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As our TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Jason Steele explained this spring, today’s airport security consists of passing through two steps: identity verification and security screening. CLEAR, an expedited airport security program, helps you with that first step of ID verification, ultimately getting you through the checkpoint even more quickly.
Travelers using CLEAR have their own separate lane, where you can use biometric authentication (fingerprint or eye scan) at a kiosk. Then a CLEAR representative will escort you to the actual security screening, bypassing everyone waiting in the first line. If you’re also enrolled in TSA Precheck, you’ll be taken directly to the PreCheck line. (Note, if you’re interested in joining Precheck, there are several cards that will let you do it for free.)
CLEAR first began in 2004, went bankrupt in 2010, and its assets were purchased by the current founders. The old CLEAR expanded too aggressively and was spread too thin, while the new CLEAR is taking a more conservative approach, with just 11 airports using CLEAR services. This has made some potential users gun-shy about signing up, as there’s a $179 yearly fee for CLEAR, plus $50 for each additional family member, although kids under 18 are registered for free. If you want to join, you can save $30 on a CLEAR subscription, bringing the cost down to just $149, by signing up here.
As TPG reader Chris told us, “I’ve been with CLEAR for 2 years mostly due to frequent trips in and out of Orlando. I can drop my rental and be IN my seat within 20 minutes. Incredible! They just added my home airport, but the lack of cities is frustrating.” Many readers have echoed this frustration.
Well for some of you, good news has arrived: After a successful launch in Miami (MIA) this year, on October 7, 2015 the service will arrive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Austin already has TSA Precheck, so using CLEAR there will allow you to speed up your security experience even more. Travelers who sign up at a CLEAR airport location can enroll for a free 1 month trial. Corporate rates and family plans are available.
The Austin addition brings the total up to a mere 13 airports, but it shows that CLEAR is living up to its promise to expand sensibly. And by using this interactive map on the website, you can drop a pin where you’d like to see CLEAR used, which will help the company decide where to expand to next. CLEAR is moving into non-travel venues as well, such as Denver’s Coors Field, Yankee Stadium in New York, and AT&T Park in San Francisco, so it could pay to have access for a variety of reasons as the company continues to expansion.
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