Here I am.
At the airport.
3 hours before boarding time.
Why would I be here so early to the airport? I get that question all the time. My reason is way more calculated than just my fear of ruining my perfect streak of never missing a flight. Here are the main reasons why I go to the airport as early as possible while traveling.
People are nicer.
People in the service industry are nicer in the morning. This means I get a refreshed person at the hotel checkout, the bellhop, the valet, the TSA agent, the barista. That type of attitude is a great way to start the day: all while beating the rush!
The great unknown of the TSA Security Line.
I take pride in my super-efficiency through the security line. I know the protocol, I minimize the potential hangups, and I never exceed the right amount of gels and liquids. But the great unknown is always the grandma that hasn’t flown for 30 years in front of you. Or the guy who tries to walk through with a big belt buckle or a huge bottled water. Minor nuisance when there’s under 30 people in line. But like highway congestion, having 20 people tap the breaks a mile ahead can bring you to a complete standstill 200 people back. I don’t like nervously checking my watch while being in line and admit it, you don’t either.
You can work more effectively.
I get tons of work done during these times. Especially in airports like this one (SLC) that have pretty good free wifi and tons of power outlets available. Being at at the gate super early has all the benefits of my home office: CNN playing in the background, green tea at my side, nice sunset through the windows, and no one around me for hours.
I should be working anyway
Even though it’s 6:00AM here, my awesome co-workers are at work back home. In an effort to minimize jetlag I have been trying to eat and sleep in my home timezone as much as possible. Getting here early and online means I can touch base with my team and get work done.
You can sometimes get an earlier flight home.
This has happened to me more than once and it is awesome. If it means paying $25 to get home 3 hours early I will do it every time.
My technique is not for everyone. But it’s perfect for me. I don’t get this luxury when traveling with my family and I cherish every moment when traveling by myself. And oh by the way, I’ve flown over 500 flights and have never, ever, missed a flight. How about you?