CLEAR: Fastest Way Through Airport Security?
CLEAR biometric screening lanes claim to be the fastest way through the airport security lanes.
Carol and I were out of town for most of the last week. When we approached the security line at the airport coming home, we noticed that there was a person there hawking something called CLEAR that promised to zip us through the security lanes faster than any other method.
As there were people pressing in around us, and as we were already TSA Pre-Check approved, we decided to forgo the speech and figure out what the guy was talking about when we got home.
As it turns out, CLEAR is a program that will allow you to completely bypass the person that is checking your ID and proceed directly to the TSA or regular screening lane.
When we were at the airport, there were roughly three people in the TSA lane and no one in the CLEAR lane. So, we figured, why take the time to figure this out now?
So, what is all of the fuss about? Here is a February 2017 press release from Delta Airlines:
Biometric technology simplifies I.D. checks, combines with automated screening lines to streamline security process
The addition of CLEAR biometric screening lanes at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport comes a week after the airline announced similar lanes at New York-JFK and New York-LGA. With today’s launch in Atlanta, 20 of the busiest airports where Delta flies now feature CLEAR service.
“Delta is constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience from the time you arrive at the airport all the way through the travel ribbon,” said Gil West, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Delta’s CLEAR partnership is an extension of our broader innovative approach to helping customers get through security lines a bit easier – an effort we started last year in Atlanta by investing in the highly successful automated screening lanes.”
U.S.-based Delta SkyMiles Members enjoy an exclusive rate to enroll in the service that expedites long security lines, thanks to the airline’s partnership with CLEAR. The service is scheduled to expand to Los Angeles (LAX) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) later in the first quarter.
CLEAR is the only U.S. biometric identity verification platform that uses fingerprint and iris I.D. technology to expedite the document check portion of the TSA security process. CLEAR members verify their identity in the dedicated CLEAR lane and then enter either TSA PreCheck or general screening depending on their status, reducing the overall amount of time spent at security.
In addition to establishing an exclusive partnership with CLEAR, Delta in 2016 became the first airline to partner with the TSA to improve airport security line flow using these other innovative strategies:
- Automated Screening Lanes – Delta was the first airline to invest in the implementation of automated screening lanes in 2016. The TSA praised Delta’s effort at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to implement two lanes and the usefulness of the lanes in expediting the bag-screening process. By summer 2017, 22 ASLs will be in place at ATL while DTW, JFK T2 and T4, LGA TC and TD, MSP, SEA will also see expanded ASL capabilities thanks to Delta’s partnerships with airports, port authorities and the TSA.
- Staffing up – Delta has provided nearly $4 million in staffing solutions to support the TSA in its efforts to improve security wait times. These solutions included providing staffing support at TSA checkpoints for tasks that free up TSA inspectors to open additional checkpoint lanes at peak where possible or improve throughput, and deployed employees or vendors in areas to manage lines, bins and other non-screening tasks.
- Thinking differently – Delta has lent subject matter expertise from industrial engineers and other areas to make recommendations on queue design and how checkpoints could be redesigned for a more optimal flow and ease of movement.
CLEAR is now available at 20 of the busiest U.S. airports Delta serves:
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Austin (AUS)
- Baltimore (BWI)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Detroit (DTW)
- Houston (HOU) (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York (JFK)
- New York (LGA)
- Orlando (MCO)
- San Antonio (SAT)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- San Jose (SJC)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Washington, D.C. (DCA) (IAD)
- White Plains, N.Y. (HPN)
Delta Diamond Medallion Members are offered complimentary CLEAR enrollment, while Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Members and SkyMiles Credit Card Members can secure an annual Member-only rate of $79. General SkyMiles Members are offered an annual membership for $99. In comparison, the annual standard CLEAR membership rate is $179. CLEAR also offers a family plan option, where SkyMiles Members can sign up additional family members for $50 each.
To enroll in CLEAR and take advantage of exclusive SkyMiles Member-only pricing, Delta customers can visit delta.clearme.com. For full terms and conditions of CLEAR, visit clearme.com/terms. All SkyMiles program rules apply. To review the rules, visit delta.com/memberguide.
Well? Is it worth paying nearly $100 to skip the dude or dudette that is checking your identification before the TSA screening? For now, I think not. But I suppose, if the TSA screening lines keep growing, it might be worth the extra $100 to skip pass both the regular and TSA lines and go directly to the screening.
What do you think? Are you a member? Have you seen these new lines?
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