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View Poll Results: On average how long do you spend going through TSA security
3 minutes 2 9.09%
6 minutes 6 27.27%
10 minutes 6 27.27%
15 minutes 6 27.27%
20 minutes 1 4.55%
30 minutes 1 4.55%
45 minutes 0 0%
1 hour or more. 0 0%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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TSA Wait times
Old 11-19-2010, 10:27 PM   #1
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TSA Wait times

The TSA website makes the following claim

During 2006,
  • We screened 708,400,522. The average wait time was 3.79 minutes and the average peak wait time was 11.76 minutes.
TSA doesn't define what they mean by wait time or peak wait time.
So let me define it.
Thinking back on the last 5 flights or last 2 years for infrequent fliers, How much time does it take you to get through TSA security procedures starting with the time, you arrive at the security area, until you leave the security area.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Less than 3 minutes. You have to make sure the people, if any, in line in front of you know what they are doing. It's the passengers that slow things down and not the TSA folks.

You might not like what I do: One tray for my laptop, backpack contains everything else including keys & phone, shoes don't go in a tray, but go directly on the moving belt. I wear loafers when flying, so shoes go on/off easily.

It's helpful to know that some airports have out-of-the-way checkpoints away from the ticket counters for folks who have e-tickets and don't check luggage. Never any wait at those.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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elite status. probably less than 3 minutes as well. make sure to put shoes and other stuff through before your bag...
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:58 PM   #4
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Yeah, we are stupid passengers.

When I flew from Chicago to California, I was told to remove my shoes from the tray and put them directly on the belt. A month later, when I flew from Chicago to Texas, I was quite sternly reprimanded for putting my shoes directly on the belt and told to put them in a tray. Same shoes, same airport.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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Yeah, we are stupid passengers.

When I flew from Chicago to California, I was told to remove my shoes from the tray and put them directly on the belt. A month later, when I flew from Chicago to Texas, I was quite sternly reprimanded for putting my shoes directly on the belt and told to put them in a tray. Same shoes, same airport.
I used to get this sort of contradiction all the time when I was flying so frequently for work. I just figure, "whatever".
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:23 AM   #6
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I fly nearly every week, mostly in Asia. I wait longer in the US usually. When the airport has a line for elite status qualiflyers, I'm in and out in less than a minute, Asia or US. If there is no elite status line, it is never less than 11 minutes in the US. It can be more or less depending on the country I am visiting.

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Old 11-20-2010, 04:13 AM   #7
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I used to get this sort of contradiction all the time when I was flying so frequently for work. I just figure, "whatever".
Yup, I am sure I have been told different things about about where you put shoes. I also put my cell phone and keys inside my shoes to make sure I don't forget them and than got scolding for doing that recently.
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Old 11-20-2010, 06:22 AM   #8
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I voted 10 minutes. I haven't been taking time readings and averaging them out, but 10-15 minutes is my gut feeling. I normally put my carry-on on the conveyor belt, with my shoes and ipad in the same tray. Last week TSA made a general statement that shoes must be in their own tray. So I grabbed another tray and ran 2 through.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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"We screened 708,400,522. The average wait time was 3.79 minutes and the average peak wait time was 11.76 minutes."

Then why do you tell us to get to the airport two hours ahead of time (three hours for international flights)?
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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Just went through Newark and Houston. Neither terminals I was flying through were using the scanners or patting anyone down (at Newark, the scanners are only in terminal B). Sometimes the lines are longer than others, but the time between taking shoes off and putting them back on at the other side...3 min tops!
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:32 AM   #11
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TromboneAl, excellent question! Maybe they should have said, "If you look like any of the guys who blew up the U.S. in the last 10 years, arrive 6 hours early for special searches. If not, give yourself 15 minutes and you'll be fine."



This rapper, an Iraqi-Canadian, was famous after making this video. Ironically, when he came to DC for a film festival recently (after the video was done), he was questioned and kept at the airport for 5 hours.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:33 AM   #12
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I voted 15 minutes because I included waiting in line. It didn't help that I flew out of JFK last week. The place was pretty chaotic by my Midwestern standards.
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:23 PM   #13
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I voted 10 minutes. I flew in August and 10 minutes was about right.

Now, with the new rules..

1) virtual strip search (10 minutes)

2) physical grope and search (30 minutes)
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:55 PM   #14
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That's true, easysurfer. I haven't been through the new procedures (don't intend to subject myself to them), but I would imagine that they take a longer time, especially if one wants a same-sex groper/molester.

Also, my vote includes the time that it took afterwards to:

(1) find a seat where I can put on my shoes, since at my age I prefer comfortable shoes with ties and arch support to flipflops or sandals
(2) put them on and tie them comfortably
(3) put my laptop back in its case
(4) check my wallet to put back my ID and make sure nothing is missing
(5) put my ticket back in my purse so I don't lose it
(6) put my baggie away (baggie of personal hygiene and cosmetic products that some TSA employees think are liquid, and others don't), and
(7) finally, think through a mental checklist to make sure I didn't leave anything at the security station.

I would guess that probably just this list alone takes more than 3.79 minutes.
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:22 PM   #15
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but I would imagine that they take a longer time, especially if one wants a same-sex groper/molester.
Can you request an opposite sex groper?
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:45 PM   #16
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Can you request an opposite sex groper?
I am sure that there some good looking female TSA agents, I just haven't seen them in person or in the recent TSA videos. Not to mention that your junk may not be as impressive as you think
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:21 PM   #17
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Since TSA is always reactive to the latest attempt, I just hope no terrorist tries to stuff a bomb up his wazoo. We'll all be subject to a body cavity search.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:56 PM   #18
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Then why do you tell us to get to the airport two hours ahead of time (three hours for international flights)?
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That SSSS printed, stamped, or scrawled on the boarding pass says that you are special today! The celebration of your specialness may take additional time.
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