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This morning, My Vacation Lady‘s clients, Adam and Vanessa, called at 8am saying that they missed their flight to Cancun.  Their flight was at 7:55am and they had all good intentions of being at the airport by 6am.  They had to stop off for gas, got lost trying to find the long term parking lot and got the airport at 7am- 55 minutes before their international flight.  They were NOT allowed to board the flight since they weren’t there at least 60 minutes before the departure time.

So are there required minimum times that you must be in the airport prior to your flight?

According to United Vacations:

Minimum check-in and boarding requirements for international flights

For nonstop international flights from airports in the U.S., excluding some flights from Honolulu, Hawaii, customers and bags must complete check in at least 60 minutes prior to scheduled departure time and customers must be at the gate at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure time. For flights to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands from Honolulu, Hawaii, customers must check their bags at least 75 minutes before departure.

Minimum check-in and boarding requirements for flights fully within the U.S., which includes Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The minimum check-in time requirement for customers without checked baggage is 30 minutes prior to departure, except for San Juan and Baltimore, where the requirement is 45 minutes, and Guam, where the requirement is 60 minutes.  

According to Delta Airlines:

Check-in Requirements for Domestic Travel

The recommended arrival time at the airport is 2 hours prior to departure when traveling within the United States.  You must be checked in at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time.  Additionally, you are required to be at the gate and ready to board at least 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Customers who fail to complete the check-in time limits by these deadlines will not be able to travel on desired flights and change fees may apply.

Security Check-in Requirements for International Travel To/From Non-U.S. Cities

The recommended arrival time at the airport prior to departure of international flights is 3 hours. When traveling to/from a destination outside the United States, you must be checked in at least 60 minutes before your scheduled departure time and it is required that originating passengers be at the gate and ready to board at least 45 minutes before your scheduled departure time. This minimum requirement applies to all customers checking-in, with or without baggage. Customers who fail to complete the check-in procedures by these deadlines will not be able to travel on desired flights and change fees may apply.

According to American Airlines:

Check-in times

In most locations, you must be checked in:

  • At least 45 minutes before scheduled departure, for flights within the United States
  • At least 60 minutes before scheduled departure, for flights to or from airports outside of the United States

For Vanessa and Adam, they were traveling internationally.  They missed the window to check in by 5 minutes.

My Vacation Lady always recommends that you be at the airport at least 90 minutes before a domestic flight and a minimum of 2 hours before an international flight.  During peak travel times we will advise you to be at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight.  There are certain destinations (like Aruba and Tahiti) which require a 3 hour check in time.

Please take our advice and be at the airport early.  We would rather you wait a bit longer and have a cup of coffee than miss your flight.

My Vacation Lady is an award winning travel agency that believes in the personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning.   We won’t just book a trip for you, we’ll design a vacation or honeymoon experience for you!