Hate long airport security lines? Who doesn’t? But a security company called CLEAR has a solution that can reduce security line wait times to 5 minutes or less. How? Their biometric technology can quickly identify known passengers and give you ahead-of-line privileges. However, those privileges come at a cost. A CLEAR airport security membership is 10x more expensive than TSA Precheck. Is CLEAR worth the money?
CLEAR Is Much Faster Than TSA Precheck
In many airports across the United States, there are now three lines at airport security: CLEAR, TSA Precheck and general security. CLEAR members just walk up to a security kiosk for either a fingerprint or an iris eye scan. And in a matter of seconds, you are on your way. Seriously, you’ll speed through security in the blink of an eye. Getting through security as easy as looking into a mirror.
I’ve been a CLEAR member for several years already. What makes CLEAR so awesome is it usually takes me just a minute or two to walk from the security gate entrance at the airport to the metal detector. You just walk down the CLEAR lane to a CLEAR employee, scan your fingerprints or retina, and then they escort you past the ID and ticket checkpoint. Bam! You’re at the metal detector or body scanner before someone in the regular security line has even moved a few feet in line.
TSA Precheck Lines Aren’t Short Anymore
Several years ago, barely anyone had TSA Precheck and if you did, it was easy to breeze through airport security. Not anymore. As the TSA has expanded its Precheck interview locations, more people have signed up and the lines have gotten much longer.
Over 15 million people are enrolled in TSA Precheck either directly or via an affiliated U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that automatically includes Precheck such as Global Entry, NEXUS, and Sentri. On the other hand, only about 2 million people have a CLEAR airport security membership.
CLEAR Uses State-Of-The-Art Biometric Technology
Instead of using traditional ID documents, CLEAR uses your eyes and face (or fingerprints) to confirm it’s really you. CLEAR then transforms your biometrics into an encrypted code pattern of ones and zeros that is unique to you, and only you. CLEAR is SAFETY Act certified by the Department Of Homeland Security as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology.
In recognition for their work and innovation, CLEAR was named one of Fast Company’s top innovative companies for pioneering the biometrics business.
CLEAR Employees Are Nice And Friendly
When was the last time you saw a happy airport security employee? It’s hard to blame them. They have to remind people to take off their belts and shoes multiple times per minute all day long. It’s no wonder people have busted them playing solitaire games on their TSA computers.
CLEAR employees on the other hand are friendly. They do things like ask you how you are doing, help you use their kiosks and escort you though security. It just makes the whole airport security experience so much nicer.
CLEAR Can Help You Skip The Crowds During Peak Holiday Travel Times
My wife and I don’t live near our families anymore. We live a 4+ hour flight away. So between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re usually flying during one of the airline industry’s busiest times of the year. An estimated 30 million Americans travel between Thanksgiving and the New Year. An increase in travelers during this time means longer security lines. That’s where the CLEAR family plan saves us. I added my wife to my account for only $50 and my daughter is under 18, so she’s free.
The List Of CLEAR Airport Locations Is Always Growing
CLEAR currently has express line locations at the following United States airports, but they are constantly expanding to new locations. Take a look at the list of CLEAR airport locations below. If you don’t already have CLEAR at your local airport, it’s probably only a matter of time until you do.
|Fort Lauderdale, FL
|Las Vegas, NV
|Long Island, NY
|Los Angeles, CA
|New York City, NY
|Salt Lake City, UT
|San Antonio, TX
|San Francisco, CA
|San Jose, CA
|St. Louis, MO
CLEAR Is Growing Beyond Airport Locations
Unlike TSA PreCheck, your CLEAR airport security membership works at locations other than airports. You can now find CLEAR security checkpoints in several major stadiums including Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Coors Field.
CLEAR Location (Non-Airport)
- Earthquakes Stadium (San Jose, CA)
- Globe Life Field (Washington DC)
- Yankee Stadium (New York, NY)
- Citi Field (New York, NY)
- Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
- AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)
- Oracle Park (San Francisco, CA)
- Coors Field (Denver, CO)
CLEAR Is More Expensive Than TSA Precheck
At $85 for 5 years, a TSA Precheck membership is very affordable. However, it doesn’t always work. Despite holding Trusted Traveler status, TSA Precheck members are not guaranteed to always get a TSA Pre logo on their boarding pass.
Unlike TSA Precheck, your CLEAR status is guaranteed. So how much is CLEAR? It’s expensive. An annual membership is $179. If you want to add additional adult family members, it’s $50 each. Children under 18 are free when traveling with a CLEAR member. There’s some good news if you’re a Delta or United frequent flyer. CLEAR offers several discounts depending on your status with those airlines. Delta Diamond and United 1k members even get a CLEAR airport security membership for free.
Trying CLEAR Before You Buy A Membership
So is a CLEAR airport security membership worth it? It mostly comes down to your budget, lifestyle and how much you value your time. CLEAR will save you time and get you through security in under 5 minutes… for a price. For many, that’s a price they are willing to pay.
The best way to evaluate CLEAR is by trying it out. All CLEAR members, including myself, can gift someone else 2 free months of CLEAR. If you want to sign up, use this link (CLEAR). Just cancel the annual $179 membership if you aren’t satisfied.
That’s how they hooked me. During an airport layover, a woman asked me to come over to her CLEAR kiosk. She gave me 2 free months to try CLEAR. After I used it once, and skipped the security line, I was sold. I’ve been a CLEAR member ever since.
Safe travels and I hope you never get stuck in an airport security line again.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.