General Question

La_chica_gomela's avatar

What's just the right amount of time for a layover to catch an international flight?

Asked by La_chica_gomela (12537points) May 26th, 2009

I thought I usually booked them for about 2 to 2 and a half hours in the past, but someone told me not to take any that were shorter than 3 and a half. That seems SO long to me, what’s your take?

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13 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

3 1/2 hours would be the extreme, but it depends on the airport. Some really do need that long. I would say closer to the lower amount 2 or 2 1/2 for most places. The best thing to do is to look at a map of the airport and check the layout.

cwilbur's avatar

When airlines are involved, no matter what you plan, it will be wrong.

A 2 to 2–1/2 hour layover is reasonable, but if you plan on it, your first flight will be delayed and you’ll be bumped from your second flight because a prior flight was overbooked and you weren’t in the airport.

A 3–1/2 hour layover seems excessive, and if you plan on it, your first plane will arrive early and there will be no booking problems with your second flight.

Some people read Kafka as dark commentary on the human condition. Airlines treat his works as an instruction manual.

Since010501's avatar

I would say 2 hours is good.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cwilbur Ain’t it da truth

EmpressPixie's avatar

I would give it three hours. That’s an hour for my plane to be delayed and two hours to navigate through everything else. In part because I’ve always heard you should be three hours early for an international flight but also because it makes sense to me.

casheroo's avatar

I wouldn’t pick one more than 2 hours.
You’ll already be in the airport, so no going through the security all over. You’ll have time to eat, stretch your legs, go to the bathroom…I personally only like 1 hour between flights, but I would give myself more time for an international.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

2.5 hours is usually an acceptably safe window, but if you know that certain airports or airlines generally have delays or you know that you’ll have to change concourses or have an exceptionally long walk (for example, whenever I fly through Dallas, I inevitably have to change from the C to the A concourse or vice versa). And consider your luggage situation. Three and a half hours seems really extreme though.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@casheroo: Actually a lot of the time you do have to go through security all over again. Either because you have to leave the terminal to pick your bags up from baggage claim so that you can check them again (ridic!!) or because the international terminal is just a different terminal, and so you have to leave security to get there. It’s so annoying! Arg

missingbite's avatar

@casheroo is correct. You need about 3 hours for a just in case type of thing. I fly for a major worldwide airline and I always have family and friends use the 3 hour rule. It’s not so much for going out of the country as it is getting back in. I have seen lines for customs that lasted in excess of 3 hours but that is not the norm.

ml3269's avatar

If you booked all flighrs at one agency the agency must book you another flight if you miss one because of delay… if you booked them yourself online one by one I would say: 2–3h shoul be o.k. – depends also on the airport… ATL, JFK…

janbb's avatar

@cwilbur RE; Kafka. Too funny! I lurve you!

Darwin's avatar

Besides, if you opt for three hours but only need two, you get to spend extra time in the duty-free shop.

Zen_Again's avatar

3–4 hours.

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