Get to the Airport EARLY This Summer

A first person account.

I’m not one of those people who slides into the airport at the last minute; I arrive an hour or so before departure which leaves plenty of time to go through security and purchase a little crappy airport food to keep me company at the gate while waiting to board. That’s my normal procedure but  not  anymore. Blame the long lines at security.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney’s tips for line-overload.

Long Lines at Airport Security

Example: A few days before my cross-country JetBlue flights in late May, the airline sent an email urging passengers to arrive at the airport two hours before departure. For me, that meant leaving home at 3:45 a.m. Thank goodness I did because security lines at Los Angeles International were mobbed with hundreds of travelers moving at a sloth’s pace. Three days later, same scenario at New York’s JFK. Panicking passengers were overheard muttering, “I’m going to miss my flight, what’ll I do? What’ll I do??”

Check this out if you #HateTheWait 

Airport Tips

Tips for summer travelers, especially those who haven’t flown in a while.

  1. Get to the airport two hours ahead of time: Yes, it’s a pain, and you might be way early but you might also encounter long, long lines. Don’t gamble on missing your flight.
  2. Join PreCheck right now. I went online a couple of weeks before Memorial Day to apply for PreCheck but could not get an appointment for the brief interview and fingerprint session until June 10. Maybe where you live it will only take a couple of days, but you won’t know until you apply so do it now. The designated PreCheck security lines I observed were so much faster than the lines for everyone else.
  3. Do it for the kids: Join PreCheck and your children aged 12-and-under get the expedited screening for free. See more PreCheck information here.
  4. Be nice: As FareCompare’s travel expert Rick Seaney has noted, individual TSA screening officers didn’t make the decisions that led to massive security lines so don’t take your frustrations out on them. You won’t accomplish anything and venting could slow the process even more.

No time to join PreCheck before you fly? Then get up extra-early. If this scenario changes, we’ll let you know.


Updated: June 1, 2016