use my boarding pass to enter the barriers for security. As I'm travelling during an off-peak period I would set aside 15 minutes to get through security which includes time if I was stopped and searched. To get through to the Departure Lounge travellers are required to walk through Duty Free but as always I normally continue my journey without buying any additional extras. By the time that I would've entered the Departure Lounge it would be around 10am with the Departure Gate being announced around 30-40 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave. Therefore, this would mean that at 10:50am the Departure Gate would be announced and travellers are advised to begin making their journey towards this. In turn, I would be left with 50 minutes to spare but as I would like to get breakfast from The Red Lion, I would have more than enough time to do this. However, passengers that are simply heading straight through the airport to the Departure Gate may find themselves with time to spare and in turn they may want to arrive at the airport a little later. EasyJet state that their Departure Gates close 25 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave but in turn this has been shown to be false with queues of passengers still waiting to have their passport and boarding pass checked during this time. However, as I would have my hand luggage with me I would prefer to be one of the first to board to make sure that I have an overhead locker to store my luggage within.
What To Consider Before Travelling To The Airport:
What To Consider When At The Airport:
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