Arrive at the Airport at Least Two Hours Early!


The busy summer travel season is here and we want to encourage everyone flying this summer to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight is scheduled to leave.

We know, that sounds like an awful lot of time. But these days there’s a good chance you’ll need every bit of it. Take a look at the photo. It’s the line at the security check point yesterday afternoon, about 3:30. The folks at the end of the line had at least a 40 minute wait ahead of them. That’s a problem for some because they arrived at the airport less than an hour before departure.


The airline lobbying organization, Airlines for America, expects more than 257 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines between June 1 and the end of August. It’s part of a continuing trend of robust growth in the airline business — in Springfield, for example, passenger numbers have grown 43% over the past five years. The end result is two-fold:

  1. Airport parking lots are near capacity. It often takes longer to find a parking spot than it used to (the airport will expand the lots in the near future).

  2. Wait times in lines have increased substantially; especially at the security check point and airline ticket counters. The long waits sometimes result in missed flights.

Here are some ways to avoid missing your flight —

  1. First and foremost: arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.

Speed up the line at the security checkpoint by:

  • Have your ID out and ready to show to screening personnel.

  • Take all food out of your carry-on bags and place in the conveyor bins. All food must be visually inspected by screening personnel.

  • You’re allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item. Put the bag in the conveyor bins for inspection.

  • Take all electronic devices (phones, computers, tablets, etc.) out of carry-on bags and place them in the conveyor bins. They must be visually inspected.

Other ways to speed things up:

  • Avoid the line at the airline ticket counter. Unless you have to check a bag, you can bypass the ticket counter entirely by checking into your flight on your airline’s website, or mobile phone app.

  • Avoid departing during very busy times. Typically, the busiest times of day are in the morning; between 5:30 and 7:00, and between 10:30 and 12:30. The busiest days of the week are Wednesday and Saturday.

  • Apply for TSA PreCheck from the Transportation Security Administration. Flyers that are PreCheck approved do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets when going through the security checkpoint. More information here:

Bottom line:  the summer travel season is here and long lines will be common. Don’t miss your flight; arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave!


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