Life in the fast lane: book ahead for airport security screening

October 26, 2021
Photo: LAX

It could be the yellow brick road of airports — a way to avoid security queues by using your mobile phone to book ahead and organize a time to be screened.

Los Angeles World Airports is testing the concept in a 90-day pilot program called LAX Fast Lane being conducted in conjunction Transport Security Administration (TSA) and United Airlines.

The program allows passengers to reserve a 15-minute window to undergo screening in much the same way they would book a doctor’s appointment or a trim at the barber.

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Once they’ve booked their time, they receive a QR code that they present upon arriving at the security checkpoint. This allows them to enter a reserved TSA security screening lane.

The pilot program is available from 6:30 am to 1 pm and is free. Passengers can book their spot up to 24 hours before their departure and must choose a time at least an hour before their flight departs.

Those willing to take a risk may be able to book a reservation at the airport, but slots will be accessible on a space-available basis only.

Guests who participate in other trusted traveler schemes, such as TSA PreCheck, are not able to use their benefits in the dedicated lane.

Los Angeles World Airports chief executive Justin Erbacci said the airline was in line with LAX’s digital-first mindset and desire to create a seamless, efficient journey from home to gate.

“At LAX, we are helping our guests control their journey from their own device, and this new pilot program leverages technology to provide passengers with a scheduled time to be at the TSA checkpoints,” Erbacci said.

United has been notifying customers of the trial and said it would combine with its own initiatives aimed at improving the travel experience.

“At United, we’re constantly looking at new offerings for our customers to make navigating travel easier and we expect this to be a useful way to save time for customers, especially those traveling this upcoming holiday season,” said the airline’s managing director at LAX, Jonna McGrath.

LAX officials will gather information on the performance of the system during the pilot and said they may modify some aspects during this test phase.