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The 10 Worst Airports If You’re Running Late

If you're always running behind schedule, you definitely don't want to book a flight out of any of these airports.

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flight departure time board airportPeopleImages/Getty Images

Final boarding call…

If you’re lucky, you might be able to fly through security and be blessed with a nice gate attendant that will let you sneak onto the plane after the final boarding call announcement has been made. But sometimes things don’t work out and you’re left watching your plane back up from the airport without you on it. FinanceBuzz analyzed data from the 45 busiest airports in the United States to find the ones that are least forgiving when it comes to you running late for your flight. They analyzed a number of different factors—including average TSA wait time, number of departing passengers, on-time departure percentage, the number of gates, and the terminal square footage—then gave each airport and rating to see how they ranked in time it takes to get from the entrance of the airport to your gate. If you always tend to cut it a little too close when flying, you want to avoid these ten airports. A lot of the airports on this list also make the list of the busiest airports in the world.

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jfk airportMeinzahn/Getty Images

#10: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

At JFK there’s a 75 percent chance that you’ll get stuck in the security line for more than 15 minutes, and on average the wait time is about 25:08 minutes. Even though this airport comes in at number ten on the list, it’s still a bad one to book through if you always run late. This is the most reliable airport in the United States.

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detroit metro airportsBill Pugliano/Getty Images

#9: Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)

Detroit Metro has the shortest TSA wait time of 24:08 minutes, and about 20 percent of the time that wait is shorter than 15 minutes. But, this airport has a high average percentage of on-time flights, so even if you fly through security, your plane could already be pulling away from the jet bridge. If you know you need to get through security fast, these 7 pre-screens will help you fly through.

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IAH bush intercontinental airport houston texasmartince2/Getty Images

#8: Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

If you’re traveling out of Bush Intercontinental you can expect a wait time of 24:59 to get through security. It’s also the sixth-largest airport of the list of 45 that FinanceBuzz analyzed, so get ready to do some walking. If you’re really running behind, this is how you cut the security line when you’re about to miss your flight.

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Seattle/Tacoma International Airport aimintang/Getty Images

#7: Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

SEA isn’t as big as some of the other airports on this list, but if you’re traveling during peak times you’ll want to give yourself some time to spare before boarding starts. The average TSA wait time is 25:28 minutes and the number of passengers departing every day is around 58,600. Even if you’re running late, you should never do these things at the airport.

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San Francisco International AirportJasonDoiy/Getty Images

#6: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

The average wait time at San Francisco International Airport is 31:16 minutes. Add the 115,000 that arrive and depart each day to that plus its large size don’t help when you’re running behind schedule. If you want to avoid delays, this is the best time of day to fly.

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atlanta international airport TasfotoNL/Getty Images

#5: Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Atlanta International Airport came in at number five on the list of worst airports for late travelers. This airport has over 125,000 departing passengers each day so unless you’re good at parting crowds you want to give yourself a lot of time to get through. Its average TSA wait time is on the lower end—26:41 minutes—but the 192 gates, 63 different airlines, and thousand of passengers make it difficult to navigate.

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orlando international airport (MCO) Alexis Gonzalez/Getty Images

#4: Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Orlando Airport has 129 different gates that travelers need to get through so if you’re late, you better have a fast mile time. It also comes in with the second-longest average TSA wait time of 32:04 minutes. And there’s only a 5.95 percent chance that you could make it through security in under 15 minutes. These are the secrets airports don’t want you to know.

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Minneapolis St. Paul Airport Terraxplorer/Getty Images

#3: Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Minneapolis/St. Paul airport has an on-time departure percentage of 84 percent. That doesn’t bode well for late travelers because chances are their plane is leaving on time. The average wait time to get through security is 30:37 minutes. A combination of on-time departures and long security lines means that you don’t want to cut it close.

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CLT Charlotte International AirportTriggerPhoto/Getty Images

#2: Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT)

Charlotte/Douglas has over 56 thousand travelers flying out of it each day, which adds up to an average TSA wait time of 31:58 minutes. So if you’re stuck at the back of the security line and boarding starts in 20 minutes, you’re probably not going to make it. Follow these secrets to help you speed through airport security.

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Newark Liberty International Airport tupungato/Getty Images

#1: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

And the worst airport to travel out of if you’re running late is Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. The average TSA wait time was the longest at 33:53 minutes. FinanceBuzz found that wait time of 15 minutes or less occurs only 3.57 percent of the time. With a percentage that low, you don’t want to risk getting there close to boarding. Newark’s high level of traffic and small square footage (only 121 gates) means that you always need to get there with a lot of time to spare. You’re also going to want to avoid traveling out of the most punctual airports in the world if you tend to always be late.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Senior Production Editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She works with our Production Coordinators to keep content moving and make sure that things are working well behind the scenes for all our digital sites. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.