Detailed on ABC News this week, a New York company called CLEAR is helping people get through airport security in just five minutes utilizing biometrics. Rather than requiring a driver’s license or passport to get through security, a traveler only needs their boarding pass in addition to their personal CLEAR smart card. When the traveler arrives at the airport, they walk up to a CLEAR kiosk and present the boarding pass along with the smart card to an attendant. After inserting the CLEAR card into the kiosk, the traveler verifies their identity with fingerprints or a quickl scan of the iris. While CLEAR members still have to place their carry-on belongings in a tray for an x-ray machine at the CLEARlane, they get to bypass long security lines filled with travelers waiting to get past TSA checkpoints.
This service can be particularly helpful for people that have to travel constantly for work or large families that struggle to get to the airport on time. Regarding the usefulness of the program, CLEAR director of public relations Nora O’Malley stated “We wanted to be on both ends and have parents not worry about screaming kids in the security lines. Our CEO took her family to Disneyworld. It makes the whole thing completely stress-free.”
CLEAR management is currently attempting to increase the amount of airports around the United States that offer the line-skipping service. To date, the CLEAR service can be used when flying out of Orlando, Denver, Dallas and San Francisco. However, CLEAR just announced that the first northeast location will be the Westchester County Airport in New York. Travelers that fly on American, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways out of the Westchester location will be able to take advantage of the CLEAR system. CLEAR expects to have that location operational by mid-November prior to the major rush of holiday travelers.
In order to become a member, users can fill out an application online with general information about themselves. At this point, potential members will have to visit an enrollment center with two forms of identification such as a U.S. passport and a driver’s license.
Other valid forms of identification could include a state issued ID card, a U.S. military ID, a foreign passport or a U.S. issued permanent resident card. To complete the process, a CLEAR official will log the user’s fingerprints in addition to an iris image. Approximately seven to ten days later, the new member will receive their smart card in the mail.
Of course, zipping through airport lines has a cost. An annual membership in the CLEAR program costs $179 (approximately $15 per month). However, children under the age of eighteen can travel with a CLEAR member at no extra cost. Other family members like a spouse or child over the age of eighteen can pay an additional $50 to be added to the family account. In addition, CLEAR offers a discounted rate to companies that purchase multiple subscriptions for employees as well as a 6-month trial of the program for $79. CLEAR is also planning a promotion around the Daylight Savings change during early November with discounted rates on service.