This Is How Long You’ll Wait at 40 Largest Airports

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One thing that is supposed to run smoothly every day in America is the airport traffic sending the millions of weekly travelers here and there around the country and to foreign countries. During periods of government shutdowns, running smoothly doesn’t always quite work out as smoothly as some travelers might have hoped. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released an updated statement on its checkpoint operations showing average wait times at the major U.S. airports. In an extra note, the TSA also has given some statistics on large increases in its “unscheduled absences” from its pool of workers during the shutdown.

On January 14, 2019, the TSA screened some 1.89 million passengers, and roughly 99.1% of those passengers had to wait less than 30 minutes in line at airport security, and 94.3% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes. Those times were on average less than 10 minutes in the TSA pre-check lanes.

The TSA noted that national average wait times are still within the normal time of 30 minutes for standard security check-in lanes and 10 minutes for the TSA pre-check lines, but some airports experienced longer than expected wait times.

It has been widely reported in too many major and local media outlets that the partial government shutdown has had an impact on roughly 800,000 government workers at the various agencies affected by the shutdown. Affected as in on leave or working without pay. The TSA is one such agency, and it has disclosed that there was a national rate of 6.8% of unscheduled absences. If that figure sounds high, it should — that’s more than 1.7 times the past rate when compared to a 2.5% on the same day a year earlier. The TSA did not disclose the “call-out rates” at specific airports due to security concerns, and it said that some airports are exercising contingency plans to maintain effective security during higher call-out periods and high traffic volume.

Some airports are running far slower than others. Flying out of Houston’s two major airports is currently less than half of the time as in Dallas Love Field and still considerably lower than Dallas’s DFW. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson was the worst wait by far — 88 minutes as the max standard wait time and even 55 minutes for the max pre-check wait lines. The shortest standard maximum waits in regular screening lines were in Palm Beach International, Kahului Airport (Hawaii), and St. Louis Lambert International. with just nine minute standard maximum wait times.

Here is a look at all the TSA’s 42 top airports covered for how long you might expect to have to wait in minutes in the security lines.

Top Airports Max Standard Wait Time Max Precheck Wait Time
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport 10 3
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 88 55
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport 11 6
Bradley International Airport, Hartford 19 3
Logan International Airport, Boston 10 4
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport 21 11
Charlotte Douglas International Airport 15 4
Dallas Love Field 41 5
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 19 4
Denver International Airport 14 7
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 25 8
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 19 4
Newark Liberty International Airport 28 7
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport 19 5
Honolulu International Airport 29 9
William P. Hobby Airport, Houston 12 3
Westchester County Airport, White Plains 10 4
Washington Dulles International Airport 17 4
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston 14 5
John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York 18 3
McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas 18 4
Los Angeles International Airport 14 4
LaGuardia Airport, New York 10 8
Orlando International Airport 18 4
Midway International Airport, Chicago 11 3
Miami International Airport 28 4
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport 20 4
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport 19 4
Oakland International Airport 12 6
Kahului Airport 9 4
O’Hare International Airport, Chicago 16 3
Palm Beach International Airport 9 8
Portland International Airport 17 4
Philadelphia International Airport 17 5
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 17 5
San Diego International Airport 16 7
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 20 14
San Francisco International Airport 18 4
San Jose International Airport 15 6
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan 21 5
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport 9 4
Tampa International Airport 11 4
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