Ticket buying can be a stressful experience, especially when trying to get tickets for high demand concerts or sporting events. Many fans find themselves stuck waiting in Ticketmaster’s virtual queues, unsure of how long they’ll be there and anxious they’ll miss out. So how long is reasonable to wait before giving up?
Check the Estimated Wait Time
When you join the Ticketmaster queue, the site will display an estimated wait time. This is your best indicator for how long you can expect to wait before reaching the front. The estimated times are based on how many people are currently in line and the average speed of purchases.
If the estimated time is short, like under 30 minutes, it’s very reasonable to stick it out. But if you see a lengthy wait time over an hour, it becomes a judgment call. Are the tickets worth potentially wasting that much time in line? For extremely popular events, waits could stretch to 3 hours or longer.
Weigh Your Desire to Attend
Consider how badly you want to attend the event before settling in for an extended wait. Is it a “must see” concert from your all-time favorite band? Or is it an event you would enjoy but don’t necessarily have to go to? Your level of desire should influence your patience with the queue.
If attendance is non-negotiable, then it’s worth enduring even a lengthy wait time. But for events you’re more casual about, you may decide even a 30 minute estimated wait isn’t worth your time. Think about what else you could accomplish with that time.
Assess Your Schedule
Your daily schedule is another factor to weigh. If you have nowhere pressing to be that day, you may be happy to spend hours in the virtual line. But if you have work, family responsibilities or other commitments, you’ll likely have less patience.
Consider actively monitoring the queue instead of waiting in line. Check back periodically to see if the estimated wait time has shortened. You can do other tasks while keeping an eye on the status.
Use Multiple Devices
One strategy to try is queueing on multiple devices simultaneously. Put your phone, tablet, computer and any other available devices you own in line all at once. Whichever device gets through first lets you purchase tickets.
Just be careful when entering the ticket-buying stage on multiple devices, as you could end up with duplicate orders. But for the waiting phase, multiple devices give you multiple chances to reach the front of the line faster.
Weigh the Queue Times for Other Events
Consider queue times you’ve experienced for other popular events. Is the current wait significantly longer than what you’ve seen before? Or is it in line with expectations? This context can help you determine if the wait is unusually excessive.
For example, if you previously waited 2 hours for a top concert at the same venue, waiting 3 hours now may not seem unreasonable. But if waits were normally under an hour, a multi-hour queue may signal extraordinarily high demand.
Compare Presale vs General Public Wait Times
Often, presales have much shorter wait times than general public on-sales. If you’re eligible for a special presale, take advantage of it. Fan club, venue and credit card presales are all options that typically have lighter demand and faster queues.
You can plan to buy presale then skip the brutal general on-sale queue. Just be aware that presales often have very limited ticket allotments, so you’re not guaranteed tickets.
Use the Ticketmaster App
According to Ticketmaster, wait times are often shorter if you queue via their mobile app rather than the desktop website. This is because app traffic spreads across multiple load balanced servers, while website traffic hits one main server.
Test this out yourself to see if the app does move faster for your desired event. If speed is your top priority, the app queue may end up getting you tickets quicker.
Consider Ticket Resale Sites
Third party ticket sites like StubHub, VividSeats and SeatGeek are an alternative for buying tickets without waiting in queues. Many resale sites offer instant downloadable tickets. But be prepared to pay above face value when supply is short.
Weigh the convenience of avoiding queues against paying potentially 2-3X the original ticket price. For very high demand events where queues stretch into hours, paying resale premiums can be worth it.
Use Presale Codes When Available
Presale codes are special passwords that give earlier access to tickets before the general public on-sale. These are typically distributed to fan club members, credit card holders and other insiders.
If you have access to an artist, venue or other presale code, always take advantage. The presale queue will almost certainly be shorter than the later general queue. Just be wise about sharing codes, as leaked passwords diminish their queue-skipping power.
Have Backup Payment Methods
Nothing is more frustrating than reaching the ticket checkout and having your payment declined. This boots you back to the end of the queue to start over!
Avoid this fate by having multiple payment methods available as backups. Have your credit card, debit card, PayPal account and any other options ready. If one fails, you can seamlessly try another for a smooth checkout.
Use an Autofill Extension
Entering your personal info is another time sink during hurried checkout. Using an autofill browser extension pre-populates your name, email, address and credit card details with one click.
This shaves off precious seconds so you can checkout faster. More time at the purchasing stage means less time spent re-queueing if the tickets sell out.
Try Splitting Up into Multiple Queues
If you’re buying tickets for a group, try splitting up into multiple queues. Have each person wait in their own individual queue instead of one long queue.
Whoever gets through the quickest then buys all the needed tickets. This divides up the wait time rather than cumulating it all into one queue. Just make sure to coordinate ticket numbers and sections.
Use Your Best Hardware
Avoid queueing on an old, slow computer or glitchy mobile device. The faster your hardware and internet connection, the better experience you’ll have. Waiting will feel even longer if you’re dealing with lag times and crashes.
For vital ticket purchases, use only your highest performing, most reliable device. A little hardware investment goes a long way for queue success.
Try Incognito Mode
Queueing in an incognito browser window clears your browsing history, cookies and other data that could slow down page loading speeds. Many find incognito queues move faster with fewer glitches.
Downside is you’ll have to re-enter payment info instead of auto-filling. But the privacy tradeoff may be worth it for quicker wait times to checkout.
Avoid Peak Queue Times
Aim to join the queue during less popular times if possible. The intense rush right as sales open leads to peak wait times. Queueing a few hours before or after the initial rush could position you ahead of the masses.
Of course, really in-demand events will still have long queues whenever you join. But avoiding the extreme peaks can give you a small advantage.
Use Your Phone While Waiting
To make queue waiting less dull, use your phone simultaneously to browse, message friends, play games, etc. Keep your place in line on a desktop while distracting yourself with your mobile device.
Just make sure to stay alert to move quickly if you reach the front. Multitasking makes the waits feel shorter.
To summarize, reasonable Ticketmaster queue times can range from under 30 minutes for moderately popular events up to multiple hours for the hottest tickets in town. Carefully consider your desire to attend, schedule flexibility, and backup plans like presales or ticket resale sites. Using fast hardware, autofill extensions and incognito browsing are queue tips that can help you checkout faster. And don’t lose hope if the wait feels endless – perseverance is key to getting those coveted tickets!