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I found this very useful article in USA Today and wanted to share it with you.
You do not have to get stressed out when it comes to booking a last-minute flight. Though the various airlines have different protocols and procedures, they will generally allow you to book a flight up until two hours from departure. If there is less than 120 minutes before the flight departs, airlines typically won't sell you a ticket, due to the fact that you won't have time to go through the established security protocol. There are steps you can take to ensure that your last-minute flight reservation goes as smoothly as possible while avoiding unnecessary delays at the gate.
Check to see if there are still seats available on the flight. You can easily determine this information by visiting the airline's website and clicking on the "Booking" or "Reservations" link. You can also contact the airline directly via telephone. Some of the major airline numbers: American Airlines, (800) 433-7300; Southwest Airlines, (800) 435-9792; Delta Airlines, (800) 221-1212; Continental Airlines, (800) 523-3273; AirTran, (800) 247-8726; United Airlines, (800) 864-8331; Northwest Airlines (800) 692-6955; US Airways, (800) 428-4322.
Provide your name and credit card information to book your flight. Be mindful that booking your flight online generally costs less than booking over the telephone or at the ticket kiosk. Websites such as Last Minute Travel and Smart Travel offer significant discounts on last-minute flight reservations.
Print out your boarding pass if you booked your flight online. Carry it with you. You can't board the plane without it.
Ensure that you have photo identification with you. Picture ID is needed to board your flight. This can be a driver's license, military ID or passport. If you don't have photo identification, you may still be able to board the flight, but you will have to go through additional security measures, which will delay you and possibly cause you to miss your flight.
Keep your luggage to a minimum. Consider taking only a carry-on bag. If you take other luggage, you will have to spend time standing in the baggage-check line.
Arrive at the security gate/boarding gate according to the time listed on your boarding pass. This is generally 30 to 45 minutes before your flight is scheduled to depart.