Passenger On-Time Arrival Required

Blountville, TN – Have you dealt with the stress of almost missing a flight, or actually missing a flight? It happens to passengers on a daily basis throughout the aviation system. Tri-Cities Airport would like to remind our passengers it is crucial to arrive at the airport on time (2 hours early) to ensure they don’t miss their important business meeting or delay the start to that long-awaited family vacation.

TRI provides an ease of access that sometimes lulls passengers into arriving only 30 minutes prior to their flight departure time. Airlines and the Airport request passengers be at the airport a minimum of two hours prior to flight departure time for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.

Why so long before the flight? It provides passengers time to park the car, walk to the terminal, check bags, get through security, and arrive at their gate in time for boarding – stress-free. The airlines also need passengers to arrive on time and proceed through security so they may follow their procedures to help ensure an on-time departure.

Experienced travelers often feel they do not need as much time as those who do not travel frequently. However, the experienced passenger still needs to arrive early as the less-traveled passenger flows through the process along with the experienced. Procedures can be confusing and take longer for less experienced passengers.

TRI is working hard to improve the passenger experience in the gate area. Tailwind has recently opened a new retail area which has also provided more space in the restaurant area for seating. The Airport offers free WIFI, which is in the process of being upgraded for faster speeds and more connectivity. The business center offers a place for passengers to charge devices and catch up on emails, work or fun. Passengers can also simply enjoy the breathtaking view of mountains and take some time to unwind.

Two items to note for all passengers are the modified version of TSA PreCheck and additional screening procedures which will be implemented soon. TSA PreCheck at TRI is a modified version of the full TSA PreCheck program implemented at larger airports.

Passengers who have TSA PreCheck only need to remove laptops and liquids from their carry-on bags, unless other items alarm. At which point they will need to remove those items and be re-screened.

Additional screening procedures are scheduled to be implemented at TRI in October 2017 and nation-wide by May 2018. For more information on the additional procedures, please click the following link:

Below is a chart regarding timing for the airlines that many passengers may not know and will help to understand the need to arrive at the airport on time. The times shown below refer to time prior to scheduled flight departure.

AIRLINEARRIVE at TRICounter CLOSESArrive at GATEAirline DOOR CLOSES(will not be reopened)
Allegiant2 hours45 minutes1 hour15 minutes
American2 hours*30 minutes30 minutes10 minutes
Delta2 hours*30 minutes30 minutes10 minutes

*3 hours for international flight

An on-time arrival can help make the experience of travel less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.


Tri-Cities Airport (TRI) is a full-service commercial airport serving Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina, and Eastern Kentucky. TRI offers non-stop flights to four hubs (Atlanta, Charlotte, Orland/Sanford, and St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa) on Allegiant, American, and Delta. For more information about Tri-Cities Airport, visit

Updated Feb. 14, 2018