TSA Wait Times at Major Airports Studied

Airport passengers at security checkpoint
Airport passengers at security checkpoint | Image by Mazur Travel/Shutterstock

While nobody enjoys waiting in airport security lines during the busy holiday season, travelers passing through Texas airports may have a better experience at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints than passengers at some other airports across the nation.

A new study published by Upgraded Points compared the average wait times for holiday travelers going through airport security at the nation’s top airports during the 2022 holiday season.

For the purposes of the study, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period included the seven days before Thanksgiving through the Monday following the holiday. The Christmas period in the study ran from December 17 to January 3.

“Commercial airlines are often busiest around the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, and with increasing demand for air travel, longer security wait times could present a major challenge for passengers,” said Alex Miller, CEO and founder of Upgraded Points. “Knowing what to expect at TSA checkpoints will help travelers coordinate transportation, minimize disruptions, and even avoid missing flights.”

The airport with the worst TSA wait times last year was Jacksonville International, clocking in at an average of 12 minutes, a 28.6% increase over the usual wait times. Newark Liberty International came in at second-worst, with an average of 11.7 minutes, a 25.1% increase from its usual wait times. Rounding out the top five worst were John F. Kennedy International at 9.6 minutes, Orlando International at 9.2, and Denver International at 9.2.

At the other end of the spectrum, San Antonio International Airport had the shortest average TSA wait time at 1.4 minutes, a 9.3% increase over its standard wait time. Bradley International and Milwaukee Mitchell International tied for second place at 2.8 minutes, showing a surprising decrease compared to their standard wait times of 32.8% and 21.8%, respectively. Raleigh-Durham International was next at 2.9 minutes, followed by Washington Dulles International at 3.0 minutes.

For travelers passing through Texas airports, the shortest holiday period TSA wait times were found at San Antonio International, as noted above, followed by William P. Hobby at 3.6 minutes, Dallas/Fort Worth International at 4.3, and George Bush Intercontinental at 4.7.

However, even the slowest Texas airport wait times were less than eight minutes. Dallas Love Field had the 11th-worst holiday TSA wait time nationwide, at 7.6 minutes, which was actually a 7.8% decrease from its standard wait time. Austin-Bergstrom International was ranked 14th worst, at 7.2 minutes.

The study also showed that the shortest TSA wait times across the board were on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. In addition, travelers utilizing TSA PreCheck, a paid Trusted Traveler Program, stood in security lines for about two minutes, even on the busiest holiday travel days. TSA PreCheck costs $78 for a five-year membership.

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