The airports with the best and worst Transport Security Administration (TSA) wait times have been announced in a new survey.
Analyzing data from 25 of America’s busiest travel hubs last year, UpgradedPoints revealed the scoreboard and tips to avoid additional delays.
Newark Liberty International (EWR) was found to be the worst for passing security checkpoints with an average wait of 23 minutes.
During their busiest time of Monday between noon and 1pm, flyers could expect to wait an hour in line.
Salt Lake City (SLC) was the best with an average of nine minutes and quickest time of two minutes clearance between 6pm and 7pm on a Wednesday.
Salt Lake City (SLC) (above) was declared the airport with the quickest TSA wait line with an average of just over nine minutes
The Utah-based airport saw passengers clear TSA security lines in two minutes during their quickest hour, 6 – 7pm on a Wednesday
Newark Liberty International (EWR) has the slowest TSA security checkpoints with an average wait of 23.1 minutes
Despite being one of America’s largest airports, Washington Dulles (IAD) placed second for speediest clearances with an average of 10.5 minutes and one minute fastest time.
Worst five airports for long wait times in TSA security lines
1) Newark Liberty International (EWR) – average wait time 23.1 minutes and worst 60 minutes
2) George Bush Intercontinental Houston (IAH) – average wait time 19.8 minutes and worst 51 minutes
3) Miami International (MIA) – average wait time 19.6 minutes and worst 37 minutes
4) Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) – average wait time 18.2 minutes and worst 35 minutes
5) Las Vegas McCarron (LAS) – average wait time 17.3 minutes and worst 37 minutes
In third was Boston Logan (BOS) whose average was 10.6 minutes and quickest stood at three minutes.
George Bush Intercontinental Houston (IAH) followed EWR as the second worst for security waits, averaging 19.8 minutes and at its worst 51 minutes.
Following in third was Miami International (MIA) whose worst time was 37 minutes and average was 19.6 minutes.
TSA press secretary Jenny Burke believed the variation in results was due to a number of reasons but some passengers’ can control, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.
She listed flight scheduling as potentially playing a big part in wait times but also the layout of an airport and travelers themselves.
Burke said: ‘There’s an adage, ‘If you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport,’ because the profile, the footprint, is different at all the checkpoints.
‘There are all different reasons for why lines might vary from airport to airport.’
During the New Jersey airport’s busiest time, Monday between noon and 1pm, flyers could expect to wait an hour in line
George Bush Intercontinental Houston (IAH) placed second slowest with an average wait time of 19.8 minutes and at its worst it can take 51 minutes to clear TSA lines
Washington Dulles (IAD) was the second fastest airport for clearing TSA wait lines, with an average of 10.5 minutes and quickest of about one minute
An airport has more business passengers than vacationers, may be quicker due to those flying for work potentially being more accustomed to TSA practices.
Top five airports for fastest TSA security lines
1) Salt Lake City (SLC) – average wait time 9.1 minutes and quickest 2 minutes
2) Washington Dulles (IAD) – average wait time 10.5 minutes and quickest about 1 minute
3) Boston Logan (BOS) – average wait time 10.6 minutes and quickest around 3 minutes
4) Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSSP) – average wait time 13 minutes and quickest around 1 minute
5) Charlotte (CLT) and Detroit Metro (DTW) – both averaged a wait time of 13.3 minutes. Quickest time at CLT was 2 minutes and 1 minute at DTW
‘With the vacation airport, you’re talking potentially about families with multiple people who may or may not travel frequently,” Burke added.
She suggested a way to speed-up clearances can be to sign-up for TSA PreCheck and/or U.S. Customs Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry.
The PreCheck costs $85 for a five-year membership and allows passengers to pass through security without needing to remove their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets.
To apply users submit an application form online, then schedule a 10 minute in person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting.
For the CBP Global Entry, users can bypass TSA upon arrival into an airport by placing their passport on a reader, scanning their fingerprints and filling out the customs declaration at a kiosk.
This would allow them to pass straight through to baggage claim and the exit.
This application, which costs $100, is available to ‘pre-approved, low risk travelers,’ who fill out a form and go to an in-person interview.
Boston Logan (BOS) came third in the list for fastest TSA clearance, with an average wait time 10.6 minutes and quickest around three minutes
Las Vegas McCarron (LAS) averaged a wait time of 17.3 minutes and at its worst times saw passengers waiting for 37 minutes. Overall it was the fifth slowest
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSSP) was the fourth quickest with an average of 13 minutes and quickest around a minute
Burke also suggested unpacking and repacking bags the night before a flight to ensure their are no contraband items.
While airports across the world have different rules around which items that people may or may not be allowed to travel with, but some generally prohibited ones can include pocket knives, firearms, flammable or explosive devices.
Top five ways to cut down your time in TSA lines
1) Apply for TSA PreCheck or US Customs Border Protection’s Global Entry, which cut times going through security on the way out and coming back in
2) Unpack and repack your bags the night before you fly to ensure there is no contraband in luggage
3) Get liquids and electronics out of bags and take your shoes off ahead of time, ready for TSA to inspect
4) Consider not wearing clothing or shoes that contain metal
5) Wear clothing and shoes that can be taken off and put back on quickly
Source: TSA via NWAOnline
For clarification travelers should contact their airline, the TSA website, Twitter or Instagram.
On AskTSA, people have listed a variety of items, quizzing staff on whether they can travel with them.
More regular items included questions about baby formula, camera lenses and electronics.
Less expected included questions about traveling with a bull skull and even a live lobster.
Another suggestion included basic pre-planning such as taking out liquids and electronics from a bags in preparation for TSA, as well as removing shoes.
Burke added people could consider the type of clothing and shoes they wear too, as anything with metal risks setting off the alarms.
It can also takes longer for TSA staff to scan bags with items that have metal in them and potentially may require further investigation.
Additionally, people could also consider how quickly they can take-off and put on shoes and jackets, as this too can slow down a line.
Burke said: ‘Anything that’s extraneous, anything with metal on it, those items are going to alert and require additional screening.
‘If I am traveling for business and I’m wearing heels, oftentimes, a high heel shoe will have metal shaft in the heel. That’s something that would set off an alert for the screening process.’