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I have never been on a plane before and I am traveling from Orlando to Bogota, in a few months and i have to take a train which should get me to Orlando around 10 and my flight leaves at 1. Its a 30-40 minute drive to the airport and i only need 1 carry on bag. So worst case, i get there with 2 hours exactly. How long do i have to get everything done and should i be worried? Is 2 hours enough time to finish everything?

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There are countless variables that will affect how long it takes to get through an airport, ranging from the time to day to what (if any) status you have with the airline, to whether you get given PreCheck access on that day.

However given that you only have carry-on bags, you will most likely be able to check-in relatively quickly - probably either online or at a kiosk (again, depends on your airline!)

US airports do not have any form of (physical) exit immigration, so the only real wait you'll have will be to get through security, which even on a bad day shouldn't take more than half an hour (probably well less)

So yes, 2 hours is plenty of time to do this. Even if you did have bags to check 2 hours would almost certainly be plenty of time.

Of course, that is presuming that your train isn't delayed, and that traffic isn't particularly bad on the drive to the airport, etc...

From a planning perspective, keep in mind that for an International flight there is a legal requirement to check in at least 60 minutes before departure. If the airline allows it, I would suggest checking-in online just to remove this as being a potential issue in case you are running a little late.

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    You forgot to mention that he should be at the gate about 30 minutes before take off. Still two hours are plenty. – ugoren Nov 11 '17 at 9:47
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Almost anywhere in the world 2 hours in enough. The usual suggestion is to come 3 hours in before an international flight is a recommendation but most tickets actually say that you need to be there 90 minutes ahead. Even so, I have made it with much less time in many countries.

The first thing to speed things up is for you to do your online checkin. You have no bags to check so it is mostly likely that you will be able to print your own boarding pass.

Orlando airport is not so large and I would expect that you would have plenty of time left even if you arrive just 90 minutes before. If your flight is not direct and goes through a domestic destination first, you need even less time.

There are a few times when an unusual circumstance caused an airport I was at to be unusually busy. In this case I always still made the flight by pointing out to the staff that I was in a rush due to my own departing flight being sooner than other people waiting and I was moved ahead. In other words, even if you are actually getting late, the staff is there to help you out.

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While I would have no qualms about getting to the airport 2 hours from flight time for a domestic flight I would not recommend it in your case as you're not used to the system. Airports are big and can be confusing to the uninitiated. Doing something like going through the wrong security checkpoint could delay you enough to miss your flight.

  • A strong up vote here. Seasoned travellers would probably be very comfortable with this. I have made international flights in much less time than that frequently. However, these are people very familiar with the procedures of airports; it could be quite different for someone new to it. It would be easy to get lost or make another simple mistake that lost you a lot of time. You have said nothing your nationality or visas. Have you checked? Ensure that your paperwork is in order. Also, check the rules on permitted items in your luggage to avoid another potential delay. – badjohn Nov 11 '17 at 9:56
  • @badjohn A simple incident to illustrate the problem: My wife asked an airport worker for directions--oops, that caused an extra trip through security. She had plenty of time so it didn't matter but that probably cost her 30 minutes from failing to note a non-obvious (temporary) sign. – Loren Pechtel Nov 12 '17 at 1:00
  • Yes, even an experienced traveller can easily make a mistake that wastes a lot of time. I was at the gate in Atlanta once waiting for my flight to Manchester UK. A soldier in uniform asked whether this was the right gate for Manchester. I said: "Yes but maybe not the Manchester you want". He wanted New Hampshire, he had to run a long way very quickly; a but of unplanned extra training. – badjohn Nov 12 '17 at 9:08
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Normally, I'd say 2 hours is plenty, but I just stumbled upon an article on wesh.com from July this year, saying that:

JetBlue officials are telling passengers that plan to travel out of Orlando International Airport in the next eight months to arrive at the airport three hours early.

Airline officials say the recommendation is being made due to construction on the tram system that shuttles passengers to gates 1-29.

Throughout the construction period, a single train will remain operational to shuttle customers between the terminal and gate area.

Construction on the $90 million project to replace trains that service gates 1 through 59 has caused at least six tram outages since mid-April.

“We recommend arriving at the airport three hours prior to your flight departure, and please be sure to check the status of your flight online or via the JetBlue app prior to arriving at the airport,” the website for JetBlue reads.

You can find the same information on the website of the airport including a list of impacted airlines. Avianca is also mentioned which is the second airline offering direct flights from MCO to BOG. (But of course they might also leave from different gates, too.)

But at least today, according to flightstats.com, the flights of both airlines left from the affected gates. The Avianca flight left from gate 28 and the Jet Blue flight left from gate 5.

So you should be prepared for needing more time inside the airport since your flight might leave from an affected gate to which the airport tram is not running very often. Or you are lucky and the construction work is already finished when you're flying to Bogotá.

Interestingly, JetBlue recommends on their website that you should arrive for flights to Bogotá even four hours before departure.

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    They all recommend that, but it's pretty much BS. I am flying out of MCO every month, and the tram is no issue. If you know your way, you can be through in 30 mins; without TSA-Pre maybe worst case an hour. Unless it's Thanksgiving, and everybody and his aunt are travelling; then you need more than three hours. – Aganju Nov 11 '17 at 0:39

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