Monday, June 22, 2009

Clear: No Longer Cleared For Take-Off

It appears that Clear, the company that offered consumers the ability to pay a fee in order to hopefully endure shorter lines at TSA security check-points has closed up shop. According to the Clear website at, the company will cease operations at 11:00PM PST today, June 22nd.

Clear seemed like a good idea but they were really never able to deliver a highly differentiated experience. You still had to take your shoes off, you still had to had to remove your laptop from the case and you still had to deal with the TSA.

Clear did seem to deliver employment for lots of people - we saw them standing around security check points all over the country. The only people often with less to do than the TSA seemed to be the Clear people.

The only exception we ever really saw was at Orlando. In Orlando, Clear really made a difference but this was just a factor of being the lone business traveler in a sea of Mickey fans.

Still, Clear's demise is a shame. There should be a faster way to get through security for "known travelers"but we'll save that for another Op-Ed.


  1. I've been a Clear member for a couple of years and it made a huge difference to my travel at several of the airports I used frequently. I'm very sad to see it close down. The loss of Clear will definitely impact my travel experience in a negative way :(

  2. Thanks for your note - I agree, a real shame for travelers - we now have no alternative.

  3. Ugh -- this is a real blow to the industry. I used the Clear service a ton since I depart out of Denver. When I fly an airline other than UA it made a big difference. I used it just this morning!

    I think I just renewed my service, I wonder what will happen to my funds?

    Regardless - I'm disappointed that a great concept couldn't take off.

  4. There was nothing "known" about the folks who paid for Clear memberships other than that they were willing to give up a whole bunch of personal information to a 3rd party with a questionable record of protecting that information and pay money simply to move to the front of the line. There was a point in time where the TSA was performing background checks - useless in reality - against applicants but that has been over for some time now. And on top of that, knowing the person has nothing to do with security. The TSA continues to sell their ID = Security farce when it does nothing other than provide revenue protection to the airlines.

    So you gave them a whole bunch of info, a retinal scan, a finger print and some money and you STILL had to endure the ridiculous that is a TSA screening. If there was a benefit other than occasionally skipping a few minutes in line they would have had a chance. But the service failed to deliver on a broad scale what they initially promised - a faster, streamlined and easier screening experience. Even my few trips through MCO over the past 3 years wouldn't really have benefited more than 5-10 minutes from the service.

    The concept was a joke, the implementation hamstrung by the TSA and the end result inevitable. Maybe one of these days we'll get back to a sane airport screening process. I doubt it, though it would be nice.