I’ll arrive at the airport today about three hours before my flight.
Yes, I err on the early side, much to the occasional frustration of my wife.
In this case, however, two hours are the traditional “arrive early” instructions from the airlines, which I simply incorporate into my travel routine. The additional hour? That’s best classified as “risk management”.
For a variety of reasons I’ve started taking Lyft to the airport. It’s convenient and it costs about as much as parking would.
The problem is that I’m still not 100% comfortable with relying on someone else to get me to the airport when I absolutely positively need to be there. That the someone else is a somewhat random choice of available drivers in the area, hoping that there are enough random drivers available at exactly the time I need them is somewhat unsettling.
So I build in buffer time. Should I fail to get picked up there’s still time to drive myself.
When all works as planned, the additional hour just folds into my travel routine.
Checking bags and getting through security is rarely an issue for me, so the result is that I’m actually left with a lot of free time waiting for my flight.
I treat it like a trip to Starbucks. Sometimes that’s even literal. I turn it into time away from home and office, and use it to read, write, think, meditate, and so on. I actually find it a beneficial use of my time; it’s a part of the trip I look forward to.
I see the last minute folk racing to their gate, or even missing their flight completely, and I wonder “was it worth it?” I know, sometimes life throws you curveballs and running in at the last minute is the only recourse. On the other hand I know, and I’m sure you know, people who are chronic last-minute arrivers — waiting until the last possible minute to make their flight.
I couldn’t live like that. 🙂
Building in some away-time, some “Starbucks time”, as it were, not only acts as buffer time for all the things that can go wrong, but turns out to make what might otherwise be a stressful time just another peaceful journey.
Try it sometime.