Hate TSA Security Wait Times? These Airports Let You Reserve Your Place in Line—for Free

Don't let this be you.
Don't let this be you. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Even if you love traveling, you probably don’t love airport security lines, where dozens—or hundreds—of people queue up like livestock so TSA agents can make sure they’re not carrying any prohibited items, like a bottle of water. But a growing number of airports are offering an expedited security check. Even better: it’s free.

According to Travel + Leisure, the passenger service Clear, which provides identity confirmation, is now offering a new accommodation it’s calling Reserve. With Reserve, travelers can schedule a 20-minute appointment window to go through a standard security screening in a lane reserved for pre-scheduled access.

Reserve debuted at Orlando International Airport in 2021 and was apparently successful enough for Clear to expand locations. Currently, Reserve can be found in the following airports in North America:

  1. Calgary International Airport (YYC) // Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. Denver International Airport (DEN) // Denver, CO
  3. Edmonton International Airport (YEG) // Alberta, Canada
  4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) // Los Angeles, CA
  5. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) // Saint Paul, MN
  6. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) // Dorval, Quebec, Canada
  7. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) // Queens, NY
  8. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) // Newark, NJ
  9. Orlando International Airport (MCO) // Orlando, FL
  10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) // Phoenix, AZ
  11. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) // Seattle, WA
  12. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) // Ontario, Canada
  13. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) // Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Clear and Reserve are two different programs. With Clear, travelers pay a fee ($189 annually) to access Clear security lines that provide speedy ID verification. With Reserve, you’re still going through the regular motions of a TSA check, including proof of identity and bag screenings. You can’t use a Clear lane if you’ve made a Reserve appointment.

Clear and Reserve differ from TSA PreCheck, which is a government service that speeds up ID verification and baggage exams and removes the need to surrender your belts and shoes. Both Clear and TSA PreCheck require in-person visits to confirm one’s identity. With Reserve, you’re simply holding your place in line: No additional arrangements are required.

Of course, the more people that sign up for Reserve, the slower that lane may become. For now, it’s new enough that signing up may net you a more efficient airport experience.