Please Forgive Us ...

Jun 01 2018 Please Forgive Us ... BY sgf-admin TAGS AirlinesAirportsHow the Airport WorksTSA


Please forgive what we’re about to do; we need to administer some tough love.

On this, the first day of the summer travel season, we’ve got advice for everyone who flies from Springfield: arrive at this airport AT LEAST TWO HOURS before your flight’s scheduled departure time. If you get here at the last possible minute, you may get burned.

We know, you don’t want to hear it!



Small airports, like Springfield's, have their perks. Short wait times are one of them. We’re all used to it. Got an early morning flight? You can sleep late, get to the airport 40 minutes before departure, whiz through security in less than 10 minutes, walk to the gate, board, and BOOM!

So here’s the deal — those days are over. The lines are longer and so are the wait times.

For years we’ve told people to arrive at least 90 minutes before departure. If something goes awry, like a broken piece of security screening equipment, you need that much time. Our advice is mostly ignored. And now we're asking you to get here even earlier — please don’t ignore us.

The first four months of the year were the busiest in airport history. In May, nearly all flights were at least 96% full, or oversold. So far this year passenger numbers are up 9.3%. We expect more than 1-million passengers this year — an all-time record. That’s good news, but with growth comes pain.

We're adjusting for the increase in passengers: airlines have increased staff. The Transportation Security Administration has added staff and adjusted schedules at the security checkpoint. But most passengers? They still show up at the last minute, fully expecting to wait less than ten minutes. They’re shocked when they discover a 20+ minute wait at the checkpoint. But that’s what you get when most people show up at the last minute.

Check out this portion of an email we got last week …

“… I approached the security line, which had literally 60 more people in it than I had ever seen.  Historically, I consider the line "long" if there are 10 people in it. I had not anticipated this many people in line and did not allow >30 minutes extra to stand in the security line - my flight was starting to board … I spent 30 minutes in the security line!!”

She missed her flight.

We sympathize, but we’re going to tell you what we told her: YOU NEED TO GET TO THE AIRPORT TWO HOURS BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED DEPARTURE.

Everyone here at the airport always strives to make things more efficient, but staffing levels can’t be increased to keep wait times at less than 10 minutes. At many airports 20 to 30 minutes is the norm; 10 minutes is a luxury. Unfortunately, it’s a luxury we’ve grown accustomed to, and now we're outgrowing.

Thank you for reading this and please forgive the lecture.


4 Comment(s)  


I agree you should arrive at the airport at least 1 1/2 hours early. Have all of your paperwork and boarding info (cell phone) ready at check in. The line was empty when I arrived. Four young people entered the line just in front of me. I don't know what the problem was but it took a good 20 minutes to get them checked in. There was only one employee at the desk. By the time they were finally checked in there were 11 people behind me to check in. At the security check there were two people in front on me and everything moved quickly. I applaud Springfield for the cleanliness of the airport and the check in process. The only thing is if there are passengers are piling up because of an issue with another passenger at the front of the line, they need to have a back up employee at check in. 

Does this mean that the ticket counters now open at 4 am instead of 4:30 am? Thank you.  

Arriving 2 hours early is a lovely idea until you consider that for the batch of flights departing between 6-630 am, the check in counters aren’t open 2 hours ahead of time, and that’s frequently the busiest time at the airport.

Airline management had told us that ticket counters will be open two hours before departure.

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