As someone who has Global Entry, as well as the United States speed pass to your gate, TSA Pre Check, I was always curious to know what this “Clear” system was. I knew it was an expedited entry into the gate area, but how does Clear compare to TSA? Today I delve into this topic and share with you my experience using Clear, as well as shed light on the pro’s and con’s of this expedited entry system.
It’s worth noting, I bought into the Clear expedited airport security program on February 10, 2017. I’m definitely late to the party, but I’ve had TSA Pre Check for years and felt that was all I needed. As a traveler, and a curious person as well, I needed to know what Clear was all about.
Clear Airport Security Review
Growing up, we didn’t have to worry about stuff like this. We simply got in line, put our bags on the hamster wheel, and went through metal detector screening. However, after the horrific events of 9/11, and an increased investment into airport security, the process of getting your ticket and making it to the gate has become nothing short of chaotic at best.
As time has passed, however, screening has taken precedence and now allows law abiding citizens the right to avoid removing their shoes as well as access to a normally faster moving line. We also have the convenience of mobile ticketing, which bypasses seeing an agent if you are not checking luggage.
Clear is a rather new expedited security program that is in a number of airports in the USA.
How Does CLEAR Work?
Basically, it’s advanced screening for people who abide by the law. I do, and you should too.
Clear provides a separate lane where travelers can scan their eyes or fingers and get right through the security.
However, here is the CLEAR PROBLEM:
My home airport is MIA, good old Miami International Airport. I fly about 100,000 miles per year from MIA and was hoping to help myself out by joining this program.
However, the problem was being an American Airlines frequent flyer, (Executive Platinum) I fly out of Gate D.
The CLEAR station is out of Gate E.
So it literally doesn’t help me unless it’s the very odd case where I fly another airline. That may happen twice per year, and doesn’t really help me.
Second, my next destination is Las Vegas. Work has me out there constantly, so hey, let’s see what CLEAR can do in Las Vegas.
I went to the station, which looks like it can fast track you through the entire situation and get you to the tram that takes you from the D Gate security checkpoint all the way to the terminal area where I comfortably await my plane in the Centurion Lounge.
I go through the whole sign-up ordeal since it was my first time using it. I’m excited, getting to bypass about 8 people in the TSA line should speed things up, and with my ADD, this is a good thing. However, this simply wasn’t the case. After getting set up (at another terminal, which was a nightmare), I am ushered to the front of the TSA line and sent through the TSA line.
So what did this do?
It got me to the front of a line that was rather short, and constantly is in Las Vegas, but had me deal with the hassle of setting up the logistics of my account, which set me back 10 minutes.
So this did nothing for me!
I’ll also add that CLEAR has a limited airport list where it works, so that makes it less than attractive for me at the moment. With the ease of TSA already in place, there really isn’t a reason to pay this company money in my opinion.
Anyone else have different thoughts? Am I missing something?