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-   -   Check in 2-1/2 hours in advance??? (https://www.fodors.com/community/air-travel/check-in-2-1-2-hours-in-advance-1663105/)

Underhill Jan 30th, 2019 09:51 AM

Check in 2-1/2 hours in advance???
 
Is checking in 2-1/2 hours in advance now standard for flights within the U.S.? (In our case, SMF to HNL. First class and with TSA clearance.)

janisj Jan 30th, 2019 10:07 AM

>>(In our case, SMF to HNL. First class and with TSA clearance.)<<

I fly out of SMF all the time - usually Business/First and always Pre-check. No -- you won't need to be there very early at all. The regular security line can be very long. Most times Pre-check is very short, but sometimes it can be almost as long as the regular security line, but since liquids don't have to come out, shoes stay on, etc etc it moves much faster.

I never get to SMF more than an hour ahead (assuming I'm flying Business/First). That hour is actually from the time you enter the terminal -- not counting if you are parking out in the economy lot which is a royal pain. For short trips I park in the garage and for longer ones I catch a ride to the airport -- I will not park in the economy lot . . .

travelgourmet Jan 30th, 2019 03:36 PM

It can depend upon a lot of factors, but one hour early is usually good enough. The airlines have been pushing 2+ hours as long as I can remember though.

J62 Jan 30th, 2019 05:09 PM

I routinely now check in 24hr in advance. Not sure why 2.5 hrs is considered an issue. ymmv.

Odin Jan 30th, 2019 10:49 PM

If you haven't checked in online 24 hours beforehand, then getting to the airport 2.5 hours in advance would be a good idea. Is online check-in not available? Are you checking in luggage? Or is your definition of checking in the time you arrive at the airport after having previously checked in online?

Underhill Jan 31st, 2019 07:33 AM

Yes, we are checking luggage--one bag.

Thanks for the comments; I really thought that being at the airport 2-1/2 hours in advance was ridiculous for a non-international flight. But here's what Hawaiian said:

Kindly be advised that you will be able to check-in online.

We require passenger to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours prior to departure.

Underhill Jan 31st, 2019 07:50 AM

N.B. We use a car service and are flying first.

janisj Jan 31st, 2019 08:21 AM

Odin: >>If you haven't checked in online 24 hours beforehand, then getting to the airport 2.5 hours in advance would be a good idea.<<

Totally unnecessary. Apparently you have not flown in/out of SMF. The OP is flying premium and will have a special check in desk. In fact, when I'm flying Business/First I seldom even bother checking in on line, because there is never more than 1 or 2 people in the Premium line. Usually there is no one in line at all. Then the pre-check lines move fast. SMF is a small airport, and I have no idea what the Underhills would do with 2.5 hours to kill . . .

Underhill: >>We require passenger to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours prior to departure.<<

That is boilerplate and they advise that for everyone flying from any airport. Whether its crazy LAX in basic coach without pre-check, or quiet SMF in First class with pre-check. But those two passengers would be total apples and oranges.. Give yourselves 90 minutes if you are nervous about it. But even 45 mins would be OK IME/IMO (though I don't like to cut things that close, I have more than once and still ended up with 30 minutes at the gate)

Underhill Jan 31st, 2019 01:35 PM

I think we'll aim for 1.5 hours for our 8:55 a.m. flight. I've ordered a wheelchair (painful foot); so we'll be able to move fairly quickly.

suze Jan 31st, 2019 02:07 PM

You're just going to ignore their clearly stated "requirement"? I wouldn't have the nerve to do that.

janisj Jan 31st, 2019 02:57 PM

suze: >>You're just going to ignore their clearly stated "requirement"? I wouldn't have the nerve to do that.<<

SMF is no SeaTac. There is no reason whatsoever for someone to arrive 2.5 hours early when they are flying FIRST CLASS and have pre-check. The entire airport (2 terminals) has just 32 gates.

Terminal B (the 'BIG' one) where the OP is flying out of has 19 gates . . . and only two airlines with more then a few flights a day . . . Southwest (the gorilla in the room - they use 11 of the 19 gates) and Alaska (a small presence). They are flying an airline/route that has ONE flight a day. 2.5 hours is what Hawaiian advises everyone at every airport everywhere. Even at mammoth/insane airports like LAX.

But they've decided to give it 90 mins so they will only have 60-70 minutes to kill . . . They will be fine.

travelgourmet Jan 31st, 2019 04:23 PM


Originally Posted by suze (Post 16865893)
You're just going to ignore their clearly stated "requirement"? I wouldn't have the nerve to do that.

They shouldn’t have such a stupid “requirement” if they didn’t want people to ignore it. Their real requirement is the cutoff time, which is 45 minutes for a domestic flight.

I think 1:30 is plenty of time.

suze Feb 1st, 2019 10:51 AM

Fine with me. If anything goes wrong just tell them TravelGourmet said it would be OK!

Macross Feb 1st, 2019 05:20 PM

I have never flown from SMF but if I am flying from Orlando I leave early because if there is an accident on the beachline you are out of luck. Flying out of Daytona is different because we have US1 and 95 plus backroads so don't fret. Parking off site at Orlando is much cheaper but takes longer where Daytona is so easy. The lines at Daytona are super quick if checking a bag and at security where MCO can be an hour wait at both. I love when the bomb dog is walking the line which makes it fast. So, that is why they tell you 2.5 hours. Pre-check at MCO really helps but at Daytona it doesn't matter if only one lane is opened. When an airline states 2.5 hours they are not taking any of that into consideration. I have seen people beating on the windows and at the desk in Daytona when they missed their plane. This one guy thought because he was platinum they would hold the plane for him. No way. Early morning flights are super busy at MCO so I give myself more time. We have so many kids because of the parks.


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