If you’re someone who’s always in a rush, or just chronically impatient, you might want to avoid flights out of New York’s JFK Airport. According to market-research company J.D. Power, New York’s busiest airport is also the nation’s slowest when it comes to security lines. The study found that the average waiting time at JFK is 19.02 minutes, compared to the overall average of 15.32. Also among the slowest airports were Orlando (MCO), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Los Angeles (LAX), and Montreal-Trudeau (YUL), with wait times of 18.85, 18.70, 18.68, and 18.06 minutes respectively.
Because many airports were built before the availability of cheap air travel, and before 9/11, they simply aren’t equipped to deal with the number of passengers currently flooding through the security lines. In an email, J.D. Power travel-practice lead Michael Taylor said, “There just isn’t the space in most of their terminals to handle the TSA hardware and accommodate the increasing number of passengers.” Orlando’s airport, for example, was built to hold 26 million flyers annually, but currently sees nearly twice that many.
Some Canadian airports are particularly slow, as there are strict regulations applying to people crossing into the US — such as the added step of passport control — making the security process more cumbersome.
To eliminate the element of surprise when it comes to security lines, download the MyTSA app, developed by Customs and Border Protection. By using data crowdsourced from other app users, the app gives passengers real-time information on security wait times.