Clear, the company that offers expedited access to airport security screening, says it has processed more than 225,000 passengers at the Orlando and Denver airports since it started up last November, and that it has now signed on more than 20,000 members at Denver. Clear membership, which costs $179 a year for individuals, provides fast entry to security checkpoints through Clear’s proprietary lanes at those two airports; members undergo a background check and receive biometric ID cards that give them access to the Clear lanes. The new Clear (www.CLEARme.com) replaced the original company, which went out of business in 2010; it had operated a similar system at some 20 major airports in the U.S. While the Clear system may get members to the checkpoint faster, they still undergo the same screening process as other travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration is planning to start testing a new risk-based screening system this fall at a few airports, in which pre-approved frequent travelers will be sent through a separate screening checkpoint with expedited procedures. If the tests go well and it is rolled out nationwide, it could make Clear membership seem less desirable, but Clear says it supports the TSA program. “We strongly support TSA’s vision to focus on identifying bad people, not just finding bad objects,” said Clear president J. Bennet Waters. “The combination of government information and commercially available data provides a very powerful opportunity to assess a traveler’s risk to aviation security. The challenge is in how to use both sets of data simultaneously without impacting travelers’ privacy or requiring people to participate. Clear addresses this challenge.” Waters said Clear looks forward to working with TSA, airlines and airports in support of TSA’s risk-based screening. The company said it is also involved in negotiations with other airports to expand Clear’s service.