One day last fall I arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport early. As I was approaching TSA pre-check, I saw a new lane marked “CLEAR.” Since I had time and was curious, I approached the gentlemen standing at the entrance to the lane. I asked him what CLEAR was all about.
It was amazing to learn that by becoming a member, I would be able to use my fingerprints or iris scan to verify my identity. With this identification I would bypass the security checkpoint lines. And, they would sign me up on the spot. The fee is $179 annually, but as a Delta Skymiles member, I received a substantial discount.
CLEAR is a private company, certified by the Department of Homeland Security to verify traveler identity. They match your iris scan and finger prints to your US government-issued ID, bringing the use of biometrics to everyday travelers. You can use your passport or state-issued identification to join.
How It Works
The gentleman escorted me to a CLEAR pod, located across from the security check point. (CLEAR employees at the airports are called Ambassadors.) They scanned my ID and entered my personal information into their system. After scanning my eyes and fingerprints, their system verified my identity, and I was ready to go.
The Ambassador then escorted me through the CLEAR security lane to the pod for my iris scan. Afterwards we continued past the TSA agent checking IDs, right to the metal detectors. As I have TSA Precheck, I was taken to the appropriate detector.
Now when I travel, I go directly to the CLEAR Lane at the TSA Checkpoint. The Ambassador escorts me to the pods to scan my iris or take my fingerprints, then directly to the metal detectors. I’ve never had to wait more than a minute or two. There have always been several Ambassadors available. The entire security process now takes me about 5 minutes!
Where CLEAR Is Available
CLEAR is already available at 40+ airports, stadiums, and other venues around the country, with new locations added all the time. You can check to see which locations are available on their website: www.clearme.com.
The Future of Biometrics in Travel
I am excited about the prospect of increased use of Biometrics to improve my travel experience. Delta Airlines recently partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Atlanta Airport and the TSA. In December 2018 they opened the first Biometric terminal at Atlanta Airport’s Terminal F. Here biometric touch points use facial recognition at check-in, bag drop, the TSA checkpoint and the boarding gate. And for Customs and Border Patrol processing when you arrive back into the United States.
Following beta testing of biometric boarding passes at Regan Washington National Airport and the success of Terminal F in Atlanta, you can expect to see many new biometric applications this coming year.
If you travel by air domestically more than a couple of times a year, or just want the convenience, look into signing up for CLEAR. For more information about CLEAR and other travel-related questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.