Monday, December 17, 2007

What is the story with CLEAR?

So I signed up for the new airport program called "CLEAR" and today at the SFO Northwest Airlines terminal I had my first experience... But now I just want to know what it is all about! Is this just an elaborate way to cut in line at the airport security line? I still had to go through the regular security procedures, like any other traveller... What is the story? Is this a half-implemented system?

4 comments:

Dan Brekke said...

Have you used CLEAR again? Did you get your questions answered.

If not, I was going to note what you probably already know: that this is a Steven Brill production; i.e., a private company providing a service, and thus one that needs to have a conversation with its customers. Seriously. Though Brill isn't known for his listening skills.

Dan Brekke said...

Sorry for the double comment, but: You know, we were talking about CLEAR a week or so ago. It is indeed my impression that what it amounts to is a way to cut in the security line. You get prescreened by the service, but that's only to certify you as a past non-terrorist. You still need to go through the inspection process at the airport. Here's a link to an old but pretty well done article on Brill and the service: http://www.slate.com/id/2133060/

Ted said...

So yes, I am pretty clear on CLEAR now -- it is a relatively cheap (if you fly a lot) way to jump ahead of the line at airport security. The weird part of it all is the faux security -- I mean, why bother with the iris scan, the background check, and everything else. It isn't improving security! The only thing it really does is make sure that I am the only one who can use my clear account...

Dan Brekke said...

I don't think is selling itself as "improved" security. Just faster. And that's what they deliver, right? Although I accidentally discovered that you can get the fast treatment without any extra cost by going through the airlines VIP/First Class lines. The TSA doesn't care if you have a first-class ticket, and (flying American) no one from the airline challenged me.