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Stuck at the Airport? Where to Find the Longest Security Lines this Holiday

These airports may be in need of some added Christmas cheer to get through the TSA wait times

by Business Traveler

December 23, 2019

In an effort to help empower travelers to make more informed decisions in holiday travel preparations, InsureMyTrip is revealing which US airports will likely be the busiest.

• Chicago O’Hare International and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International will be the busiest airports in the country during the 2019 holiday season

• Passengers should check crowd-sourced airport security wait times by using the My TSA application and prepare for longer lines during Christmas week

• Passengers with departing flights at busier airports are more likely to utilize a travel delay benefit and, therefore, may want to compare travel insurance policies with better delay protection

These airports will be busiest during 2019 Christmas week, based on total domestic flights reported for 2019 thus far:  

1. Chicago, IL: Chicago O’Hare International (busiest)

2. Atlanta, GA: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

3. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Dallas/Fort Worth International

4. Denver, CO: Denver International

5. Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Douglas International

6. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles International

7. Seattle, WA: Seattle/Tacoma International

8. Houston, TX: George Bush Intercontinental/Houston

9. Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Sky Harbor International

10. San Francisco, CA: San Francisco International

11. Detroit, MI: Detroit Metro Wayne County

12. New York, NY: LaGuardia

13. Las Vegas, NV: McCarran International

14. Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis-St Paul International

15. Newark, NJ: Newark Liberty International

16. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia International

17. Boston, MA: Logan International

18. Washington, DC: Ronald Reagan Washington National

19. Orlando, FL: Orlando International

20. New York, NY: John F. Kennedy International

21. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City International

22. Baltimore, MD: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall

23. San Diego, CA: San Diego International

24. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International

25. Washington, DC: Washington Dulles International

Data is based on non-stop domestic flights by major air carriers collected in 2019 thus far by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Longest Estimated Security Wait Times

1. Chicago O’Hare International — Sun. between 8 am – 9 am (30 – 45 min)

2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International — Mon. between 7 am – 9 am (30 – 45 min)

3. Dallas/Fort Worth International — Sun. between 6 am – 7 am (15 – 30 min)

4. Denver International — Sun. between 9 am – 10 am and Sat. 8 am – 10 am (30 – 45 min)

5. Charlotte Douglas International — Sun. 1 pm – 2 pm  (60 min or more)

6. Los Angeles International — Varies* (15 – 30 minutes, most of the time)

7. Seattle/Tacoma International — Sat. 6 am – 8 am (30-45 min)

8. George Bush Intercontinental/Houston — Wed. 2 pm – 4 pm and Fri. 5 am – 6 am (30 – 45 min)

9. Phoenix Sky Harbor International — Tues. 5 am – 6 am (15 – 30 min)

10. San Francisco International — Thurs. 8 am – 9 am and Fri  (15 – 30 min)

This data was collected by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and analyzed by InsureMyTrip. Data only includes standard wait time estimates for the busiest US airports, based on the latest historical data available. Does not include wait times for TSA PreCheck passengers. Los Angeles International is listed as varied wait times, due to no clear day and time when extended wait times are more likely to happen.

Both the TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide information on wait times at airports and border crossings. While security wait times are dynamic, travelers can check crowd-sourced airport security wait times by using the My TSA app prior to departure.