We hear this question a lot at Witte. The standard recommendation is two hours before for domestic and three hours for international. Keep in mind that this is the standard amount of time. In some cases, it needs to be adjusted. This does not mean, leave home two hours before. You should be at the counter, ready to checkin for your flight. The amount of time it will take varies a great deal. Airport size, time of flight, whether you are being dropped off or need to park, and other conditions can affect the amount of time you will need.
I recently stayed at a hotel, on the grounds of the Charles de Gaulle Airport, the night before my flight home. I had an early morning flight. I was traveling alone. I allowed three hours before my flight to be at the airport. This airport is so large and the distances were so great between check-in, security, and my gate that I barely made it to the gate before boarding. I was really hurrying, too. Always error on the side of more time. You can nap, read, or just people-watch at the airport. I recommend knitting. I also recommend looking at a map of the airport terminal ahead of time, if you are not familiar with it. This information is on most airport websites.
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has made many upgrades. One of the biggest is that now, all the security funnels through one area. It is not possible to know how many flights are leaving in the same timeframe as yours, so don’t plan on being able to just whisk through the line. There may not be an issue with you or your group, but with a traveler ahead of you. Being patient can go a long way.
Getting to the gate too late can be very frustrating. Gates get crowded, so there may be no place to sit. Travel is fun. Travel is rewarding. You want to have the whole experience be as pleasant as possible. You cannot control every part of a situation, so take control of those you can. Get to the airport early.
Using your travel professional to book your flights will help as well. She can inform you what gate or terminal you need to be at – and also make sure that you have enough time between connecting flights.