How Early Should You Arrive at Perth Airport?


Flying out of PER? But not sure how early you should arrive at the airport? Even the most seasoned travellers have found themselves sprinting to catch a plane at one time or another, or spending what seemed like an eternity at the gate. And it's a question that concerns most people before flying. If you get to the airport too early, you risk hours of boredom, flitting between overpriced coffee shops and duty free. But get there too late? You risk missing your flight! So when should you aim to arrive at Perth Airport? And does it differ if you’re flying domestically or internationally? 

There are numerous factors you need to consider when planning your airport arrival time, to hit that timing sweet spot. The main ones are of course traffic congestion, where you’re planning on parking, the time of day, the weather, and finally, your destination. Reviewing your airline’s guidelines and check-in requirements will usually point you in the right direction. Alongside updates about your flight status, you can also find information about wait times and COVID-19 procedures on the airport’s official website, which can further help you to plan your travel time. 

Still not sure? While getting to the airport a little earlier than usual never hurts, we’ve listed plenty of helpful advice below to make your trip a little easier. 


How Early Should You Arrive for Domestic Flights?

If you’re flying to another city or regional destination within Australia, the most frequently-recommended time to arrive at the airport is two hours in advance. This gives you plenty of time to check-in, drop your bags off, get through security, and reach your gate. 

While experienced travellers will likely need less time, two hours is usually recommended to those who don’t travel as frequently, so that they have a far less rushed and less stressful travel experience. Having said that, if you’re flying during a busy holiday period or special event, concerned about wait times at security, or utilising an Perth Airport car park facility with a shuttle service, you may want to leave even earlier, by twenty or thirty minutes or so. 


How Early Should You Arrive for International Flights?

For flights departing Australia to any international destination, the most frequently-recommended time to arrive at the airport is three hours prior to your flight time. Again, if you’re concerned about wait times at security, parking off-site, or taking public transport, you may want to leave even earlier, by thirty minutes or so. 

Although many airlines will recommend arriving at the airport just 90 minutes before your flight, remember that these guidelines rarely take into account that some people may be nervous, and some may have mobility problems. A more generous estimate of three hours will ensure that you don’t miss your flight - which really is the object of the entire exercise! 

To get a sense of how long the lines will be at security, or to see if recent changes will affect your journey, you can consult Perth Airport’s Twitter account for updates.


Will I have to Queue?

As many people want to fly at the same time, there are often queues at PER around peak times in the morning and early afternoon. Given the number of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers and connections to international flights, PER experiences significant peak periods in the early morning, when up to 35 aircraft depart each hour, over a two to three hour period, and in the afternoon, where up to 24 aircraft arrive each hour for a two-to-three-hour period.

As all passengers will need to go through security control, and a large number will need to go through Passport Control before they can go to their gate, there will be queues in these areas as checks are performed. The more travellers that need to pass through these areas, the longer these checks tend to take. This may mean that you have to queue for longer than usual, and you will need to factor that into your journey time. 


How Early Can I Check My Bags?

If you’d like to check your bags at PER Airport, you’ll find that the check-in time will be determined by your airline, as opposed to the airport. As a general rule of thumb, domestic flight check-ins typically open three hours before a flight is due to depart, and close 45 minutes beforehand. International airlines allow check-in up to four hours in advance of departure, and no less than an hour before the flight. As mentioned previously, it’s best to check with your airline for the specifics before planning your itinerary.


Travel Time Between PER Terminals

When it comes to transferring between terminals at PER, you may need to factor in a considerable amount of extra time into your journey. There are two terminal precincts at Perth Airport: the T1/T2 terminals and the T3/T4 terminals. These are separated by a short, 15-minute drive. 

Up until recently, a terminal transfer bus would assist passengers in making their way to T1/T2 from T3/T4, and vice versa. The free inter-terminal transfer shuttle bus would run every 20 minutes, between 6:00 am to midnight. Services are expected to return once normal air travel to/from Australia resumes. 

At present, there are taxi and rideshare services available on the respective terminal forecourts. Please note that charges will apply, and that you may have to wait some time to secure a ride. 


Getting to Your Gate 

When it comes to getting from security to your departure gate, you can expect to walk between 2-10 minutes. If you’d like to know more about the facilities available, including restaurants, public restrooms, shops, and long term parking at PER, please consult our guide to Perth Airport.


Don't Leave it to the Last Minute!

Occasionally, we hear from travellers who have made the mistake of thinking that airlines or fellow passengers would allow them to jump the queue as they were running late and their plane was about to leave. Unfortunately, running late does not guarantee you any extra assistance. 

Travellers who intended to get to the airport just in the nick of time found themselves held up due to traffic, or stuck in a long wait for a shuttle service, changing a flat tire, or dealing with inadequate airline staffing, and other issues. They weren’t presented with the opportunity to jump the security line, and as a result missed their flights.

The charges involved with purchasing new tickets can be hefty, but at the same time are largely avoidable. As long as you give yourself enough time to get to the airport, you shouldn’t have to worry about being held up by circumstances outside of your control. 


The goal of this article is to help you become more informed, and to help you save time by providing you with helpful information and links to external sources. Flyparks does not accept responsibility or liability for the use of the information, or the use of any of the websites mentioned. 

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