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July 27, 2006 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Will I make my flight?

On the Friday after Labor Day I am planning on leaving from my hotel at 5pm to make a 6:35pm flight at the San Diego Airport. Planned route. Will traffic or airport security delays cause a problem? Carrier is Southwest, ticketless travel, no checked bags, no rental car return. Also any tips on expediting the process are welcome.
posted by banshee to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Even if you hit no traffic (I wouldn't know about that route, hopefully someone else chimes in) you're still making it awfully close. You're giving yourself a little over an hour's worth of time at the airport if nothing goes wrong... but you need to be at the gates at least 20 minutes before the departure time, because they fully board and close the doors 15 minutes ahead of time (I have run into this problem before, and have had to beg to get on the flight). So you're giving yourself 45 minutes for security and pedestrian travel.

And that's if nothing goes wrong.

But honestly, I'm giving myself a similar commute in October - leaving 2 hours ahead of the flight, with an hour's commute to the airport. I will try to get an extra half hour in there if I can, but I know that I might miss the flight (the last one of the day to that destination on that carrier) if things don't go so well with public transportation.
posted by brianvan at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2006

Best answer: Make sure you check in and print out your boarding pass before you head to the airport.
posted by inigo2 at 8:29 AM on July 27, 2006

I don't know that area, so I can't say what traffic will be like or how the security line usually is, but you're definitely cutting it pretty close. I've made a flight before on that kind of a schedule, but it doesn't really leave room for anything to go wrong. So if there's any flexibility in when you can leave, it'll certainly at least be less stressful if you leave earlier.

That said, if you don't have any bags to check, one way to save a lot of time is to check in and print your boarding pass online the night before, so the only line you have to wait in is security.

You could also pay attention to the local traffic, not just on the day itself, but for a couple of weeks before, so you can get a sense of what the patterns are like. (It looks like there may not be proper online traffic info for the streets you'll be driving on, but if traffic is jammed on the neighbouring freeways, that should at least tell you something).
posted by moss at 8:31 AM on July 27, 2006

Helpful hint: Don't tell airport security you're in a hurry. Not only do they not care, it makes them wonder what you're hoping they'll miss.
posted by ferociouskitty at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2006

I don't know about the advice about not telling the TSA people you're in a hurry. I fly pretty frequently out of BOS and I'm frequently made jealous by the people being cut to the front of the line because they are running late.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2006

I routinely fly out of Albuquerque with a time schedule like this, but never on a holiday weekend.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:48 AM on July 27, 2006

Yeah, just let them know that you have a flight in X minutes and "Anything you can do to help me make it would be appreciated".
posted by FlamingBore at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2006

Best answer: You'll have plenty of time. San Diego airport is usually not crowded, and you should be able to make it from the hotel to the airport within 20 minutes or less, even at that time of day (traffic is heading out of the downtown area at that hour). I wouldn't leave much later than 5pm though, since unforeseen things could happen.
posted by witchstone at 8:58 AM on July 27, 2006

Sorry, just saw it's around Labor Day. But since it's the Friday after, not the Friday before, you should still be okay.
posted by witchstone at 8:59 AM on July 27, 2006

I don't know if it was a coincidence but the only time I've ever been running severely late, I told security and was then selected for the full security exam. It was maddening.
posted by visual mechanic at 9:06 AM on July 27, 2006

You'll be fine. I'm very familiar with San Diego and the airport there. You'll be fine.
posted by donovan at 9:07 AM on July 27, 2006

Are you parking, or getting dropped off? Either way, you should make it, with some time to spare. I'd guess it will take about 50 minutes to get from the hotel to gate (20 min driving, 20 min parking, 10 min through TSA). This should give you a 45 minutes wait for your flight. There will be traffic, and lines at TSA, but if you print out your boarding pass first, and have no checked bags, you'll be fine.
posted by blue mustard at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2006

While the tips are good ones, this is impossible to predict.
posted by agregoli at 9:39 AM on July 27, 2006

I'm frequently made jealous by the people being cut to the front of the line because they are running late.

I only see this happen at certain airports (like BWI) that are notorious for incredibly long lines at the security checkpoint. My impression is the the folks coordinating these call-outs work for the airlines or the airport, not TSA.
posted by Rash at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2006

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