How Early Do You Have to Get Up for Your Flight?

I always cringe when I hear horror stories about how long people have to wait at airports, or how early they have to leave to get to the airport. We have been in Medellin Colombia for a few days, writing an article for the GoNOMAD travel site about this revitalized and misunderstood city.

We traveled with a group of journalists mostly from South America. Our last night here we enjoyed a farewell dinner and most of them headed off to bed. They had to be in the lobby, packed and ready, at 3:30 am!

That is because in Colombia you have to arrive for a departing international flight a full THREE HOURS before departure. So when you factor in the drive up, up, up the steep mountain road to Rio Negro where the big airport is for this city of 4 million, well that means a 3 am wake-up call.

And part of going through security here in Colombia is a full on, no-holes-barred search of everything, both your carry-ons and your checked luggage. It takes so long because they open every suitcase, hold up every shirt, inspect so carefully that the line is very, very slow.

Our trip has some of this inconvenience. We fly into Miami leaving here at 8 am and get to Florida about 11 am. Our connecting flight to Hartford doesn’t leave until about 11 pm! So we have a ridiculous layover, and thank god we have a friend in Miami who can come pick us up.

We had the same situation in Los Angeles with a 12-hour layover. We solved this problem by taxiing to the Holiday Inn, where for about $90 we got a room for eight hours with WiFi and sat by the pool until it was time to go back to LAX for our late night flight home.