Did you know.... that mornings are the busiest time of the day? Your check-in time should be at least 90 minutes to 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure time.
Airlines are required to shut the doors in the gate 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight. Most airlines require that passengers should be in the gate area 30 minutes prior to departure. TIcket counter/gate agents do not come to the checkpoint to pull anyone forward in line. TSA does not move anyone forward based on their flight being called for departure, or any other announcements that "the doors are closing" to your flight.
There are approximately 5 departures in the 6 a.m. hour, some of them just minutes apart. Some planes seat more than 50 passengers meaning at a minimum, there could be 250 passengers or more trying to screen through the checkpoint prior to 6:00 a.m. Many folks think because we are a smaller airport, you can arrive later- this is not the case and is not recommended.
Here are some ways you can plan ahead, to expedite the overall check-in process, and get you to the checkpoint and to your gate more efficiently!
1) Check in at home on your computer or smart-phone, or use the airline app to check in. Have you paid for your luggage already? If not, pre-pay! Are your seats selected? If not, select them early on the computer or the app- or even call the 800# of the airline on which you are flying.
2) Checking a bag? Use the kiosk at the airport, out in front of the airline ticket counters. If you have your confirmation # handy (which you should, either on your airline app or on your printed confirmation or boarding pass) you can activate the kiosk by entering your confirmation number. Or, simply insert your credit card to pull up your specific passenger information. (Nothing will be charged unless you proceed to seat upgrades, or choose to pay for luggage!) By pulling up your specific information on the kiosk, this activates the system to generate bag tags for your paid (or pre-paid) luggage. When you reach the counter, the agent can quickly weigh and tag your bags and check your ID which should be in your hands and ready to show the agent.
3) Once you drop your luggage at the baggage machinery with the TSA agent, you should proceed straight to the checkpoint! There is a deli and coffee bar once you are through the checkpoint for quick grab & go items such as breakfast sandwiches, rolls, muffins, and a variety of coffee drinks and smoothies. Remember, you can bring food items through the checkpoint- but not drinks.
4) Once at the checkpoint- read the posted signs as you move through the line for any updates as these may assist you at the checkpoint. Once again, have your ID handy along with your boarding pass. Some of the recent changes to the screening process includes removing electronics that are larger than a cell phone from your checked luggage, as well as removing any food/snack items from your carry on bag. Have all items out of your pockets, belts removed, and shoes as well (unless under 12, over 75, member of the military, or Pre-check.) Also, listen to agents who may be giving verbal instructions as you approach the checkpoint x-ray area. All of these things help speed up your check-in and checkpoint experience!
5) Having TSA "Pre-check" allows you to use the Pre-check lane (when open, during very busy times, including early mornings) and allows many expedited options as described in the TSA Pre-check program. For more information about TSA Pre-check, click here.
Need help with your bags or a wheelchair from the parking lot to the airport entrance and ticket counter? We're here for you! Pull up to the terminal and tell the curb attendant you need assistance from the parking lot and they will send someone to your aid. Or, text for a skycap to the mobile phone number displayed out on the sidewalk in front of the terminal entry doors. (Due to security reasons, the skycap cannot accept or hold luggage at the curb while you park your car.)
Traveling with E-cigarettes, lithium batteries:
Review Packsafe packing tips for a list of which items are allowed or not allowed in checked, or carry on bags.
Review: Plan Ahead Travel Reminders:
Call your airline at least one day ahead of time or look at your airline app on your mobile device to ensure that there hasn't been a schedule/time change for your flight, as time changes occur approximately four times per year and may be slightly different than from when you originally booked your travel.
The airport terminal doors open at 3:30 a.m. and screening opens at 4:00 a.m. Airline ticket counters are open 2 hours prior to each of their respective first morning departures.
Most of the airlines at the Quad City International Airport CLOSE THEIR TICKET COUNTERS 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO FLIGHT TIME, meaning you can not check-in at the ticket counter, nor have your bags tagged. Most airlines also expect passengers to be in the boarding gate area 30 minutes prior to flight time and most of the airlines close their doors 10 minutes to departure, as per their airline policy.
Please be aware of these requirements as you make your plans to come to the airport, and allow yourself enough time to check in and go through the screening area. The QCIA's busiest time is in the early morning hours, from 5:00 - 6:30 a.m. for the early morning departures of all airlines.
If your flight is delayed, you should NOT change your originally planned arrival time to the airport. Delayed times can be cancelled or changed. Most airlines require you to be in the gate area 30 minutes prior to the scheduled flight time, even if the flight gets delayed. Contact your airline for further details. It is always a good idea to double check the status of your flight by checking your airline mobile app on your smart phone, or calling the airline's 800 number or website.
If there is a weather event, i.e. snow or thunderstorms, please check qcairport.com by viewing the departures tab or call the 800# of your airline, by using their automated system. Have your flight # handy for the automated attendant. You may also choose to sign up on your airline website for e-mail or text alerts, or use your airline smart-phone app.