Easy Hack To Skip Long TSA Checkpoint Lines

by joeheg

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.

a map of a city

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.

a large building with many floors and a fountain

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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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


JinxedK March 2, 2023 - 1:28 pm

I’ve taken advantage of BOS’s airside walkways a few times, though if you’re flying out of terminal A ie: Delta, you can only go in via A checkpoints. A and B have CLEAR, but it’s a haul going to C or E afterwards.
Think more airports need to be built like DFW where the people mover train is airside.
JFK’s landside Airtrain requires you to leave security and reenter security at your designated terminal. It’s not so great when you have a flight out of T5 but your lounge access is in T4.

Traveler March 15, 2023 - 5:27 pm

We live in PHX and didn’t know about the LAX trick since I go there to visit family often. Last time we were there our flight departed from Tom Bradley terminal, but unbeknown to us we showed up at 4, trekking luggage, which had to be checked in right outside of 4, and then walk all the way to the the other terminal. Given that my husband has a heart condition, we never thought of getting wheel chair assistance ahead of time. Our daughter was unaware of our departure from terminal B compounding the problem of going back and forth. My bad of course, since I did see on the boarding pass “terminal B”.
I still wouldn’t have been able to check luggage, though. What gives with this kind of situation?


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