Heading to O'Hare? App Helps Predict Wait Times at Airports

Travelers may have a new tool in the war on wait times at the nation’s airports

Travelers may have a new tool in the war on wait times at the nation’s airports, a tool that comes from the Transportation Security Administration itself. It's called the MyTSA app.

MyTSA is more akin to Waze for flyers than Google Maps. It depends on users to post their wait times which are then passed along to other users. The accuracy of the information provided depends on the accuracy of those posting to the app. In larger airports like Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the app differentiates between wait times in various terminals. It also displays general delays that affect the whole airport.

A recent check showed the app reporting O’Hare wait times on a Monday mid-morning averaging around half an hour. The same was true of Midway International Airport. On a recent Friday afternoon, they were both averaging over an hour. That would be good to know if you are trying to decide if you can squeeze in one more episode of The Walking Dead before it's your turn in front of a Transportation Security Officer.

The best use of MyTSA may be as you prepare to leave for the airport. You can get a general sense of what wait times are doing in the hours leading up to your departure. The app can also show you which airports offer TSA Pre-Check. Other handy features include airport status and color-coded maps showing where the worst delays are happening nationwide.

In addition to wait times, the app is also a traveler’s guide with information on packing smart, traveling with kids and traveling with those requiring special medical needs.

In addition, MyTSA attempts to answer some of the most asked questions about what you can bring through a security checkpoint. For example: dogs, yes; your archery set, no.

My TSA is free and is available on both the iOS and Android platforms. There is also a web-based version of MyTSA available at: http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/index.aspx

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