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how long before a flight should I be at airport Heathrow?

Planning a trip is exciting, but to ensure fun and smooth travel, first, you need to arrive at the airport at a safe time! Arriving at the best time is all in your hand, all you need to have is some detailed information.      So, how long before a flight should I be at airport Heathrow? 

The thumb rule is, passengers who want to fly from Heathrow Airport should arrive at least 3 hours in advance for all flights. These 3 hours should be enough for your check-in, security check, or other necessities. To know further details, let’s fly into our article! 

Things to Check Before You Travel

There are some very important things you shouldn’t forget while flying. For example-

1. Passport & ID card

You must make sure that your passport is renewed for the date of your trip. To find out if your passport is still valid for travel, check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office(FCO) website. Just enter all of your data and scroll down to see if your passport is valid. Please remember that some countries ask for 6 months remaining time on your passport. 

2. Travel Documents 

Traveling documents include your traveling visa, boarding pass, and also your COVID test documents. Don’t forget to bring the COVID vaccination documents along with these. These are requirements for entry in some country’s entry. 

3. Medical Certificates

If you are pregnant or injured the Airline may ask you for your health conditions. For that, you have to prove your health and fitness for flying. From your doctor, get a note confirming your health. 

4. Driver’s Licenses 

If you want to drive abroad, then don’t forget to bring your driver’s license, otherwise, you won’t be able to drive, rather be a passenger princess!

5. Baggage Restrictions 

You must check the airline baggage restrictions before you fly including the size and weight of the bag. Don’t carry baggage that’s not permitted to carry on board. 

How Early Should I Get to The Airport Heathrow?

There are two kinds of flights. Domestic and International flights. For both, there are two different rules. Let’s see the arrival times now! 

Domestic Flights

For Domestic flights, the thumb rule is to arrive at least 2 hours before the departure time. This is applicable for Terminal 2-5, except Terminal 1 which is currently closed. Now, the COVID restrictions are relaxed, so the airlines suggest that domestic flight passengers arrive just 2 hours before departure. There is no need to come earlier than that. 

For domestic flights, the queues are often shorter, so you can check in online on your phone. This will save some of your time. Then, you’ll go for the baggage drop procedure and it’ll take a minimum of 20-30 minutes. After this, you’ll go to the security checkpoint and it’ll require 30 minutes! Overall, this is your sum-up time for domestic flights! 

International Flights

For international flights, you should arrive a minimum of 3-4 hours before the departure time. You need to arrive early for international flights because, on International flights, there needs to be some additional paperwork like visa, vaccination papers, permits, baggage, etc. 

The check-in and boarding pass queues of international flights are pretty long, that’s why it takes a long time to get through. Also, the destination place plays an important role in that. The airlines will let you know the safe time to arrive at the airport via your email, so if you want to stay safe, just follow their guidelines. 

There are some points you need to consider for your arrival time. Those are-

  1. On Holidays/Weekends/Peak Travel Months

You can understand in these times, the travel line will get longer than usual. Most of Christmas, Summer vacation happens. So, to stay in a safe time zone you should arrive at least 30 minutes earlier than the estimated arrival time. Like, in this peak travel season, for domestic flights you should arrive at least 2 hours 30 minutes before the departure time. 

  1. During the Pandemic

Now, pandemic rules are relaxed. But, if it hits again, the airline will have to check loads of additional paperwork at the check-in desk. That means without checked baggage, you’ll have to wait in a long line. That’s why I try to arrive a minimum of 45 minutes before the estimated time. 

  1. If You Want To Do Some Shopping

Want to spend some time shopping for souvenirs in duty-free stores? Then, add an extra 30 minutes on top. 

  1. Check-in Online

If you can check in online through your phone, it may take some of your time. Then, you won’t have to wait 20-50 minutes in the check-in queue. That’s why it’s the best idea to have check-in online. 

What Time Does Check-In Open?

Check-in desks at Heathrow Airport usually open 2 hours before your flight departure. Most airlines let you have online check-in. Choose your seat and print your boarding pass about 24 hours before your flight. So, for check-in, the line starts 2 hours before your flight. 

How Early Can You Go Through Security For A Flight?

There isn’t any exact time given for the security check of any airline. For peace of mind, you can arrive a maximum of 2-5 hours before your flight. The reason is, you can go through security only if you have checked in your baggage. Plus, the check-in desk opens only 2 hours before your flight. However, if you have only hand luggage and already printed your boarding pass, then you can go through the security line earlier.

However, If you’re worried about taxi service to reach the airport or leaving from airport you can contant Jannah Express.


Arriving at the safest time is an important thing before you travel. It relieves you from stress and unnecessary hassle. By considering your flight type, check-in time, and security check, you can effectively calculate your safe time zone. For international flights 3 hours and for domestic, it’s sufficient for 2 hours before the departure time. Bon Voyage!

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