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I just discovered that JetBlue has a list of international check-in times on their website, by which they mean at what time people should arrive at the airport for departures to various international destinations:

When traveling from any of our international destinations to the United States, we suggest you arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your scheduled departure. Recommended check-in times for each international destination are listed below. Please note: the recommended check-in time for travel to Cuba is 4 hours.

[...]

International location/airport Check-in time*

Aruba (AUA) 3 hours

Bermuda (BDA) 2 1/2 hours

Bogota (BOG) 4 hours

Camagüey (CMW) 4 hours

Cancun (CUN) 3 hours

[...]

*Check-in Time refers to the hours before scheduled departure Customers should arrive at the airport

Why do these times differ between different destinations? For which step between "arriving at the airport" and "boarding the flight" does a passenger to Bogotá need longer than a passenger to Bermuda? (I just picked a random pair where these times differ, I'm more interested in the general reason why these times are not all the same.) Or is it that their luggage needs longer? How are these times calculated?

JetBlue calls these times recommended: What happens if I arrive at the airport later? Might they deny taking my suitcase? Will they deny me boarding? What factors do influence whether arriving later is ok or a bad idea (I guess that's related to the questions in the first paragraph.)?

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You have misread the linked page:

When traveling from any of our international destinations to the United States...

(emphasis added)

But you have misunderstood this:

by which they mean at what time people should arrive at the airport for departures to various international destinations

(emphasis added)

Given your misunderstanding, it is natural that you ask

For which step between "arriving at the airport" and "boarding the flight" does a passenger to Bogotá need longer than a passenger to Bermuda?

But by now, it should be clear to you that the answer is "for any and all of them, because the check-in times are for passengers flying from different airports."

What happens if I arrive at the airport later?

You increase the risk of missing your flight, perhaps because of long lines at the check-in counter, security screening, or passport check.

Might they deny taking my suitcase?

Yes, at some point, they will close check-in. There may be a point where they close check-in for checked luggage but will accept travelers with only cabin bags.

What factors do influence whether arriving later is ok or a bad idea?

There are many factors. Time of day is a big one because lines are generally shorter at certain times depending on the airport's schedule. If you have flown from a given airport before, you are more likely to have a sense of how seriously to take their recommendation. For a new airport, it's probably a good idea, for the sake of caution, to take it very seriously.

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    Oh, wow, how did this happen? Thanks. – martin.koeberl Nov 11 '17 at 6:05

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