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Which Airports Will Have The Longest TSA Lines This Weekend?

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 26: Security lines at Denver International Airport are long but moving fast, November 26, 2014. The airport was busy with thanksgiving travelers. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Los Angeles, New York and Chicago have travelers hating the wait.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, more flyers will celebrate their independence by boarding an aircraft for destinations foreign and domestic. According to AAA, 3.3 million travelers will take to the skies to celebrate the weekend. Accordingly, trade group Airlines for America projects Independence Day will mark the busiest summer of all time. By the end of August, over 231 million flyers are expected to travel across the country and around the world.

More travelers crowding airports, combined with the recent terrorist incident in Istanbul, creates a perfect storm for flyers trying to get to their next destination. The problems may not take place in the sky or at a destination, but may rather begin when going through the TSA lines. With staffing shortages and lines growing, which airports are projected to have the worst lines this year?

Thrillist teamed up with TSA line tracking app MiFlight to determine which airports may have the longest lines this holiday weekend. Flyers planning to fly through these airports may want to prepare to arrive early in order to clear security and make their flight on time.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Flyers transiting through the entertainment capital of the world are all but entertained when it comes time to fly. MiFlight reported the average TSA wait at LAX at 40 minutes, with the worst lines taking over two hours to clear.

According to Yahoo! News, Los Angeles Police and the TSA will increase their presence while anticipating more flyers than ever before. Thus, travelers planning to fly in or out of LAX are advised to arrive with plenty of time before their flights to get through the long TSA lines.

LaGuardia International Airport (LGA)

As the largest metropolitan destination in the world, New York’s three major airports see millions of travelers every year. This weekend could provide a test for both LGA and their security teams, as more travelers try to escape the big city for Independence Day.

Data from MiFlight shows LGA has the second longest TSA lines in the country, with an average wait time of 35 minutes. During the longest waits, flyers have waited 142 minutes to get to their flights. The conditions are not much better at New York’s other airports: At Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), wait times have extended to over 160 minutes – nearly three hours – to pass TSA checkpoints.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Chicago’s airports were under scrutiny earlier this week after an investigation discovered over half of their police force were on patrol without weapons. After this weekend, flyers may have another reason to criticize one of the world’s busiest airports: long TSA lines.

At ORD, MiFlight discovered the average wait to clear security often reaches 35 minutes. Although shorter than Los Angeles and New York, the longest waits at this airport has travelers waiting almost exactly two hours to enter the secure zone. Travelers who are concerned about long lines would be best served to fly out of Chicago Midway instead (MDW), where the average wait is eight minutes long.

Miami International Airport (MIA)

One of the hottest destinations every summer, Miami draws flyers like moths to a flame looking for excitement both day and night. While getting there may be easy, leaving may be difficult. At MIA, MiFlight reports the longest waits can take exceed three hours or more.

When lines are moving efficiently, travelers can expect to clear security lines in around 30 minutes. Nonetheless, travelers should consider arriving with plenty of time in order to make their flights and not get stuck waiting on the next opportunity to leave Miami.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Finally, New York’s largest airport experienced some of the longest TSA lines in the United States, even with technology that helps travelers anticipate their wait. At worst, TSA lines in New York can take nearly four hours – an average of 232 minutes – to clear.

On average, travelers can expect to get past TSA checkpoints in around 21 minutes. However, with an increased security presence and influx of flyers, those going through any of New York’s airports should arrive with plenty of time to stand in line.

Although TSA lines are one of the biggest challenges travelers will contend with over the Independence Day weekend, knowledge and planning can help flyers clear these with ease. By arriving early and preparing ahead of time, every flyer can pass security like a pro, getting them one step closer to their long weekend.

[Photo: Fortune]

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live5 July 2, 2016

TSA wait times at LGA were basically non-existent as I entered through Terminal D on Friday.