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Our flight is to depart from Guadalajara Airport at 7:03 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.  We are flying to Atlanta, Ga.  What time should we arrive at the airport to clear customs and to do everything needed to board the plane?

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Check your flight provider's website, some require 2, 3 or 4 hours prior to departure for international flights.   This if from the Delta Airlines site:

Security Check-in Requirements for International Travel To/From Non-U.S. Cities

The recommended arrival time at the airport prior to departure of international flights is 3 hours. When traveling to/from a destination outside the United States, you must be checked in at least 60 minutes before your scheduled departure time and it is required that originating passengers be at the gate and ready to board at least 45 minutes before your scheduled departure time. This minimum requirement applies to all customers checking-in, with or without baggage. Customers who fail to complete the check-in procedures by these deadlines will not be able to travel on desired flights and change fees may apply.

 

It's pretty dark going to the airport at before sunrise and if it's raining it could slow the drive down ... factors to consider.

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My personal experience is that I've never, not once, required more than 15 minutes to check-in and go through security for the dozen international flights I've made back to the States. You won't be going through customs until you arrive in Atlanta, so the only thing you have to worry about is passing through security in Guadalajara. And, as you don't need to take your shoes or coat off (and there's never much of a line), this has never taken me more than five minutes to go through. It could depend more on which airline you're flying and how long the wait is to check your luggage. Aeromexico, for example, always seems to have a long line and, ironically, it's only been domestic flights which have made me wish I had gotten to the airport earlier.

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Back to the original question. If you are there at 5am you should have plenty of time including getting a Starbucks up near the gates. If you have a temporal or permanent visa you should stop at the immigration desk to fill out an FMM. If you are leaving on a tourist visa you will not need to do this, you can go directly to your airline's ticket counter.

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Security can be long regardless of what is said above, lines at the desk can be long, so allow at least 1 1/2 hours to 2 and you will be fine.

 

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Early morning is a very busy time at the airport. In March of this year, I waited in the Volaris baggage line for almost an hour to check my luggage and show my boarding pass for a flight to the States. I would suggest a minimum of two hour arrival before departure.

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1 hour ago, Al Berca said:

Early morning is a very busy time at the airport. In March of this year, I waited in the Volaris baggage line for almost an hour to check my luggage and show my boarding pass for a flight to the States. I would suggest a minimum of two hour arrival before departure.

I agree.  We have flown out of Guadalajara dozens of times and it has never taken less than a hour plus from the time we get to the airport until we are through getting the immigration card stamped at the Immigration window by the international arrivals door (last time there was a line up), checking in and going through security, before we got to the gate. And some airlines may refuse to check you in if you are not there 2 hours before departure; this has happened to friends.  So it is better to be safe than sorry!

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School is out so leave yourself a full 2 hours, no less. More if you can stand to get up that early.  If you are lucky you will breeze through and have time for coffee or breakfast. If you really have bad luck you will get the holiday crowd with a thousand bags and kids to check in. In this scenario you will barely make your flight with a 2 hour lead time. Whoever said 15minutes never had to check bags during summer vacation. If you can, go to your airlines website and check in on line. This will save you time and, if you succeed, you should only have to look for the baggage drop line up (documentacion de equipage) instead of the check in desk.

Also, if Gdl airport is your Mexico departure point, don't forget you will also have to pass immigration (BRING YOUR ENTRY VISA AND A PEN, along with your airline ticket and passport). You can do this before or after you check your bags. If the airline line up looks long, do that one first. If you are 2 traveling, have one wait in line while the other goes to immigration (located beside international arrivals on the north  or right side of the airport facing the entry doors from parking).

Good luck and enjoy your trip. You will have a more enjoyable and stress free experience if you give yourself plenty of time. A cup of Starbucks coffee or breakfast at one of the many restaurants open at that hour in the airport is the alternative if you have a quick check in period. Not a bad idea considering the food they serve on board the airlines these days. I still shudder at the bacon sandwich they call breakfast on British Airways....

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Some airlines will not give you a boarding pass until you have had your FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple) filled in and stamped by immigration. Happened to us twice, so now we always deal with that first before going to the airline check-in counter. And yes, you can always get a coffee or something once you are through security etc.  

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Public school

5 hours ago, Semalu said:

School is out so leave yourself a full 2 hours, no less. More if you can stand to get up that early.  If you are lucky you will breeze through and have time for coffee or breakfast. If you really have bad luck you will get the holiday crowd with a thousand bags and kids to check in. In this scenario you will barely make your flight with a 2 hour lead time. Whoever said 15minutes never had to check bags during summer vacation.

 In Mexico summer vacation is always from July 15th until August 18th. 2 weeks more until school is out here.

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Some schools are out.  I am talking about pepas.. I was at the graduaton ceremony last wek end and the kids pepa and not prea lef yesterday fro Vera Cruz. The bulk of it is a little later but there are plenty of families leaving with kids before the 15. I agree I would expct the flights to be crowded.

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I fly fairly often from GDL to various locales, both inside and outside of Mexico. Minimum 2.5 hours is the time I allot for waiting in line, passport control, security, etc. 

Usually the lines are trailing from the checkin desks all the way outside. The clerks are incredibly slow, often only one or two actually working while the others seem to be occupied walking around, etc.

Many people are traveling in large family groups, each one with the maximum amount of luggage, and sometimes including one or two elderly and frail folks in wheelchairs who require total assistance in everything.

Often travelers get to the counter and weigh the bags, only to find the bags to be overweight, which then necessitates a reorganization of luggage, all the while others are behind them in line watching the time tick by.

If possible, find a place in line and have a travel partner stay there, while you go to the immigration office. Then switch places.

For future travel, ask the clerk at immigration for extra forms and then you can have them filled out when you get to the airport and speed that process up, at least.

Good luck. Gather your patience and stamina and get ready for a long line. If you do manage to get a short line and have a long wait inside the airport, there are plenty of places to have breakfast, coffee, shop and decent seats. 

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Ain't flying fun these days?

Go early and take a book to read.  Lot's of nice shops to browse.  GDL is a pretty nice airport.  Two hours minimum.

 

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We take that Delta flight 6 or more time a year...we have our cab driver pick us up at 5AM.arrive at the airport about 5:30 have our FMM filled out, we are RP's, so go directly to INM window and have them stamped, then to the Delta check in, off to the long line for security and then the gate or Aero mex club..Never an issue, worst case we are slow getting thru the scanner line as it is really long and we wind up going directly to gate and onto plane or bus out to plane..The Delta folks make sure all who checked in at the counter are accommodated before closing the plane doors, some times the flight is delayed at the gate 10-20 minutes while they round up the stragglers. Have the taxi pick you up

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What documents do you need if you're flying within Mexico? Say flying to Tiajuana? Do you still need a passport or your FMM filled out? Or just an ID card and ticket?

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You will need your visa and ticket to fly, but you should carry your passport when traveling out of your home area.

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As a foreigner your passport and immigration documents even for flights within Mexico are the only ID's recognized officially.

I just flew back from Vancouver today (and boy are my arms tired). It was busy in all three airports along the way. The check in agent in YVR said yesterday was the busiest day she had ever seen in her 15 years there. The Canada day weekend is the official kick off for summer holidays so happy summer travel season to all....

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On ‎02‎/‎07‎/‎2016 at 2:56 PM, Bajabrady said:

What documents do you need if you're flying within Mexico? Say flying to Tiajuana? Do you still need a passport or your FMM filled out? Or just an ID card and ticket?

I fly to TJ often and need only a photo ID to get on the plane. No FMM or US passport or my passport card. When arriving at the TJ airport from Guadalajara or San Luis Potosi entering the baggage claim area which is the same baggage claim area for international and domestic flights there many times are 3 INM officers asking: "¿Cuál es el documento que estar en México?  "Where is your document to be in Mexico?" Then I give them my Residente Permanente card. They look at it and hand it back. They never ask for my US passport or passport card. Getting on the plane or at Volaris baggage checkin in TJ they ask for photo ID along with your boarding pass. I gave them my RT card or now my RP card. I could probably give them my Mexican drivers license but don´t. I did the same when heading north from the 2 airports I use in Central Mexico. Never in many flights has anyone asked to see my US passport or a FMM card.

 

Also taking the bus from SLP to Guadalajara a couple of times I arrived at the Guadalajara airport about 1 hour before my Volaris flight departure time. I took my boarding pass and showed it to the Volaris private security guard there and he took me to the front of the baggage checkin line where they were searchng baggage on tables. Sometimes they don´t search baggage, most times they do over the last decade.

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I fly Delta often from Guadalajara to Atlanta and then onto New York. I always make sure that I am at the airport 2 hours before, no less than that. I also have everything printed out ahead. It has always been plenty of time. The only time I needed more than 2 hours was when I flew from Denver to Guadalajara. 

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Some schools are out for the summer, I have always found the line to check in to be very long during this time.  I would be in line at the check in by 4:30 a.m.  You will need to go to immigration before they issue your ticket, so better safe than sorry.  The security line has never been a problem.

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