AUSTIN, Texas — Upgraded Points (https://upgradedpoints.com/average-tsa-security-wait-times-us-airports/) recently offered up its newest informative study that ranks TSA security wait times across the nation from longest to shortest. Drawing directly on data compiled from the TSA, Upgraded Points explored and ranked 10 of the 25 busiest U.S. airports for wait times during specific times and days of the week. The results were then compiled, analyzed and placed in an interactive digital map. Both the shortest and longest wait times were found to be non-localized, and are spread out over multiple major airports across the country.
The 5 Airports with the Best Average TSA Security Wait Times
Based on our analysis, these are the top 5 airports in the U.S. with the best security wait times.
1. Salt Lake City International (SLC)
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) has an average security wait time of 9.1 minutes, the shortest wait time on the list by far. So, if you ever wanted to visit some national parks, now you have your excuse.
If you’re booking a trip that goes through SLC, the best time to go through security at that airport is Wednesday from 6 – 7 p.m., which had an average wait time of 2 minutes. The worst time would be Sunday from 11 p.m. – 12 a.m., which would have you waiting in security lines for about 26 minutes.
2. Washington Dulles International (IAD)
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), one of the largest airports in the U.S. by surface area, has one of the shortest average security wait times of 10.5 minutes. Clearly, they’re doing something right!
Of course, it all depends on when you go through the airport. Security lines run the quickest on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 – 11 p.m. at an average of about 1 minute. On Fridays from 9 – 10 a.m., however, you’ll wait for about 28 minutes in the security line. But hey, even people in the nation’s capital need to go on weekend vacations!
3. Boston Logan International (BOS)
The third best airport with the fastest security wait time is Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), at an average of about 10.6 minutes. It is only slightly slower than number 2 on our list, Washington Dulles International Airport.
The best time to go through security at Logan Airport is Thursdays at 10 – 11 p.m., where you’ll only wait around 3 minutes, whereas the worst time is Friday at 5 – 6 p.m., where you’ll wait a whooping 45 minutes.
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP)
Next up on our list is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), which is a joint civil-military international airport. This airport has a modest average wait time in TSA security lines of about 13 minutes.
If you’re heading through MSP, try to book your flight so that you can head through security from 8 – 9 p.m. on a Saturday, and you’ll most likely wait only a minute. If your flight has you departing near 2 -3 p.m. on Monday, you have a bit worse luck -the security line will be around 43 minutes long.
5. Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) / Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)
Finally, our fifth spot is a tie between two airports -but the more the merrier when it comes to quick-moving lines, right? Both Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) have average wait times of 13.2 minutes in their security lines.
The best time to head through CLT’s security lines would be Wednesday from 4 – 5 a.m. (2 minute wait time), and the worst time would be Thursday from 5 – 6 p.m. (29 minute wait time). And the best time to head through DTW’s security would be Tuesday and Thursday from 10 – 11 p.m. (1 minute wait time), while the worst time would be Sunday from 5 – 6 a.m. (33 minute wait time).
The 5 Airports with the Worst Average TSA Security Wait Times
Of course, while some airports do it well, there are the airports who are too swamped to get anybody through security in a timely matter. These were the 5 airports with the worst average security wait times, according to our study.
1. Newark Liberty International (EWR)
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey ranked the highest on our list of longest security wait times. Getting through TSA at Newark Airport will take you an average of 23.1 minutes.
As with many airport inconveniences, however, there are steps you can take to avoid this wait time. If you’re booking a trip that goes through Newark, the best time to go through TSA would be Friday from 10 – 11 p.m., which had an average wait time of 15 minutes. The worst time would be Monday from 12 – 1 p.m., which would have you waiting in security lines for about 60 minutes.
2. George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas, also one of the largest airports in the U.S., has the second longest average security wait time in the country, at 19.8 minutes.
The shortest wait time in the security line at IAH is between 5 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, at 8 minutes. The longest wait time in on Sunday from 5 – 6 p.m. at around 51 minutes.
3. Miami International (MIA)
Next up, Miami International Airport has the third longest average wait time, at around 19.6 minutes.
Security lines run the fastest on Sunday from 10 – 11 p.m. at an average of about 8 minutes. On Thursday from 4 – 5 a.m., however, the security line lags to about 37 minutes long.
4. Baltimore-Washington International (BWI)
Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) has a much worse security wait time than it’s nearby counterpart, Washington-Dulles Airport, at around 18.2 minutes on average. If you need to get to the nation’s capital, it looks like IAD might be the airport to choose to save on wait time.
If you need to fly through BWI, security lines move the quickest on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 – 11 p.m., at around 2 minutes. On Mondays from 2 -3 p.m., however, lines can take up to 35 minutes.
5. McCarran International (LAS)
Finally, the fifth worst airport in the U.S. when it comes to security wait time is Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport, which has an average wait of 17.3 minutes.
When traveling through McCarran, the easiest wait time in the security line is Tuesday from 6 – 7 p.m., which is around 7 minutes. The most tenuous wait time is on Sunday from 6 – 7 a.m., which ends up being 37 minutes.
The study looked at the 25 busiest airports in the U.S., based on 2018 passenger boarding information. The results are compiled from data representing security wait times for specific hours at all airports, from which the day and overall averages were calculated.
To rate the best and worst times for TSA security at each airport, Upgraded Points searched through every day of the week to find the maximum and minimum average wait times. The overall study considered all hours traveled, but only offered times within a single time period — from 4 p.m. through 11 p.m. — in its recommendations for best times to travel. This window was deemed the most realistic time period to suit the largest number of travelers, and also represents the time period used for the majority of flight departures.
About Upgraded Points LLC
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to give travelers, as well as those looking to travel a real understanding of how to maximize their points and miles. Learn more at: www.UpgradedPoints.com.
Source: Upgraded Points LLC