When Does The Gate Close For International Flights?

You finally went through all the preliminary procedures before your flight only to find out you arrive a minute too late and the boarding gates have closed! What can you do? We have researched airline protocols as to when the gates finally close and boarding is no longer allowed. 

The gates for international flights close depending on the specific airline, but generally, the 10-minute rule is observed by almost all companies. Come early and give yourself ample time before the boarding allowance elapses.

Airline companies adhere to a schedule that would maximize their in-flight status and reduce ground time. The turnaround includes closing the gates promptly to avoid delays and accomplish the process within the appropriate time. Keep reading to learn more about how airlines determine gate closure times and what you can do to arrive promptly.

airport gate - When Does The Gate Close For International Flights

The 10-Minute Rule For Airline Gates

Airport Terminal Gate

There is no consistent rule that pertains to the specific time that a gate closes for international flights. The regulation varies depending on the airline, the crew, and the flight you are in.

The 10-minute rule is observed by almost all air companies, however, some airlines specify the definite time. You can actually check their website for the information.

For instance, American Airlines will begin boarding 30 to 50 minutes prior to the scheduled departure, and will actually close the gate 15 minutes before takeoff. If you are not on board, the crew can offer your seat to chance passengers.

Reasons Why Airline Gates Close Early

Airport operations are linked with the reasons why gates close minutes before the boarding time ends. Both the airlines and passengers benefit from the entire process that aims to adhere to a specified time frame.

1. Turnaround Time (TAT)

Busy airport view with airplanes and service vehicles at sunset. London airport with aircrafts at gates and taking off, trucks all around and sun setting on background. Travel and industry concepts

It may have come to your attention that the plane that just arrived will be the same aircraft to the new set of passengers that will board a new flight.

Aircraft work by following a specific timetable to ensure punctuality and to prevent situations that might affect the schedule. An airplane’s turnaround time (TAT) pertains to the allowable time in between landing and takeoff.

While planes are stationed on the ground, airport crew and personnel ensure that the cabin is clean, and the aircraft is prepared for the next flight. Afterward, the passengers will begin to board.

Airlines are particular when it comes to the boarding allowance because it certainly affects the turnaround time. Gates close early to keep up with the schedule and to lessen the TAT.

2. Airport Fees

Since the airport is owned by the government, airlines lease the property and are required to pay taxes and fees for operation and maintenance.

Airlines actually have to pay for landing at a particular airport. The overall cost depends on the type and weight of the aircraft. Leasing the facilities such as the tarmac and the gates also add to their expenditures.

Other than this, there are specific personnel who are involved in inspecting and maintaining an airplane during the turnaround time. The company shoulders the salaries and compensations of the crew.

As much as possible all airlines want to minimize airport time since every minute that an aircraft stay on airport grounds, the less revenue it generates and the more cost it incurs.

3. Avoid Delay

stack of traveling luggage in airport terminal and passenger plane flying over sky

The boarding timeframe is strictly followed to avoid lengthy aircraft turnaround times, and flight delays. Early boarding gives the passengers ample time to find their seats, store baggage, and settle in.

Tips For Traveling Internationally

Here are some tips that will help you be on time for your flight and boarding allowance:

Always Come Early

It is actually common practice to be at your terminal hours before the flight because the airport might be actually bigger than expected. The airport process usually takes longer for international flights because travelers are required to go through customs and immigration.

Not to mention the long lines at the check-in counter and security checkpoint. Once inside, you still have to look for your specific gate.

Always come early to avoid rushing through the airport process only to find out that the gate has already close.

Travel Light

Traveling light has its various perks since traversing the airport grounds with a number of trolleys can be a hassle, let alone the rent each cart will cost you. Pack what is essential and breeze your way through security check.

Do not forget to follow TSA guidelines when preparing for the trip!

Check-In Online

Close Up Photo of a man hands using Laptop Computer and Credit Card for Making Online Reservation or to Pay Taxes or Fee while Waiting at the Airport Terminal

To save valuable time, practice checking-in electronically. It gives you the advantage of avoiding queuing in long lines at the check-in desk. Do not forget to print your boarding pass to make the airport process smoother.

If you are traveling with only a carry on, you can directly go to security. However, if you have luggage pieces, look for a sign that says ‘bag drop only’. The attendant will take your checked baggage and put them on a conveyor to the plane. The line is considerably shorter than at the check-in counter.

Keep Your Documents Handy

Airport security and personnel will request to see your travel documents – passports, visa, boarding pass, and Real ID or State ID – during the entire airport, process to validate your credentials and your flight.

You may want to keep your papers in your purse or personal bag for easy access.

How Many Hours Before International Flight Does Check In Close?

The check in for international flights closes one hour prior to departure (although this may vary depending on the air company and travel destination). This is especially true during long-haul flights. 

Every minute is valuable to all airlines. Closing the check in counter an hour less may cause a delay in the aircraft's turnaround time. 

Luggage pieces have to be sorted out and transferred to the plane immediately after it lands so long as they are placed on the cargo hold of the same aircraft.

Senior man wearing a protective mask against Covid 19 in a train station checking the time

What Is The Process In Airport For International Flights?

The entire process of airline travel entails checking in, and going through security, immigration, and customs. 

Check In

Passengers for international flights have to follow and go through airport protocols. But first, you have the option to check in online a day prior to your flight. By doing so, you will not have to queue at the check in desk at the terminal.

It is common practice to arrive at the airport three hours or more before the flight because going through the process can take some time. If you did not check in electronically, go to the counter and present your travel documents. 

The staff will have to validate your credentials, weigh your luggage pieces, and print your boarding pass. If you did checked in electronically, it is not necessary for you to go to the counter. Look for the bag drop area, airport personnel will take your bags and transfer it onto the plane. 

Proceed To Security Checkpoint

Once finished, you can now proceed to the security checkpoint. Remember to keep your travel papers handy because airport personnel may request to see your documents.

Place your carry on and personal bag along with your jacket, rings, and other metal items on separate trays then proceed to the metal detector. It is an airport regulation for bags and belongings to go through an x-ray machine for security purposes. 

Go Through Customs And Immigration

Afterward, you will have to undergo the second screening process - customs and immigration. Security personnel will question you about the specifics of your travels. You don't have to be intimidated since the procedure is only done to validate your identity.

If you are leaving the country, you may want to register your valuables (gold earrings, a Rolex watch, and other similar items) as proof that you already own the materials before you fly to another country. This will exempt you from paying taxes upon return.

Find Your Gate

airport gate

You may find your gate number on the flight monitors found around the airport. Once you have located your specific gate, stay in the waiting area. If you have plenty of time to spare, you could look for something to eat or do some shopping.

In Closing

The gate closes minutes before departure that's why it is advisable to come early. We hope the article provided you with information and helped you be on time. Enjoy your trip!

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