Fly Clear

03.02.08 | 4 Comments

Image of Clear Card used for fast airport security transit

Clear is a service you should not to miss if you fly often. Essentially, you submit to a background check and allow Clear to collect some biometric information about you. Provided you pass the background check, a smartcard is issued to you that enables you to bypass the security check-in line at the airport. You can wave at the first class customers and airline employees as you breeze past to the front of the line once you’ve submitted your smartcard and scanned your thumb print.

When I left for my last trip, the security line experience at SFO lasted exactly 97 seconds (you still get to take your shoes off, extricate your laptop, and empty your pockets, you just get to do it first!) In this post 9/11 world, it was the best service I’ve ever experienced flying bar none.

The negatives? Clear is not available in all airports, they collect a bunch of personal and biometric information, and the service costs $128/year. While it’s not currently a negative, I do wonder what happens as more people use the service. What makes it extraordinary right now is the speed of security line transit, as more people subscribe to the service and load levels increase, it will be interesting to see how the company keeps their promise of no more than 4 minutes to go through security.

The bottom line: if you travel frequently, this is more useful than an annual lounge pass at your favorite airline. As of this writing, Clear is highly recommended.

Note: Other than being a customer, I don’t have any other relationship to Clear.