Harriet Baskas, Special for USA TODAY
Thanks to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and a variety of other programs that pre-vet travelers, 12 million people are now eligible to access the expedited screening lanes at U.S. airports.
But even with increased TSA staffing levels and the addition of automated screening lanes at some airports, many trusted travelers still end up waiting in long lines to get their IDs checked by TSA before they can even gain access to the expedited lanes.
To sign you up as member, Clear digitally authenticates your driver’s license or passport, confirms your identity and creates your biometric account.
Until recently, Clear’s fast-access lanes were at a limited number of airports, but the list is rapidly expanding.
Today Clear is opening lanes at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Last month Clear lanes opened at JFK International Airport. Additional lanes will launch at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport later this month and at Los Angeles International Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by the end of the first quarter of this year.
Clear currently has its biometric ID machines in place at airports in Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston (IAH and HOU), Las Vegas, Miami, White Plains, Orlando, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA).
With the addition of the LGA, JFK, ATL and MSP, Clear will be available in 22 airports nationwide.
“This marks a major milestone for us and where we are as a company,” said Clear CEO Caryn Seidman Becker in a statement. “It is a significant step toward fundamentally changing and improving the travel experience throughout the country.”
While Clear’s reach is expanding, keep in mind that while Clear membership allows travelers to bypass the TSA ID-check line, all passengers must still go through physical screening and travelers who want access to expedited TSA screening must be verified for the TSA PreCheck (or Global Entry) program separately — and pay an additional fee.
The fee for TSA PreCheck is $85, which is good for five years.
An annual membership in Clear is $179, but there are discounts available.
New members get their first month free as a trial and, thanks to a partnership with Delta Air Lines (which announced in April 2016 that it was purchasing a 5% stake in Clear), SkyMiles Diamond Medallion members receive a free annual membership in the program, while Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members, as well as SkyMiles credit card holders, pay $79 for an annual membership and general SkyMiles members pay $99 annually to access the Clear lanes.