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Best, Worst US Airports When Running Late for Your Flight

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Maybe you overslept or ran into unexpected traffic. Whatever the reason, running late for your flight is never fun. However, your shot at making your departure could very well depend on your airport.

Personal finance site FinanceBuzz recently analyzed the 45 busiest airports in the U.S., looking at a dozen factors—including TSA wait times, number of departing passengers, on-time departure percentage, number of gates, estimated terminal square footage and whether the airport offers CLEAR—to determine the best and worst airports for late passengers.

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Newark Liberty International Airport is the worst airport to depart from if you’re running late, as it’s average TSA wait time was the longest at 33:53 minutes. It also boasts higher passenger traffic compared to some of the other airports FinanceBuzz examined.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport; Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport; Orlando International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport round out the top five worst airports for late travelers, followed by San Francisco International Airport; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport; Detroit Metropolitan Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

On the other end of the spectrum, Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport gives late travelers the best shot to make their flight. Hobby is propelled to the top by the lowest average TSA wait time of just under 14 minutes. What’s more, the wait time is 15 minutes or less nearly 40 percent of the time, FinanceBuzz found.

The airport is also benefitted by a relatively small number of departing passengers and a lower percentage of on-time flights, giving late passengers slightly better odds of boarding in time.

PHOTO: A passenger heading for his plane at Houston’s William P Hobby Airport. (Photo via Houston Hobby / Stephen M. Keller 2018 / Southwest)

Kansas City International Airport; Raleigh-Durham International Airport; San Antonio International Airport and Nashville International Airport are also among the best for passengers who are running late, with Raleigh-Durham and Nashville both giving travelers about a 40 percent chance to get through security in 15 minutes or less.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport; Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; Indianapolis International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport round out the top 10 best airports for late travelers.

No matter what city you’re flying out of, enrolling in TSA PreCheck or CLEAR is your best bet to breeze through security and give yourself the best chance of making your flight in the event that you are running behind.

Traveling with only your carry-on bag and packing based on TSA guidelines are also critical to reaching your gate as soon as possible.

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