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NEW Top 12-List: Slowest Single “Wait Time” Per Airport

November 30, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Security,Travel Tips

As promised, we are revisiting the subject of the “slowest single security line in the busiest airports”.

Once again, the information on “wait times” comes from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Other data and criteria we used:

  • Airports: We selected our airports from a “Top 40″ list of U.S. airports, the “busiest” ones, based on passenger enplanement statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Days/Times: We selected as our “target” Fridays from 2pm to 6pm (local times) during the weeks from Nov. 2 through Nov. 30 (in order to show a “busier” time than emerged from our earlier list)
  • Maximum “waits”: We purposefully chose to highlight the single slowest line, at a single security-check point, per airport. We did NOT choose to highlight multiple long lines at an airport or terminal; such a list might show only JFK in the Top 10. By highlighting a single “slowest line” per airport, we hope to show you a variety of “waiting in line” experiences.

And the airport with the longest “wait time” at a security-checkpoint? Top honors go to…JFK. Keep reading for the rest.

  1. JFK (New York)- 45 minutes (Term 2)
  2. Atlanta – 40 minutes (Main Checkpoint)
  3. DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth) – 38 minutes (D22)
  4. Las Vegas – 36 minutes (1-D)
  5. Charlotte – 35 minutes (D/E checkpoint)
  6. Philadelphia – 34 minutes (Checkpoint E)
  7. Miami - 30 minutes (MIA H)
  8. (tie) Newark - 30 minutes (B/3)
  9. San Diego – 29 minutes (Am. Eagle/United Express)
  10. Salt Lake City – 28 minutes (SLC 2)
  11. (tie) LaGuardia (New York) – 28 minutes (Delta Entrance)
  12. (tie) Chicago Midway – 28 minutes (Main Checkpoint)

14 Responses to “NEW Top 12-List: Slowest Single “Wait Time” Per Airport”

  1. Mike says:

    JFK Terminal 2 is used for Delta 1st class and Medallions and BE customers only. Since this has been implemented i have never seen more then a 1 min wait. Are you sure you did not mean Terminal 3 which has some of the longest waites.

  2. Scott D. Hill says:

    Where is Houston (IAH)?? Continental checkin is the worse I have ever experienced at Terminal C.

  3. Maggie Johnson says:

    At JFK, not only is the wait long but the “security staff” is rude ( even by New York standards) and inefficient. Granted it is a security check point and not Disney but basic respect for all is not a difficult task.

  4. Teri says:

    At White Plains, the wait is shorter, but the TSA guys are confused. My shoes had to come out of a bin becasue the TSA agent stated that they had be directly on the belt. The following week…shoes were ok in the bin (since that’s where I always put them). It’s all so stupid. I just smile and do what they say and move through these lines week after week. Grit my teeth at people who start s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking their life (complete with water bottles and full size shampoo). Wonder why people care if you pass them with one small carry on item tossed on the belt while they unlace their second boot. Smile at the person who blocks you from getting your bags on the “far side” because they have to fully sort themselves out in front of the x-ray machine. Finally, the problem with JFK isnt the security line, its the long line of planes waiting to take off. Even if they build 40-50 minutes into this on flight time, it can sometimes take 1-1 1/2 hours. I have to stop now or this rant will go on forever. …and then my husband wants to know why I never want to go away…hello home!

  5. K. says:

    JFK is terrible, terrible, terrible. Longest lines, rudest and stupidest employees– just terrible.

  6. Cigar Jon says:

    Security lines at Tampa, from my experience, move quickly. They are staffed by polite and good-natured personnel. My longest wait there may have been fifteen minutes. The airport’s “hub” system of gate dispersement may have something to do with this – - breaking down passengers at security check-points to more manageable numbers.

  7. RB says:

    The secret to getting through Atlanta is to use the security checkpoint for the “T” gates, which can be found away from the main checkpoint. Its at the end of the ticketing/checkin corridor on the north side of the main terminal.

    It can save an otherwise aggravating wait and I’ve used it a few times when actually leaving from ATL and not simply connecting through.

  8. LC says:

    Not too sure DFW is correct. I’ve gone throug this airport very frequently and it’s no more than 10 minutes wait. Also, Miami should be NUMBER ONE!!! Worst airport to go through security, and I feel sorry for the passengers who are making connection there. The “walkway” is on the outside of the secured area, and the distance between terminals can be up to 30 minutes walk.

  9. NK says:

    Have they never checked out Orlando at ANY time of the year? Even in the off season, the lines snake around poles and trash cans, and often all the way back to the moving sidewalks. Horrible, Horrible. All my trips start out through DFW – and I have never had to wait, except the first morning they enacted the ‘no liquids’ rule.

  10. Abby McCoy says:

    San Diego – 29 minutes (Am. Eagle/United Express)…….AGREE ….TSA there are complete retards. Remember the kids that used to ride the short bus to school. They all work for the TSA now in the San Diego Commuter Terminal.

  11. jim says:

    if the aircraft had a bulkhead between the pilots and the passengers, with the pilots having their own head, but no access to them from the passenger cabin, the government could ease up on the security line. they would only have to strictly check out the pilot, copilot and navigator. the passengers would need no more monitoring than they do to get into a stadium or theater.

    no matter what the rest of the passengers did, they could never get to the pilots. it would be like the illegals locked in the trailor shouting to the semi driver as he is moving the rig down the road “let us out or we are going to beat you to a pulp”.

  12. Kris says:

    Anyone ever wonder how much time could be saved if we didn’t have to be subjected to TSA’s security farce? Apparently it thinks that hassles and long waits equal security.

  13. Keenan says:

    JFK for sure, It’s terrible and you almost need a bloody translator to understand the TSA agents…

    San Diego…I accidentally had a “backpackers” saw packed away in my carry-on and the knuckleheads at TSA put me through the secondary search and still didn’t find it! I got home before I noticed.

  14. Sean says:

    Summer of 2006, my family and I flew JKF -> Dublin -> London -> Budapest. It wasn’t until the London -> Budapest flight that the stewardesses caught me using my mom’s sewing scissors to make hemp bracelets. Sharp, pointed, aluminum scissors that made it through 2 securities including JFK and London. Feel safe now? still feel like waiting to go through security?

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