As Long Lines In Airports Rise, TSA Struggles To Cut Waiting Times
Passengers at O'Hare International Airport wait in line to be screened at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint on May 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  Scott Olson—Getty Images

These Are the 8 Worst Airports for Flight Delays

May 17, 2016

Welcome to the summer of hell.

Airports across the country are bracing for a perfect storm that threatens to leave travelers stuck in security lines of epic lengths. The cause? Cheaper airfare is expected to drive a record number of flyers to airports around the country, but the Transportation Security Administration has too few security screeners to deal with the influx.

Lawmakers in Washington have given the TSA clearance to hire more screeners (and pay existing ones for overtime work), but it's unclear if the agency can ramp up in time to deal with the summer rush. Travelers in cities like Atlanta and Chicago are already reporting hours-long security lines. Some are rallying around the Twitter hashtag #IHateTheWait to vent their frustrations. Several airports have recommended travelers arrive at least three hours early for their flights, though even that may prove insufficient.

At which airports do travelers have it the worst? Of the country's busiest airports, these are the eight with the lowest percentage of on-time departures between January and March of this year, according to data from the Department of Transportation. That metric isn't a perfect stand-in for security delays, but if you're flying out of one of them, it's best to arrive with plenty of time to spare.

A line of passengers wait in line to enter the security checkpoint in the domestic terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A line of passengers wait in line to enter the security checkpoint in the domestic terminal at San Francisco International Airport on Nov. 28, 2013.Jeff Chiu—AP
1

San Francisco, CA (SFO)

71.82% On-Time

Ilvert Labrada of Plantation, Fla. waits in line with luggage at Miami International Airport before traveling to Cuba with his family, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, in Miami. As the holidays approach this year, thousands of Cuban-Americans are taking advantage of the Obama administration's relaxed travel regulations to return to the island. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Ilvert Labrada of Plantation, Fla. waits in line with luggage at Miami International Airport before traveling to Cuba with his family on Dec. 19, 2011.Lynne Sladky—AP
2

Miami, FL (MIA)

76.03% On-Time

Passengers load their items into bins to be scanned as they pass through security at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Sari Koshetz said that about 8,000 lbs. of prohibited items were confiscated this year by the TSA at the Fort Lauderdale airport. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Passengers load their items into bins to be scanned as they pass through security at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Dec. 18, 2015.Wilfredo Lee—AP
3

Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)

76.60% On-Time

DALLAS, TX - DECEMEBER 6: Passengers waiting to speak with ticket agents at American Airlines line the length of Terminal D at DFW International Airport December 6, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. More than 330 departures were canceled due to inclement weather. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)
Passengers waiting to speak with ticket agents at American Airlines line the length of Terminal D at DFW International Airport in Dallas on Dec. 6, 2013.Stewart F. House—Getty Images
4

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW)

76.64% On-Time

On the busiest travel day of the year, a passenger checks the departures board in a terminal at Denver International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
On the busiest travel day of the year, a passenger checks the departures board in a terminal at Denver International Airport on 27, 2013.Brennan Linsley—AP
5

Denver, CO (DEN)

77.21% On-Time

Security personnel looks on as passengers wait to pass through airline security at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. An expanded version of America's annual Thanksgiving travel saga was under way Wednesday with gas prices low and terrorism fears high. An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 300,000 people over last year, and the most travelers since 2007. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Security personnel looks on as passengers wait to pass through airline security at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Nov. 25, 2015.Seth Wenig—AP
6

New York, NY (LGA)

77.38% On-Time

LOS ANGELES, CA JULY 8: Passengers wait in long lines at the United Airlines terminal at LAX in the morning after a nation-wide flight stoppage July 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. United Airlines flights are no longer grounded, according to an alert from the Federal Aviation Administration. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Passengers wait in long lines at the United Airlines terminal at LAX in the morning after a nation-wide flight stoppage on July 8, 2015.Al Seib—LA Times/Getty Images
7

Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

77.40% On-Time

In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 photo, passengers line up at security check points before heading to their departure gates at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla. The state’s second-busiest airport has embarked on a $1.1 billion expansion, the largest in two decades, for a new garage, check-in kiosks and a train terminal to service the privately funded All Aboard Florida line which will run from Orlando to Miami in two years. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Passengers line up at security check points before heading to their departure gates at Orlando International Airport on Aug. 31, 2015.John Raoux—AP
8

Orlando, FL (MCO)

78.35% On-Time

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