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Travel Tip: What Long TSA Lines Mean for You

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Security_Screening_at_the_Denver_AirportThe warnings have already been issued: it’s going to be a tough summer at security checkpoints in many U.S. airports.

The TSA is understaffed at a critical time during the high travel season.

Travelers are being told to expect very long lines and wait times at TSA checkpoints.

In some cases, we’ve been advised to expect wait times as long as two hours within peak travel periods.

What’s worse is that the warnings are not coming from the TSA itself, but from major airlines.

The airlines are telling customers to get to the airports earlier than usual for their flights, and if they miss their flights because of the TSA delays, the airlines will not accommodate them on later flights without financial penalty.

Translation: The airlines are going on record saying they won’t be responsible for you missing your flight—even if the TSA is the cause.

So what can you do? For starters, be counterintuitive.

You already know it’s a good idea to pick the first flight of the day and avoid the last flight of the day.

Right? Well, maybe not this summer.

Instead, try to find a flight that leaves between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.—the least crowded time in most airports.

If you pick the first flight of the day, which seems to make common sense, keep in mind that everyone else is thinking the same thing.

You might also have to get to the airport three hours early, which makes no sense.

If you make it to the airport at 3 a.m. for a 7 a.m. departure, the security lines at most airports don’t even open up until 5 a.m.

For more information about airports and TSA lines, check out:

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