A plane taking off without you can be a nightmare for you. In the best case scenario, you'll have to pay hefty fees to get on a different flight. The worst case is when you have to buy a new ticket. There are many causes of being late for a flight such as traffic jams, problems with your hotel shuttle, a car accident etc. Because you can never predict some of these incidents, the best approach is to give yourself enough time even if you run into some unforeseen problems.
What Airlines Recommend
The standard recommendation in the airline industry is that you should be at the airport at least 2 hours before a domestic flight and at least 3 hours if you're taking an international flight. These recommendations are supposed to give you enough time to:
Get dropped off or park your car
Check your bags (if you have luggage to be checked in)
Pass through security checkpoints
However, these are just recommendations. It's possible to arrive late and still get on your flight and it's possible to arrive early and still miss your flight. A good approach is to not only follow the guidelines but also to pay attention to other factors.
Factors That Can Cause You Extra Delays
If you're taking a flight, it's important to consider factors that could cause you to be late. This is especially important if you're using an airline you've never used before or you're in a location or airport you've never been in. Factors that frequently cause delays include:
Busy airports: A busy airport means longer queues
Holiday periods: Even the sleepiest airport can suddenly come alive during the holidays. In new countries, familiarize yourself with local holidays
Special events: Elections, concerts and religious crusades are just a few of the special events that may make traveling to or traveling through an airport a nightmare
A Few Misconceptions About Arriving Late
There are many incorrect ideas about what happens when you're late at the airport. Here are a few you should ignore:
If your plane is leaving soon you'll be moved to the front of the security line
The flight won't leave if your bags are on board
Doors only close five minutes before departure
Unless you don't mind the cost and inconvenience of missing a flight, be sure to plan your airport transportation so you have enough time to make it to the airport in time. Scheduling a private car, such as from Atlantis cars and Limousines inc., for an appropriate time will take the pressure off, because you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely ride to the airport in the comfort of a professional driver's vehicle.