As the holiday travel season arrives, we wanted to take the temperature on security checkpoint wait times at the major airports across the United States. Missing your flight this year, especially after last year’s staycations, would be really unfortunate.
The good news is that no major airport had an average wait time of over 19.7 minutes (sorry, Newark!). So plan accordingly, and check out these stats:
The winner with the lowest wait times was Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, with an average of just 9.9 minutes. I can attest to this, as I travel to visit the family there frequently, and it is a very efficient place all around. Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International airport was the runner-up, with an average of 12.7 minutes wait time. In the third most efficient spot? Good old LAX! This was surprising to me, but the average wait time there was 12.9 minutes.
At the bottom of the pack was Newark Liberty International Airport with the 19.7-minute average security checkpoint wait time. In the same ballpark was Chicago O’Hare International Airport with an 18.8-minute wait. JFK airport came in next with an average wait time of 17.8 minutes.
When it comes to the best times of day to travel, for those jetting out of JFK, the longest wait period was between 9-10 am, at about 30 minutes. The best times to go? Between 11 am and noon, where the wait was just 10 minutes. Between 3-4 pm, you are looking at about 10 minute wait times as well.
Flying out of Atlanta
Those flying out of Atlanta will wait on average for 13.8 minutes. The best times to go? If you can pull it off, the wait time drops to just 7 minutes between 5-6 am. Early birds, take note.
Flying out of SFO
For those leaving out of SFO, the average security check wait time will be 14.49 minutes. The busiest time to leave is from 9-10 am, where the time increases to 30 minutes.
Flying out of LAX
From LAX, if you can depart between midnight and 2 am, you are looking at 5 minutes to go through security.
A great rule of thumb is that the absolute longest wait time at any of the major airports was about 45 minutes. So the 1.5 to 2-hour rule of getting to the airport early, giving yourself plenty of time to get through security, visit the shops where you pick up that protein bar and magazine, and find your gate, should prevent any missed flights and ruined holiday trips.
Data provided by: TSA