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These 5 U.S. Airports Have The Longest Security Wait Times

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As the summer travel season begins, airports across the United States are facing record crowds. Airports are busier than ever before, and security wait times are increasing as a result.

According to AAA, nearly 3.4 million Americans are expected to fly over Memorial Day weekend this year, an increase of 11% compared to 2022 and 5.4% compared to 2019.

Busy Airport Security

That means that this Memorial Day weekend will be the busiest on record when it comes to air travel, and airports are feeling the strain.

Continuing staffing shortages, particularly in air traffic control, mean that airports have been experiencing issues like delays and cancellations.

High crowds also mean travelers may face extremely long lines for airport security when traveling this summer.

The luggage storage company Bounce recently compiled data around the worst airports for long wait times this year. These are the airports in the United States where travelers may experience the longest waits for security, as well as passport control if traveling internationally.

Airport Security Line

1. St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The worst airport for long lines at security is St. Louis Lambert International Airport, with an average wait time of 26 minutes and 36 seconds.

You won't want to cut it close when traveling out of this airport this summer!

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St. Louis Lambert International Airport people waiting for flights

2. San Francisco International Airport

Another airport with long waits for security is San Francisco International Airport.

Passengers at this busy airport in San Francisco, California can expect to wait around 25 minutes and 36 seconds in line for security.

San Francisco International Airport exterior view

3. John F. Kennedy International Airport

New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport is another U.S. airport with the worst wait times for security, coming in at 22 minutes and 48 seconds on average.

Travelers at JFK should also anticipate further delays this summer, as the airport is one of the worst affected by air traffic control staffing shortages right now.

JFK International Airport interior view

4. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport

Another one of the worst airports for long lines at security is Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Be prepared for wait times of around 22 minutes and 48 seconds at this airport.

Honolulu, HI, USA - July 22, 2019: Hawaiian Airlines plane at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

5. Miami International Airport

Finally, Miami International Airport comes in fifth place among the U.S. airports with the longest security wait times, with an average wait of 22 minutes and 42 seconds.

Travelers flying out of this South Florida hotspot should be prepared for a significant wait at security.

Miami International Airport exterior view

What To Do If You're Flying Out Of One Of These Airports

Are you flying out of one of these airports this summer?

If so, there are steps you can take to reduce your wait time and make your airport experience as stress-free as possible.

First, one of the most obvious things to do is arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. The standard advice is 2 hours in advance for domestic flights and 3 hours in advance for international flights.

Is this overkill? Maybe, but it's better to find yourself with extra time on your hands after getting through security than to be in a rush and possibly miss your flight.

woman looking at flight board in airport

Is TSA PreCheck Worth It?

Another way to save time at the airport is by getting TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck costs just $78 and is valid for five years. Once you've completed the application process and been approved, you'll be able to use the designated PreCheck line at airport security, which is typically much shorter than the regular security line.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, 89% of TSA PreCheck members waited less than five minutes in security lines in April 2023, making PreCheck well worth the cost.

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