Clear expands to Palm Beach International Airport just in time for Thanksgiving travel security woes
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Travelers at Palm Beach International Airport can now speed through security with the addition of Clear at PBI. The expedited security program launches at its fourth Florida airport on Nov. 17, continuing the company’s growth across the Sunshine State.
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“Beginning today, Clear will have three expedited security lanes at PBI’s two security checkpoints,” Clear said in a press release shared with TPG, marking the 39th U.S. airport to have Clear lanes for fliers.
“We’ve been committed to Florida since day one with our first airport launch, and now we are thrilled to partner with Palm Beach County to help bring this experience to local residents, travelers and visitors,” Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker said in a statement. “We’re expanding our presence in South Florida and bringing with us over 30 new jobs…as part of our ongoing investment throughout the state.”
Since debuting at Orlando International Airport (MCO) in 2010, Clear has focused on expansion within Florida by providing Clear lanes at Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), in addition to MCO and now PBI.
“Florida has always been an important travel market, and we look forward to continued growth there,” Karl Rickett, a senior public affairs manager at Clear told TPG.
Fliers who use Clear are able to bypass the normal two-step TSA security process that involves verifying your identity and passing yourself (and bags) through an additional security line, the process of which is oftentimes frustrating, particularly when the lines to do so are long, as is usually the case with holiday travel.
Clear could help ease holiday travel stress
Although holiday travel is amongst the busiest time in the skies, there’s potential for this season to be particularly messy. Next week is expected to bring the highest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travel since 2005, according to AAA. AAA’s 2021 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast expects more than 53 million people to travel over the 2021 Thanksgiving weekend, up 13% over 2020 levels and within 5% of 2019 levels.
A surge in travelers could present issues for both TSA and airlines, which have reported ongoing and potential further staffing shortages this year. In mid-October, TSA said that only 60% of TSA staff were vaccinated ahead of the Nov. 22 deadline set by the Biden administration.
Similarly, a nationwide pilot and flight attendant shortage has resulted in various delays throughout the year across multiple airlines, including American Airlines, which recently announced incentives for employees for working around the holidays. The recent reopening of the United States to vaccinated international travelers will only add to potential holiday travel chaos.
Last month, Clear rolled out a new timed service at MCO to allow travelers to book a reservation for parties up to 10 to go through security at a certain time based on departures of outgoing flights.
“Clear’s expedited lanes and frictionless travel experience is a great solution for holiday travel stress,” Karl Rickett, a senior public affairs manager at Clear told TPG, who noted that the company expects a strong holiday travel season, along with an influx of Clear users comparable to pre-pandemic levels. As of October 2021, 40% of Clear sites reported higher verification levels compared to 2019, including in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Las Vegas (LAS). Additionally, 60% of markets have seen higher enrollments.
Clear members are able to use Clear’s network of dedicated lanes to verify their identity simply by using their eyes or fingerprints, replacing the need to show your driver’s license. After verification, a Clear Ambassador escorts members through the dedicated lane and directly to the TSA physical security (if you also have TSA PreCheck, you would be brought to the front of the TSA line).
An annual Clear membership costs $179 and many cards reimburse you for it. Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders receive an up to $179 statement credit for a Clear Plus membership, the American Express® Green Card comes with an up to $100 annual statement credit and American Express Centurion Cardholders receive an annual statement credit for up to three family members to purchase Clear. Enrollment required for select benefits. Children under 18 traveling with adults who have Clear are able to access Clear for free. Clear members can also add up to three adult family members to their account at a discounted rate. The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Delta and United cardholders can also get a free or discounted Clear membership depending on their status.
For example, Delta Diamond Medallion® Members can get a complimentary annual membership, while Platinum/Gold/Silver Medallion Members and those with eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards (Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card) receive a discounted membership at $109. General Delta SkyMiles members can pay $119.
Clear is free annually for United Premier 1K® members, costs $109 for Premier® Silver, Gold or Platinum or United U.S. Credit Cardmembers and $119 for MileagePlus members.
In addition to airports, Clear is offered at other public spaces, including stadiums and concert venues and has expanded their reach in response to COVID-19, including by helping manage vaccine verification at restaurants.
Featured image of travelers in the security line at Denver International Airport in July 2021 by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
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