Here Are the US Airports Where Security and Customs Waits Are Longest

A new study breaks down the numbers

Airplane passengers proceed through the TSA security checkpoint at Denver International Airport
Passengers proceed through the TSA security checkpoint at Denver International Airport
Getty Images

I’m not always the most punctual person, but being late to the airport stresses me out like no other — so it’s one place that I always show up to on time. Even if it’s a small regional airport where security is a breeze, it’s always a good idea to arrive at a reasonable time in case you encounter any unusually long lines or fight issues, especially if you’re connecting. Now, a new study from luggage storage company Bounce found which airports currently have the longest, and shortest, wait times. 

“Airport security and passport control play a crucial role in ensuring our safety while we travel, but we can’t deny that waiting in line can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially when you’re running on a tight schedule,” wrote Bounce  in the study. “To help you plan ahead, the team at Bounce has delved into data to reveal which airports in the United States have the longest wait times, and which allow you to sail through security and passport control with ease.”

It comes as no surprise that New York’s JFK had the longest wait times overall. There, combined security and passport control lines averaged 48 minutes and 24 seconds. San Francisco International Airport came in at second longest with an average wait time of 47 minutes and 18 seconds, while Miami International Airport came in third with 45 minutes and 54 seconds.

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When you break down the wait times into security and passport control, Palm Beach International Airport had the longest security wait with an average time of 34 minutes and six seconds. That same airport also had the shortest passport control time at a mere two minutes and 36 seconds, on average. As for the most brutal passport control, average wait times were the longest at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, clocking in at 25 minutes and 54 seconds.

As for the shortest security wait time, Newark Liberty International Airport — to my surprise — had an average of only three minutes and six seconds, followed by Baltimore/Washington International Airport with an average time of four minutes. 

Remember, these are averages, and depending on the day, season and location, you might be waiting for more or less time. So by golly, you’re really doing yourself a favor to just show up on time, and you’ll be fine — unless there’s another 2022 Amsterdam Schiphol Airport situation and you need to arrive four hours early, of course.


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