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Flying from the Orlando Airport soon? You need to read this article!
Traveling by airplane can be stressful! Particularly in the past few years, plane travel has gotten somewhat complicated. Many airlines are short-staffed, and combine this fact with a surge of travel and unavoidable delays due to weather and maintenance and there are bound to be problems!
While traveling by plane and navigating through airports can be stressful, there are ways to make your trip easier for you and your travel partners! By planning ahead and organizing, you can reduce your stress at the airport and make for a smooth travel experience! Sometimes, with a little bit of planning, you can save yourself hours of time and stress!
One area of plane travel is so necessary but just isn’t enjoyable and can be very stressful: airport security. While there are many options for guests to “skip” the security line through TSA Pre-Check and Clear, these products cost money and require some leg work to set up in advance.
While TSA Pre-Check is an excellent program for frequent flyers, there is a new option available to travelers flying out of Orlando International Airport (MCO). This option is free and does not require the extensive background checks and other documentation required by programs like TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR.
Reserve (Powered by CLEAR) is a free option that you HAVE to learn about and utilize on your next trip!
How Reserve Works
Reserve powered by CLEAR is an excellent way to plan ahead and save time at the airport. The process is currently available at the following airports:
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Orlando (MCO)
- New York (JFK)
Guests interested in using this service should visit the CLEAR website to register.
Then, enter your flight details and number of passengers in your travel group. Only one person per travel party needs to make a reservation for up to 10 people.
Choose the time slot that you’d like to reserve to go through security. Once a time is confirmed, you will reserve a confirmation email with attached QR Code.
When you arrive to MCO, head to the section of security marked as the “Reserve Lane.” There will be someone working there who will scan your QR code and send you directly through to security. Every reservation is held for a 20 minute window, so if you are running late, there is a small grace period. You can book your reservation 72 hours in advance of your travel.
I have used the Reserve Lane twice: once during busy Spring Break travel and once during busy summer travel. In my first experience, I was traveling with two other adults. My second experience was for a party of nine including six adults and three children ages 0-5. During both experiences, the standard security wait time posted was 30-45 minutes. The airport was very busy and many people were waiting to check bags and go through security.
In March, we showed up to the airport approximately 2.5 hours before our flight. We did not have bags to check and had a Reserve reservation, so we took some time to get coffee and eat breakfast leisurely before heading to our reservation. Once we got into the security line, it took less than 5 minutes for us to make it through security! This was with a 45 minute posted wait on the standard security lane!
In June, we arrived to the airport a little over 3 hours early after our Sunshine Flyer transport. There was a significant line at the Southwest counter to check baggage, but the line moved very quickly. We were actually about 45 minutes early to our reservation time for Reserve.
Instead of waiting and trying to fill time with three children under 5, I logged in and modified our reservation time to go through security. There were available time spots for the current time on the website! This meant that the people waiting for 30-45 minutes in the standard security lane could have just logged into Reserve powered by CLEAR on the spot and made a reservation!
We were able to get our belongings, strollers, baby gears, and party of 9 all through security in less than 10 minutes on a very busy summer day at MCO! I will use the Reserve Lane each and every time I fly out of an airport that offers the service. My only “con” for the service is that it is not currently offered at every airport! It is my hope that the service will expand and be accessible everywhere soon!
Top Tips for Reserve Lane
If you are planning to use Reserve for your next trip (which I HIGHLY recommend), here are some top tips to keep in mind.
- Schedule your reservation a little early. If you are running early, like we were, you can modify your reservation to an earlier time. I subscribe to the practice of giving myself more time at the airport to give some breathing room. I’d much rather have extra time waiting at my gate with my coffee and snacks than be rushing through the airport and potentially missing my flight. More time is best!
- Book your reservation at the 72 hour mark. Right now, it seems like many people don’t know about the Reserve Lane, so there is a lot of availability for last minute reservations. This could change at any minute! Reserve as early as possible, especially during busy travel seasons, to give yourself the best opportunity to get the time you need.
- Have your entire party together. If your whole party doesn’t show up to the Reserve Lane together, only those people who come up with the person with the reservation email and QR code will be able to scan through and use the Reserve Lane.
Have you had issues with airports and travel recently? Have you used the Reserve Lane at MCO? What have been your best (or worst) experiences? Do you have any travel tips to share? Comment below or continue the conversation on our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you!