How to Survive Summer Airport Security Lines

What do you think about when you're standing in the security line? A tropical beach paradise? Not putting your shoes in a bin? Whatever it is, we hope it gives you the comfort you need.


The summer months always guarantee an increase in travelers (totaling 220 million in just July and August, to be exact), but this year is projected to be one of the worst yet. The combination of less TSA screeners, tighter budgets, new checkpoint procedures and even more carry-on baggage will result in epidemic levels of wait times. Translation: lots of missed flights.

What can you do about it? For starters, make sure you've brushed up on our three recommendations for avoiding (or at least enduring) the long lines.

1. Pay for membership to a Trusted Traveler Program, like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, to gain the benefits of expedited security. You can even get a refund on your application fee if you pay with an eligible American Express card- more on that here.

2. If you haven't paid for a membership but are crossing your fingers that you'll get randomly selected for TSA PreCheck upon check-in, make sure the name on your ticket exactly matches your government issued ID. Any discrepancy here will reduce your chances.

3. Get to the airport sooner. Way sooner. The current recommendation is two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international. Once you're through security, use LoungeBuddy to check out airport lounges to pass the time.

When all else fails, plan ahead. If it gets to the point that you may miss your flight, get in touch with your travel specialist immediately so they can start the process of communicating on your behalf to the airline. This may help you avoid change fees and get you scheduled for the next available flight before everyone else rushes to the gate agent.