It’s a good time to be in the travel business, but maybe not the best time to be at the airport.
To wit: The TSA screened nearly 12 million travelers over the long Fourth of July weekend, from July 3 through July 7, the airport security agency announced on Thursday. Sunday, July 7 was the busiest day in TSA history, with almost 2.8 million passengers and crew passing through security checkpoints.
All but two of the top 10 busiest days in TSA history have been in 2019.
“The operational success we experienced over the July fourth holiday weekend is a testament to the combined efforts of our dedicated workforce and industry alliances,” TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell said in a statement.
The TSA said 99.7% of travelers waited for less than a half-hour in standard security lines over the busy holiday weekend.
It’s part of a record-busting year for airports and the TSA. The TSA had already warned that the summer of 2019 would be its busiest yet, bracing for 263 million travelers to move through airports between Memorial Day weekend in May and Labor Day weekend in September.
How to Beat the Crowds
There are a few great ways to get ahead of the curve and make sure you’re not stuck in long airport lines this summer.
- Get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck! PreCheck gets you through security faster, while Global Entry is a fast-track through immigration when arriving back in the U.S. And as a bonus, a Global Entry membership includes PreCheck. These trusted traveler programs cost up to $100 for a five-year membership, but several credit cards offer credits that will cover that cost.
- Check in on wait times at your airport ahead of your flight with the MyTSA app to make sure you give yourself enough time to get through security.
- Don’t wait until you get to the security checkpoint to empty your pockets or organize your belongings! Take off your watch and jewelry before you arrive, and put your liquids and electronics at the top of your bag so they’re easy to take out.
- Need an oasis from the hectic airport terminal? Check out some of the best credit cards that will get you into airport lounges for free.
A strong economy and low fuel prices have combined to create a travel boom. You’ve been warned – your airport might be busy this summer.
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