You see it in the movies — a character running to the gate, coat flailing behind them and a mish-mash of papers and IDs to get past security. Of course, films always let characters board a flight last minute — but in reality, it’s not always the case.
Although no one enjoys waiting in an airport for several hours, it can mean the difference between missing your flight and arriving at your destination as planned.
Keep these tips in mind to help ensure you don’t miss your flight:
Accounting for busier travel times can help you catch your plane. The most obvious travel days to avoid are the day before Thanksgiving, Memorial Day weekend and the week of Christmas. While the busiest travel times are obvious, other discrete and random weeks throughout the year exist as well. Either way, no matter when you choose to travel, still arrive early, especially on holidays, weekends and during the summer.
Checking in ahead of time, even before getting to the airport, is critical if you want to secure your seat. Each airline has different check-in requirements, but in general, you should check-in at least 30 minutes before the departure time. The most reliable way is to register online as soon as possible, even if it’s 24 hours beforehand.
It’s common to arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. If you are parking at the airport or returning a rental car, allow for even more time. Although you may not want to wait in an airport for several hours, it’s better than being like people in the movies — except not getting to board your plane.
Arriving early allows for ample time to check in and go through security, along with ensuring your baggage arrives at your destination as well. Bag check-in times have limits, with most airline allowing you to do so up to 30 minutes before departure.
Allowing enough time between flights is also a crucial step. While there is no golden rule or set time of how much time a traveler should allow between flights, 45 minutes is often seen as not enough. However, if you’re familiar with the airport and can swing from one terminal to the next with ease, you have the freedom to book a shorter flight connection time.
On the other hand, if you are unfamiliar with an airport or traveling internationally, you don’t want to risk short times. The less time you have between flights means a greater chance you won’t make the connection.
Being prepared with a valid ID can save you time as people often forget them at home or find their passport has expired. Different destinations require different validity and requirements of passports, so make sure to determine which regulations apply to your situation.
Travelers often make the mistake of not double checking their gate number. While your gate number is indicated on your ticket, gates can change unexpectedly. It’s important to keep an eye on the screen for altering departure numbers and if applicable, download an app that notifies you when it changes.
To arrive at your allocated terminal, keep in mind security delays, especially when traveling internationally. Many planes also board about 30 minutes before takeoff, so arrive at your gate to avoid losing your seat. The latest time to board a plane is known as the 10-minute rule. Although flights have designated departure times, boarding time versus departure time is a difference of 10 minutes.
Taking advantage of stopovers allows you to stay in a connection city for more than 24 hours and for less of the cost you paid for your trip. Essentially, you will be able to see two places for the price of one. Stopovers eliminate connection flights at an airport and give travelers the freedom to tour a new location before continuing with their travels.
Now that you know how to avoid missing a flight, it’s time to start purchasing tickets. At Ticketsroundtheworld.com, we use various airlines to accommodate your needs no matter your destination. Our experts are available 24 hours a day and are dedicated to finding you appropriate fares for tickets around the world.
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