The Essentials

The Truth About TSA Wait Times

Waiting in long TSA lines is never fun, and many of you might even have the app offered by the government that gives you security line waiting times at each airport terminal.

But the information in those apps is not only misleading, but wrong. And here’s why.

The other day I stood in the security line at Miami International for 27 minutes, but the TSA said the waiting time was only 10 minutes. It all gets down to how the TSA defines, “waiting.” I did stand in line for 10 minutes — to get to the TSA officer to check my boarding pass and government issued I.D. But then I stood in line for the next 27 minutes waiting to get screened, to put my carry-on bag on the conveyor belt and go through the body scanner. I’d call that misleading.

The TSA doesn’t measure time waiting to get screened. And that’s how the numbers get fudged. So the next time you see an estimated waiting time on that TSA app, double it and then tell the TSA to be honest about its definition of waiting time.