Long lines, lengthy security procedures (involving baggies and mini bottles) & grabby TSA agents are just some of the frustrations that travelers have complained about in recent years. Now, given that the TSA are announcing new security changes this weekend, travelers are worried things may get tougher. If you’re willing to put up a small amount of cash, programs like “CLEAR” or TSA Pre Check are designed to speed you through the security checkpoints.
How do they work?
1. When you subscribe to either program, you receive a card in the mail, which you bring to the airport.
2. As a CLEAR member, you present this card at CLEAR stations in the airport where you are physically scanned (using either your thumbprint or an iris scan) which will allow you to together.
Which is worth getting?
1. It depends on how often you fly, how many are in your traveling party and your most frequented airport e.g.) CLEAR is only presently offered at 13 airports in the US, versus Pre Check which is offered at 133.
2. CLEAR doesn’t earn you anything special beyond speed; you still have to remove belts, laptops, and so on, versus Pre Check which eliminates this.
3. For international travelers, the BEST option may be Global Entry, which for $100 combines both bypassing customs lines and includes a Pre Check bypass the line to the metal detector.
3. As a TSA Pre Check member, you do not have to remove shoes, coats or belts or take your laptop out of its case when passing a security checkpoint.
How much do they cost?
1. CLEAR costs $179 per year, making it a considerably bigger investment than TSA Pre Check which only costs $85 for five years.
2. With CLEAR, however, you can refer a second person to receive a rate of $50 per year, and users may take children under 18 with them through the system for free. They are also currently offering a FREE 2 month trial (subscribed to online.)
3. While CLEAR and Pre Check aren’t affiliated, in airports where they both exist, they work together informally.