Missing your flight since you arrived at the airport too late is surely not the ideal way to begin any trip. On the other hand, sitting at the airport for a number of hours since you arrive very early or because your flight is postponed can be so frustrating and boring. You can avoid both scenarios by simply planning carefully, paying attention to the schedule and arriving at the airport at the right time. Here, I would like to point out how early you should arrive at the airport for domestic flight.
Rules of Thumb
As a common rule, arriving at the airport no later than a couple of hours prior to your domestic flight is scheduled is the best way to do. This is rather later than the typical suggestions of 3 hours for the international flight. Arriving two hours in advance will give you lots of time to find the right place to check in for the flight you book, wait in line there, queue in the security line, and also deal with some complications which arise as you go through the security.
Some Reasons on why you should arrive earlier
Consider arriving at airport more than two hours in advance in certain cases. If you do not travel by air quite often and you are pretty nervous about the procedures that you have to go through, arriving earlier can help you to ease your mind and give you more time. The same is also true if you are planning to fly from an unfamiliar airport. If you plan to fly on a busy day, such as close to 4-day weekend or the day prior to Thanksgiving, then you had better arrive earlier so as to compensate for the possibly longer lines and delays.
Some Reasons on why you should arrive later
While arriving 2 hours before you get on board is commonly a good idea, it is not always necessary. If you checked in online and need to drop off your baggage-or if you plan to check in online and are taking carry-on only, you can often afford arriving slightly later. The same holds true if you are not flying at peak days, as the airport is going to be less crowded and lines are pretty shorter. In accordance with the Continental Airlines, 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM, 2:00 P to 3:30 PM, and 7:30 PM to 6:30 AM are off times when the queues are much shorter.
Some other considerations
Boarding will end before take-off. For flight at 2:00 PM, boarding commonly closes around 1:40, so you should not cut it close enough that you are arriving at the gage at approximately 1:55. In addition, if you are checking baggage, you need to find out how long before the light your airline wills top accepting any checked luggage. Make sure that you check the flight status boards at airport. In case your flight is delayed, then you may have more time to hang out with some friends or your family at airport before going through security.