CLEAR is one of the best airport timesavers out there, and it's growing fast. The lightning-fast security program has just announced they are expanding to Birmingham (BHM).
The Alabama hub will be the 31st U.S. airport with CLEAR service, according to Delta. It's just the latest addition in a recent span in which CLEAR has also expanded to Boston, Cincinnati, and other airports.
CLEAR works separately from TSA PreCheck. With PreCheck, you get a dedicated line at airport security, can keep liquids and electronics in your bags and can keep a coat, belt, and shoes on. But think of CLEAR as a license to cut in line – you get whisked to the front of either the PreCheck line or standard security lane.
Here's the full list of where you can use CLEAR:
|Atlanta (ATL)||North & South Domestic Terminals|
|Austin (AUS)||Checkpoints 1 & 2|
|Baltimore (BWI)||Checkpoints A,B,C, D & E|
|Birmingham (BHM)||Main Terminal|
|Boise (BOI)||Main Terminal|
|Boston (BOS)||Terminal A|
|Chicago-Midway (MDW)||Main Terminal|
|Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)||Terminal 1 & 2|
|Cincinnati (CVG)||Main Terminal|
|Cleveland (CLE)||Center & South Checkpoints|
|Columbus (CMH)||Main Terminal|
|Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)||Terminal E|
|Dallas-Love Field (DAL)||Terminal 1|
|Denver (DEN)||North & South Entrances|
|Detroit (DTW)||North & McNamara Terminals|
|Fort Lauderdale (FLL)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP)||Main Terminal
|Houston-Intercontinental (IAH)||Terminals A, B, C and E|
|Houston-Hobby (HOU)||Main Terminal|
|Kansas City (MCI)||Main Terminal|
|Las Vegas (LAS)||Terminals 1 & 3|
|Long Beach (LGB)||Main Terminal
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Terminals 1 - 7|
|Miami (MIA)||Checkpoints E & H|
|Milwaukee (MKE)||Main Terminal|
|Minneapolis−Saint Paul (MSP)||Terminal 1|
|Nashville (BNA)||Central Checkpoint|
|New Orleans (MSY)||Concourse D|
|New York City-John F. Kennedy (JFK)||Terminals 2 & 4|
|New York-LaGuardia (LGA)||Terminals C & D|
|Newark (EWR)||Terminal C|
|Oakland (OAK)||Terminal 2|
|Oklahoma City (OKC)||Main Terminal
|Ontario (ONT)||Terminal 2 & 4|
|Orlando (MCO)||East & West Security|
|Palm Beach (PBI)||Terminal A/B & C|
|Palm Springs (PSP)||Main Terminal|
|Phoenix (PHX)||Terminals 2, 3 & 4|
|Raleigh-Durham (RDU)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|Sacramento (SMF)||Terminal A & B|
|Salt Lake City (SLC)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|San Antonio (SAT)||Terminals A & B|
|San Diego (SAN)||Terminal 2|
|San Francisco (SFO)||Terminals 1-3, International Terminals A & G|
|San Jose (SJC)||Terminal A & B|
|San Juan (SJU(+)||Terminals A, B & C|
|Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)||Checkpoints 1-5|
|St. Louis (STL)||Terminal 2|
|Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD)||Main Terminal & East Security Checkpoint|
|Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA)||Terminals A, B & C|
|Westchester County (HPN)||Main Terminal|
The Basics Behind CLEAR
CLEAR is a privately run trusted-traveler program that takes both your fingerprints and iris scans to confirm your identity before security screening. Once you’ve signed up (more on this shortly) and finalized your registration, you simply head to the CLEAR lane, confirm your identity at a kiosk, and get whisked away to the front of the TSA line by a CLEAR ambassador.
Delta has an ownership stake in CLEAR, so it's no surprise that the program's expansion has been heavy with airports where Delta has a large presence.
The biggest hurdle for most people is the price. The sticker price of $179 annually can be hard to swallow. Luckily, there's a way to cut that cost drastically.
CLEAR recently raised the price for new Delta SkyMiles members, but there are still significant savings. All Delta SkyMiles members can sign up for $119 a year. If you've got a Delta co-branded credit card, that drops to $109 per year. Delta flyers with Medallion Status of Silver, Gold, or Platinum can also sign up for $109 a year. And finally, top-tier Delta Diamond status holders can get a membership for free.
Those prices are still steep, especially considering you can get a five-year Global Entry membership (which includes TSA PreCheck) for $100 – or free with the right credit cards. But CLEAR and TSA PreCheck work well in tandem – they're separate services. So if you travel enough, it could still be worth it.
CLEAR's footprint keeps growing, and that's not a bad thing. The main drawback with CLEAR has been that it's not available at every airport – but that's starting to change.