How to never miss your flight

I recently was inspired by my wife (who often inspires me).

Unfortunately, this inspiration took place during a frantic phone call as she was stuck on the highway, 20 minutes before her plane’s scheduled departure. This flight was the only one that would have enabled her to make it in time for a business meeting.

“What do I do?” she asked.

“Call the airline,” I responded.

“What are they going to do for me?”

“Forget it — call your company’s travel agent and make sure they cancel the ticket. You are not going to make your flight. Ask them what your options are.”

Based on the fact that the door to her plane would be closing in 10 minutes and that she still was about 15 minutes away from the airport, she had but one option — to turn around and head home.

I was shocked to have heard from her, considering that she had left the house at 6:30 a.m. for an 8:50 a.m. flight. I always allow 75 minutes for a drive to the airport (45 minutes without traffic). It turns out that a truck had lost its load of sheet metal, and debris had been scattered all over the Interstate. That left her just short of the airport after about two hours of driving.

I asked if she had consulted one of many navigational apps on her smartphone or had listened to the traffic report on the radio. She responded that she hadn’t. I gently reminded her that she had plenty of options to reroute herself and to make her flight.

There is no excuse for her, or for anyone else, to miss a flight. Just follow a simple regimen for your airport travel.

How early is early?

It’s never too early to leave for the airport. My maximum drive time of 75 minutes to the airport may not be enough if there’s a catastrophic accident that disrupts traffic. But there are ways to reroute yourself, which I will get into shortly. The airlines suggest to get to the airport about two hours before your domestic flight or three hours before your international one. That doesn’t mean it will take 90 minutes to go through security and get you to the gate in time to board. It means they want you to allow plenty of time to get there and not have to rush through check-in and security. What was the longest it ever took you to get to the airport? Use that as your permanent drive time.

But what if I get to the airport too early?

There are plenty of ways to spend your extra time at the airport.

  • Get pampered. Spoil yourself, or just relax at one of many XpresSpas around the country.
  • Have a snooze. Book yourself a short stay at an airport Minute Suite.
  • Get in your workout. lists the world’s best airport gyms, and offers an interactive map of gyms in or near airports.
  • Shop around. Airports are becoming among the best places to shop. Top retail brands constantly are opening satellite locations that cater to people with lots of time on their hands. And Condé Nast Traveler recently reported that airport retailers are attempting to cater to travelers who don’t want to stray far from their gates. Many airports guarantee that their stores will not price their items higher than non-airport locations.

Of course, you can just avoid the airport altogether. I recently traveled from Ottawa to Toronto, and, while most of my colleagues were flying, I opted for Business Class on a VIA Rail train. The advantages were many — no airport security, full use of electronics (especially Wi-Fi) throughout my journey (during which I wrote some of this article), and embarkation and debarkation downtown. I also enjoyed viewing the beautiful Canadian countryside.

In Business Class, I enjoyed a hot meal, open bar and a relaxing work station for less than the price of an airline ticket. While the flight would have lasted about an hour and the train ride took about four and a half hours, I avoided leaving earlier for the airport (saving about 20 minutes), airport security (another 10-15 minutes), baggage claim (another 15 minutes or so), and a trip downtown at my destination (about 30 minutes). When you calculate the added time of my train trip, the difference isn’t as extreme as you might have thought. And there was much less chance of me missing my train than missing my flight.

You can do something similar in the States by taking Amtrak between cities, avoiding all of the hassles listed above and arriving at your destination more refreshed than if you had journeyed at 35,000 feet above sea level.

But what if you’re on the road to the airport and the unexpected happens? Assume nothing! Even though I’ve allotted 75 minutes for my usual 45 minutes on the road, I always consult the traffic reports on my local news radio station and plug my airport destination into my navigation app.

While Google Maps and Apple Maps are ubiquitous, depending on your phone’s operating system, I also consult the Waze app. The advantage of Waze (which also is owned by Google) is that it combines mapmaking and navigation with social media to create an interactive route for your journey. Users can submit everything from pothole locations to police sightings, and, of course, traffic reports. And if there’s an overturned truck keeping you from making it to the airport, each of the aforementioned apps will reroute you around the trouble.

While some of these procedures may seem redundant, what’s a little more work when it comes to making sure you get to the airport on time?

I wish you many problem-free trips to the airport.

Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.