We took a survey of 1,225 US residents who self-reported that they have flown in the past year, and asked them about their airport arrival strategies. We found trends along some interesting demographic lines about who rushes to the airport hours ahead of a flight versus those who might leisurely waltz in minutes before takeoff. Get the full report below:

Fast facts:

  • Dads love getting to the airport early. Like, really early – on average almost two hours ahead of the departure time, the highest of any demographic.
  • Leisure travelers like to get to their flights considerably earlier than business travelers. Everyone would hate to miss a flight for vacation, but for a routine business trip on the company’s dime? Not as big of a deal.
  • The older you are, the more likely it will be you prefer getting to the airport earlier.


How early do you arrive to the airport before a flight:


Overall, respondents said they like to arrive to the airport about 1.2 hours ahead of flight departure times. This is the average of all demographics and travel reasons:


GroupingHours ahead of flight
All responses1.2


There is not a substantial difference between male and female travelers and their desired arrival time ahead of a flight:


GroupingHours ahead of flight


But things get interesting when we split the groups up by parental and relationship status, with dads being the demographic that want to get to the airport the earliest ahead of their flights, at 1.9 hours on average:


GroupingHours ahead of flight
Married/Partnered, no kids1.0


Another substantial difference is found between business and leisure travel. The reasons here are likely some mix of not wanting to miss a vacation paired with being more likely to be traveling as a family, requiring extra time in the airport. Compare this to business travel, where time at the airport can be minimized, solo travel is common, and missing a flight on the company’s tab is less of an ordeal for most:


Hours ahead of flight
Leisure travel1.3
Business travel0.8


Age is another big indicator of how early someone prefers to get to the airport, with clear data in the responses that the average time we like to arrive at the airport jumps the older we are:


Grouping (age)Hours ahead of flight



  • Survey responses collected online
  • The responses were all from 1,225 US residents who self-reported that they have traveled through an airport in the past 12 months
  • Demographic data collected anonymously
  • 51% male, 46% female, 5% did not say
  • 26% 56+, 31% 35-55, 39% 18-34, 4% did not say

How early do you like to arrive at the airport before a flight? Are you the type of person that likes to run up to the gate at the last second before the plane’s doors close? Or do you prefer getting to the airport hours ahead of a flight to ensure you don’t miss your flight? Let us know in the comments below.