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Check in times for internal USA flights

Seaham, United...
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Check in times for internal USA flights

Hi folks, planning our mega trip and need some info. please. When flying from the UK to the USA we have to check in three hours before departure. We have an internal flight from Washington to Orlando and I was wondering how long before the flight do we have to check in. Hopefully it will be less than three hours! I hate spending time in airports. The trip isn't until May 15 so got plenty of time to get sorted out.

Thanks for any help.

Regards,

Deaconblue

New York City, New...
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for Air Travel
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1. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

The airline's site will tell you. 90mins before should be plenty given my IAD, DCA and BWI experiences.

Phoenix, Arizona
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2. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

Deconblue,

I hate to rush. I also hate to become agitated or worried, if one of my flights is running a bit late.

Because of my personal aversion to running through airports, sweating on all the people, who I dart past, I err on the side of caution - 4 hours for international and 2 hours for domestic (US). Others adhere to the above stated 3 hrs. and 1.5 hrs, and most do perfectly fine. A few, as evidenced by posts on this forum, like to cut things very close, with 20 min. connection times, and 1 hr. arrival for international, with baggage to check, boarding passes to print, and sometimes even with rental cars to return. They are welcome to their timetables.

In the last 10 years, we have missed but two connections, and one was an emergency with a pax at HNL, that delayed us 4.5 hours, hence missing the connection. The other was due to a major weather delay, that affected us, but not our connecting airport. Our 2 hr. buffer could not help us in either case. When flying into, or out of airports pron to have weather delays, and at certain times of the year, I will pad even my very liberal connection times - just in case.

Also, I hold membership to access many airport lounges around the world, so if things go beautifully, and we have extra time, I just grab a glass of wine. Even without the lounges, I would do the same in an airport bar.

It's up to one's priorities, after they satisfy the bare minimums.

Travel safely,

Hunt

Liverpool, UK
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3. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

It's a case of your attitude to risk - whilst nobody really enjoys sitting around airports it's better to be 30 minutes early rather than 5 minutes late.

As well as all the check in and security processes at the airport you also need to consider the potential for delays on the way to IAD - I personally plan to be at the airport 2 hours before departure for US domestic flights.

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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4. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

I agree with Bill Hunt. I too have an aversion to rushing. I'd rather be sitting in an airport than worrying about making it on time for my flight. I think for an internal flight I would aim to get to the airport two hours before as well.

Chiang Khong...
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5. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

Hi

most people worry about waiting too long for flight so try and cut it short. when they really need to worry about getting to airport. once you are at the airport checked-in and in the airline system you do have some

security the airline will be aware of any delays or slow down in security lines I have seen airline personnel

at TSA security checks looking for cetain passebgers for flights and moving them to the front of the line

but if you don't get to airport and checked in because of traffic delays or unforseen circustance then it is all on you.if you miss flight IMO

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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6. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

There is nothing wrong with being safe, but being at the airport for an international flight 4 hours in advance is excessive (unless you are flying to Israel). Do allow for potential traffic delays so understand the traffic patterns heading to the airport is important. For international, I usually go with 2+ hours. At my home airport at HKG, I do fine with 90 minutes.

For domestic US which I have been doing multiple flights for years, 1.5 hours are generally enough. I would not think there is a need to go with more than 2 hours. The major exception at some airports I have come across are Las Vegas and Orlando. Security is just slow at those places.

tucson, az
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7. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

I say go with two hours because honestly all you need is the jaw-droppingly incompetent senior debate team or the very slow old folks' tour being ahead of you to slow everything waaaaay down.

Cabarete, Dominican...
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8. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

"We have an internal flight from Washington to Orlando and I was wondering how long before the flight do we have to check in. "

This flight quite likely departs from DCA. First, check in on-line and print your boarding passes, or use a smartphone app.

DCA is a small airport and easy to navigate. If you check bags, for many airlines you don't have to go in. You can check curbside. If not, since you already have your boarding pass, you go directly to the baggage drop-off inside the terminal and pay for baggage fees (some airlines allow you to pay online when you do their web check-in).

For DCA, you're fine arrive 60 minutes ahead of time. If it were Dulles airport though, IAD you need to allow much more time. It could take quite a while to get to your gate. Check the airline for suggested arrival time. Like Delta with baggage requires 45-60 minutes, less without. American requires 60 minutes.

You can also check the security wait times here: ifly.com/ronald-reagan-washington-national-a…

Silvia

San Diego
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for San Diego
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9. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

For SURE check in on line 24hrs. before your flight! You can either print the boarding pass at your hotel or wait and print it at the airport but don't wait until you arrive at the airport to check in!

Seaham, United...
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10. Re: Check in times for internal USA flights

Thank you for the replies. I'll go with the two hours as I like to be on the safe side. The flight is with United and as the holiday has just been booked I don't yet have much information but I think it's Dulles airport. We are staying at the Fairmont Hotel. What would be the best way to get to the airport and what is the approximate journey time?

This is a mega trip for us. We are flying from the UK to New York (JFK) then getting Amtrack to Washington, flight from Washington to Orlando (MCO), then Orlando to Machester, UK. The travel agent is booking everything for us although we made it clear what we wanted. Although we have flown to Orlando (SFB) frequently we have only been in MCO once in twenty years! Obviously we have never taken an internal flight as we usually just take one centre holidays. This is my husband's retirement trip and I want it to be perfect for him.

Regards,

Deaconblue