You Can Now Skip Long Security Lines for Free at These Major Europe Airports

There’s no TSA PreCheck in Europe (womp womp), but at select Europe airports, travelers can reserve a time slot in advance (free of charge) then head to the front of the security line.

Passengers line up at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport

There’s no need to experience a repeat of last year’s flightmare at Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

Photo by Shutterstock

By all accounts, it’s gearing up to be another crazy summer of travel in Europe. Bookings for flights to Europe for May through September are pacing at 44 percent above 2022 levels, according to a recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Add to that worker strikes at some of Europe’s hubs and the fact that airlines and airports are still racing to catch up with postpandemic demand, and the lines and wait times at Europe’s airports are likely to get pretty wild this summer.

In the USA, travelers with TSA PreCheck (a security expediting service that costs $78 for a five-year membership and $70 to renew) can access typically shorter and faster dedicated lines. But when we’re across the pond, TSA PreCheck does diddly-squat for us.

Thankfully, there’s a new option for getting past lengthy security lines at some major Europe airports—and it’s absolutely free.

Last year Clear (another U.S.-based security expediting platform that costs $189 per year) acquired virtual queuing company Whyline and has since partnered with airports in North America and Europe to develop a security line reservation system called Reserve by Clear. It allows travelers to schedule a security line time slot in advance and jump to the front of the line during that window. And while Clear membership costs money, making one of these advance security line reservations does not.

As we reported last year, the service is already available at several U.S. airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City (JFK), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). It’s also available at a growing number of airports in Canada. More recently, it includes a handful of Europe hubs as well.

The service is currently available at the following Europe airports:

  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)
  • Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
  • Hannover Airport (HAJ)
  • Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)

It’s worth noting that the service at some of these Europe airports isn’t always available for flights to the United States.
When asked about which flights include access to Reserve by Clear, a Clear spokesperson told AFAR that each airport has full discretion over which security checkpoints can be accessed with Reserve by Clear “and therefore, which flights or gates are accessible via a Reserve lane.”

According to the Clear spokesperson, “The goal of our free Reserve lanes is to help minimize peak travel periods in the airport, which reduces wait times and creates a better experience for all travelers—even for those who don’t use Reserve. We are always working with our airport partners to expand the program to serve more travelers.”

Thus, as the program is continuing to grow and expand, it’s worth checking to see if your flight from Europe to the United States does have access. Even if it doesn’t have it now, by the time you fly, your flight may have been added to the roster.

Europe airports with Reserve by Clear

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

If you’re departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (hello, KLM and SkyTeam alliance/Delta fliers), you can head to to make an advance reservation for the security lanes up to two days before your flight. You enter the date you’re flying, the destination, airline, and flight number. You then select your party size (so families and traveling companions only need to do this for one member of their party) and an appointment time. Once you’re given a QR code for the reserved time, you will have up to 15 minutes after the selected appointment time to scan it at the designated security lane.

The security reservation service at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) doesn’t appear to be available yet on flights from Schiphol to the United States, but as noted above, you should check regardless as new flights can get added to the mix.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport

In 2022, Berlin Brandenburg Airport introduced a new BER Runway option in Terminal 1 that allows travelers to reserve a timed window for heading through security. You can make the reservation at up to six days prior to your flight; BER Runway does apply to flights heading to the United States.

Berlin airport authorities remind travelers to take into account the amount of time they will need to check in and drop off bags before entering the security line. Armed with the QR code they received when making the security line reservation, travelers will then head to the BER Runway entrance at security control 4 in Terminal 1. The expected wait time for the BER Runway security line is around 5 to 10 minutes.

Frankfurt Airport

FRA SmartWay is a new, free service at this German hub that allows users to book a slot for selected security checkpoints at Frankfurt Airport. The booking can be made up to 72 hours prior to departure, and slots are available 7 days a week throughout most of the day at “Please be aware that there are a limited number of slots available and they can get booked up quickly,” Frankurt Airport stated in an FAQ about the FRA SmartWay service. “We therefore recommend that you book as early as possible from 72 hours prior to your flight departure time.”

The service is currently available for flights out of Terminal 1 (area A, level 2—Schengen flights), Terminal 2 (area B west, level 2—Schengen and non-Schengen flights), and Terminal 2 (central control, level 2—Schengen flights).

When we tried to make a security line reservation for flights from Frankfurt to U.S. destinations, we weren’t able to (destinations in Canada, throughout Europe, and elsewhere in the world were available, however). The FRA SmartWay FAQ page states that the reason FRA SmartWay is not being offered for all flights is that it is still in a pilot or “test run” phase and is only available at the select security checkpoints mentioned above. There’s also limited slot availability, especially in the early morning, until around 6:30 a.m., according to the Frankfurt Airport site. “We are working to continuously extend the service offering,” Frankfurt airport authorities stated. So, there’s hope for U.S. flights in the future.

Hannover Airport (HAJ)

If you’re flying out of Terminal A or Terminal C at Hannover Airport in Germany’s Lower Saxony state, you’re in luck. Hannover Airport recently introduced the HAJway security line reservation system that allows travelers to book a security line slot up to two days and no more than two hours prior to their flight. Time slots are valid for up to 10 minutes before and after the specified time. Hannover Airport security line reservations can be made at

Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO)

If you’re saying arrivederci to the recently overhauled (and award-winning) Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO), be sure to check if you can reserve a spot in the security lines through QPass, FCO’s security line appointment system. Travelers can search for their flight at up to seven days prior to departure. After entering their flight information, users will be provided with a QR code to access the service.

“Available appointment times are limited, so book as early as possible,” Rome’s airport authorities advise. For those who need to check in, check luggage, and obtain a boarding pass at the airport before heading to security, they should factor those steps in when securing a time slot.

Will more airports in Europe join Reserve by Clear?

In addition to the above Europe airports, a temporary pilot program was launched at Keflavík Airport earlier this year that was concluded in May. Clear has not said whether Keflavík Airport will be brought back online on a more permanent basis.

As for whether Clear will expand its virtual queuing program to additional airports in the U.S. and abroad (and which ones), a Clear spokesperson only said, “We are continuing to add new partners in new locations.” Honestly, we’ll take it.

Michelle Baran is the senior travel news editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, pandemic coverage, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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