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Summer is peak travel season and cities worldwide are swarming with travelers undeterred by high costs and crowds. But tourist attractions aren’t the only places experiencing crowding and long wait times: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported record numbers of travelers clearing airport checkpoints this summer. The TSA’s mobile app reports wait times of up to an hour to clear security, which doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to start a vacation.

With a TSA PreCheck membership, travelers don’t need to remove their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets during the screening process. PreCheck members can also access dedicated security lanes that are usually shorter than regular lines. All of this can save time and make the airport experience less stressful.

How Much Time Does TSA PreCheck Save You?

If you have TSA PreCheck, your wait time at airports is cut down dramatically. The TSA estimates that 88% of PreCheck passengers wait less than five minutes to clear security. While the exact time will vary by airport and travel date, you can still save significant time and hassle by being subjected to less stringent security protocols.

TSA PreCheck is available to U.S. citizens, nationals and lawful permanent residents for a reasonable $78 fee every five years. However, several credit cards offer TSA PreCheck application fee credits, so you may not even have to pay out of pocket.  

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10 Airports Where TSA PreCheck Is Most Worth It

If you have TSA PreCheck, you'll save considerable time if you live near or travel through these airports often.

1. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

According to the Airports Council International, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) served over 93 million passengers in 2022, making it the second busiest airport in the U.S. With airport traffic going on a general upwards trend and DFW serving both domestic and international flights, it will be one of the busiest airports this summer. According to the TSA app, travelers at DFW airport can experience wait times exceeding 60 minutes during peak travel times, which are typical Fridays between 1-2 PM. 

Peak wait time: Over 60 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 55 minutes

2. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Denver International Airport is the third busiest airport in the U.S., serving over 69 million passengers last year. According to the TSA, the wait to clear security during peak times is a whopping 45-60 minutes this summer. Having PreCheck cuts this down significantly and takes a lot of the hassle out of clearing security.

Peak wait time: 45-60 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 40-55 minutes

3. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

TWA Hotel restaurant JFK


New York’s JFK airport is a hub for several airlines and has over 1,000 flights a day. You’ll save approximately 45-60 minutes with PreCheck during peak travel times. Regardless of whether you’re traveling domestically or abroad this summer, you’re bound to save time by putting your PreCheck to use at JFK.

Peak wait time: 45-60 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 40-55 minutes

4. Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Nearly 150,000 passengers transit through Orlando International Airport every day and as a gateway to Disney World, the airport services over 54 million passengers a year. The summer months bring greater crowds (and longer wait times) for passengers at this airport. The TSA reports peak wait times of 45-60 minutes to clear security.

Peak wait time: 45-60 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 40-55 minutes

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5. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

Seeing Charlotte’s Douglas Airport on this list may be surprising, but it’s actually the sixth busiest airport in the U.S., with over 1,400 flights and 118,000 passengers per day. This summer, the TSA estimates you can spend up to 45-60 minutes clearing security at this airport.

Peak wait time: 45-60 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 40-55 minutes

6. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport, serving over 90 million passengers in 2022 alone. Hartsfield-Jackson is a major hub for Delta Air Lines and offers over 1,000 daily flights. According to the TSA, the estimated wait time during peak hours is 30-45 minutes for the regular security line. TSA PreCheck cuts this down to as low as five minutes, making it an excellent place to put your PreCheck to good use. 

Peak wait time: 30-45 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 25-40 minutes

7. O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Chicago O'hare airport


As the fourth largest airport in the U.S., Chicago's O’Hare International Airport served 54 million passengers last year. This summer is set to be a record year and passengers are expected to spend 30-45 minutes clearing security on peak travel dates. 

Peak wait time: 30-45 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 25-40 minutes

8. Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)

Sin City’s Harry Reid International Airport ranks eighth in passenger traffic, serving over 40 million travelers last year. While summer in Vegas tends to be unbearably hot, it doesn’t deter the crowds that still flock to the Vegas strip. The TSA estimates passengers will spend about 30-45 minutes at security checkpoints during peak travel times. Having TSA PreCheck could save you as much as 40 minutes of wait time. 

Peak wait time: 30-45 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 25-40 minutes

9. Miami International Airport (MIA)

Miami International Airport is tenth in passenger traffic and summer is bound to be a busy period for this beachside haven. If you’re traveling on the busiest days of the week, security can take as long as 30-45 minutes to clear. It’s worth noting that Miami’s PreCheck line can get longer than the regular security line. But PreCheck can still be faster, since passengers aren’t taking their shoes off or removing laptops from their bags.

Peak wait time: 30-45 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 25-40 minutes

10. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX airport


LAX is the fifth busiest airport in the U.S., averaging over 90,000 daily departing passengers in May 2023 alone. Peak TSA wait times are estimated to be around 15-30 minutes, which is relatively low compared to other airports on this list. However, PreCheck can still cut this number down significantly.

Peak wait time: 15-30 minutes

Estimated time saved with PreCheck: 10-25 minutes

Final Thoughts

TSA PreCheck is a great way to save time and stress at the airport this summer. Considering it costs just $78 for five years, PreCheck can be worth it for frequent and infrequent travelers alike. I’ve had TSA PreCheck for four years now and while the application fee was reimbursed by my credit card, I would absolutely pay the $78 fee. I’ve traveled through some of the busiest airports and PreCheck has saved me countless hours of wait time. 

At Chicago O’Hare I once got to bypass a line that looked to be well over 40 minutes long. When flying out of SFO and LAX in the summer, I routinely save 20 minutes or more. But even when I’m flying domestically out of Sacramento International Airport (SMF), which typically has shorter lines, being able to keep my shoes and jacket on is a major convenience for me. For that alone, I’m happy I took the plunge and signed up for PreCheck.

It can take 3-5 days for your application to be approved, meaning you could get it in time for summer travel. Just keep in mind that due to high travel demands, application processing can take up to 60 days. But even if it's the latter and you can’t make use of it this summer, the membership is valid for five years, so you’ll have plenty of time to use it.

On the other hand, if you only fly occasionally through less busy airports, then PreCheck may not be as beneficial for you. However, keep in mind that travel demand is seemingly increasing every year. Airports are bound to experience higher traffic and eventually, you’ll find the expedited security line useful. If you can get the application fee waived through a credit card, that’s even more of a reason to do it.

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Ariana Arghandewal

Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser, an online publication dedicated to rewards travel topics. She brings over a decade of experience writing about travel, points, miles and credit cards. Her expertise includes her roles as an editor for distinguished travel and finance publications such as NerdWallet, The Points Guy and FlyerTalk. She has also authored many articles featured in major financial news & travel channels like Forbes, U.S. News Weekly, Business Insider & Fodor’s Travel.