I thought for this month's Travel Tip Thursday I'd talk a little about CLEAR. I will be honest and tell you that I've been debating this one internally for awhile now because it is so niche and ‘spendy' that it almost feels like too much… but then again, you're probably reading this because you really do want travel advice from a pro. So…. here's a pro tip!
If you are in one of the 12 airports currently serviced by CLEAR, you'd know it by their very special entry lanes:
If you need a hint- they are the ones with virtually no queue at any given point.
CLEAR is a service at airports that allows you to skip ahead of the queue at the security line by having an exclusive membership and proving your identity by using a bio-metric (fingerprint of multiple fingers) ID to move you quickly ahead of the line. Besides you feel like some sort of VIP or special agent or something. It is almost… fun. If you can call anything at the airport ‘fun', that is.
Now- what this is not is a way to get past security screening because… well that's just crazy. But if you've been in a security line any time in the last… say 10 years, you know the pain it has become.
But up until late 2015 I have to admit to you that I had dismissed CLEAR as being unneeded because not only was I a ‘premium' passenger that bypasses the regular line, but I also had TSA Pre-Check so I don't need anything special… right?
Here is a picture from this Sunday morning, about 8 am at DEN:
I will be blunt here. It has been a long time since I've stood at the back of that particular line. No. THANK YOU! Maybe I'm alone, but that just stressed me out. Something about knowing full well my flight was in plenty of time but feeling like I wasn't moving towards the place that would get me there… yeah. That feeling I'd give about anything to not have going on and that no amount of logic could fix.
Now- it's one thing to be among the other frequent travelers in the ‘preferred' lane… or maybe you've done the extra steps to be in the TSA Pre-Check lane… but what if you could get ahead of… BOTH of them?
It's what I do. Here's where finally where I ended up on Sunday morning:
In other words, I walked into the airport, and walked right up to the CLEAR kiosk, scanned the boarding pass on my phone, put my index and ring finger on a scanner, and was escorted to the front of the TSA Security line. Yeah. In FRONT of all those people on the left.
Now- let me say some caveats- CLEAR is not going to get you access to the TSA Pre-Check checkpoint if you don't have Pre-Check already… however- if you are someone that is maybe just starting out to build airline status or a premium passenger that finds the ‘premium' line just as long as the regular line… CLEAR may be a good fit for you.
Now, the great part.
CLEAR is offering something right now that I didn't even get when I signed up: 3 months free. That's right. THREE months. I got one. This is THREE. That is a 200% improvement, friends.
Now, do I think every single one of you should sign up… no. Do I think it's worth it? Well, did you see the picture I just posted?
Here's what you do:
First- decide if it's for you. If you fly out of any of these cities (as of Feb 2016, info from CLEAR):
AUSTIN | BALTIMORE | DALLAS | DENVER | HOUSTON | LAS VEGAS | MIAMI | ORLANDO | SAN ANTONIO | SAN FRANCISCO | SAN JOSE | WESTCHESTER
Click here and when prompted enter the code SHERIFF.
And you can try it out for three months- on me.
You're welcome 🙂 I'm sure CLEAR will give me something in return but I'll be honest- I'm not even sure. I just think this product has been worth the under $200 per year to reduce my stress level in the security line. Maybe it's just me, but I think I'm probably not alone!
I'd say if you fly out of DEN you'd see me there, but by the time you're going thru the line- I'll probably already be in the lounge. Because… CLEAR.
Cheers! I hope this has been a helpful tip- I welcome your feedback and hope if this post was valuable you'll share it with your friends as well!