Miami, FL

Passengers at Florida’s Airports Face Longest Waits in the U.S. To Pass Through Security Checks, Says Survey

Toby Hazlewood

46 Minutes to get through security at Miami?
Passengers waiting in lineShutterstock

A study reported on April 1 has revealed that two of Florida's biggest airports - Miami and Fort Lauderdale are in positions #1 and #2 respectively for the longest average time for passengers to pass through security checks and passport control.

The study was carried out by luggage storage firm Bounce, and it reviewed the average wait experienced by passengers to pass through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks, and to then clear passport control. The combined times experienced at different airports were then compared to show those airports where the wait was longest.
Man waiting at airportPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Passengers at Miami face the longest waits at 46 minutes and 57 seconds, and passengers at Fort Lauderdale took nearly as long - 46 minutes and 41 seconds. Third place in the study was San Francisco, at 45 minutes and 56 seconds.

It's a long-standing problem though and could be getting worse- as far back as 2016 the average wait for Miami was a mere 23 minutes, although the worst experienced was over three hours.

Miami is a busy airport

There's an important angle to be considered in this.

First, passengers all benefit from security checks being carried out thoroughly and rigorously. Second, Miami is one of the busiest airports in the world, and the U.S. - in 2021, 37.3 million passengers came through MIA.

The airport is America's gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America and an important international hub. As such, vast numbers pass through each day which places a pressure on TSA staff to process each passenger properly. Events such as spring break also bring a large influx of passengers to Florida, many travelling by air.
Spring BreakShutterstock

Commenting on the survey, a spokesperson from Miami International Airport had this to say:

“Airport security checkpoint wait times are the result of staffing levels by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration in response to airport passenger traffic. CBP and the TSA have notified us that they are both at their maximum staffing allotment at MIA.”

It seems then that it could be staffing levels may be the issue that's holding up passengers.

How quickly can it be done?

The Bounce survey reveals some examples of large airports where waiting times aren't nearly as long.

Baltimore-Washington airport had a combined wait of 19 minutes and 14 seconds, while Charlotte-Douglas airport had the shortest wait of 19 minutes and 15 seconds - less than half of either Miami or Fort Lauderdale.

The important thing for passengers to remember it seems, is that while air travel can be stressful and time-consuming, it's important to allow enough time and to be patient when faced with a wait in line!

What's the longest wait you've experienced at an airport while travelling? Are you happy to wait as long as it takes if it means the journey is safe? Let me know in the comments section below.

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