Traveling CLEAR: the secure ID program for travelers
Within the past two months, airports in Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco became the latest facilities to introduce CLEAR, the secure ID program that allows members to pass through their own security lanes. That brings the service to a total of four U.S. airports, including Denver and Orlando. And in late June, CLEAR received Safety Act Certification from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But what exactly is this program, and how can it help travelers?
Some travelers may recall that in 2009, the CLEAR program declared bankruptcy and closed completely, leaving some 200,000 members without benefits. But new investors have bought the company and relaunched it, with plans for continued expansion. The new owners are even crediting former members of the company’s earlier incarnation, for the amount of time left on their original memberships.
Given its limited reach so far, the CLEAR program will help you most if you frequent the four airports where it’s currently offered. Billed as the “nation’s pre-eminent biometric secure ID program,” CLEAR is a privately-owned company. Travelers who sign up can use members-only lanes to go through security, presenting a CLEARcard ID and confirming their identity with the touch of a finger, with an average processing time of five minutes or less, according to company officials.
CLEAR membership costs $179 for a one-year membership with unlimited use. Members can add their spouse or significant other to their account with the family plan, for an additional $50. Children under the age of 18 can use the CLEAR lane free of charge when accompanied by an adult member. Corporate discounts are also available.
At Dallas/Fort Worth, CLEAR lanes are located at Terminal E, which serves Alaska, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, United, US Airways and Virgin America. The program operates in every terminal at San Francisco International Airport.