There are really only two types of airline passengers in this world: those who race to their gate just in time for the last boarding call and those who diligently arrive at the gate an entire 2 hours before departure. But what may work for you at some airports may not work for some of the busier hubs around the world. As the 19th busiest airport in the country, Ft. Lauderdale has notoriously long security wait times. If you’re planning a trip out of Florida anytime soon, we recommend adhering to the below guidelines.

What time should I get to FLL for a domestic flight?

TSA highly recommends arriving at Fort Lauderdale airport at least two hours before your departure time. This should allow ample time for FLL parking (or shuttle services), check-in, and clearing security. If this is your first time to this airport, or if you are flying out of Fort Lauderdale on the weekend or at peak times (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), you may want to give yourself another 30-60 minutes of wiggle room; the airport is large and may be difficult to navigate for first-timers, and there will undoubtedly be longer security waits during peak times.

We know that waiting around an airport for hours on end is a special form of misery, but it’s always smarter to err on the side of caution and give yourself more time than less so you don’t miss your flight. 

How early should I get to FLL for an international flight?

When it comes to international flights out of Fort Lauderdale, give yourself no less than 3 hours to work your way through the airport’s various checkpoints. When double-checking times, always adhere to the TSA recommended guidelines and not the airline’s suggestions. TSA prefers that things run smoothly, whereas airlines could benefit if you miss your flight based on their timetable.

Arriving early also allows you to navigate the airport unhurried and avoid the stress of last-minute rushes. Don’t forget to factor in travel time from your origin point to FLL, along with any additional security checks specific to your destination country. 

When should I check my bags at Fort Lauderdale?

If you have bags to check, you’ll have to be at the check-in desk no later than 45 minutes prior to departure. If you arrive after that time, you’ll need to haul your bags with you until you can check them at the gate. Should you get there remarkably early, you may check your bags up to 4 hours before boarding so you can enjoy a leisurely lunch or shopping trip without being encumbered by your luggage.

What time does the security checkpoint (TSA) at FLL officially open?

TSA checkpoints typically open around 4:30 a.m, with some opening as early as 4 a.m. for oddly-scheduled flights. While security gates generally shut down completely at midnight, the airport remains open for those who have red-eye flights or need to stay in the airport due to delays or layovers.

Time for Food, Shopping, and Relaxation at FLL

Arriving at a reasonable time gives you time to unwind. Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) boasts more than just efficient security. Once you’ve cleared the checkpoint, relax and enhance your travel experience. Explore a diverse selection of restaurants offering everything from quick bites to sit-down meals.

Browse unique shops for souvenirs or last-minute travel essentials. For a touch of pre-flight tranquillity, visit massage stations or designated relaxation zones. By factoring in this time when planning your arrival at FLL, you can transform your airport layover into a stress-free and enjoyable prelude to your journey

Only you get to decide how early to get to FLL airport, and hopefully we’ve given you enough information to catch your flight without having to wait at the airport for hours! If you’re driving to the airport, get the lowdown on parking at FLL.