Speeding through airport security can make your travel journey less stressful. I know lots of folks use TSA PreCheck (free when you sign-up and pay with certain cards) to get expedited security screenings and avoid having to take off shoes or remove laptops from bags.
But at certain airports or during peak travel times, even going through the TSA PreCheck line could require you to wait. So if you’re a frequent traveler, you might consider enrolling in CLEAR. Team member Keith recently signed-up, so I’ll let him tell you about his experience!
Keith: Before a recent flight, I saw an ad to try CLEAR for free for 2 months. Because I enjoy free things, and don’t like wasting time at airports, I thought I’d give it a try.
Here’s my review of CLEAR.
What Is CLEAR?
Link: CLEAR Cities
The benefit of having CLEAR is you skip any of the TSA lines and don’t have to present your ID to the TSA agent or scan your boarding pass.
CLEAR is a privately operated expedited security program available at select airports and sports stadiums in these 21 US cities:
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Austin (AUS)
- Baltimore – Washington (BWI)
- Dallas (DAL & DFW)
- Denver Airport (DEN)
- Coors Field
- Detroit Airport (DTW)
- Comerica Park
- Houston (HOU & IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami Airport (MIA)
- American Airlines Field
- Marlins Park
- Minneapolis (MSP)
- New York
- New York Airports (LGA & JFK)
- Westchester County Airport (HPN)
- Citi Field
- Yankee Stadium
- Orlando (MCO)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- San Antonio (SAT)
- San Francisco
- San Francisco Airport (SFO)
- AT&T Park
- San Jose (SJC)
- Washington, DC (DCA & IAD)
Expedited security at sports stadiums can be a big time-saver. Team member Scott says when he went to Citi Field, there was no one on the CLEAR line, but the regular line to enter the stadium had a ~20 minute wait.
And there are dedicated CLEAR lanes at TSA airport checkpoints. So folks who enroll can visit the kiosks to scan your fingerprints and boarding pass. Then, a CLEAR concierge will escort you to the front of the TSA or TSA PreCheck security line (depending if your boarding pass has a TSA PreCheck designation).
At this point, you’ll go through the standard security screening process (“hands up, feet on the yellow stickers body scan”).
Keep in mind, CLEAR is not always available at each airport terminal. For example, CLEAR is at Terminal 2 in Salt Lake City, but not Terminal 1.
It’s Easy to Sign-Up for CLEAR
Any US citizen or permanent resident age 18 and over can sign-up for CLEAR as long as they have:
- A US Passport or US issued Permanent Resident card, AND
- A secondary ID such as drivers license or military ID
CLEAR does NOT do background checks! They just verify your right to travel and your residency.
Because CLEAR doesn’t do the security screening, folks with criminal records (who might otherwise be ineligible for trusted traveler programs like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck) can apply for CLEAR.
Registration is a 2-step process.
Step 1. Complete the Online Registration Form
Step 2. Scan Fingerprints at CLEAR Kiosk
After completing the online application, you can visit a CLEAR enrollment kiosk (usually at a TSA airport checkpoint) to finish the sign-up process.
This step takes less than 5 minutes and a CLEAR employee will walk you through:
- Biometric scan (fingerprints and eye scan)
- Scanning your ID
- Answering 2 questions confirming your identity
There’s no processing time after completing your enrollment, so you can use CLEAR right away. For example, my wife and I both completed the process when we were at the airport for a flight and were able to use CLEAR right away.
Once you’re registered, you just have to scan your boarding pass and fingerprints at the CLEAR airport kiosk. Then, the concierge will walk you to the front of the TSA security line.
Is CLEAR Worth $179 per Year?
CLEAR has an annual membership fee of $179, or ~$15 per month. You can add an adult family member for $50 per year and your children can come through with you free.
I’m still in my 2-month free trial period, so I’m unsure if I’ll pay $229 per year ($179 for me and $50 for my wife) once it expires. Using CLEAR at the Los Angeles airport has definitely saved my wife and me time. But I think having TSA PreCheck is enough for us.
And CLEAR is great now because it’s still expanding and not a lot of folks are using it. But what will happen if there’s a huge influx of sign-ups? To me, it doesn’t seem like the most efficient system if there were a lot of members because each person gets a personal escort to the front of the TSA security line.
It’s easy to sign-up. Just complete an online application (takes less than 2 minutes). Then visit a CLEAR kiosk at the airport to scan your fingerprints and ID. The in-person portion only takes a few minutes, so you can do it on a day you’re flying.
CLEAR is definitely a time-saver. But it costs $179 per year, or ~$15 per month, to sign-up. For folks with TSA PreCheck, you might not need both. Unless you’re a frequent flyer at an airport that typically has a long TSA PreCheck line.
If you use CLEAR, I’d love to hear your experience!