International air travelers entering the United States at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spend less time waiting to clear customs than passengers at most other airports in the country, according to a study out this week.
With an average wait time of 10 minutes, MSP ranked third in a survey of wait times of airports that processed more than 500,000 international passengers between October 2016 and September 2017 based on data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The study did not take into account passengers with Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs that allow them to speed through the process.
Phoenix had the fastest customs lines with passengers waiting just an average of 7.4 minutes while Charlotte's 8.95 minutes ranked second among the nation's busiest airports. MSP was third for airports processing more than 3 million passengers from abroad.
"If you don't want to wait in line, plan to come home through one of these three airports," the study published by MilesCards.com.
Rounding out the top five airports with the shortest average wait times were Atlanta at 11.82 minutes and Philadelphia at 12 minutes.
Large airports with the slowest processing times were Orlando with an average wait time of 23.76 minutes, San Francisco at 21.84 minutes and New York's Kennedy International Airport at 20.22 minutes. When smaller airports are included, Sacramento forced passengers to kill the most time in line with an average wait of 32 minutes. More than half of arriving passengers at the northern California airport waited 30 minutes or more, the study found
While MSP scored high, a look at the data found that lines don't always move fast. The study found the worst time to arrive on an international flight at MSP was between 1 and 2 p.m. The longest wait time over the 12-month period studies occurred between 1 and 2 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2017 when the longest wait was 146 minutes.
Overall, the average maximum wait time at MSP was just over 25 minutes, the analysis found. About 10 percent of arriving passengers had to wait 30 minutes or more, the study found.
A few tips for traveling abroad. Take trips in February, March or November to avoid long lines on the return trip. Expect the longest lines and wait times in July and August.