We’ve shared many ways you can get through the TSA checkpoint faster. There are hacks for packing your bags and for getting around the liquids rule at security. There are even a bunch of liquids you can bring through the checkpoint that can be more than 3.4 ounces. There’s also TSA Precheck and CLEAR, which help streamline the process. If you don’t have those services, you can see if the airport has a reservation system for the security lanes.
However, there’s one trick that requires knowing a bit about the airport because it’s possible to find a shorter security line by going to a different security checkpoint.
While an airport may have more than one TSA checkpoint, you can use any of them if the airside terminal is all connected past security.
For example, Austin Bergstrom Airport has a main terminal building with three TSA checkpoints. You’re able to go through any of those checkpoints to get to your flight. So if the checkpoint closest to American Airlines is long, you can walk to the one by Delta for a shorter line.
The same goes for Philadelphia Airport, which has 6 different TSA checkpoints for Terminals A-F.
All of the terminals at Philadelphia Airport are connected past security. So if the line at the American Airlines checkpoints at Terminal A is always long, you can use the Terminal B checkpoint. This works best if you do not have to check bags, because if you do, you’ll still have to check them at one terminal and get to the next one.
We learned this trick at Orlando Airport.
There are two halves to the TSA checkpoint on the Terminal A & B sides of the airport. Both lines have access to the terminal shuttles for all of the gates on that side of the airport. However, people tend to line up on the corresponding side of their gate.
Currently, we’re forced to use the left side of the checkpoint because that’s where the CLEAR checkpoint is located.
This even works at airports where the terminals are not all connected. While the terminals at LAX each have a TSA Checkpoint, you’re able to connect between several terminals past security.
The Tom Bradley International Terminal (Terminal B) and Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are all connected airside via an overground passage between Terminal 4 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (Terminal B), an underground tunnel between Terminals 4, 5 and 6 and above-ground walkways between Terminals 6, 7, and 8. An additional airside shuttle bus operates between Terminals 4, 5, and the American Eagle remote terminal. There are no physical airside connections between any of the other terminals.
Using this trick does take knowledge about each airport. How useful the trick is will depend on the length of the line you’re skipping and how long it will take to get back to the area of the airport where your flight is leaving from.
However, if you know the airport and if you’re not checking bags, it might make sense to use the TSA checkpoint at a different terminal if you know one checkpoint always has long lines.
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