04. 23. 2007
Clear biometric card speeds you through airport security
It was just a matter of time before someone came up with a way to expedite the process of getting through airport security. Clear is basically a registration system that lets airport security (at participating airports) know that you've been pre-screened and are free to pass through the special, faster Clear security check.
Membership in Clear reached over 40,000 last month, and the list of participating airports now includes New York JFK Terminal 7 (JFK), Orlando (MCO) and San Jose (SJC). See this page for other airports.
Initial enrollment with Clear, which costs $99.95, involves registering your driver's license number, home addresses for the past five years, alien registration number if you're not a U.S. citizen, social security number and a credit card number. Step 2 of the process is an in-person visit to the Clear enrollment station at the airport, where your identification is verified and biometric data is gathered for your file, consisting of your photograph, fingerprints, and - here's the fun part - images of your irises. Once you're done with these two steps, your Clear card should fly you through security in time to have a cocktail before boarding.
Lately, I've been arriving at the airport three hours early, even for domestic flights, just in case my lipstick gets identified as a potential weapon, or someone in front of me in line sets off the metal detector again and again, or someone tries to bring suspicious looking baby food on board. Clear, in my opinion, is definitely worth the money if I can save myself a couple of hours with each flight. Alas, Clear hasn't come to the airports in the Washington, DC area that I usually fly out of (not even on their "coming soon" list).