How early to arrive for international flight?

Generally, it is advised to reach the airport at least 3 hours before the scheduled departure time for international flights. This ensures enough time to check-in, go through the security and other relevant steps considering any delays or any additional time required for international travel. 

Although, it is recommended to check with your airlines once for all the requirements in case you are unsure about something specific.

  1. Check-in Time: Most airlines follow the rule of closing the check-in counters one hour before departure. So, arriving early can help you with enough time to check-in, drop baggage off, get your boarding pass and proceed. 
  2. Security Screening: As compared to domestic flights, international flights usually require additional security checks. The thorough check ups can consume a lot of time. 
  3. Immigration and Customs: How early to arrive for international flight in India depends on your destination and the airport’s procedures. You will have to go through immigration and customs checks before boarding your flight. These processes take up a lot of time due to long queues especially during peak travel time. So, managing your time well gives you ample time to complete these formalities without getting hassled. 
  4. Boarding: While taking an international flight, boarding begins 45-60 minutes prior to departure. So, it is always advised to reach your boarding gate at least an hour before the flying time. 
  5. Contingency Planning: Considering delays and unexpected events as a part of international travel can always help. Arriving early at the airport gives you leverage in case of unforeseen circumstances, like long queues at check-in or security, any mishap, etc.

How early to arrive for international flight with domestic layover

Even if you are travelling internationally with a domestic layover, it is generally advised to reach 3 hours before the departure time. It’s best to check with your airline once for any specific requirements, or any potential changes.