If anyone’s been following my Global Entry saga, I’d like to inform you that after seven months, there’s still no update on my application. This means that the following news pertains just as much to me as it does to anyone else who doesn’t hold a flimsy little card that makes you superior to the worst of lines.
A recent study conducted by luggage storage company Bounce has shed light on which US airports have the longest and shortest wait times. By analyzing data from various sources, including TSA Wait Times and the US Customs & Border Protection’s Airport Wait Times, Bounce has provided valuable insights to help travelers plan their journeys more effectively.
The longest wait times: JFK, SFO, and MIA
For those seeking to avoid lengthy queues, it’s essential to know which airports to be cautious about. Topping the list is New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), with an average combined wait time of 48 minutes and 24 seconds. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Miami International Airport (MIA) closely follow, with average wait times of 47 minutes and 18 seconds and 45 minutes and 54 seconds, respectively. These airports face unique challenges due to their high passenger volumes and international connectivity.
The shortest wait times: BWI, SAT, and SJC
On the other end of the spectrum, several airports offer a more seamless travel experience. Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) leads the pack with an average combined wait time of just 14 minutes and 48 seconds. San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) also boast impressively short wait times, with averages of 17 minutes and 42 seconds and 18 minutes and 18 seconds, respectively. These airports benefit from lower passenger volumes and efficient infrastructure.
Bypassing the lines: Global Entry, PreCheck, and Spot Savers
To skip the hassle of long lines, travelers can take advantage of trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. As you’ve probably already gathered from my experience, wait times for these programs are pretty slow at the moment. While you (impatiently) wait for approval, take advantage of spot saver options. Some airports offer such a hack—allowing travelers to reserve a place in line through mobile apps, reducing waiting times.