Leaving Minsk By Airplane? Give Yourself At Least 3 Hours

I f you have a flight to catch from Minsk National Airport, give yourself at least three hours if leaving from the city itself.

Leaving Minsk By Airplane? Give Yourself At Least 3 Hours

The airport is located approximately 26 miles due east of the city — edging out Denver International Airport from Denver by a mile or so. This means giving yourself at least an hour for the ride by public transportation, which includes waiting.

Once you get to the airport, the lines for the ticket counters of the airline should be open — typically two hours or so prior to the departure of the flight.

After you receive your boarding pass and check any luggage, proceed to the security checkpoint which corresponds to your gate — for example, go to security checkpoint A if your flight is scheduled to depart from gate A3. The lines snake outside of the enclosed security checkpoints, as only one person at a time may enter when the sliding door opens.

Upon passing through the security checkpoint, you will enter passport control. Be careful to choose a line which is serviced by two stations and not just one. Have an extra form of official identification with your photograph on it just in case — officials are as strict about your documents when leaving Belarus as they are when entering it, if not more so. In observing all of the lines while I was waiting, I have seen several people have issues getting through — including, of course, the person in front of me on line.

When finally arriving at the gate, expect another long line prior to boarding the aircraft. The airline of which I was a passenger simply called everyone up to board — thereby completely ignoring the zone boarding procedure printed on the boarding passes.

Summary

I am the type of person who prefers to be at an airport in as little time as possible and try to get there as late as possible while still catching my flight — and I have only missed one flight over the years; so I am fairly good at doing that…

…so when I recommend that you give yourself at least three hours from leaving Minsk to catch a flight at the airport, I am not giving that recommendation lightly, as Minsk National Airport seems to have waiting in long lines perfected down to a science.

Hopefully, the process will eventually be improved so that less time is necessary for passengers — but I do wonder why the current airport was built out in the middle of nowhere…

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “Leaving Minsk By Airplane? Give Yourself At Least 3 Hours”

  1. Mike says:

    A real improvement. Not so long ago, leaving Minsk efficiently was sometimes not so much a matter of convenience as of life and death.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Could you please elaborate, Mike? I am interested in what you meant by that statement…

  2. Artem K says:

    I have to mention that while internal airport operations improved recently with recent Ice Hockey Championship and increased transit since Russia and Ukraine ceased direct air service, public transportation access is still a big problem. Train (+bus) and bus are there, but the schedule is scarce. Taxi and Uber are there and sure are the most reliable.

    Interestingly enough, Minsk had an airport (Minsk-1, MHP) right in the center of the city with flights operating up until 2012. I would estimate then the travel time to Moscow was about 3 hours door-to-door.

    Brian, glad you visited, want to hear more about my home country.

  3. Vadim says:

    I’ve been using Minsk airport for a long time. And from my experience, 2 hours are enough. It came from the formula:
    – a registration is closing in 40 minutes before a flight time
    – the fastest trip to the airport takes from 40 minutes (from the city center)
    – 40 minutes as buffer for the trip

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