February 25, 2015 3:03 PM   Subscribe

On Friday evening at 8pm I have a flight at LaGuardia. I will be coming from the Lower East Side. What time should I leave LES to make my 8pm flight? no bags to check.
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
I live on 3rd St in the East Village, so a few blocks from the LES. I don't check bags, and when I take a car to LGA, I try to leave around two hours before my flight. Sometimes I make it to LGA in under 20 minutes. Sometimes it takes over an hour.

My concern in this case is the time of day. Two hours prior has you leaving at 6pm on Friday. It sucks, because if you leave at 5pm, you'll likely get to LGA in less than a half hour and sit in the airport forever. If you leave at 6pm, it's possible you'll get to LGA in over an hour and depending on security, missing your flight.

Split the difference and make it 5:30?
posted by AaRdVarK at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

You need to be at the airport at 6:00 PM. Fridays are horrible for flights home for the road warriors so security will be PACKED! If you're taking a cab, I'd leave at 4:00, just to be on the safe side. This should give you plenty of time to buffer for traffic or other delays. If you get there early, AWESOME, grab a bite, have a beer, read a book.

It's risk management. What's worse spending an hour or so at the airport, or missing your flight because you cut it too close?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:17 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Crucial information I left out: I have TSA PreCheck, so my security line situation is different than yours if you don't have it.
posted by AaRdVarK at 3:20 PM on February 25, 2015

2 hours for security???
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 3:24 PM on February 25, 2015

Twenty minutes in an ideal world, but Friday evening is not an ideal world. I'd expect it to take 45 minutes, and definitely pad that with an hour and a half or two for security issues. Leaving at 5 should be fine, but I wouldn't go later. Cabs switch shifts between (roughly) 4:00 and 5:00 so you may have trouble finding a cab any earlier than 4:30 .
posted by Mchelly at 3:26 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

If I were you and wanted to avoid Manhattan traffic I'd get the F train to Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave and then the Q70 LTD bus to La Guardia. Allow 1hr 15 mins for that journey, plus a good hour to get through security, just in case.

Waiting at La Guardia sucks donkey balls but I'm one of those people who'd rather sit reading at the gate for an hour because I got there too early than leave too little time.
posted by essexjan at 3:26 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I never ever leave two full hours for security - more like an hour. I guess it comes down to a question of what are the consequences if you miss the flight? If you end up on standby for another hour or two until the next shuttle to [major american city], it's no big deal; if you miss the only flight to [exotic location] for two days, that's different.

I have no hints for travel from LES to LGA though, sorry!
posted by mskyle at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd leave at 4:30, but I am super anal and would rather be sitting next to my gate than on the FDR.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can see TSA security check wait times live here: https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/wait_times_detail.aspx

Friday night is usually a peak time as contractors fly home for the weekend.
posted by GuyZero at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

Of all the days, Friday is the worst for traffic in and out of NYC (source: multiple cab drivers).

I would leave at 5:00 and bring a book.
posted by girl flaneur at 4:12 PM on February 25, 2015

2 hours for security???

Yup. On a Friday evening? You betcha.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:30 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you take a cab, watch out for shift change. Book a car service instead.
posted by thirdletter at 4:58 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I used to leave work at 5pm on the Upper East Side, get on the 6 at 79th Street, transfer to the M60 LTD at 125th St, and juuuuuust make it for a 7pm flight. It honestly wasn't much faster by cab. So there's a data point.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 5:51 PM on February 25, 2015

There always seems to be a split between one-hour people and two-hour people, in terms of timing your arrival to the airport. I've always split the difference: I'm a 90-minute person.

You could probably get away with 5:30, though I think you should bank on some extra time due to traffic both on the roads and at the airport on a Friday evening. I'd probably leave at 5:15, maybe 5 if I was really tetchy about the whole thing. Bring some good reading material if you wind up getting to the gate early.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:53 PM on February 25, 2015

I would check in from home, leave at 6pm, take the FDR to the Triborough then get on line. Your flight will not leave on time and you will get through security in 30-40 minutes. An 8pm flight is late for the road warriors. Most get going at 3 or 4. I have logged hundreds of flights and have only missed one and that was in 1980 and involved a girl, copious amounts of alcohol and probably a subconscious desire to stay another night. But, I think it is like someone pointed out up thread; this is purely a function of your tolerance for risk and the consequences of missing the flight.
posted by 724A at 9:32 PM on February 25, 2015

I left the city by taxi at 5pm and made it to LGA by 5:45. Security line took 5 minutes (!) and then my flight was delayed. Ended up waiting at the airport for 2.5 hours.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 9:51 AM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

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