CLEAR – an alternative program to ensure travelers an even faster experience through security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s Precheck program has growing appeal which means naturally the process to apply for TSA Precheck status is being overwhelmed by prospective applicants. Some applicants wait for up to a month after their screening has been completed for their status to be approved. Although TSA has opened temporary processing centers over the summer to handle the overflow of applicants, you might be on the lookout for other ways to cutout airport wait time. So in the meantime keep your eye out for CLEAR.
Here’s how it works. Passengers with a CLEAR membership entering the security checkpoint, locate a designated CLEAR lane and stop at a kiosk for iris and fingerprint verification while a CLEAR agent uses the same kiosk to scan their boarding pass. Travelers do not need to present an ID and quickly pass through to physical security screening after being ushered into the line by a CLEAR agent.
For registration, like Precheck, travelers make an appointment and go to the airport for a short screening session where you provide a social security number, pose for a photo, have your iris and fingerprints scanned and wait briefly for an instant background check. You are then asked to verify two trivia questions verifying your information (like for example you would be asked to verify a former address). Unlike similar programs, with Clear your membership begins immediately after you pass the test. Membership costs $179 for a year and children under 18 years of age are free when traveling with a member. CLEAR for business is also offering special rates for corporate clients. The program is so sure you will be satisfied that they are currently offering a free one-month trial.
As the only biometrics company present in US airports today, Clear has made its way to 13 airports in the U.S. (Miami, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas to mention a few) with almost 600,000 registered users. Seattle-Tacoma is being added and Washington Dulles and Washington National will add CLEAR in the next few months.
CLEAR expects to double its presence by next year through a new partnership with Delta where it will expand to serve Delta’s hubs across the US. Delta also announced that SkyMiles Diamond Medallion members will be offered CLEAR memberships for free. Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members can subscribe for $79 annually. General Sky members can join for $99.
CLEAR prides itself on transforming the consumer experience with its efficient sign-up process and overall user experience as travelers pass through their airport kiosks. Future efforts to further simplify the identification screening process has CLEAR anticipating a time where its members will no longer need to present boarding passes. A feature that is currently being tested by a San Jose, California airport.
CLEAR airport subscribers also can use their membership to expedite entry at seven U.S. sporting venues, including Yankee Stadium and New York Mets’ Citi Field. However, members who signed up for the free service at those sports venues must still sign up separately for the service.
Travelers shouldn’t trade in their Precheck membership because CLEAR status doesn’t qualify you for TSA Precheck’s security expedited screening process. You will still need to remove your laptop from your bag and take off your shoes. The benefit of CLEAR is faster access to security screening machines and it works best in tandem with Precheck so you can skip the line and spend that extra time elsewhere.