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  1. #1

    Default Airport question

    We are flying out of atlanta and we've been told by the airline to be at the airport 3 hours before our flight. Do you really have to be there 3 hours before your flight? Looking for advice from anyone who has flown internationally. That just seems like too long to wait before your flight boards.

  2. #2


    Unless you are on the fisrt flight out for Atlanta OH YEAH 3 hours is right. If you are on the first flight out you might be able to get away with 2 hours. Still wouldn't it be better to be sitting at the gate ready to board than be a little late and miss your flight?
    Shari & James
    Members of the 4 for 4 club

  3. #3


    I fly almost every week, although not usually internationally. The answer to your question is, it depends. Atlanta is a very large and busy airport. Do you really want to risk missing your flight to paradise because you didn't give yourself enough time? However, a lot depends on the day of the week and time you are leaving. Monday mornings are the absolute worst for checking in and all the security lines. I flew out yesterday morning, and the line to check into Southwest was out the door. Not sure what the problem was, but many, many people missed their flights.

    If you are flying out on a weekend, the airport is usually much quieter. Keep in mind, though, that all you need is one cancelled flight to throw the whole system into chaos. The airlines have cut back so sharply on the number of aircraft, that there are still very few empty seats on planes.

    Two hours should be sufficient on most days (except Monday), but that does not include time to park your car, take a shuttle, etc.

  4. #4


    I would say that is about right. I fly out of Atlanta when I go anywhere and you just never know what the lines are going to be like. It depends on the day of the week and the time of day you are flying out, too. You have to be checked in for international flights a certain amount of time before the flight leaves. I can't remember exactly how long at the moment. Security lines are terrible in Atlanta and very slow. I would much rather have to much time than not enough. That is one headache you don't want starting your vacation. Besides, there are plenty of shops to explore at the airport while you are waiting.

  5. #5


    This is really going to be dependent on several factors like time of day and day of week for travel. If you are departing during a very busy time, 3 hours may be necessary to get through all of the lines. In addition, airlines frequently overbook flights, so be sure to do the online checkin at home 24 hours before your flight leaves so that you can minimize your chances of being bumped from the flight. If it were me, I would be there 3 hours don't want anything keeping you from your destination!

    PS...we flew direct from ATL for our honeymoon and we were so excited the night before that we couldn't sleep...we went on to the airport at midnight and our flight didn't leave until 8:00am...THAT is definitely too long!

  6. #6


    Be safe: Get there 2 1/2 to 3 hours early and just relax. I've been running through Atlanta airport trying to get to a plane before, and it would be even worse if you were to miss the plane to Jamaica. Don't risk it.

    There's lots to do in the Atlanta airport as well. I'm not usually there long enough to explore much, but there are tons of stores in each concourse area. Also remember most flights now start boarding 30+ minutes in advance of the flight departure time (at least ours did).

  7. #7


    I agree with BobandJudy, if you are flying out of Atlanta during the week two hours should be good. All airports and airlines tell you 3 hours for international flights and while Atlanta is a very, very busy airport you should be ok with 2 hours as long as you are in the terminal 2 hours before not pulling into the parking lot at the 2 hour mark.

  8. #8


    Get there at the recommended 3 hours prior to flight departure and you MIGHT have time after getting through security to grab a bite to eat as you don't get fed on the plane unless you buy something from them or are in first class. You might also have time to visit the duty free shop just because you can! Also, flights start boarding 30 minutes prior to departure and the door closes 10 minutes prior to departure.

  9. #9


    We flew out of ATL early Wednesday morning. Traffic can be a problem and for that reason alone you may need to give yourself quite a bit of extra time (for an evening flight, our 90 minute drive became a 3 hour drive). Getting through the airport itself on Wednesday morning was as fast as I've seen it. From leaving the car to arriving at the gate, it took us under an hour.

  10. #10


    I love our small town airport, just show up 45 min early and go through the 10 min security line.

  11. #11


    Most airlines flying out of STL recommend 2 hours before take off. That seems to be about right, especially for international flights. By the time you go through the security checks, passport checks, ticket and flight checks, taking off and putting on shoes and just waiting in line you arrive at your gate about 45 minutes before take off. Just in time to hit the can and make a last minute phone call.
    Take the time, it won't hurt you and may be needed.

  12. #12


    For Atlanta, YES, 3 hours is correct! For most other locations, 2 is plenty. We have flown out of Atlanta 3 times headed to Jamaica and 3 is definitely what you will need. Altanta is just always crowded and you'll need the extra time to get through the security lines.
    Amy Welch...Woooohoooo!!
    CTI - 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013
    CN - 2003/2004 CSS - 2008
    CSA - 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

  13. #13


    Yes, 2-1/2 will work if you pre-check in on the internet and print your boarding passes at home. I still do three hour because you can not sleep the night before and I am up. Better to be early and in Jamaica then late, and not going.

  14. #14

    Default Connection Times in ATL

    We fly into ATL and have 1.5 hours until our flight leaves for MBJ. Is that enough of a layover? Thanks.

  15. #15


    Lonnie, 1.5 hours is plenty of time if it is a layover. You will be all checked in and ready to go with your seat assignments, docs stamped and through security which is the biggest hold up in Atlanta.

  16. #16


    Lonnie & JoAnn,

    Yes, that should be plenty of time. For your layover, you arrive and will most likely need to get terminal E from where you arrive. Just catch the train, then when you get there, check for which gate you need to be at, then check the time before exploring. As I stated, the flights begin boarding 30 mins prior to departure with the door closing 10 minutes before.

  17. #17


    I've heard other people say on here. The vacation starts with that first beer in the airport. Ahhhhh, I can taste it now. Get there three hours early and start the vaca off right.

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