Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why I Love Clear

I'm a new member of the Clear registered traveler program ( If you're not familiar with this, basically at airports that support the program (not enough, yet), you get to bypass the credential check line (though not the baggage check procedure) by going through a dedicated Clear line (where there's never a line).

For the privilege, you have to pay $100/year (plus a fee to have your background checked; terrorists need not apply). If you're a premium flyer, you may think "why would I need this; I already have dedicated lines." I'd note a few things:
  1. There are sometimes 10-15 minute lines even at premium lanes. I've never waited more than a minute at a Clear line.
  2. At key convention airports -- MCO, LAS-- there are often no premium lines or very limited, and long regular lines. If you go there once or twice a year, this alone justifies the fee. And they just announced an agreement with ATL.
  3. Only because of Clear did I make my flight last week. The SFO rental car shuttle broke down and we had to wait for busses. As you might imagine, they were slow and the net result was a bunch of people arriving all at once...and lining up, even in the premium line, all at once. I was the only Clear flyer...three minutes and I was through security. They even escorted me to the very front of the baggage check line, ahead of the six people who were waiting to take off their shoes.


  1. You still have to go through the baggage checking process.
  2. They're still not widely available in my home airports, New York area and Boston, though they're hinting at progress in New York.
  3. My fingerprints are now in someone's database. Before this, I had never been fingerprinted.
  4. It takes at least 20 minutes to go through the whole sign-up process and fingerprinting/face capture, and usually the sign-up kiosks are on the OUTside of security, so it's not like you can jump over and do it while you're waiting for a delayed flight, only if you get there early. Save yourself some time and begin the sign-up process online if you're going to do it.

If you sign up, tell them DSCAM1164007 sent you; that's my referral code and I'll get free months or something if you use this.

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