CLEAR is a membership program that allows approved travelers to get to the front of the security line in select airports, which are listed below. CLEAR has been around for a number of years but I didn’t join the program right away because it was only in a limited number of airports or terminals and ones that I rarely visited. However, I kept my eye on them for the past year when they began expanding rapidly.
I saw CLEAR’s benefit clearly a few months ago while I was waiting in a long TSA PreCheck line at the Denver airport; I watched a couple of travelers cruise through the wide open CLEAR lane and cut the line. I swore to myself then that if the program came to my home airport, I’d join in an instant.
Well, last week, when CLEAR added LAX to their list of airports that support the program, I didn’t waste any time to sign up. I logged on to their website and put in a friend’s referral code so I would get two free months and he would, too. BTW: Here’s my referral code for you to sign up and get two free months as well! Oh, and a year membership is $15 a month or $179 a year. Kids under 18 are free as long as their parent is a member.
Where is CLEAR available?
CLEAR is currently available in Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Dallas (DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston (HOU and IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (HPN, JFK and LGA), Orlando (MCO), San Antonio (SAT), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), Seattle (SEA), and Washington, D.C. (DCA and IAD).
Registering for the CLEAR program
After registering online, a screen popped up that basically said, “Welcome to CLEAR. One more step: Don’t forget to complete your enrollment next time you travel.” It wasn’t clear to me where exactly I needed to go or if I really didn’t need an appointment like they said. I was intrigued and curious as to what the process would be like. It turns out that all you really do is show up to the airport a few minutes early (I would go at least 10 minutes early) for the first time. CLEAR’s friendly representatives will have you use their machine to verify your identity, scan your eyes, take finger and thumb prints and have you answer some random questions. One question showed me five different addresses and asked me which one I had never lived at while another question asked the age of a distant cousin of mine.
I originally signed my wife Natalie up when I registered since you’re able to add a family member for $50 a year but for some reason, it didn’t register. However, she was able to register at the airport, no appointment necessary.
Dedicated CLEAR lanes at the airport
After we signed up using one of their two machines at the front of the security lines, we were then escorted (they even take your carry-on for you) to the front of their dedicated CLEAR lane where there are two more similar CLEAR machines. They’re right near the TSA representatives and these machines are the ones where members go to confirm their identity. Members just scan their boarding pass, then either their eyes or finger prints (when you will register, they will tell you which biometric is strongest for you). You don’t have to take your ID out while flying domestically.
You then get to the front of the security line as one of the CLEAR ambassadors vouches for you to the agent. If you have TSA PreCheck, you go in that line and if you don’t, they escort you to the other.
Their service is really impressive and it feels like how TSA PreCheck and Global Entry felt when they first came out. Now, let’s hope they keep expanding and it doesn’t get as popular as TSA PreCheck so there won’t be any long lines. But right now, being a member really makes travelers feel like VIPs.
CLEAR gets you into ballparks and arenas
As an added bonus, your CLEAR membership gets you into ballparks and arenas quicker, too. Just tap your finger, scan your ticket and go. Currently, they are available in Coors Field in Denver, American Airlines Arena in Miami, Marlins Park in Miami, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Citi Field in New York and Yankee Stadium in New York.
So far, I highly recommend getting CLEAR but the price is probably only worth it to business and frequent travelers. For those who travel just a couple of times a year, it might be worth signing up for a month, then canceling it until the next time you fly.
Are you a CLEAR member? Let us know what you think of their program in the comments below!
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.