You don’t have to be a celebrity or elite flyer to skip long airport security lines. Clear is a New York City-based company that’s putting U.S. travelers in the flight express lane with smart cards.
Clear members are fast tracked to the front of security checkpoints after their identities are digitally verified with a touch of a finger or an iris scan at terminal kiosks. This replaces getting documents and boarding passes checked by Transportation Security Administration agents.
Clear members just need to bring personal Clear cards and boarding passes to get on flights, which means you can leave your driver’s license and passport at home. Passengers are offered a “full concierge service” through security, according to Nora O’Malley, Clear’s director of public relations. Attendants are there to help you swipe cards, scan your finger or iris for quick identity authentication, and load personal items into bins for x-ray.
The service works to relieve the “biggest bottleneck at the airports,” according to Clear chairman and CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker.
“Our technology brings speed, predictability and personal customer service to travelers, all while enhancing security on the backend,” she said.
Members have breezed through security in under 90 seconds at the Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando and San Francisco airports.
This week, Clear announced the arrival of Clear kiosks at terminals in the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY, which serves American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta, JetBlue, United and U.S. Airways customers. For the company, being able to serve Westchester travelers is a foray into the NYC market, as the company actively looks to expand nationally.
Travelers can enroll in Clear by buying an annual membership for $179, which allows them to tack on any family member over 18 for an additional $50. Membership allow unlimited use of the service, plus covers your children under 18 years of age. There are also family and corporate plans.
Part one of the user enrollment process can be completed online by entering basic information including your name and address, or at various Clear locations in airports, Sotheby’s locations, malls and the company’s NYC offices.
The second part of enrollment involves verifying your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. At this stage Clear also logs your biometric scan. Flyers will receive their Clear card, with smart chip, in seven to 10 business days after enrollment. The data on the smart-chip card is encrypted to the highest level.
Clear was relaunched by new owners in 2010 after the original company shuttered in June 2009 due to overwhelming debt. The new owners of the company, Seidman-Becker and Ken Cornick, wanted to initiate a technological security overhaul to ensure the safety of user information.
“Since then, we have done a complete technological security overhaul,” O’Malley said. “No longer is your personal information pushed out to kiosks. If someone took your Clear card there’s nothing they could do with it.”
Digital verifications could lead to less wait time at the airport. Checkpoints based on digital biometrics data can standardize speedy and predictable service, according to Seidman-Becker. The Clear team predicts a future where a fingerprint will be all that’s needed to get on a plane. Your smart cards will also be able to convey how you like your coffee and your newspaper preferences, so airports will have them at the ready.
Would you use the Clear program to bypass airport security lines? Is it really that safe? What are your thoughts ?
Images courtesy of Clear
This article was previously published at: http://mashable.com