The air travel business was savaged early during the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease kept flights grounded for months. The federal government had to bail out large carriers. These carriers dismissed tens of thousands of people, including flight crews and pilots. Then, as the world “opened up” as the disease became less dangerous, demand came surging back. Carriers became overwhelmed as they tried to bring back employees and airplanes. Service quality plunged, and delays became a regular part of flying. (These U.S. airports have the worst customer satisfaction.)
As the industry returned to normal, some airports had long waits for people to get from the curb to their gates. Luggage-storage platform Bounce recently released the results of a study that measured how long those waits were. It used data from Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs & Border Protection. The passport control information was collected from April 26, 2022, to April 25, 2023. A combination of the two time periods was used to pick the airports with the most extended wait times.
Airports in Florida dominated the list of longest wait times, but JFK International Airport, one of three airports in the New York City area, topped the list. It has an average wait time of 48 minutes and 24 seconds. The report’s authors claim this is because of the huge amount of traffic that goes through JFK: “This leads to increased pressure on the airport’s infrastructure and staff, causing longer wait times at passport control and security checkpoints.” JFK is also a hub for a large number of carriers, which adds to the long wait times.
San Francisco Airport was second on the list, with an average wait time of 47:18. Miami followed this at 45:54, Fort Lauderdale at 42:00 and Orlando at 40:12.
The airports with the shortest wait time were Baltimore/Washington at 14:48 and San Antonio at 17:42.
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