How early do you need to get to the Airport?


If we had an 8:00pm flight at Orlando Int’l, what time do we need to be at the airport to check-in properly. Thanks for any info, this will be our first time flying.


Check with your airport website, there may be some information there. However, you should allow at least 2 hours to get through everything once you get to the airport. Because we also have traffic to worry about we end up with at least 3 hours once we get to the airport.

I know this isn’t what you asked but I thought I would add it any way. We used Magical Express in December and we were picked up at 5 am for our 7:45 flight. By the time we picked up at 3 other resorts, got to the airport, checked our bags, and got through to our gate we had less than 10 minutes before our flight was called for boarding. That was way too close for me, we always allow plenty of time so we’re not rushed.


I tend to notice longer lines, or at least a slower process, at Orlando International for some reason. Maybe it’s because there are so many families with children & lots of “vacation” momentos & luggage to get through. I just make it a rule of thumb to arrive 2 hours before my flight.


I always try to arrive within a 2 hr. window. I’d rather be early, than stuck in traffic or security and miss my flight.


2hours prior is more than enough.


At least 2 hours early if it is a domestic flight, 3 hours for an international. That way you can cover the just in case and depending on your airline they might not cover you getting on a flight if you arrive less than 2 hours early. I don’t remember which airline I was flying (it was when I was in the military and I flew alot back then) but the lady on the phone told me that if I arrived less than two hours early the airline would not be responsible for putting me on another flight, Id have to pay for another ticket. If I checked in two hours early and still missed it because of security or whatnot then they would put me on another flight.


We are 1.5 hours away from our airport, so we usually arrive there about 3.5-4 hours early (I have such a fear of traffic, breaking down, etc and not having enough time!) I’d rather sit after checking everything in and knowing I am there!

We did have quite a wait leaving Orlando, checking the baggage in last time. But 2 hours there should be fine.


Thanks for all the responses everyone! We will be renting a car and I want to get it right at the airport, hopefully this won’t be to much of a hassle. I’m figuring on our last day which will be a Monday that we will leave the MK at 4:00 pm with all our stuff packed in the car and head to the airport. I’m shooting for our flight to be at around 8:30pm so that will give us about 2 hours to get to the airport and get the car checked-in and should give us over 2 hours advance time before our flight.


Ours is 3 hours (due to security checks) to come home and I think it was 2 hours when we flew domestic.


They say two hours… but I think an hour and a half would do (unless you’re battling holiday traffic). Usually it takes us thirty minutes to get all checked and then we’re waiting for an hour and a half. Boring…


That’s part of our problem, we are at least 2 hours from the airport. Traffic is an issue with our airport so we have to allow an extra hour just in case so we always end up getting to the airport really early.

We also had a long wait in Orlando to get our bags checked and get through the security. It took at least over an hour jsut to check our bags and security was backed up as well.



Are you renting a car that has to be turned in at a satellite lot and then you take a shuttle to the terminal? If so, add time in for that.

Also, two trips ago, the line for security at the Orlando airport was wound around and around the roped-in areas, then wormed its way all the way down the hall. It took an excruciatingly long time to get through, and we had not planned enough time to wait patiently. I was really nervous about whether we’d even get on the plane.

Last trip, our flight was about the same time, 4 p.m. or so, and the line was non-existent. We waltzed through with no waiting. Of course, we had set aside extra time to get through a long security line, so we had too much time to wait at the gate.

So you just never know!


The TSA has a site that will give you a great idea of when to arrive. Its available here:TSA | Transportation Security Administration | Wait Times


My DH hates getting to the airport too early, but then again he only flies for vacation. I travel a lot for work (although not as much recently) and I ALWAYS allow enough time to get me there 2 hours early. Some times I have been sitting at the agte for an hour and 45 minutes, but those times when security is extra long, or I happen to be traveling on a school vacation week and it’s really crowded make me happy that I plan for this.


I would like to rent the car right at the airport. Are all cars rented from satellite lots that you need to take a shuttle to or our there some rentals at the airport that aren’t at a satellite lot?


Based on the information on Expedia, it looks like Avis, National, Dollar, and Alamo are at the airport, and all the others need a shuttle.

I will say this. On our last trip to Orlando, we rented a car with Thrifty. We had rented with them on our first trip, and had no problems. This trip, however, we waited almost an hour for the shuttle bus. We had arrived at 9 PM and picked up our bags by 9:30, but the bus didn’t arrive until almost 10:30. As a Blue Chip member, I was furious :mad: , as were most of the other people waiting around. Several of us were on the phone calling the reservations number, but there wasn’t much they could do. And then, to add insult to injury, the driver (once he finally arrived) dropped off the people who had parked their cars in Thrifty’s long-term parking first :pinch: . Needless to say, we will not be renting from Thrifty at Orlando again, even if their rate is better.

Hertz, on the other hand, never was without a bus waiting. As soon as one shuttle pulled out, another was waiting to pull in. Even the Enterprise buses were pretty good - there were 3 or 4 in the time we waited for Thrifty.


I would allow for at least 3 hours prior to your departure when you leave your resort. When I was there in March our ME bus only picked up at our resort and got us to the airport with plenty of time to get through airline check-in and security. We had enough time to sit and eat breakfast. Now, having said that when we were there in August, again, our ME bus only picked up at our resort but the airline check-in and security were insane! We maybe 30 minutes before our flight started boarding.

If you don’t like the time that ME has you booked for on your return to the airport you can call them and ask for an earlier pick-up.


As much as I hate waiting at the airport, I have noticed that there are BUSY times at the airport usually from 3pm to 6-7 pm - I am not talking about security, but the ticket/check in line… you might want to get there at least 2 hours early… if you are taking ME, they will pick you up approx 3 hours before your flight.


MCO is one of those places where you may walk right through security or it may take forever. A LOT of people fly in and out of there. It has been better the last few times I’ve been down. They seem to have more staff on hand to direct people to shorter screening lines.

You have to allow a full two hours before departure to be safe. If your car rental place is off site then allow more time.


You would have to check the airport website for where the rental lot is. Are you staying off site? Because you might want to look into Magic Express if you are staying at the resort, also they have check in for your flights at the resort as well, so then all you have to do once you arrive at the airport is go through security. Just a thought . . .