2 new programs at Newark airport make clearing security a breeze

Dec 7, 2021

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With the busy holiday season upon us, Newark’s Liberty International Airport is streamlining the security checkpoint experience with two new initiatives.

The first is in Terminal A, home to Air Canada, American, Alaska, JetBlue and United Express. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the region’s airports, is piloting a new program, called “Newark VirtuaLine” at checkpoints A2 (Gates 20 to 28) and A3 (Gates 30 to 39) from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

This program allows you to reserve a 30-minute slot at the security checkpoint. Starting 72 hours before your flight, you can fill out an online registration form, which asks you choose your airline, destination and flight number, along with your name, party size and contact information.

After filling it out, you’ll receive a QR code which you’ll display at the dedicated VirtuaLine queue during your selected 30-minute window. This way, you’ll reserve your time at the security checkpoint, and don’t need to worry about the possibility of long lines when you’re ready to clear security.

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The best part of this initiative is that it’s completely free — there’s no additional cost needed to partake in the service. You can access the online registration form here.

In fact, this service is more useful than ever because of the ongoing construction of the new Newark Terminal A. Due to this work, the airport has shuttered the A1 pier of the old terminal, causing Air Canada and JetBlue to consolidate into other piers and terminals, leading to longer-than-usual lines at check-in counters and security checkpoints.

Just note that the VirtuaLine initiative cannot be used for those with TSA Precheck.

Meanwhile, in Terminal B, the airport is expanding its partnership with Clear’s trusted traveler program. Clear lanes are now available at the B1 security checkpoints in Terminal B, serving gates 40 to 47.

Clear uses face scans and fingerprints in lieu of the traditional ID check to confirm identity. It allows you to bypass much of the wait for a TSA agent — and it even works if you’re a member of the TSA Precheck program.

You’ll already find Clear lanes in United’s Terminal C, and now it’s expanding to one checkpoint in Terminal B. It remains to be seen if Clear will expand further in Terminal B, and whether Clear will set up shop in Newark’s new Terminal A that opens next year.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

“These initiatives are critical to the Port Authority’s ongoing commitment to enhance the travel experience in response to the challenges brought by the pandemic,” said Port Authority acting chief operating officer and aviation director Huntley Lawrence in a statement.

Interestingly, Newark isn’t the only New York City area airport getting a streamlined security experience. At LaGuardia’s new Terminal B, you can now skip the security line for $15. Dubbed “B-Fast,” the terminal is trialing a new front-of-the-line pass that takes you directly to the TSA agent for an ID check.

Meanwhile, just a few miles south on the Van Wyck Expressway is Terminal 1 at New York’s JFK Airport, which also offers a priority security option, VIP One, for a $14 fee.

While the price is similar, JFK’s Terminal 1 is notorious for its slow and inefficient security screening process, even during the lull in traffic during the pandemic.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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