The Secret Way to Bypass Security Lines at Some of Europe’s Busiest Airports

There’s no TSA PreCheck in Europe (womp womp), but at select Europe airports, travelers can head to the front of the security line, free of charge. Here’s how.

Passengers line up at security in airport

London’s Heathrow Airport just became the latest to offer the service.

Photo by Shutterstock

As another crazy summer of travel to Europe came to a close, Americans once again put their seemingly insatiable appetite for Europe travel on full display this year. Heading into the busy holiday season, airlines and airports in Europe are still struggling with staffing shortages and on-and-off-again worker strikes, meaning that lines and wait times at Europe’s airports will likely continue to be pretty long well into the holidays and beyond.

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

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. Last year, however, 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’ve reported, the service is already available at several airports in the United States and Canada, 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 Europe, including most recently at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Europe airports that offer Reserve by Clear

Reserve by Clear is now available at the following airports in Europe:

  • 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)
Outside of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam with people sitting on grassy planters

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam recently made the Reserve by Clear service available on flights to the United States.

Photo by Shutterstock

How to use Reserve by Clear at Europe airports

The Reserve by Clear service at 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, “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.

Here’s how it works.

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) is now available for flights from Schiphol to the United States, which wasn’t the case earlier this year.

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. Fliers can make the booking up to 72 hours prior to departure, and slots are available daily most of the day at “Please be aware that there are a limited number of slots available and they can get booked up quickly,” Frankfurt 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. (However, destinations in Canada, throughout Europe, and elsewhere in the world were available.) 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

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR)

In early October, London’s Heathrow Airport became the newest Europe hub to get in on the trend, having launched a new Heathrow Timeslot program that will be available for a three-month pilot period. Travelers going through security in Heathrow’s Terminal 3—which serves a slew of international carriers that include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Air France, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, and more—can schedule a dedicated time slot in the terminal’s security line. And it does apply for flights heading from the United Kingdom to the United States, among other international destinations.

Travelers can reserve their window up to three days in advance, and bookings can be made for groups of up to five people. After booking a slot, travelers will receive a QR code. Then, once they have checked in their bags, they can follow the signs to the Heathrow Timeslot area at their reserved time (and up to 15 minutes beforehand), where a staff member will scan the QR code and direct them to their dedicated security line.

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 USA 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 a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, 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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