Features

These airports offer fast-track services

8 Aug 2022 by Hannah Brandler
Fast-track

If you are faced with lengthy queues during this time of airport disruption, it may be worth paying for fast track.

Airports often have dedicated priority security and passport control lanes to minimise the waiting time. This might come as a perk of frequent flyer memberships or bookings in premium cabins, but many airports also sell it as an add-on.

Here’s a list of airports that offer passes to purchase for fast-track security or passport control.

Note that the time slots booked are not for flight times, but rather the time expected to pass through security.

London Gatwick

How does it work? The airport has premium security at its North and South terminals. Time slots are available to book roughly two hours before the flight. Passengers will need to present their booking confirmation to be granted access.

Cost: £5 (£6 at the airport)

Opening hours: 5am-5pm

London Heathrow

How does it work? The airport normally offers fast track security at each of its terminals but this is currently suspended, with the airport stating that passengers should check with their airlines to see if they are eligible.

Alternatively, passengers can secure fast-track security by booking a Heathrow Express Business First ticket, which now comes with the perk. Customers will simply have to present their airline boarding card and train ticket on the day of travel to the officer at the desk.

Heathrow Express’ Business First passengers to gain fast-track security

Cost: Heathrow Express Business First class tickets start from £32 one-way.

Opening hours: 6am-8pm.

London Luton

How does it work? The airport offers fast-track security access, and customers will need to pre-book a time slot. Passengers can still use the service if their flight has been amended to an earlier/later time, provided it is on the same day. Customers will need to present their ticket at the entrance to the lane.

Cost: £5 (£6 at the airport).

Opening hours: 4.15am-8pm.

London Stansted

How does it work? Passengers can benefit from dedicated lanes at security, as well as at passport control on return journeys. To gain access, customers will need to pre-book a time slot. Note that the latter is not available to passengers arriving from Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The airport says that there is limited availability at both, and that it cannot guarantee the use of the passport control fast-track lane if your flight is delayed – “this will be at the airport’s discretion and will depend on whether the total number of passengers for that hour has been exceeded”.

Customers will need to present their boarding card and confirmation to a member of staff at the security access gate.

Cost: £7 for each service. Both can be booked up to 12 months in advance up until 1 hour before departure/arrival.

Opening hours: Security checkpoint 4am-8pm; Passport control 7am-1am.

Stansted terminal exterior

London Southend airport

How does it work? The airport’s fast-track security is located to the left of the e-gates en route to security. Passengers will need to provide their booking confirmation to gain access.

Cost: £5.

Opening hours: 1am-midnight.

Aberdeen International

How does it work? The airport’s priority security provides speedier access, but no separate X-ray machine for customers. Passengers will need to present their ticket to staff to gain access.

Cost: £5 (included with Priority Parking service).

Opening hours: 4am-8pm.

Belfast City

How does it work? The airport has a fast-track security lane which can be booked online or via QR code at the airport. Passengers will need to provide their boarding pass and booking confirmation to gain access.

Cost: £4 (included with parking) or £100 per year.

Opening hours: 4.30am-9.30pm.

Birmingham airport

How does it work? The airport has a premium arrivals fast-track service at passport control. Passengers will need to scan the barcode at the security access gate. Ticket bookings are limited to 50 per hour to make sure that queuing times do not exceed 15 minutes.

Cost: £5. Bookings can be made at least 24 hours prior to arrival.

Opening hours: 6am-midnight.

Birmingham airport

Bournemouth

How does it work? The airport has an express lane at security and passport control which can be booked online. Passengers will need to provide their boarding pass and booking confirmation to gain access.

Cost: £3.50 (if booked before 10pm the night before travel).

Opening hours: 6am-5.45pm.

Bristol airport

How does it work? The airport offers a priority security service. To gain access, customers will need to pre-book a time slot. Passengers will need to present their booking confirmation and scan their boarding card.

The airport states: “Once the maximum level has been reached for any particular period no further Fast Track Tickets will be available.”

Cost: £6 (£7 at the airport). Those that sign up to the email newsletter can get 15 per cent off online bookings. Bookings can be made up to 6 months in advance up until 1 hour before departure.

Opening hours: 12am-11.55pm. Note that during off peak hours Fast Track may operate as a normal lane, though those with Fast Track passes will be given priority.

East Midlands

How does it work? Passengers can benefit from dedicated lanes at security. To gain access, customers will need to pre-book a time slot. .

Customers will need to present their boarding card and confirmation to a member of staff at the security access gate.

Cost: £5 for security. It can be booked up to 12 months in advance up until 1 hour before departure.

Opening hours: Security checkpoint 5am-7pm.

Edinburgh

How does it work? The airport’s fast-track security is located to the left of the e-gates en route to security. Passengers will need to provide their boarding pass and booking confirmation to gain access. The website helpfully provides a live waiting time for the security hall.

The airport also has a fast-track passport control for passengers arriving in Edinburgh from a destination outside of the UK and Ireland.

Cost: £6 for security (included with multi-storey parking); £7 for passport. Bookings can be made in advance or at the airport using the QR codes.

Opening hours: 4am-6pm.

Edinburgh Airport

Glasgow airport

How does it work? The airport has a priority security line for those looking for speedier access to the departures area.

Cost: £5.99.

Opening hours: 4am-8pm.

Liverpool John Lennon

How does it work? The airport has a fast-track security lane which can be booked online or on-site using machines available on the walkway leading to security. Passengers will need to provide their boarding pass and booking confirmation to gain access.

Cost: £4 (£5 on the day).

Opening hours: From 4am until the security screening area closes.

Manchester

How does it work? Passengers can benefit from dedicated lanes at security, as well as at passport control on return journeys. To gain access, customers will need to pre-book a time slot. Note that the latter is only available at terminal 1 and is not available to passengers arriving from Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The airport says that there is limited availability at both, and that it cannot guarantee the use of the passport control fast-track lane if your flight is delayed.

Passengers will need to scan the barcode and boarding card at the security access gate to gain access.

Cost: £5 for each service. Both can be booked up to 12 months in advance up until 1 hour before departure/arrival.

Opening hours: Security checkpoint 3am-11pm at all terminals; Passport control T1 7am-4.30am.

Manchester airport Departures sign

Newcastle International

How does it work? The airport has a fast-track security pass scheme which can be booked online. Passengers are advised to make their way to the Fast Track channel on the right-hand walkway leading to the security area and provide proof of boarding pass and the fast-track pass to gain access.

Cost: £6 in advance (£7.20 at the airport).

Opening hours: 12am-11pm.

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Southampton airport

How does it work? The airport has priority security which aims to have an average wait time of less than five minutes. Passengers will need to pre-book online.

Cost: £4.

Opening hours: 4am-8pm.

Where have online purchases for fast-track security been suspended?

  • Birmingham airport

The airport’s express lane queue service has been suspended as it is “fully subscribed for the foreseeable future”. It says that it will reopen bookings in the future “as customer volumes stabilise”. The existing bookings will be maintained.

  • Belfast International
  • Exeter airport
  • Heathrow airport (see above)
  • Leeds Bradford airport

“Fast track is currently capped due to high demand and is not available to be booked within 24 hours of your departure time”

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