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The U.S. airports with the shortest (and longest) security wait times

These are the TSA wait times to know if airport security gives you anxiety

A busy airport with people getting in line at check in.
Phil Mosley/Unsplash

We all start to feel the sweat bead up when we walk up to that security line at the airport and see how long it is. We start to calculate how long we could stand in that line before we would miss our flight or until we’ll have to run to our gate. Before you book that ticket, see which US airports have the shortest TSA wait times to help you keep your calm, and which ones will have you clench your fist in frustration. (And remember — some airports have reservations for security screenings so you can cut the line.)

Bounce, a luggage storage service, analyzed the average TSA wait times over a one-year period and came up with some pretty interesting results.

If you only need to get through security

If you are flying local and don’t need to worry about that passport security check, you’ll get in and out quickly through these airports.

The airports that get you out of there

  • Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey usually gets it done in 3 minutes and 6 seconds.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Maryland should have you through in 4 minutes flat.
  • San Jose International Airport in California typically only needs 4 minutes and 6 seconds for that security line.
  • Ontario International Airport in California matches San Jose’s energy at 4 minutes and 6 seconds.

That’s barely enough time to take off your shoes, put your stuff in those tubs, and remember you left something in your pocket that will set off the metal detector. Thank you to those airports.

The airports that will take more time

  • Palm Beach International Airport in Florida may hold you up for 34 minutes and 6 seconds.
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri has taken up to 26 minutes and 36 seconds to get you through security.
  • San Francisco International Airport in California often adds 25 minutes and 36 seconds to your airport wait.

Those could be worse, but if you are wrangling children or running late, it’s enough to make you check your phone every 30 seconds with anxiety. Be aware peak travel times also affect how long you may wait in security lines, so plan accordingly.

Airport security checking bags.
Spyderskidoo/Getty Images

Wait times if you need to do a passport check

If you add on a passport security check, you’ll need to factor in at least 10 more minutes to the regular airport security time.

The NASCAR-fast airports

  • Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Maryland only takes 14 minutes and 48 seconds for both.
  • San Antonio International Airport in Texas will get you through both stops in 17 minutes and 42 seconds.
  • San Jose International Airport in California lands at 18 minutes and 18 seconds for both.

That’s not bad for both. Those wait times are still faster than many of the security-only wait times.

The airports you’ll need patience for

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York often holds you up for 48 minutes and 24 seconds.
  • San Francisco International Airport in California can take 47 minutes and 18 seconds to get customers through.
  • Miami International Airport in Florida may leave you waiting for 45 minutes and 54 seconds.

Fair point that those are busy airports anyway, but you could get through an episode of your favorite miniseries while waiting in those lines. It might be a good idea to have a screen handy to watch something if you’re flying through those airports.

You either leave three hours before your flight or with only a minute to spare. Whichever one you are, know the airport wait times to adjust that airport schedule accordingly. We spend around 37 billion minutes in line each year as Americans, and now you know how many of them you’re going to spend getting through airport security.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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