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CLEAR offers fast, touchless entry at over 50 airports, stadiums, and arenas in the US.
It takes minutes to enroll and seconds to use, scanning eyes or fingerprints to safely gain entry.
We tried it out during recent air travel to see how it works and compares to TSA Precheck.
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyBiometric Security Screening (Per Year) (small)
Stressful at its worst and mind-numbing at its best, waiting in an airport security line is an experience no one enjoys. No amount of mental willpower or foot-tapping will let you out of the process, but there is a biometric security service called CLEAR that can make it a lot faster.
CLEAR is a friction-free security process at airports, stadiums, and arenas that scans your eyes or fingerprints so you can reach the place you really want to be – the flight gate, concert, or game – quickly and conveniently.
Just like safety and security are valued at airports and large venues, CLEAR values customer security and ensures member data is kept private and secure through double encryption. This way, you have the peace of mind that your data is safe, all while you enjoy the benefits of an effortless security process.
Learn more about how CLEAR works below, plus our review of the service, and deals on signing up.
When you travel and go through airport security, the first checkpoint involves standing in a long line for a TSA agent to scan your boarding pass and ID.
With CLEAR, you skip the line and enter security through your own designated lane where you check-in and are escorted directly to the physical screening.
Instead of using traditional ID documents, CLEAR uses your eyes and face to confirm it’s really you. This is done by transforming your biometrics into an encrypted code of ones and zeros that are unique to you.
The platform is Department of Homeland Security- and SAFETY Act-certified.
How to enroll in CLEAR
To use CLEAR, you’ll first enroll by filling out a short online application. It takes just a few moments.
Then, you’ll visit a participating airport to get your eyes and fingerprints scanned. Bring one of the following forms of photo identification with you:
US Driver’s LicenseUS PassportUS Passport CardUS-issued Permanent Resident CardState Issued IDUS Military ID
All forms of identification must be valid, unexpired, not amended, and have a photo. This process takes about five minutes in total.
You don’t have to go out of your way to do this. Most people enroll in person at the same time they are flying out. That’s because once in-person registration is complete, you can use the CLEAR lane right away.
How to use CLEAR
Once you’re enrolled and in the designated lane, all you have to do is scan your fingers or eyes at the kiosk to get your identity verified. It takes just seconds.
This means no fumbling for documents or IDs and waiting in a line that seems to loop and turn with no end in sight.
Once you’re done, a CLEAR attendant will escort you to the front of the regular security line where you’ll wait your turn to put your belongings through the X-ray scanner and finish the screening process.
How much does CLEAR cost?
A CLEAR Plus membership costs $179 per year with access at all locations where CLEAR is available.
CLEAR Plus members can add up to three adult family members to their account at a discounted rate of $50 per person. Children under 18 are free when traveling with a CLEAR family member with no enrollment required.
Delta SkyMiles members also enjoy discounted rates:
Diamond Medallion members: Free Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members: $109 a yearGeneral SkyMiles members: $119 a year
We also secured two deals for readers to try CLEAR. Choose from a free trial or a discount off the annual price:
Streamline your travel experience and enroll in a 2-month free trial of CLEAR here using the code „INSIDER.”
Where is CLEAR available?
CLEAR is available in the following airports and sports stadiums of major cities:
Atlanta: ATL, SunTrust Park Austin: AUSBaltimore: BWIDallas: DFW, DALDenver: DEN, Coors FieldDetroit: DTW, Comerica ParkHouston: IAH, HOULas Vegas: LASLos Angeles: LAX, Banc of California Stadium Miami: MIA, Marlins Park, American Airlines ArenaMinneapolis: MSPNew York: HPN, LGA, JFK, Grand Central, Yankee Stadium, Citi FieldOrlando: MCOPhoenix: PHXSalt Lake City: SLCSan Antonio: SATSan Francisco Bay Area: SFO, AT&T Park, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum San Jose: SJC, Avaya Stadium Seattle: SEA, Safeco Field, CenturyLink FieldWashington, D.C.: IAD, DCA
TSA PreCheck vs. CLEAR
Though the two might sound like they’re interchangeable, CLEAR isn’t a substitute for TSA PreCheck. Here are some key differences:
TSA PreCheck expedites the security process by putting you in a shorter line to get your documents checked and allows you to keep your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, and jackets on you. Meanwhile, CLEAR expedites the general security process by letting you bypass the first line for document verification altogether with the biometric screening. If you have TSA PreCheck, you’ll move on to the physical screening and still enjoy the benefits of PreCheck. If not, you will be physically screened per the standard rules. In other words, CLEAR members don’t have a separate second screening like PreCheck members do, unless they have a membership with both.TSA PreCheck members can get randomly excluded and sent to the regular line. CLEAR does not have random exclusions.TSA PreCheck only works with certain airlines, though it’s available in many more airports nationwide. CLEAR works with any airline, but its rollout in airports is still limited. CLEAR is also available at some sports stadiums. To enroll in TSA PreCheck, you submit an online application and schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center. The appointment includes a background check and fingerprinting. To enroll in CLEAR, you submit an online application and visit an airport location where you undergo a background check and fingerprinting. No appointment is necessary and it’s much quicker overall.
Using CLEAR’s Health Pass for travel during COVID
CLEAR itself is an attractive option for travel during COVID-19 as it removes waiting in a lengthy general airport security line with no social distancing.
It also facilitates travel during the pandemic with the option to use Health Pass, a free feature on the CLEAR app for members who are 18 and over that connects your verified identity with your health history to create a digital vaccine card. This then syncs with Health Pass to show proof of vaccination for venues and countries that require it.
It may be used in some places to avoid mandatory quarantine, such as Hawaii.
Our review of CLEAR
CLEAR members check in for security at their own designated lane with these kiosks that scan your retina to securely verify your identity.
I tried CLEAR this summer when I flew cross country on more than one occasion. The cost was comped by the company for review purposes.
I signed up online in minutes, per the directions, and added my husband to my family account. Because my infant daughter was well under 18, I did not need to make an account for her.
When I arrived at San Francisco Airport for a 7 a.m. return flight to New York City, despite the early arrival, the security line was already incredibly long. I was thankful to zip past it to a separate area designated for CLEAR with a handful kiosks for checking-in.
Because this was my first time using CLEAR, I needed to finish my enrollment. The company says this should only take five minutes, though mine took at least 10 to 15. Part of this was because we were juggling a baby, but a CLEAR attendant was also required to shepherd us through the process and ours was quite busy helping multiple travelers at once.
All I needed to do, though, was look up my personal information, scan my fingertips and retina, and that was about it.
While I was able to cut to the front of the security line with CLEAR, I still had to wait in a long line for the x-ray screening.
Once checked in, the attendant printed my boarding pass and I had to wait for a few other guests to finish the process so he could bring us all to the next step in the security screening process.
My husband, however, who had TSA PreCheck, was guided to a separate line for travelers with the distinction. I went to the security line for general travelers, and while I was able to skip to the front to have my ID checked, I had to wait in a long line to go through the X-ray scanner. CLEAR did not grant privileges to cut it and I had to remove my iPad.
When I flew again a month later, departing from Hartford, Connecticut, I was excited to see if CLEAR would be faster in a smaller airport. Unfortunately, it was not offered there and I waited in the general line from start to finish.
As a former TSA PreCheck holder, I couldn’t help but compare the two. When looking at TSA PreCheck vs CLEAR, the differences are, well, quite clear.
TSA PreCheck is cheaper at $85 for five years, whereas CLEAR costs $179 for one year. It’s worth noting though that CLEAR is offered at additional venues beyond airports, and if you frequent many sports games or concerts where it is offered, you’ll certainly appreciate the shorter line.
TSA PreCheck also often sees fewer lines overall. It’s more widely available whereas CLEAR is limited to a handful of airports. If CLEAR is not offered in your home airport, it’s probably not worth it.
However, enrolling in CLEAR is so much easier. Part of the reason why my TSA PreCheck lapsed is that it feels like such a hassle to make an appointment to sign up, which usually takes place in out-of-the-way locations and requires fingerprinting.
Signing up for CLEAR on the other hand takes just a few moments and you can do it on the way to your flight from your mobile device. You can still cut to the front of the first security line, and if the X-ray scanner isn’t backed up, it’s a great way to speed up travel through an airport terminal.
Choosing which one is best really depends on the types of venues you visit most often and whether CLEAR is offered in the airport from where you’re most likely to depart.
The bottom line
If you travel frequently out of CLEAR’s participating airports and want to save yourself time and anxiety, CLEAR is a worthwhile investment to consider. And with the following two deals, it’s well worth trying out to see if it’s a good fit for your needs.
Streamline your travel experience and enroll in a 2-month free trial of CLEAR here using the code „INSIDER” or purchase a discounted membership for $149 (regularly $179) with the code „INSIDER 149.”
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