How to Navigate Crowded, Summer TSA Checkpoints (Quickly!)

Summer sees airports filled with many extra and often unseasoned travelers going on vacations, thus making TSA security checkpoint lines even longer and more frustrating to navigate. Here are some tips to getting through the lines more quickly.

The first and easiest method is to sign up for the TSA’s PreCheck program. Much like its amusement park cousin, FastPass, TSA PreCheck isn’t free and many won’t think it is cheap at $85 a person. But the benefits are good for five years it really can save you hours of time waiting in lines. You will have to schedule a brief in person interview and wait for your Known Traveler Number, but again the benefits will be worth the small hassles for heavy airline users.

One trick to saving a bit of cash is to try buying just one PreCheck membership between spouses. Often the PreCheck pass will show up on the non-member’s ticket as well (though not always). You can also splurge on the Global Entry program to get you through customs faster returning to the US from out of country flights. This will set you back an extra $15.

If you don’t fancy spending almost a hundred bucks, you could try the the TSA’s smartphone app which will inform you about which security lines in any given airport are moving quickly.

Otherwise the tried and true methods of double checking for banned items, being prepared (shoes off, etc), and getting to the airport early are just about the only way of getting through TSA security checkpoints hassle free.