If the one thing that makes you grind your teeth when contemplating travel is doing the TSA* tango, then you might be interested in the new Clear Registered Traveler program.
What is it? Well, it is basically an opportunity to pay for a pre-screening which will allow you to pass through a special lane with a hopefully much shorter line at. You even get special ”attendants” and “concierges” that will smile nicely at you as the unwashed masses glare enviously from their over-packed lanes.
Sorry…I just think that if the TSA were doing their job properly then we could all move through the airport security lines quickly and without having to front an extra $100+ to an outside agency.
Don’t get me started!
According to the Clear site:
Travelers who join the Clear® Registered Traveler program are pre-screened for security and provided with a biometric card which will allow them to pass through security faster, with more predictability and less hassle. Take the first step toward stress free travel today.
You’ll know that it’ll take just a few minutes to get through security; no more worrying about unpredictably long lines.
- You’ll enjoy a designated security lane with special benefits.
- You’ll be helped by our attendants and concierges as you go through the Clear lane.
- You can use your Clear card at all US registered traveler airports at no additional cost.
Clear is fast, convenient and secure. As a Clear member, you’ll be in control of your own time and your own schedule. Clear’s first year price is $99.95 (includes a $28.00 TSA vetting fee). You can lock-in this rate by purchasing a two year membership for $199.90 or three years for $299.85.
So how does it work? You do the first part of the membership application, by providing information including your driver’s license number, previous home addresses for the past five years, Social Security number, alien registration number (permanent foreign residents only), and (of course) a current credit card. Then you show up at a to complete the process by showing , and to allow a Clear attendant to “capture images of your irises and fingerprints, and take your photograph.”
If you don’t pass, then you have just provided the government with more information than you might have wanted them to know; if you do pass, then you will be charged the agreed upon fee.
So assuming you haven’t been flagged as a potential terrorist, this is what you can expect when checking in at one of the (few) Clear enabled airports…
You Are Clear
Once in the Clear lane, show your government issued ID and you will insert your Clear card into the verification kiosk. The kiosk will read your card and prompt you to place your finger on the fingerprint reader or look into the iris reader. Once the kiosk verifies your biometrics and that you are a member in good standing, the kiosk will signal “You are Clear.” You will receive a special stamp or receipt that will let TSA know you are a Clear member.
Proceed through Airport Security Checkpoints
Clear members still proceed through metal detectors and x-ray machines operated and regulated by the TSA. Members are subject to TSA’s screening rules and regulations. Once TSA has screened you and your bags, you will continue to your flight.
Your membership will be continuously reviewed by TSA’s ongoing Security Threat Assessment process. If your security status changes, your membership will be immediately deactivated and you will receive a notification email of your status change as well as a refund of the unused portion of your Clear membership fee. The TSA vetting fee is not refundable. At the airport, you will still be able to use the standard security line but not the Clear lane.
I dunno. I thought a special card that vetted you through security with a prior background check was a great idea when Clinton Fitch first told me about it. Now, I just feel pretty “meh” about the whole thing. Maybe when there are more airports included I’ll get more excited…or not.
I would love to hear what you think.
*According to Jerry, our resident Airline Captain, TSA stands for “Ten Standing Around” or “Take Stuff Away”. Have you heard any better acronym interpretations? Do share.