There are many levels of protection an individual gets when they need to fly. Travel insurance is one of these. Investing in travel insurance coverage shields someone from monetary losses such as lost baggage or emergency medical costs. In addition, some forms of travel protection (trip cancellation coverage) help a purchaser receive a refund should an unexpected covered issue cause them to cancel their trip.
Security at the Airport
Another form of protection beyond travel insurance is the airport’s security checks. Enhanced and tightened after the 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S., the airport security checkpoints administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) eliminate as many threats as possible. It’s a vigorous system that combines ID verification, material scanning, and possible searches of luggage or a person should something suspicious be found.
While these security checks make travelers feel secure as they reach the gates and board their planes, the extra precautions also take longer. Thus, security lines at many airports can become extraordinary long, especially during peak times. In turn, this frustrates travelers. It even discourages some from flying in the future.
The Future is CLEAR
Seeing an opportunity to streamline this process, Alcear worked with the U.S. government to develop a new airport verification process. The result was CLEAR.
Started in 2009, the company went bankrupt a few years later. It was purchased by Alcear and reintroduced to airports. The first ones to use this secure biometric identity platform were two of the busiest airports in the U.S. — Denver International and Orlando International. Today, it is located in over 25 major airports across the country.
In 2018, CLEAR was named one of the Most Innovated Companies by Fast Company magazine.
How CLEAR Works
Instead of a driver’s license or passport, CLEAR uses biometric identifiers to confirm the traveler’s identification. This is either through the user’s fingerprints or retina scan.
Once they sign up, the user’s biometrics are encrypted into a code that is connected only to the participant. Every time they check in and present their biometric identifier, CLEAR reviews the previously stored information to determine if they are the owner. If so, they are allowed to pass through the initial check and proceed to the scans. In most cases, the CLEAR security lane will be substantially faster than general security lines.
Other Uses for CLEAR
CLEAR’s biometric verification has gone beyond the security lines. Currently, Delta Sky Club members use the process to enter these 1st class lounges through retina or fingerprint representation. In addition, when CLEAR was reintroduced to airports after a bankruptcy, a biometric boarding pass was tested for Alaska Airlines passengers. The goal was to reduce lines at the gate.
Signing Up for CLEAR
Sign up for this program takes place on the company’s website. Unlike the normal check-in process, travelers must subscribe to the program. As of this writing, CLEAR offers a 12-month subscription.
Not everyone can signup for this program. To qualify, customers must be over 18 years of age and have a valid ID. Furthermore, the program is only available in U.S. airports. Thus, travelers will still need to bring an acceptable paper ID if visiting international locations.
The Future for CLEAR
As biometrics are further incorporated into daily routines, CLEAR’s future seems clear. How fast it’s implemented in all U.S. airports depends on volume and availability.