Monday, March 24, 2008

What is the 'Clear' Registered Traveler Program?

(Thanks for the question Kathy)
For about $100 a year, you can "fly through airport security" as the Clear company tagline asserts, once you've signed up in the Clear Registered Traveler program.

The application process includes providing biographic information, fingerprints, a current photograph and images of your irises to the federal government. There is a $100 annual fee for the membership if approved, and a $28 TSA background check fee.

Once approved in the program, the "Clear" card (pictured to the left) allows you to get through security faster, often in just a few minutes, using dedicated "Clear" lanes. A thumbprint or retina scan are performed, and matched to the data you provided during the application process.

Once you receive the 'Clear' you then proceed to a metal detector and x-ray machine. The program is currently available at 13 airports throughout the United States, including San Francisco, San Jose and coming soon to Oakland.

Reviews have been mixed. Some travelers claim the Clear program and expedited line saved them from missing flights. Imagine bypassing lengthy lines, particularly during peak travel periods! Others claim $100 isn't worth the fee since the same security checkpoint procedures are in place, namely the x-ray and metal detector screening. Further, as more airports adopt the Clear program, it may become too popular, thereby diluting the original intended benefit of short lines.

For more information on the Clear program, click here
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum members may be entitled to one-year of free membership. For details, click here.