It’s never fun to go through airport security. But with the busy summer travel season just around the corner, it’s likely to become an even bigger headache than usual over the coming months.
Following these tips can help you avoid long airport security lines so you make your flight on time and keep your cool during the warm months ahead.
Be selective with travel dates and times
You probably already know that airport security lines are worse on busy travel days, such as the day before Thanksgiving. But you can get a more detailed look at wait times by checking out the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. There, you’ll find a tool that breaks down the average wait time hour by hour.
Armed with this information, you’ll have a better idea about the best time to book a flight if you want to avoid standing in line.
Get to the airport early
Experts typically recommend that you arrive at the airport two hours prior to a domestic flight, and three hours for international flights.
However, veteran flyers might be able to get by with arriving a little later, while newbie flyers might need more time. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and arrive earlier rather than too late.
Of course, this tip won’t necessarily help you avoid standing in security lines — but it will help you cope with them better, perhaps getting to the lines before they become too long.
Fly out of less-busy airports
Some major airports are likely to be bogged down in excruciatingly long wait times at TSA security checkpoints, especially on busy travel days. So, consider less-busy alternative airports in your area if that’s an option.
Sign up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry
TSA Precheck ($85 for five years) and Global Entry ($100) are programs that can help shorten your security wait time. The first is for domestic travelers, while the second is for international travelers.
For more on Precheck, read “17 Ways to Get TSA Precheck for Free.”
Speed through security with ‘Clear’
If you fly out of one of more than a dozen airports, then you may want to consider forking over $15 or $179 annually for Clear, a program that promises to hurry you through airport security.
Do you have any flying travel tips to share with fellow readers? Share in comments below or on our Facebook page.
Chris Kissell contributed to this report.
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