April 22, 2024
Condé Nast Traveler

8 Airports With Free Fast Lanes Through the TSA Security Checkpoint

Paid Partnership with Delta

There’s no doubt about it: Airport security is a stressful experience, especially since many airports have felt more crowded lately. 

Fortunately for travelers, both airlines and airports are launching new technology that promises to ease the tension of waiting in snaking lines at the TSA checkpoint. Delta Air Lines, for instance, has been rolling out facial matching technology that whisks travelers through the check-in process, luggage drop, security line, and boarding process without ever needing to show a boarding pass or government ID. Instead, passengers simply look at a camera for a few moments and let their face serve as their identification. Travelers with TSA PreCheck can opt in to the program, which debuted at airports in Atlanta and Detroit in 2021. (The airline is also revolutionizing its onboard experience, with new partnerships with Impossible Foods, Peloton, and Spotify).

Another free solution that’s been expanding to airports around the globe is Reserve by Clear. The program allows travelers to reserve a dedicated time to pass through a fast lane at the security checkpoint. 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. 

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. (The program is not available to TSA PreCheck or Clear Plus members.)

Since the program first launched in the fall of 2021 at Orlando International Airport, Reserve by Clear has been rapidly expanding. There are now a total of eight airports with fast lanes that passengers can reserve, with the most recent airport to join the program in August 2022 being Berlin’s Brandenburg airport. The launch makes Brandenburg the first-ever European airport to implement a virtual queue. The Reserve lane, also called BER Runway, can be found in the airport’s Terminal 1, Checkpoint 4.