These Airports Allow You to Reserve a Free Fast-Track Through Security—Here's How


When it comes to the unpredictable nature of airport security, any trick travelers can use to avoid long waits in line can help prevent major headaches at the start of their journey. Especially during peak travel times like spring and summer, even the smallest change can make the difference between missing and making a flight.

To help make the security screening process more efficient amidst increasing travel demand, TSA is rolling out new technology like facial recognition and self-service checkpoints. There are also programs like TSA PreCheck and Clear Plus, which zoom trusted travelers through shorter lines with fewer restrictions.

But there's also a lesser-known shortcut available to travelers not enrolled in PreCheck or Clear Plus—no membership fees or special clearance required. Now offered at 20 airports, Reserve by Clear is a free service that allows travelers to reserve a dedicated time to pass through airport security in a special fast-track lane.

To reserve their free spot, passengers simply go to Reserve by Clear's site to choose their airport and enter their flight details, as well as the number of people in their group. Then, they choose a time to go through security that works with their schedule. After selecting a time, users will receive a confirmation email with a QR code. Once at the airport, travelers just need to find the Reserve lane at the appointed time; security staff will scan the QR code and whisk them through the TSA line. According to traveler surveys conducted by Clear, the whole process can save passengers up to 30 minutes that would’ve been spent waiting in line.

Reservations can be made up to 72 hours before departure or even as you arrive at the airport. But because appointments are based on availability, it's best to book early. Reservation times will also vary depending on the passenger's flight, but time slots are always at least 60 minutes before a domestic flight's departure time and at least 75 minutes before an international flight. (Again, the program is not available to TSA PreCheck or Clear Plus members, who already have access to special security lanes.)

Travelers should also note that some of the airports only operate the fast lanes during set hours each day. The fast lane in Phoenix's Terminal 3, for instance, operates from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other airports might limit the service to international flights, domestic flights, or to certain destinations only.

Since the program first launched in the fall of 2021 at Orlando International Airport, Reserve by Clear has expanded rapidly. Passengers can now reserve fast lanes at a total of 20 airports in North America and Europe, with the most recent addition being Canada’s Halifax Stanfield International airport. The August 2023 launch made Halifax the sixth Canadian airport to implement the virtual queue. In addition to expanding throughout the US and Canada, Reserve by Clear has also added major European airports at a steady clip, with six of Europe's largest hubs now offering Reserve lanes at their security checkpoints.

Reserve lanes are now available at 20 airports in North America and Europe, including New York City's JFK airport.
Reserve lanes are now available at 20 airports in North America and Europe, including New York City's JFK airport.

In the US, travelers can find Reserve lanes at the following airports:

Canadian Airports where travelers can find Reserve lanes include:

And the European airports with Reserve lanes are:

Industry experts predict that travelers will see similar convenient technologies continue to roll out at more airports worldwide, making the facilities more streamlined than ever. “Allowing the passenger to be in control of their journey is the future of air transportation,” Kasper Hounsgaard, co-CEO of Copenhagen Optimization, a technology company that partners with Clear, said in a statement at the launch of Reserve at several Canadian airports. “Our virtual queuing solution is a game-changer in the personalized airport experience. We have seen from previous cases how nudging passengers to arrive outside of peak [hours] not only will improve the passenger experience–it will also have a significant, positive impact on the airport operation.”

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler