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Life in the fast lane: Zip through airport security with Clear biometric scanning

If you travel frequently, a new check-in option can save time waiting in line and pushing, pulling, and dragging your luggage. This week Clear opens at Sea-Tac, the Seattle-Tacoma airport, with two of the company’s biometric scanning terminals at each of the airport’s three security check-ins, according to GeekWire.

Sea-Tac will bring the number of airports with Clear check-in terminals to 16. By the end of the year the plan is to be in 24 airports through the company’s partnership with Delta Air Lines, which involves adding the capability to Delta’s major hubs. The company is certified through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Safety Act as “qualified anti-terrorism technology,” according to Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker.

You can sign up for a Clear membership online, but you will then have to personally visit one of its enrollment centers for biometric scanning. Most of the centers are located at airports, although you can also enroll at Clear’s New York headquarters in Manhattan by appointment.

The company says it takes about five minutes to complete the enrollment process, which includes fingerprint and iris scanning. The service will cost you, though: a Clear membership runs $179 annually, although one travel companion can join for $50 a year and kids under 18 are free.

When you go to an airport with Clear terminals, you present your boarding pass to a company representative at a Clear terminal. Scan the boarding pass and one finger or an iris and you’re good to go. You’ll still need to go through security, but if you are PreCheck eligible the Clear representative will walk you to a PreCheck line if there’s one for your flight.

So really it’s a two-step process if you want to speed up the full airport departure experience: enroll in Clear to skip check-in lines and pre-qualify for PreCheck so you can breeze through security without having to take off your shoes and belt.

At $179 a year, Clear likely only makes sense for frequent travelers, but if you travel even once a month the return on investment measured in time could definitely be worth it. As a bonus, Clear is also accepted for expedited entry into seven major sports  stadiums in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Denver, and and other cities.