Tell me about 6 am flights

writerguyfl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2015
SWA has always said that theirs is an hour to make it on your flight. Maybe they want to be on the safe side. Either way, why risk it?
This is not true. It's 45 minutes:

"Baggage checked at curbside or at the ticket counter less than 45 minutes before scheduled departure will be tagged with a Late Check-In Tag."
Source: https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/checked-bags-pol.html

That said, what kaytieeldr writes here is critical:

Probably helpful to insert reminder: this means completely checked in (and walking away from the coiunter, or further) - not bekng in the process of checking in at the 45 minute mark.
 

kydisneyfans

<font color=blue>It may be because they are too em
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Depends on day of the week and the airport. 6:00 AM during the week is crazy with business travel, 6:00 AM on a Saturday is a ghost town. I've had some of the longer security waits early in the day, even with precheck. You also mention you live an hour from the airport-how easy is an alternate route to take if an accident has your route to the airport closed? What if a tire flattens halfway there? We live an hour from the airport we usually use and both have happened to us en route to the airport. For us, 3 hours before the flight is goal time-longer if we think traffic is going to be heavier. For a 6:00 AM flight, the wheels are on the road by 3:00 AM.

With that being said, we did that last trip to Disney and were absolutely miserable. We were up at 2:00 AM to get ready, did the Magical Express, let the resort know we were onsite and ate lunch. We then went to the MK for awhile and did not enjoy it at all. We felt dirty, sleepy, tired from the trip-we just wanted our room to rest. We then got into our room around 3:30-showered, napped, and around 6:30 we were back in a park enjoying ourselves.

My mantra is to never pay more than $150 for a flight segment to Orlando. 5:30 AM is $128. 10:05 AM is $199. We're doing the 10:05 AM this time.
 
  • DizneyLizzy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2010
    We frequently take flights in the 6 AM hour out of BWI to a couple Florida cities. We only live 20 min from the airport and tend to wake up about 15 min before we need to leave the house, and we still feel like we need a full day to recover from a 3:45 or 4:00 wake up. It wasn’t a big deal before kids, but now with young kids we only do that early flight if we’re visiting family in FL so we know we have a place to rest and recover as soon as we arrive. We haven’t done it to Disney with the kids. The 10:00 one is great bc it doesn’t require anyone to wake up any earlier than usual, so we all arrive refreshed and often with a room that’s ready.

    Before kids I remember taking a 6 AM to MCO and being in a park by 9:30. Now that was fun! I don’t think I’ll try that with my kids until they are teens who will voluntarily nap. Lol.
     

    jdisnut

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2009
    To me, this is THE key concept to remember.

    I don't really care what the airline's policies, guarantees, or recommendations are. What I care about is MY bag being on MY aircraft, and sliding gracefully around the baggage carousel into MY anxious hands at baggage claim.
    Sure, of course you should do what makes you feel most comfortable. Flying can be stressful, especially if you don't travel often. I feel like I spend half my life at airports, so I tend to cut things as close as possible. The rule for Southwest is 45 minutes. If your bags are scanned in at 45 minutes before your flight, the airline guarantees your bags will be on the flight. Could things go wrong? Sure. So I understand why certain people want to leave more time.
     

    Aurora79

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2018
    We usually take the 6am flight. I both love it and hate it. I hate getting up that early. I have a nervous stomach, and for some reason whenever I have to get up before 6am for anything, I’m nauseous for a good two hours after I get up. I love it because of less traffic to the airport, and our little airport is much less busy at that time. Plus, the early hour makes it easier to sleep on the plane after I drug myself with Bonine.

    We usually leave at 3:30am to drive 20-30 minutes to the airport for a 6am flight. I’d rather get there too early than too late. Though, since our upcoming trip is in February this coming year, depending on weather, we may have to leave much earlier.
     
  • AngiTN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2011
    I'll mention, don't get there too early. If you have a small airport like we do. They aren't open 24 hours and it won't do you any good to get there too early, nothing is open. Ours doesn't open till about an hour before the first flight out, so you'd be wasting your time to arrive 2 hours before departure
     

    SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    Ok, the big question is what is your travel party like? Do you have kids that will sleep anywhere that you can just carry into the car and then plop into stroller at the airport. Or are your kids early risers? Or are they night owls that sleep till 9 am on weekends? Traveling alone I like the 6am flights cause then I have the whole day, but I will doze on the plane. Traveling with my foster kids we opted for a later flight because they liked their sleep. Traveling with my mother I also opted for a later flight cause she would be too stressed making sure to be packed early enough to sleep and get up early enough. She would just be up the whole night before.
     

    TamaraQT

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2009
    You will be arriving in Orlando before 9AM and that makes it all worth it in my opinion. I would rather sleep on the plane than sleep longer at home. I can ALWAYS sleep at home. But napping on a plane and arriving to the sunshine in Orlando before 9am makes it ALL worth it!!!

    I fly out of Philadelphia and my flight in Aug is scheduled to depart at 530am. We will arrive at the airport by 3am. We just wont go to bed the night before. More than likely I will pack around 10pm and have a ball getting ready. We will leave the house at 230 and get to airport before 3. Its all part of the vacation. I'd rather be sleepy in Orlando and relax and nap by a pool after lunch than put up with a late morning/afternoon crowd at the airport. Enjoy every moment of your vacation. Dont forget that the travel time is part of it also so ENJOY that too!!! Have a WONDERFUL time!!!
     

    sponica

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2017
    I've done 530-630 AM flights on three occasions. You know who flies out on 630 AM on Saturday AM in the summer. Families. The ONLY airline with people checking in was SWA, I swear everyone was going to Orlando that day.

    That being said, as much as I hate the early morning wake up, you're in Orlando bonkers early and get to ease in to the day.
     
  • Darklord77

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2014
    I fly out of ATL at the earliest possible hour. It's just a lot easier very early in the morning at big airports. Only downside is Chik Fil A doesn't open until 6:00a and the only place to get a coffee is Starbucks.
     

    pixiemama91

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 13, 2013
    We usually take the 7am flight on Delta for our trips to FL. We fly out of Boston so the airport i find to always be pretty busy. We have precheck and the Delta gates are right on the other side of security so not a lot of walking involved. I try to be at the airport no later than 1.5 hours before my flgiht. That early in the morning its not usually crazy but still busy and I dont like to risk it. My kids have always been great doing the early morning flights. For me I would rather wake up and go than have to sit around for the morning waiting to start my vacation. We like to get to Orlando early and have some lunch at the resort and take the day easy. Sometimes we hang by the pool, other times we head into a park for a couple of hours. It really depends on how everyone is feeling.
     

    JimMIA

    There's more to life than mice...
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2005
    Sure, of course you should do what makes you feel most comfortable. Flying can be stressful, especially if you don't travel often. I feel like I spend half my life at airports, so I tend to cut things as close as possible. The rule for Southwest is 45 minutes. If your bags are scanned in at 45 minutes before your flight, the airline guarantees your bags will be on the flight. Could things go wrong? Sure. So I understand why certain people want to leave more time.
    Yep, lots of variables. I'm not a road warrior any longer, but I used to be (AA Million Miler -- Gold for Life), so I'm used to the drill. It's so ingrained, I don't think I'll ever forget!

    But as Angi said, airport size matters -- and that is only one of many variables. I fly American out of Miami, which is a big, busy airport. It's also a very busy tourist airport, and we all know how those crazy tourists can mess up security lines! And then, it's not unusual to have a mile walk (literally) to the gate. Given all that, I get there way early.

    Everybody, and everybody's situation, is different.
     

    jdisnut

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2009
    Yep, lots of variables. I'm not a road warrior any longer, but I used to be (AA Million Miler -- Gold for Life), so I'm used to the drill. It's so ingrained, I don't think I'll ever forget!

    But as Angi said, airport size matters -- and that is only one of many variables. I fly American out of Miami, which is a big, busy airport. It's also a very busy tourist airport, and we all know how those crazy tourists can mess up security lines! And then, it's not unusual to have a mile walk (literally) to the gate. Given all that, I get there way early.

    Everybody, and everybody's situation, is different.
    Not to derail this thread too much, but MIA is a nightmare as a business traveler, especially if I’m dealing with a rental car. It’s one of the most frustrating airports in the country in that regard. I’ll so often choose FLL just to avoid it.
     

    SSRFred

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2007
    As far as I know, no American airline has a minimum cutoff time of an hour for baggage on domestic flights.

    Delta, American and United require 45 minutes. For JetBlue and Southwest, it’s 30 minutes at most airports.
    Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that Delta departing from JFK (domestic flights) has a 60 minute cutoff for checking in luggage. I suggest that everyone check this information before traveling.
    https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in-security/check-in-time-requirements/domestic-check-in/#airport
     

    DisArmyWife215

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 10, 2018
    I get to the airport for an early morning flight just as far in advance as I get there for any other flight. A LOT of people are booked on early morning flights- they aren't rare at all. There will be less crowding at the airport, but don't count on a quick check-in or a walk through security.

    In general, if you can handle getting up early, early morning flights are great because they are the flights most likely to depart on time.
    I second this. We typically fly out at 6 and we've had empty airport and security lines filled to capacity. You just never know what you're going to run into and just cause it's early is no guarantee you'll fly right through to your gate without hassle. We love the early flights though!
     

    Betty Rohrer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2010
    To me, this is THE key concept to remember.

    I don't really care what the airline's policies, guarantees, or recommendations are. What I care about is MY bag being on MY aircraft, and sliding gracefully around the baggage carousel into MY anxious hands at baggage claim.
    every bag that we have had go MIA has been checked in with over the time limit
     

    Lewisc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 23, 2000
    Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that Delta departing from JFK (domestic flights) has a 60 minute cutoff for checking in luggage. I suggest that everyone check this information before traveling.
    https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in-security/check-in-time-requirements/domestic-check-in/#airport
    Link is dead
    Try this link.
    https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in-security/check-in-time-requirements/domestic-check-in
    General rule is 30 minutes, a couple of 1 hour exceptions(including jfk) and many 45 minute exceptions.

    The cutoff is generally computer enforced, checkin isn't completed prior to deadline computer won't let employee check the bags
     

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