How Busy is Hawaii TSA This Summer? Insights and Experiences.

How Busy is Hawaii TSA This Summer? Insights and Experiences.

As summer travel ramps up to its peak this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a crucial advisory for travelers nationwide, including those flying to, from, and within Hawaii. According to the latest update from the Hawaii DOT, summer travel volumes have increased compared to last year. This surge in passengers has resulted in record-breaking numbers for TSA screenings.

Nationally, TSA said that the number of passengers being screened is at a new all-time high. But what about in Hawaii, where travel remains slower than normal?

TSA Hawaii guidelines and recommendations for Hawaii.

TSA staffs their checkpoints in Hawaii to meet national wait time standards That means it aims for wait times of 10 minutes or less for those with TSA PreCheck and 30 minutes or less in standard screening lanes. However, the state reported that during peak travel times at Lihue Airport (LIH), for example, wait times are expected to exceed these standards temporarily. To mitigate delays, TSA advises passengers to be inside the LIH terminal at least two hours before their flight departure time.

The peak travel times at the LIH checkpoint daily are 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The busiest days to travel out of LIH every week are Thursday through Sunday, according to DOT. However, Beat of Hawaii editors found shorter than normal lines with virtually no wait during the hours of peak travel.

To help prepare Hawaii travelers:

  • Download the MyTSA app to check security wait times.
  • Check Google Maps for possible traffic delays.
  • Arrive at the airport more than two hours prior to flight departure.
  • Consider checking your luggage. Reducing the number of carry-on bags and personal items that need to be screened through the security checkpoint reduces wait times for all travelers.
  • Be prepared for the screening process. Don’t bring prohibited items to the security checkpoint. The MyTSA app has a useful “Can I Bring?” feature to find out whether an item is allowed in your carry-on luggage or if it needs to be placed in checked luggage. If unsure, take a photo of the item and send it to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger for real-time assistance. You can also text “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872) for questions. In our experience, TSA’s responses have been helpful and timely.

Firsthand experience on Maui: fast and smooth operations despite warnings.

Despite the warnings and the expected surge in passenger numbers statewide, our recent experience traveling through Maui airport, for example was surprisingly smooth, as was Kauai. On yesterday’s OGG visit, the airport was nearly empty, as evidenced by our photo, and there was no wait at TSA in their large screening area. While peak times can be busy, there are still periods of calm and efficiency. Thus it becomes hard to predict.

Soliciting traveler feedback.

We would love to hear from other travelers about their recent experiences with TSA in Hawaii. Have you encountered long waits or smooth sailing at the security checkpoints? Your feedback can help paint a clearer picture of current conditions and assist fellow travelers in planning their trips.

Feel free to share your experiences and tips in comments. Safe travels, and aloha!

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6 thoughts on “How Busy is Hawaii TSA This Summer? Insights and Experiences.”

  1. Certainly can verify that LIH airport peak hours are impacted lately! We had family members leaving the island June 27 who entered the standard screening line at 11 AM for their 1:30 PM flight and cleared the TSA desk at 1 PM. There was only one TSA officer on duty during most of their two-hour wait in line. Most of the time there was no one in the TSA pre-check line. This was on a Thursday for travel on Hawaiian Airlines Nonstop to LAX.

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  2. I wish OGG would re-staff the other end TSA area, that was way more convenient than co-mingling the giant, tight and cluttered area now closer to the check in desks. Makes no sense. Even flight staff have complained to me it doesn’t make any sense. One TSA was plenty at the end closer to baggage to get through that entry. Not sure who made that decision, but doesn’t make rational sense.

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  3. Who can afford paying for checked bags when leaving Hawaii. The hotel, restaurants, fees, permits, taxes, and activities drained your wallet. Whats left. Maybe that is why carry-on’s are so popular and tsa has to check every one. Maybe if Hawaii lowers prices then tourists might be able to afford the check bag fee’s.

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      1. Did a little comparative shopping. While SW has the free checked bags they also had higher fares than several others, making it pretty much a wash.

        So do your research & be sure to carefully read the fine print.

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