CLEAR Travel Card Overview – Basically TSA PreCheck

CLEAR Me Card

CLEAR Me Card with Chip & Pin Security.

Earlier today I received an email from the people at TripIt about the CLEAR Travel Card. I navigated to the site through their referral link and landed on a beautifully designed page.

Having never heard of the CLEAR Travel card prior to receiving the email from TripIt Pro, I decided to look a little more into their website and write about them for JourneyUnknown. From first glance, it appears to be another incarnation of TSA PreCheck, so, I dig a little deeper – eventually stumbling on a wikipedia entry for Registered Traveler Programs.

Clear seems to have originated sometime in 2008, perhaps a year or two earlier, by the founder of Court TV (now TruTV). Don’t let it’s age fool you. The company has had it’s ups and downs since starting.

At 11:00 p.m. PST on June 22, 2009, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.” – Wikipedia

After removing/redirecting all pages of their website to the statement above, class-action lawsuits were filed against the company. Eventually filing for bankruptcy, Clear was purchased by Alclear LLC in early 2010 with the goal of getting rid of the sour taste left in previous customers’ mouths.

Over the course of the next year or so, Alclear LLC reopened CLEAR Travel lanes in a couple airports and have since expanded to 10 airports nationwide.

But, upon further investigation, just about every airport that CLEAR is located at also has TSA Precheck. The single airport where CLEAR travel lanes operate and TSA has yet to expend to is Westchester County (HPN) – White Plains, New York. The White Plains airport had just under 1,000,000 enplanements in 2010.

CLEAR vs. TSA PreCheck Comparison
TSA PreCheckCLEAR
Number of Locations>120 Nationwide 10 and Growing
Price$85 for 5 years$179 per year
Positive ReviewI did not have to remove my laptop, liquids or shoes. It was just that easy – David S.Even when I am running late, I haven't missed a flight because of how efficient Clear is. – Joyce H.
Negative ReviewThe procedures are consistently inconsistent. – Rich L.So after years of being a loyal customer to clear – today on a red eye to Boston – at gate 50-59 @sfo airport – guess what? No staff – no service! – Meera K
CLEAR operating Hours at White Plains (HPN) Airport

CLEAR operating Hours at White Plains (HPN) Airport

Upon even further inspection of CLEAR’s website, it appears that there are only a limited number of hours that they operate at each airport. So, in your time of need, rushing to get to the airport with enough time before your flight, you still might have to wait in the regular security line.

TSA PreCheck Airlines

TSA PreCheck Airlines

Personally, I would take the time and follow the procedure to get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry since it lasts for 5 years and is cheaper. Keep in mind that TSA PreCheck has partnered with various airlines (pictured above), so perhaps this is where CLEAR’s value is. Potentially another reason to purchase CLEAR would be if you have a criminal record & cannot pass the background check that is required for TSA PreCheck.

Do any readers have CLEAR? What are your thoughts & experience with using it?

Cory

Life-Long Learner, Explorer, & Web Developer. Currently a Software Engineer at Jazz.

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