The Hidden Method for Skipping Security Lines at Some of Europe Busiest Airports
Unlike the USA's TSA PreCheck, Europe doesn't offer a similar expedited security option. However, there's a solution available at select European airports that allows travelers to skip the long security lines for free. As the summer travel season wrapped up, Americans demonstrated their enduring love for exploring Europe. With ongoing staffing shortages and occasional worker strikes at European airports, the lines and wait times are expected to persist through the holiday season and beyond.
Luckily, there's a novel way to bypass these lengthy security lines at several major European airports, and it won't cost you a dime.
In the United States, travelers can use TSA PreCheck for faster security clearance, but this service doesn't apply in Europe. Nevertheless, Clear, a U.S.-based security expediter that costs $189 per year, acquired Whyline, a virtual queuing company. Together, they introduced Reserve by Clear, a security line reservation system, in partnership with airports across North America and Europe. With Reserve by Clear, you can schedule a specific time slot for clearing security in advance and jump to the front of the line during that window. Importantly, making an advance security line reservation is free.
As we previously reported, this service is available in several U.S. and Canadian airports, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA). It has also been introduced at an increasing number of European airports, with London's Heathrow Airport being the latest addition.
Here is a list of European airports where you can use Reserve by Clear:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) Frankfurt Airport (FRA) Hannover Airport (HAJ) London Heathrow Airport (LHR) Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)
Using Reserve by Clear at European Airports It's essential to note that the availability of Reserve by Clear at European airports varies based on the destination and airline.
A spokesperson for Clear explained that each airport has the discretion to determine which security checkpoints can be accessed with Reserve by Clear, and consequently, which flights or gates can be reached through a Reserve lane.
According to the Clear spokesperson, "We are continually collaborating with our airport partners to expand the program to serve more travelers."
Since the program is evolving and expanding, it's advisable to check if your flight from Europe to the United States is eligible. Even if it isn't available currently, your flight might be added to the program by the time you travel.
Here's how it works at some of the European airports:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS): Travelers flying from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol can visit ams.whyline.com to reserve a security lane slot up to two days before their flight. You'll need to provide your flight date, destination, airline, flight number, party size, and an appointment time. Once you receive a QR code for the reserved time, you'll have up to 15 minutes after the chosen appointment time to scan it at the designated security lane.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER): In 2022, Berlin Brandenburg Airport introduced the BER Runway option in Terminal 1, allowing travelers to reserve a timed window for security clearance. Reservations can be made at ber.whyline.com up to six days before your flight. This option is available for flights heading to the United States.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA): FRA SmartWay is a free service at Frankfurt Airport that lets you book a slot for select security checkpoints. You can make a reservation up to 72 hours before your departure, and slots are available throughout the day at fra.whyline.com. However, availability is limited, especially in the early morning hours. The service is currently available for flights from specific terminals.
Hannover Airport (HAJ): Hannover Airport in Germany introduced the HAJway security line reservation system. Travelers can book a security line slot up to two days before their flight. Time slots are valid for up to 10 minutes before and after the specified time.
London's Heathrow Airport (LHR): Heathrow Airport launched the Heathrow Timeslot program, allowing travelers to schedule a dedicated time slot for security clearance. This option applies to flights from the United Kingdom to the United States and other international destinations. Reservations can be made up to three days in advance for groups of up to five people.
Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO): At Rome Fiumicino Airport, travelers can use the QPass security line appointment system to reserve a spot in the security lines. Reservations can be made up to seven days before departure. Availability is limited, so early booking is recommended.
Potential Expansion of Reserve by Clear in Europe In addition to the mentioned European airports, a temporary pilot program was launched at Keflavík Airport earlier this year, though its permanent status remains uncertain.
Clear has not disclosed its plans for expanding the virtual queuing program to more airports in the USA and abroad, but they are actively seeking new partners and locations. Travelers can expect further growth and availability of this service in the future.