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Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

Rochester NY
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Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

I'm scheduled to leave Cancun on a Sunday (one week after Easter -- 4/15) and my departure time is 8:00am from Cancun airport.

Do you really need to be at the airport at 5:00am for an 8:00am departure? With the new security, etc., it means we would have to be up at 4am to check-out of our Cancun hotel and catch our shuttle back to the airport in time. Perhaps things will settle down by then and security will run more smoothly?

I know that folks will say -- just stay up all night -- but I'm travelling alone with my two sons (ages 16 & 12) and that's probably not an option.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help.

Franklin, TN
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1. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

While it is impossible to know what conditions will be like on that day as far as crowds, when we flew out of Cancun on Saturday, we arrived at the airport about 2:15p for a 5p flight. Check in lines were fairly heavy, took about 30 minutes, security was light, about 5 minutes. We ended up sitting in the loung for about an hour and a half.

That is our experience, your results may vary, but we could have pushed it back an hour. If I were you, I wouldn't go much past 6a.

Minnesota
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for Cancun
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2. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

It's not just a suggestion, it's the new rules - 3 hours beforehand. There are shops and restaurants at the airport. It's not boring. It also could take that long to get checked in and though security. I saw someone denied boarding for their flight in May when they tried to check in 1 hour beforehand. We were waiting in line at the next counter for our flight (2 1/2 hours before - the rules were 2 hours before then) and watched the whole saga. It wasn't pretty. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Cheryl

In a Little Cafe...
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for Cancun
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3. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

Cheryl's exactly correct regarding the new rules for departures as far as I'm aware and I just returned a few eeks ago.

However, that stated, we arrived at the airport two hours and fifteen minutes prior to departure and had more than enough time for grabbing a bite and a drink at Jose Cuervo upstairs and for the little lady to do a bit of shopping before departure.

Just remember, if you get there less than three hours before departure and there's a problem, it's not going to be the airports fault. ;-)

Missouri
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4. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

That's my view. If they say three hours, you can't complain if you're denied boarding less than three hours before.

It didn't take us three hours, but just in case...

Kentucky
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5. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

I was worried this time about the "3 hour rule" but our transfer company set the time for pick up from our hotel- and that happened to be only 2 hours before our flight time. I didn't argue about that...

He picked us up, then we realized we forgot something and had to drive back to the hotel (took about 20 extra minutes). I was a little nervous, the lines at the airport were long but they moved swiftly (and this was a busy Saturday with a 1:00 flight). We had no problems and even about 20-30 minutes to shop around.

Bottom line: Although you can't predict these things, I would aim to be there 2 hours prior to scheduled departure (and I would think 6 in the morning the lines wouldn't be so bad anyway - but I could be wrong). What kind of transportation are you using to get to the hotel? They will usually set your pick up time for you anyway.

Kentucky
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6. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

A question-

If they say arrive 3 hours before- when you finally get up to the counter, how do they know what time you got in line? Or is it that you have to check-in at the counter 3 hours before? If so, you would have to get to the airport 4 hours early just to get to the ticket counter 3 hours early?

I know they can do whatever they want to, but they really don't know what time you actually got in line.

USA
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7. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

I would be there 3 hours early. Why risk the end of your trip being very bad. Not only might you have crowds, but what if there is a breakdown on the way to the airport or a roadblock. We have been going for 12 years and sometimes we get through in an hour but we have barely made it other years and we have allways been there 3 hours early.

Keller, Texas
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8. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

I think it depends what airlines you are flying. We flew Sun Country a few weeks ago and had about a 4 minute check-in. But down the terminal, there were huge lines at AA.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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9. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

As said before, it is the rule at Cancun and other Mexican airports due to new mandated baggage screening equipment they have installed. It is not an airline rule but you do risk being denied boarding if you are at the counter after they close the flight for checkin.

Having worked for an international airline, I can tell you the hour (at least) check in cut off is due partly to the fact that airlines must transmit their passenger manifest to US Immigration well before the flight so that the US has time to check the list prior to arrival. In other words, they know who they want to check, well before the flight arrives.

BSQ
Charlotte, North...
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10. Re: Departure @ 8:00am on a Sunday -- really 3 hrs before?

it all depends on the ebb and flow of the travel season and the popularity of your airline. I've been on those 8am flight as well as other times, and to be honest, I don't know that I've ever seen a down time at the airport.

My advice is to err on the side of caution. You can always do some browsing at the airport and sleep on the flight.