The question of what time you should arrive at the airport is not as easy to answer as it seems. Firstly, the most important situation to consider is who is travelling with you? If you are a singleton or a group of friends travelling for pleasure, then surely the excitement of your trip will make you want to start your holiday as early as possible, maybe with a cheeky beer or glass of champagne in the airport departure lounge before you board your flight? You would have to consider where you are travelling to and if it’s international then you need to be fully checked in at least two hours before departure and even more these days with social distancing being a thing at the airport then you may have to queue for longer than normal.

How long are you going for? If you are travelling to and back from a destination on the same day, say on business, then perhaps you would wish to spend as little time at the airport as possible especially if you are commuting on a regular basis, the excitement easily gets replaced with boredom if this is the case.



If shopping is your thing, then airports can offer an amazing array of prestigious luxury branded products at duty-free prices so you would want to leave yourself with enough time to be able to shop in comfort rather than just settling for a trolley dash. With perfumes, wines and spirits, designer clothes and handbags along with the latest electronic gadgets heavily discontinued from high street prices what’s not to like. It may also be that you need holiday essentials and most airports, especially in the UK, offer a whole range of items that you need to enjoy your holiday and also some that you probably didn’t know even existed.


Staying in a Hotel

A really popular choice to take the stress out of knowing what time you need to leave to get to the airport on time is to stay over in a nearby hotel to the airport. Depending on your flight time of course, and most from the UK ten to be in the morning, staying over can take all of the stress out of the idea of being late and missing your flight. Those roadworks on the M25 or the driver who crashes and blocks the motorway for 6 hours just as you need to get to Gatwick, finding the car park full when you arrive at the airport all disintegrate if you are staying nearby overnight. An all-inclusive hotel, parking and airport transfer option means you can arrive at the airport with as much time as you would like before your flight and very often would not cost any more to do than just the parking itself.


Time to Arrive at Airport


Travelling with Family

If you are travelling as a family the stay over option also lets you check all your hold luggage the night before you fly meaning a stress-free transition from the security gates to the departure lounge, again giving you more time to enjoy the terminal and start your holiday that little bit easier.


Be Careful!

What if you are on a stag or hen do, off the Magaluf or Tenerife for example, well how about getting to the airport at 4 am, going into the Wetherspoons, getting very merry by 6 am then having asleep on the plane ready to do it all again the very same afternoon in a hotter climate. Just be sure to not get too drunk as you will not be allowed on the plane and then it really doesn’t matter what time you got to the airport as you will be going straight home again.

Whether you’re looking to save yourself the stress, or simply just fit in some retail therapy, we hope that our above guide has helped to answer the age-old question ‘what time should I arrive at the airport’.

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