Passengers leaving from Heathrow Terminal 3 can now pre-book a slot at security in a new trial.
Heathrow has launched a trial allowing passengers with some airlines to pre-book security slots ahead of their journeys.
The trial is called Heathrow Timeslot and is a free service where passengers can book a specific time to enter the security search area.
The trial is in Terminal 3 for up to six months and initially is open to passengers travelling with four airlines:
- American Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Further airlines may be added during the trial.
How it works
- Passengers make the booking on the airport special website. They enter their flight details, party size and email address and choose a time slot.
- Bookings are possible from 72 hours before departure up to 1 hour before departure.
- Slots are offered at fixed times at quarter-hour intervals.
- The time slots are valid 10 minutes before and after the specified time.
- Passengers receive an email with their slot details in a QR code
- They show the email at the special entrance at their booked time.
- The outcomes of the trial will inform any future extension or roll-out to other terminals.
Benefits of the security time slot system
Heathrow says there are a number of benefits expected from the trial:
- passengers will have peace of mind as they know when they will be at the securty
- queuing times could be reduced for all passengers as the airport can plan resources more effectively
Mark Powell, Operational Planning Director at Heathrow:
“Everyone is familiar with airport security, but at Heathrow we’re constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost the safety and streamline the experience for our passengers.
“This new trial will give passengers that extra added bit of certainty and reassurance ahead of their journey and we think it will be particularly popular for those with families or nervous travellers who may want a bit more confidence in their journeys.
“We look forward to seeing the data come in to give us some learnings on how we can roll this out more widely across Heathrow.”
Other airports with security time slots
A number of airports have introduced or trialled security time slots:
- Minneapolis – MSP trials security time slots for all
- Denver – Denver is trialling security time slots
- Hamburg – Hamburg Airport introduces security time slots
- Amsterdam – Amsterdam lets passengers book security time slots
- Cologne – Cologne Airport introduces security time slots
- Canada – Passengers at Canadian airports can book security time slots
- Munich – Munich Airport trials security time slots
- Changi – Changi Airport trials security slot time bookings
- Berlin – Passengers at Berlin Airport can book security time slots
- Miami – MIA trials booked TSA screening times
Most airports give the system a cute and original name.
Minneapolis is MSP Reserve, Denver calls it DEN Reserve, Cologne has CGNGateWay, Munich has Express Queue. Heathrow goes for Heathrow Timeslot.
Canada had a fine idea to call it the almost same at each airport:
- Calgary (YYC) – YYC Express
- Edmonton (YEG) – YEG EXPRESS
- Montreal (YUL) – YUL EXPRESS
- Toronto (YYZ) – YYZ Express
- Vancouver (YVR) – YVR EXPRESS
Free for how long?
Clearly this is a successful program. It is used or in trial at 13 airports in North America.
It is currently free everywhere – but could that change?
The system comes from CLEAR, a private U.S. company that offers a successful paid-for security process at U.S. airports. The standard price for CLEAR is $189 a year per person.