If Memorial Day weekend is any sign of what’s ahead for the rest of the summer travel season, it’s bound to be a busy — perhaps even record-breaking — few months at airports across the country. More than 2.57 million travelers passed through security on the Monday of Memorial Day weekend, which surpasses pre-pandemic travel figures from the same holiday in 2019.
Busier airports, of course, tend to mean longer security wait times. But did you know that a growing number of airports are allowing general screening passengers to reserve spots in the security lines to help cut down on wait times and prevent bottlenecks during busy travel periods?
The reservation system is akin to theme park fast passes, except making a security screening appointment is completely free to travelers and doesn’t require any kind of membership programs. By comparison, TSA PreCheck is $78 for a five-year membership and Clear is $189 a year for the expedited biometric screening process, though the private company offers several discounts and your credit card benefits or airline loyalty program may unlock a free, or deeply discounted, membership for you.
Clear powers the Reserve system, which is now available at 19 airports across North America and Europe.
Denver International Airport, which is the third busiest airport in the world, is the latest airport to adopt the reservation system.
Those traveling out of the Mile High City can find all kinds of better ways to kill time they would have spent waiting in security lines, including playing yard games at the Park on the Plaza, which is located pre-security. Or, explore some conspiracy theories (the airport flaunts them on their construction signs,